Author Topic: Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana originated from the same original project  (Read 1506 times)

Chrono'99

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Hey guys, long time no see. I'm just dropping by to post something interesting I found in liner notes written by Hiromichi Tanaka for the "Seiken Densetsu Music Complete Book" (a compilation of all Mana soundtracks released in 2011 for the Mana series's 20th anniversary).

Quote from: Liner notes translation
[...]upon getting word from Nintendo that they were developing a CD-ROM adapter for the Super Famicom, we decided to start a project in a different direction from Final Fantasy IV, which at the time was in the middle of development and was touted as a next-generation RPG fitting the large storage capacity the new cartridges had. The development codename for the new project was Maru Island, and we were making it as a collaboration work with Akira Toriyama-sensei after we established contact through Shueisha. I frequently ran back to the office just to receive and look at the screen mock-ups that Toriyama-sensei did in the initial stages of the project.

Despite that, the CD-ROM adapter was never completed. Once everyone learned that the CD-ROM adapter was never going to see a release, they decided to abandon everything that had been planned for development since the very start, including Toriyama-sensei's contributions, and decided to revise the project in order to make it release into a ROM cassette. We said that we would wait for the CD-ROM to make a collaboration project with Toriyama-sensei, but when it was revised, it actually became an entirely different project with an entirely different direction. That was what later on was completed into the game we know as Chrono Trigger.

Thanks to the high speed of the ROM, it was possible to seamlessly make the action visible in the field without the need to make a transition into a battle screen. But in the end, the new RPG I wanted to start making one that didn't have a command-style battle system (Motion Battle System) and tested the reflexes of the players wasn't a title that existed at the moment.

Upon seeing that my goal was to make an action RPG, and learning that an ARPG was the next game we were going to make, I decided to make it into a sequel for Seiken Densetsu, so we reestructured everything to use the world setting we had already from the previous game, and Seiken Densetsu 2 was finally completed.

tl;dr: Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana both originated as the same original project, the original Squaresoft/Akira Toriyama collaboration, which was going to be a Super CD-ROM action RPG codenamed Maru Island. When the Super CD-ROM was scrapped, the collaboration was rebooted as Chrono Trigger while the action RPG concept was reworked as a Seiken Densetsu sequel.

So if you think the boy and the girl here:


look like the boy and the girl here:

maybe it's not a coincidence after all...


Source for the liner notes (be sure to read all of Tanaka's notes if you're interested in the genesis of the Mana series):
http://www.squareenixmusic.com/features/liners/seikendensetsubox.shtml

Kodokami

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Wow, that's an awesome find! Really adds some interesting history to the games. I think I'll be moving Secret of Mana higher up on my "to play" list now.

Thanks for sharing this, Chrono'99.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 12:40:28 am by Kodokami »

Acacia Sgt

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Fascinating. It's very interesting to know how these old games had such backstories.

Rocky

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Yeah, that is quite interesting.  I haven't played any other Mana games, I don't think, but I've played through SoM many times - and to be honest, I had always noticed the similarities in looks between Crono & Marle and... well, Boy & Girl.  :)  To me, the SoM ones just seemed like less interesting, dumbed down versions - both in appearance and in character development.  So yeah, interesting to learn there's a reason why they have similar design.

Xenterex

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I had heard/read somewhat of this before regarding Secret of Mana, but I didn't know the connection to Trigger from this, and that does make sense.  I know alot of sections in Mana feel empty or rushed by comparison and those might have been areas that would have crossed over in the full project or something alone those lines.   The character art for sure did feel a bit underwhelming and I haven't liked how the later entires in the 'mana' world seem to have run off with it. 

Time for fan-frenzies to compile some link between Mana world progression into Chrono world progression as a means to revitalize both games into something awesome again :D

ZeaLitY

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Keep in touch.

BFG

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Hmm...well, I've played Chrono Trigger (of course), Radical Dreamers, Chrono Cross, Seiken Densetsu 2 / Secret of Mana, and Seiken Densetsu 3.  Think I'm going to have to go find the original Seiken Densetsu somewhere now...

xcalibur

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cool, I hadn't known this.

As I've mentioned on gamefaqs, I'm in the midst of writing a complete retranslation of Secret of Mana, based on the original Japanese. I could make a springtime of youth thread about my progress here if you guys are interested.

BFG

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As I've mentioned on gamefaqs, I'm in the midst of writing a complete retranslation of Secret of Mana, based on the original Japanese. I could make a springtime of youth thread about my progress here if you guys are interested.
Interesting.  I'd love to see that when you're finished - the Mana series (at least the early entries) has always been a favorite of mine.

I always hoped to find out what content was left out due to the SNES-CD being abandoned in the middle of Secret of Mana's development...but I suppose there's no way we'll ever know for sure.


Dialga_Palkia

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Has there ever been a Mana game that involves time traveling? Perhaps a Chrono and Mana crossover.

Chrono'99

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Re: Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana originated from the same original project
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 07:22:02 pm »
Has there ever been a Mana game that involves time traveling? Perhaps a Chrono and Mana crossover.

Well, Masato Kato was the scenario writer for Children of Mana, Heroes of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 4 (Dawn of Mana). I never played those games but there's some sort of temporal event in SD4 that's reminiscent of the Dead Sea from Chrono Cross.