Depending on who you ask, there is a floating shortlist of games worthy of being called the greatest SNES title ever. Countless times Chrono Trigger appears in those conversations, mainly due to how strongly it resonates as a groundbreaking gameplay experience. To this day, it still holds up as a paragon of the RPG genre. That is why it’s remarkable to think that, as the clock strikes midnight in Japan, Chrono Trigger reaches the ripe old age of 20 years old in the region. (brace for several embeds!)
Chrono Trigger, when looking back on who worked on the project, was primed for destiny. A veritable who’s who of Japanese games production, it was led by a director trio of Takashi Tokita (Final Fantasy IV lead design, Parasite Eve director), Yoshinori Kitase (Final Fantasy VI/X director, Kingdom Hearts producer) and Akihiko Matsui (Legend of Mana game designer, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn lead combat designer). Hironobu Sakaguchi (director or producer for Final Fantasy’s I-XII) oversaw the project, as well.
What separated Chrono Trigger from the rest of the pack was its unique combat system. While observing the traditional turn-based trappings of the time, the group compositions surrounding Chrono himself produced the opportunity to perform strong combinations between party members. 2 and 3-person attacks meant players strategizing not only based around individual strengths and weakness, but what their attributes combined brought together as a team. Such a system was unparalleled at the time, and that intuitive magic really hasn’t been captured since.
Needless to say, as I’m sure it’s been made apparent by now, Chrono Trigger also observes one of the more dynamic soundtracks out there. While I still maintain that Final Fantasy VI’s OST is more thematically on point, something has to be said about just how much energy each track from this game exudes. A collaborative effort between lead composer Yasunori Mitsuda and the legendary Nobuo Uematsu, the music is always there to pump you up or slow down the action in its more dark, somber moments.
Still, as great as Chrono Trigger is, if there’s ever a series that deserves a proper sequel, you’re looking right at it. With the inclusion of old IP’s like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana in a recently-released Square Enix survey, one that specifically asks the question, “What one game would you most want Square Enix to make in the future,” you have to wonder if Square Enix would dare to tamper with success once more and bring the A-team back together. Anything new is better than leaving Chrono Cross as the series’ remaining legacy!
As we at GameSided celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of gaming’s brightest achievements, we turn the conversation to you. What’s your favorite aspect of Chrono Trigger? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below, especially if you have more songs to share as we take a trip down nostalgia lane.
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