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Topics - gatotsu911

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News Submissions / Yasunori Mitsuda turns 40 today, guys
« on: January 21, 2012, 09:28:17 am »
Be sure to get on The Facebook or The Twitters and wish him a good one!

So a while back I bought the Blade Runner OST by Vangelis on iTunes, and I noticed that one of the tracks is titled "Memories of Green", a name us video game kiddies are surely more familiar with as the name of a piece from the Yasunori Mitsuda's Chrono Trigger soundtrack. The songs have no similarities as far as I can tell, so ordinarily I might brush this off as a coincidence. However, I remember reading somewhere that Mitsuda was a huge fan of Blade Runner's soundtrack and that it was what inspired him to become a composer, so I'm starting to think that it may have been an homage on Mitsuda's part.

Any thoughts? Can anyone confirm this? Want to ask Mitsuda about it on Twitter? (does he respond to Twitter questions?)

Chrono News / Chrono Cross out on PSN
« on: November 10, 2011, 03:09:58 am »
So, uh, hey guys. Chrono Cross is out on North America's Playstation Network today. That means you can download it to play on your PS3, PSP, or both! Only $9.99! Get yours today! The more people buy new Chrono stuff, the more there is a market for new Chrono stuff. So tut-tut! Have at it!

Chrono News / Chrono Trigger OST is currently on iTunes
« on: October 05, 2011, 10:45:51 pm »
Did you guys know that the Chrono Trigger OST is out on iTunes? 'cuz I didn't. But I do now. The Chrono Trigger OST is out on iTunes. You should probably go check it out if you haven't already.

Chrono News / Masato Kato returns to his roots
« on: September 23, 2011, 02:35:22 am »
As some of you may know, Masato Kato's first gig in the game industry, prior to his involvement at Gainax and then Square, was at Tecmo, where he worked on the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy - games widely considered to be a milestone in video game storytelling for their use of cinematic cutscenes - as an artist and writer. As some of you may also know, when the series was rebooted in the 2000s under the stewardship of Team Ninja and legendarily deranged game designer Tomonobu Itagaki, Masato Kato was nowhere to be found, and while the games themselves were excellent, the storytelling components were - to put it kindly - not so impressive.

Well, according to Yosuke Hayashi, Itagaki's successor and current head of Team Ninja, Kato is back. The studio seems to be interested in making the upcoming Ninja Gaiden 3 more story-intensive than its predecessors (a move which I admit I was initially quite critical of), and to try and make sure they do it right they're going back to the source. According to Hayashi, there will be plenty of throwbacks to the NES games, including multiple characters making a comeback in for the first time in 3D. This is basically Kato's biggest gig since Final Fantasy XI, so I hope it goes well for him and he can get the opportunity to work on more high-profile titles instead of the DS and cellphone games that have comprised most of his career for the better part of the last decade.

For those curious, the Hayashi interview is here, and Ninja Gaiden 3 is currently scheduled to be released in the first quarter of next year for the PS3 and Xbox 360, with an enhanced port coming later in the year as a launch title for the Wii U. Anyone interested in checking out the previous Ninja Gaiden games can download all three of the original NES titles with which Kato was involved on the Wii's Virtual Console for five bucks a pop, and the 3D games (Ninja Gaiden/Black/Sigma for Xbox and PS3, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for DS, and Ninja Gaiden II/Sigma 2 for 360 and PS3) should all be easy to find in stores. If you like flashy, fast-paced action games and are up for a serious challenge, I highly suggest giving them a spin.

Chrono News / Play For Japan: The Album (featuring Mitsuda!)
« on: July 11, 2011, 01:48:22 am »
Developer Grasshopper Manufacture has just facilitated the release of Play For Japan: The Album, a charity album featuring contributions from 18 great video game composers, including Akira "Silent Hill" Yamaoka, Nobuo "Final Fantasy" Uematsu, Koji "Super Mario Bros." Kondo, and of course, the one and only Yasunori Mitsuda, who contributes an arrangement of the track "Dimension Break" from Chrono Cross. It's available now on iTunes for $10, and 100% of proceeds will go to disaster relief for earthquake victims in Japan. It's great music for a great cause, so everyone out there is advised to buy, buy, buy, and tell all your friends to do the same!

General Discussion / Xenoblade Localization Officially Announced!!
« on: March 31, 2011, 06:22:07 pm »

...for... Europe. Alright, now Nintendo is officially screwing with me.


...well, in Japan anyway. But it'll probably make its way over here sooner or later. Good news for anybody pining for the Woolsey translation or the ability to play it on the big screen, as God intended.

General Discussion / Hiromichi Tanaka and some friends are looking for work
« on: December 10, 2010, 01:38:57 pm »

So, looks like Final Fantasy XIV has been such a disaster that Square Enix is completely restructuring the dev team, and Hiromichi Tanaka is out. I guess that kind sucks for him, but for me this is good news. Presumably Square will not be having him work on another MMO for the foreseeable future, meaning that - hopefully - he can go back to what he's good at: producing ambitious and original single-player RPGs. Like, for instance... a Chrono game?

Before you discount that as a pipe dream, keep in mind that when last Tanaka and his associates were asked about why they haven't begun work on Chrono 3, his response is that they won't be able to do anything as long as they're still working on a MMORPG. Well... now he's not working on a MMORPG anymore. So we'll see.

I wonder whether Mr. Tanaka is familiar with the credo, "Do something badly enough and you'll never be asked to do it again"...?


I recently discovered these writeups on the Chrono games and read them (well, most of them - I skimmed over a few parts). Both articles are fascinating reads; the writer has an excellent analytical eye and really manages to put his finger on many of the things that made both games work (or, in some cases, not work). The Compendium is also referenced, linked, and thanked numerous times, so I'm sure some guys here will get a kick out of that.

While I definitely have a higher overall opinion of the game than he does, I especially like the author's article on Chrono Cross, as it identifies better than any other piece of writing on the game I've yet encountered exactly what I love about it. My favorite passages are the following:

Quote from:
Generally, NPCs in role playing games only exist to dispense clues and flavor text. As the technology improved and the towns and villages in the games grew larger, they became populated with more NPCs, and they all started having less to say. (I envision a room full Square interns tossing pencils at the ceiling and churning out colorful blurbs for Rabanastre NPC #47, Rabanastre NPC #48, Rabanastre NPC #49, Rabanastre NPC #50...) The NPCs in Chrono Cross's are a little different. Whether they make their livings as fishermen, soldiers, merchants, cooks, or scientists, virtually every NPC in Chrono Cross is a philosopher or a poet. El Nido is a place where you can walk up to anybody you see, tap them on the shoulder, and be treated to a long, existentialist tangent inspired by whatever that person happens to be looking at, doing, or thinking about at that particular moment. Kato lays it on pretty thick -- some of these folks talk like first-semester undergraduates smoking a joint for the second time -- but it makes for a hell of a trip when everyone you approach wants to share their reflections on the paradoxes of human existence, the mysteries of the sea, and the recondite wisdom of their vocations. (Gosh, it's like those MDMA-fueled psytrance raves all over again.)

Quote from:
Chrono Cross is a grown-up Chrono Trigger. Maybe Kato reckoned that the fans who enjoyed Trigger when they were ten to fifteen years old deserved a sequel whose maturation was commeasurate with their own experiences during the years since Trigger's release. Chrono Trigger is a fairly tale; a boyhood dream. Chrono Cross is a bittersweet dose of reality. There is no THE END in the world. The story always continues after the latest chapter is concluded, and -- perhaps as Trigger's fans noticed as they passed into adolescence and adulthood -- the next chapter isn't necessarily a happy one or what we expected.

Trust me: a Chrono Trigger 2 would not have been a good thing. We've discussed the nature of the hack sequel elsewhere, so we won't do it again here. Chrono Trigger 2 would have almost definitely been a hack sequel. If you are a fan who would have preferred another game about Chrono and Marle (both starting back at level one, of course) travelling through time to save the world from some other cosmic threat, congratulations -- you are the reason Hollywood and the video game industry suck right now. It is impossible for decent art (commercial or otherwise) to be made if the creators allow the consumers to call the shots. It art doesn't risk upsetting expectations and challenging its audience, it can only stagnate. (But I'm probably repeating myself here.)

Quote from:
I admit that I'm probably ripping off the central theme of K. Newton's brilliant deconstruction of Trigger here, but Chrono Cross is so blantantly designed as an existential trip that it's hard not to. The game begins with a dream and an awakening into reality. You cross over into a world in which all your friends and neighbors tell you that you don't exist. Then you cross back into your own world, where everybody tells you that you aren't yourself. You literally spend the entire game being tossed around by immense cosmic forces you cannot understand (fate on one side, the gods on the other, and an incarnation of the void at the bottom), and receive no explanation as to why until the very end (and the explanation doesn't make a great deal of sense). Serge can't even begin properly saving the world from FATE, the Dragon God, and the Time Devourer until he succeeds in asserting his own existence in said world. Chrono Cross can be a very unsettling game, since it so frequently assails Serge's (and by extension, the player's) sense of self. At the end of the game, the distinction between Serge and the person holding the controller is totally shattered when the liberated Schala addresses her speech to the player, then spends the closing credits in a video montage in which she searches for the player throughout modern-day Japan, played by a faceless actress wearing a blonde wig.

The silent protagonist device makes it work. (Well, except for maybe the creepy credits montage.) Chrono Cross couldn't evoke such a sense of the uncanny if Serge didn't serve as the player's total in-game surrogate. Just imagine how different an experience it would be if Serge were able to speak. Serge would enter Another World's Arni for the first time and start braying "BUT I'M SERGE! WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? I'M NOT DEAD! THIS IS WEIRD!" and wouldn't let up until the end of Home World's Fort Dragonia sequence, twenty-something hours later. Because Kato had the sense to keep Serge's mouth shut, Chrono Cross is capable of getting under the player's skin on a very personal level. From where I'm sitting, BioShock ("would you kindly?" "a man chooses...") has been the only other mainstream video game that does it more effectively.

Quote from:
Chrono Cross's plot gets off to a hell of a start, but trips and falls on face as it approaches the home stretch. Things begin happening extremely quickly, as though the developers were struggling to cram the whole remainder of the plot into a much smaller space than they anticipated. Remember that video games had mushroomed into a big business at this point. Even though Square's corporate suits weren't as overbearing in 1999 as they were after the Enix merger (remember what they did to Matsuno), but it is very evident that at some point during Chrono Cross's development, they put their foot down with Kato: the game must be finished by this date, and within this budget, or you will commit seppuku for failing your masters. Therefore, we see the most important revelations in the plot divulged by a trio of NPCs loitering around the portal leading to the Time Devourerer, and learn as an aside that Kid goes back and saves from Serge from drowning (kind of an important plot point, wouldn't you say?) after the game ends. There is absolutely no way it would have played out like this if Kato and his team were given more time and money. (Granted, I am in the apparently small minority of players who don't particularly mind the Opassa Beach textheap, but I still think the developers would have found a more interesting way of getting the message across if they weren't pressed for time and/or money.)

The other fatal flaw actually is Kato's fault, but it's hard to blame him for it.

This is purely speculation on my part -- but you'll remember that Kato resigned from Gainax to work for SquareSoft after his work on 1993's Princess Maker. Chrono Trigger was released the same year as Gainax's Neon Genesis Evangelion, the anime that shook Japanese pop culture to its roots, and the two were likely developed during the same timespan. Chrono Trigger was a hit, but its ripples were nothing compared to the tidal wave caused by Evangelion. Maybe Kato observed the success of his former colleagues and was determined to create something similar -- a pop cultural art piece that could rattle and haunt its viewers the same was as Evangelion.

The whole thing is good, though, and well worth reading, as is the Trigger one. I don't agree with all of it, or even all of the statements in the passages posted above, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's played both games.

General Discussion / Masato Kato's Twitter
« on: October 29, 2010, 05:22:25 pm »
...seems to have been taken down. Is there anyone with a sufficient knowledge of Japanese who can try to find out if he's put up a new one?

So Atlus Japan recently announced a new DS game called Radiant Historia, a spiritual sequel (made by the same developers) to Square Enix's Radiata Stories on PS2. I didn't play that game and this one didn't really look unusually interesting either, so I didn't really pay attention. But now there's a development that has me intrigued, and should catch the attention of any Chrono fan: the game will feature a time-travel mechanic that seems quite a bit like the next logical extension to the Chrono series. From what I understand, players will travel backwards and forwards in time AND across dimensions - when players change the past, a new timeline is created, and the game features a grid that keeps track of all the timelines and dimensions in the game. It sounds a hell of a lot like the next step up from the time- and dimension-traveling mechanics of Trigger and Cross, respectively, and it may be the closest thing to a Chrono sequel in that regard that we're likely to get for some time. Check it out and see what you think:


Feargus Urquhart and his development studio, Obsidian, have said that they would like to make a "westernized" version of Chrono Trigger. Despite Feargus having one of the most awesome names known to man, I'm going to have to say I'm against this. While I've yet to personally play any of Obsidian's games, I've heard primarily bad things about them, and I think the Chrono games are of a type that is very Japanese in flavor - I can't think of many Western developers who could replicate the "feel" of the games (let alone the design expertise). Hell, I can't think of many JAPANESE developers who could replicate the feel and design of the games, possibly including Square Enix itself. If Square Enix does outsource a new Chrono game, it should absolutely be to Monolith Soft. In fact, I'd rather have Monolith work on a new game that SquEnix themselves. Provided Kato, Mitsuda and Yasuyuki Honne are involved, of course, but seeing as the first two have collaborated with Monolith in the past and Honne WORKS THERE, that hardly seems like an obstacle.

Welcome / Birthday / Seeya! Forum / Greetings and Salutations
« on: June 01, 2010, 12:13:01 pm »
Hello, I am gatotsu911. I've been a spook around here for years - and I do mean years - ever since I first played the games in the fantastic Chrono series. I figured now is as good a time as any to speak up and become active... so, here I am. I hope to make friends, have interesting discussions, yada yada yada. Seeya 'round!

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