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Messages - Lennis

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Site Updates / Re: Massive Interview Update via DeepL
« on: December 19, 2022, 09:57:15 pm »
Very interesting drops.  I fail to see how Masato Kato thinks Mojo is important to the plot of Chrono Cross, though.

And Leena being a default party member for the game's early development?  I can totally see why, given her centrality to Serge's life in Home World.  It will always mystify me why she was basically sidelined for the rest of the game as a character who is pretty hard to recruit.  Starky is a different matter, since he serves as an emotional sounding board for Harle late in the game.

While much of what you report seems to be rumor, I can't help but wonder if some of the rifts spoken of between the devs might not have some basis in fact.  The Dream Team hasn't been together for over twenty years now, and I'm not hearing so much as a hint that another Chrono project might be in the pipeline.  I know that disagreements between creatives happen, and they can often hurt, sometimes for years, especially if there is public criticism over the final product. (Chrono Cross)

As for the Ultimania stuff, that just serves to remind us that focusing on plot technicalities never leads to a good place.  Serge is supposed to be the hero of the story, and Lavos the villain.  Period.  Anything else is a violation of the mythos' core themes: The Hero's Journey, and the rejection of fate.

General Discussion / Re: Video Game Discussion Thread
« on: November 11, 2022, 10:10:48 pm »
I recently dusted off my old X-Box 360 and popped in a somewhat obscure JRPG called Eternal Sonata.  The graphics are amazing for a game released in 2007, and the ost stands out even more.  It's unique in that the story focuses on the dreams of an historical figure; a famous composer and pianist named Frédéric Chopin.  It has a fairly large playable cast, and most all of the characters have names based off of musical terms.  The battle system is also unique, combining aspects of turn-based and real-time combat.  Characters have no MP, but instead use special attacks based on whether they are standing on lighted ground or shaded ground.  You can use a special attack at any time, but those attacks are more effective if you deliver a few regular attacks first during your character's turn.  Alternatively, you can build up a combo gauge using regular attacks with one character and then have another character spend the built-up energy on a special attack, leading to huge damage.  There's no other JRPG quite like it.  I'm about 40 hours into it, and I find the game charming, though the narrative can get a bit preachy in places.

Fan Art / Re: Artworks from Deviantart and others
« on: September 25, 2022, 01:05:56 am »
Danbooru is a treasure trove of fan art.  You will find things here that don't show up on DeviantArt.  Keep in mind this is an 18+ site and some of the images may be objectionable.

This is a link to Chrono Cross fan art.  To the left of the screen are links to many different Chrono Cross characters if you're looking for something in particular.

Here is the link to Chrono Trigger fan art.

General Discussion / Re: Video Game Discussion Thread
« on: September 07, 2022, 12:20:39 am »
A new action RPG is on the verge of release.  It's called Asterigos: Curse of the Stars.  It caught my attention because the main character looks a lot like Leena.  It would be too funny if a modder gave this girl Leena's outfit and a frying pan to swing around.

Did you play Star Ocean: Anamnesis? I did for a while out of respect for the series, but ultimately got frustrated and quit -- gacha games are not for me.

I only just heard of Anamnesis the other day.  Gacha games don't interest me in the least.  I already spend too much time and money on the few MMOs I'm invested in.

I haven't played SO4 and would love to, but I stopped the console wars with the PS3, so I no longer play unless it's on Switch or PC. I've heard the same complaints, though. I hope SO5 ends up on the PC; if so, I'll definitely be playing it.

It's actually Star Ocean 6, not 5.  Five was Integrity and Faithlessness.  Yes it is coming to Steam, as well as PS5, PS4, and XBox.  October 27th is the release date.  I can understand not wanting to have the higher-end consoles if you already have a decent computer that will get most of the console games eventually.  The drawback is that the games are often not optimized for PC on release and cause numerous crashes before patches come out.  I don't have the patience to fix broken games with my limited programming knowledge, and I prefer consoles for action-based games anyway.  Much better controllers.

As for Integrity and Faithlessness, you really aren't missing much.  I finished it yesterday and the experience was disappointing to say the least.  It was inferior to The Last Hope in almost every way, and it was obvious the game was made on a shoestring budget on account of Square-Enix having other priorities for their development dollars.  (A sadly familiar tale, isn't it?)  The story in particular was a letdown, both in the core plot and in the boring way it was presented.  It's a shame, because the characters had an interesting visual design that felt (mostly) more grounded than the cast from The Last Hope.  If you need to catch up with Star Ocean lore, just look for YouTube playthroughs on the game.  It's unlikely SO5 will ever get a PC release unless it's part of a compilation.

I am currently playing through the Star Ocean series.  I beat Second Story many years back, when the PS1 was in its heyday, but had neglected the series since then.  With the recent announcement of Star Ocean: The Divine Force, I decided the time had finally come to play through 'Till the End of Time, The Last Hope, and Integrity and Faithlessness to get caught up with the series and the underlying lore of its universe.

To avoid spoilers for those who haven't played these games, I'll just say that 'Till the End of Time has a rather... interesting plot twist that casts the entire series in a strange light that generates controversy to the present day.  I also found Star Ocean 3, as it's otherwise known, to be remarkably unfriendly to the player in the way the game is structured.  Most aspects of the game, outside of the excellent combat, seem almost tailor made to frustrate the player and waste his or her time.  There are no quick travel options from region to region, and the crafting system is an RNG nightmare that practically demands a strategy guide to make any meaningful progress.  As a whole package, I liked the game more than I disliked it, but 230 hours of investment made me painfully aware of the PS2 game's shortcomings and questionable design choices.

The Last Hope really upped the presentation values, as you would expect from a PS3 generation game, and the combat was perhaps even better than in Star Ocean 3.  I also liked the fact that TLH was more grounded in science fiction, and didn't just rehash the spaceman crash lands on primitive world and saves the day trope.  Unfortunately, avoiding that trope didn't prevent the game from taking other tropes into overdrive and creating some truly cringe-inducing moments with its colorful cast of characters.  More than once I questioned how the MC ever became a military officer after the way he dealt with a certain mid-game crisis, to say nothing about how the game's main healer (which you get very late in the story) is written to be as air-headed as possible.  I like lighthearted moments as well as the next guy, but this girl is little more than a trope on two legs, she is so dumb.  The story was a bit hit and miss, starting strong, straying into some existential issues in the mid-game that are never adequately explained, and then evolving into almost predictable metaphysical preaching at a blistering pace near the game's end.  The ending itself is pretty strong, but I felt the whole narrative to be a bit disjointed.  The Last Hope is a decent enough game, but not something I would consider top-tier among JRPGs.  I spent roughly a hundred hours on it.

Integrity and Faithlessness (PS4) is considered by many to be the worst game in the Star Ocean series, and I was always curious as to why it got such bad word of mouth among fans.  Having just started the game, being about fifteen hours in, I'm kind of getting an inkling.  The combat feels like it has taken a step down from the often glorious carnage we saw in The Last Hope, and you generally feel less formidable than the previous casts of characters.  More ominously, the story starts slow, and the characters are presented in a less cinematic way than in the previous two games.  Though it's still early, I'm much less emotionally invested in this group of characters than I was with the previous group at the same point of the story.  Never a good sign.  I'm also wary of the crafting system.  You can increase your skill easily enough, but you never seem to be able to find the materials you need to make even low-level equipment, let alone things that make you feel like you have gear suitable to your level.  You gain levels fast in this game, and that is because enemies seem to scale to your level of strength, sometimes banishing a particular enemy you need for material drops in favor of something that can last more than five seconds against you.  Maybe the overall experience will get better, but the early signs are not promising.

Anyone else have an opinion on the Star Ocean series of games?

Hey all.  It's been a few years since I've lurked around here.  The recent re-release of Chrono Cross has got Chrono back to the front of my mind, not to mention the passage of time.  So much has changed in the world since 2015.  Just when you begin to think you might be in the Ideal Timeline, reality throws you a curveball and you wish you could open a dimensional portal someplace else, or maybe go back in time to make a few changes.  Barring Lucca becoming real and inventing something that will enable us to do that, all we really have is this dreamspace to reminisce about what was and what might be.  How many of the old gang are still around?

I've been continuing on my Chrono Trigger novel project whenever I get struck by the writing bug.  There's quite a bit more material than the chapters I've already posted here, and I may post those at a future date if there's enough interest.  In the meantime, I've been struck by the urge, insane as it is, to start on a reboot novelization of Chrono Cross.  It can't be called canon, since I have a number of changes planned that just can't fully mesh with the world we already know, but I try and keep it as close to the original story as possible and make any changes feel organic rather than arbitrary.  I've already posted what little I've written in the fan-fiction section and am looking forward to some feedback.

It's good to see all of you again.  Maybe something good can yet come out of this timeline.

General Discussion / Re: Video Game Discussion Thread
« on: May 27, 2022, 04:31:19 pm »
A new action RPG has recently been announced, the name of which got my attention.  It's called Trinity Trigger.  No relation to the Chrono series, sadly, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  The plot centers around changing one's destiny.  It has quite a Secret of Mana look and feel to it.  Here's a link to the article:

Characters, Plot, and Themes / Re: Is Leena Adopted?
« on: May 26, 2022, 10:27:35 pm »
I believe this might have been originally intended.  The only thing that really wrecks the theory in canon is Miguel's appearance and how the Dead Sea sequence played out.  Everything else fits.  Huge missed opportunity by the devs.  Might this have been a consequence of a reduced budget?  It really saddens me to think of what might have been.

Characters, Plot, and Themes / Re: Is Leena Adopted?
« on: May 26, 2022, 02:48:35 pm »
Leena is 100% adopted.  It's really the only explanation that makes sense.  And the fact we never see her mother is more than suspicious.  I think there may have been a major plot thread here that was simply abandoned by the developers.  Hmmm...  Can no one see it?

Hello, everyone.  Been quite a while since I posted here.  Since the release of the Radical Dreamers edition of Chrono Cross, which I plan on playing through this summer, Chrono has very much been on my mind.  I am still working on my Chrono Trigger novel project off and on, but the further along I get on that, the more I realize that I need a solid narrative grasp of Chrono Cross in order to continue.  The reason being that the events of my Chrono Trigger series actually take place after the events of Chrono Cross, due to what Schala/Kid does after her spirit is freed by Serge and she transcends into a higher state of being.  Not to give too much away, but Schala/Kid basically resets time and everything goes back to the beginning.  Everything will transpire the way it did before until a certain point is reached, that point being called the Chrono Break, from which things will begin to diverge slightly from how they did in the original timeline, and create a possibility in which everyone can be saved and live out a full life in what I call the Ideal Timeline.  While this would seem to involve only the Chrono Trigger cast, events will transpire in which a few characters from Chrono Cross will get involved as well, and their involvement is critical to how the whole Chrono saga ends.  So, Chrono Cross has to be tackled in full narrative format to set up the tale I really want to tell.

I'll be honest, novelizing Chrono Cross is a project I long feared to be impossible due to how complicated the tale is and how it was presented to us in the original game.  Some aspects of the story remain head-scratchers 23 years after the game's release, and I'll admit that some of it still eludes me today.  It is for that reason that I call this a "Great Experiment".  But these characters deserve the best treatment I can give them, and if there is any possibility that I can tell this tale in a way that is easier to follow than the original game, I want to try.

It is important to note that this will not be a one to one translation of the original game.  (Hence the "Remake" moniker.) Some events will come completely out of left field, though I intend to follow the main events of the original game as closely as I can and include some of the original dialogue where it is workable.

Talking about the project itself, the biggest change from the original game is that it is no longer strictly Serge-centric.  Serge remains the story's protagonist - as he must be - but the story is no longer solely about him and the terrible hand fate has dealt him.  It is also about the characters who have the strongest emotional connection to Serge and how they deal with the hand fate dealt them, as well as with the unspeakable dangers facing their world.  To this end I use a narrative concept I call the "holy trinity", in which all the major events of the story revolve around one (or more) of three characters.  It is a classic technique we see in numerous franchises of pop culture, like Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Matrix.  Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.  Luke, Han, and Leia.  Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka.  Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus.  I look at Crono, Marle, and Lucca in the same way.  For Chrono Cross, the holy trinity must consist of Serge and the two characters who have the strongest emotional connection with him: Kid and Leena.

We know how important Kid is both to Serge and the larger Chrono mythos.  All we really know about Leena is that she is close to Serge, maybe desires a deeper relationship with him, and has a philosophical way of looking at the world.  Elevating her to holy trinity status requires her character to be expanded upon to where she is nearly as important to the story as Serge himself.  Fortunately there are a number of subtle clues in original canon that suggests she might have been intended to play a larger role in Chrono Cross, but for whatever reason that role was left on the cutting room floor by the developers, and we are left to wonder what might have been.  I have decided to take those subtle clues and run with them.  The trick to making Leena's elevation work is to make sure her story compliments Serge's story without completely overshadowing it.  To this end, we will see that quite unlike the original game, Home Leena and Another Leena are not clones of one another, but are shown to be very different people because of what did or did not happen to Serge 10 years ago.  This in turn shows how important Serge is, in that his presence or absence can have a profound impact on someone's life.

Other characters will have moments of great importance and provide aid to the three mains, but they will never be quite as important as the holy trinity.  Using this narrative structure helps keep the original game's rather large cast manageable and the story more focused.

Getting into the narrative itself, Serge and Leena now both have last names.  Serge Krayton and Leena Lawson.  I also decided to start with the dream flash-forward sequence from the original game and use it to help establish why Serge is important beyond his role in splitting the world in two.  He can see things before they happen in his dreams.  Dreams are an important theme for Masato Kato, so it is important to make that front and center for his protagonist.  The flash-forward sequence is a bit rough compared to the rest of my written material at this point and will probably undergo a lot of revisions still, but most of what follows after is solid enough to probably make it through to a finalized state.  The other thing that needs to be mentioned is that I am working on the first two volumes (books) at the same time because the first part of volume two takes place around the same time as the beginning of volume one, only from Home Leena's perspective.  Volume one will probably cover everything between the komodo scale hunt and the events at Ft. Dragonia.  Volume two will flash back to the day the Angelus Errare appears at Opassa and follow things from Home Leena's perspective for awhile.

Included here is everything I have written in full narrative so far: the first two chapters of volume one - told from Serge's perspective, and the first chapter of volume two - told from Home Leena's perspective.  As always, any feedback is appreciated.  Playing fast and loose with established canon is always a bit risky, so if I'm making a critical mistake I can't easily work around I need to know.  I hope everyone enjoys these.

Fan Art / Re: Artworks from Deviantart and others
« on: May 24, 2022, 11:14:10 pm »
Yes!  I've always envisioned the Black Omen as more of a ship than a floating fortress myself.

Chrono Cross Modification / Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« on: May 24, 2022, 11:10:29 pm »
This is a very interesting little project you've started.  I've always been of the opinion that the original Chrono Cross could have done with several more months of story development, as it just didn't feel finished in the version we ultimately got.  Too much of the plot was hard to follow, felt contradictory in places, and not grounded enough with character moments.  You seem well on your way to addressing some of these concerns.  I'm curious how you will deal with the deeper waters of the mid-game and end-game plots.

I've actually started a little Chrono Cross project of my own.  It's a conceptual novelization of a possible remake, or perhaps even a reboot of the story.  (I'm also doing something like it for Chrono Trigger, which I've been working on and off on for years.)  It's not really structured as a game, but more like how it would look as a film or as a traditional novel.  It differs from your work and the original game quite a bit, but I think we share the same goals in making the story of Chrono Cross make (at least a little) more sense.  I call it something of an experiment.  It still needs a lot of work in how the overall plot will play out, but I intend to preserve as many of the most memorable moments from the source material as I can while adding some of my own ideas.  Maybe we can compare notes.

Chrono News / Re: Rumor - Chrono Cross Remaster
« on: February 10, 2022, 09:16:24 pm »
I cannot BELIEVE this is finally happening... long overdue, and yea I can see why there are a lot of complaints regarding this Remaster... disappointing it didn't get better graphical treatment or any new scenarios, story content, etc... but the great news is that the Internet and gaming sites exploded with "Chrono" being the headline. That is a win.

I've also missed my Compendium family all so much lol. I have been away far too long... good to see the OGs still here alive and kicking  :D

Chrono fans never die.  They just hibernate.

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