Author Topic: Interview Update! Xenogears x Chrono Trigger 2 Connection Found!  (Read 426 times)

ZeaLitY

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Interview Update! Xenogears x Chrono Trigger 2 Connection Found!
« on: November 25, 2021, 02:55:29 am »
Thanks to the amazing blogspot Squareference, we've completed a massive scrub of developer tweets and Japanese interviews. We've added them all to the Compendium, though they're untranslated. As machine translation has come a long way in the last few years (especially with DeepL), I've fed some of these through to try and glean interesting insights. In the meantime, we just have to reveal that the holy grail of interviews was among them. Tetsuya Takahashi stated in June 2003 (interview here that Xenogears was originally started as Chrono Trigger 2, before changing to an original title early in development. We've heard rumors for years that this was the case (see this page), and it's exhilarating to finally have it confirmed. No doubt, we should now begin endlessly speculating which parts of Xenogears setting or plot were originally intended for Chrono Trigger 2!



All these recovered interviews and tweets have been added to Material Requiring Translation, as well as the encyclopedia. Interesting facts are highlighted below the jump. [INTERVIEWS]  [ Procyon Studio Question and Answer Forms ][ 2001 RocketBaby Yasunori Mitsuda ][ 2010 Mida Showa's Memoirs on Radical Dreamers ][ 2019 Yasunori Mitsuda CC 20th ][ 2011 Yoshiyuki Miyagawa's Chrono Cross Memoirs ][ 2008 Interview with Kenichi Nishi ][ 2007 Yoshitaka Hirota Interview ][ 2009 Keizo Kokubo Interview ][ 2014 Xenoblade Interview with Yasunori Mitsuda ][ 2014 Interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yoshinori Kitase ][ 2015 Shueshia Interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yuji Horii ][ 2015 Interview with Yasunori Mitsuda, 2083 ][ 2015 Famitsu Interview with Yasunori Mitsuda ][ 2016 Creative Village Interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi ][ Denfa Minico Kazuhiko Torishima Interview ][ Developer Tweets ][ Procyon Studio Q&A ]

[Dream Team]

* Principal brainstorming by the Dream Team was held at a "Chrono Trigger Training Camp" at the ANA Hotel in Roppongi (now the ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo), where they decided the final boss would be a parasite on the planet.
* Akira Toriyama drew the original key art, and then the look and feel of the game was fleshed out afterwards by Square. Toriyama's editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, joked that Hironobu Sakaguchi was originally upset with this approach, but realized it would work well.
* Torishima takes credit for nudging the team with the original idea of time travel, which Yuji Horii eagerly pushed for. Sakaguchi remarked to him that he wanted the game to be a perfect fusion of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.
* Sakaguchi insisted that party members would remain "the same people" even if they were out of the party when you changed time, paving the way for "Time Traveler's Immunity" as a story concept!
* Hironobu Sakaguchi held daily morning huddles and strove to have the teams spend an hour lunch with each other outside the office each day; he remarked that Chrono Trigger's development was very stressful.
* Part of this arose from Sakaguchi's merger of the Chrono Trigger team with Final Fantasy 6's team (after FF6's release), which caused tension, as the FF6 team was exhausted and close to burnout after working on that game.
* Torishima (Toriyama's editor) notes that he was perceived as a shadowy figure who was feeding ideas to both Square and Enix, and disputes rumors in the Japanese press about him taking illicit royalties from the sales of their games.
* Interestingly, Torishima (Toriyama's editor) states that at one point, Sakaguchi had a mostly finished ROM, which Torishima rejected. Sakaguchi discarded it and had the team rebuild the Chrono Trigger concept from scratch.
* It's easy to assume that the discarded ROM was the "24-bit" version with the radically different overworld, but the fact that this version was shown at V-Jump 1994 makes the discarded version seem like an even earlier build. This is an extremely mysterious story.

[Other Developers]

* Per Shinichiro Okaniwa's tweet (he worked on field graphics), Chrono Trigger was to be called "Grand Dream", with the heroes all coming from other planets destroyed by Lavos, who in their last moments sent the heroes into the dimensional seas to find their way to the Chrono Trigger planet. The game would have also required the party to defeat Lavos simultaneously in each era.
* We know from other translated interviews that Secret of Mana had the "Chrono Trigger" codename first before it was transferred to the game we know and love, lending credence to an alternate working title.
* Kenichi Nishi, field map designer for CT, spent a year at Square with nothing to work on until suddenly being thrust onto the Dream Team.
* Yoshitaka Hirota experimented with a vocoder to create Robo's voice.
* When the developers were planning the player characters' personalized dialogue in response to events, Masato Kato took over all of Magus's reactions while Takashi Tokita did Frog's.
* Keizo Kokubo developed event code system for Chrono Trigger, internally known as "Active Time Event Language" (ATEL) and later used for FF7.
* Side note: this is why Chrono Trigger DS and the Steam version have "atel_XXXX.dat" naming conventions. (Thanks Mauron.)
* Based on inference, the subquest where Lucca saves her mother's legs was added last in the development cycle by Yoshinori Kitase. A Marle subplot was also added by Tokashi Takita, but the interview does not identify which event.
* Mida Showa came up with the idea for the Mirror of Whispers in Radical Dreamers.
* Tetsuya Takahashi, Graphics Director for Chrono Trigger, states in June 2003 that Xenogears was originally the sequel to Chrono Trigger! After development difficulties, the team requested (and Sakaguchi approved) a change to an original title.
* Yoshiyuki Miyagawa states that Chrono Cross's engine was retooled to become the engine for Final Fantasy 11.

[Yasunori Mitsuda]

Here's what we gleaned about Yasunori Mitsuda. A lot of these points come from the godlike 2083 interview. Seriously, kudos to 2083 for asking all the right questions!

* Yasunori Mitsuda had been doing sound effects at Square until he talked to Hironobu Sakaguchi, who allowed him to work on Chrono Trigger.
* Mitsuda composed by printing out copies of Masato Kato's story notes, which he studied for opportunities to support events with unique songs.
* Mitsuda clarified that per Masato Kato, the true Japanese name of "Longing of the Wind" is "Kaze no shoukei" (かぜのしょうけい). (Unsurprisingly, this directly translates to "Longing of the Wind".)
* Mitsuda wrote "To Faraway Times" in high school in memory of a friend who passed away. To adapt it for the game, he incorporated the sound of the pendulum and the Chrono Trigger theme.
* Mitsuda chose acid jazz for the "The Brink of Time" arrangement based on inspiration from Jamiroquai. He acknowledged criticism for this style, reflecting that if Twitter had been around in 1995, he would have "gone up in flames."
* "The Brink of Time" was recorded at Studio GREENBIRD, a very large, spacious studio. The footsteps in the intro of Chrono Trigger were recorded live. At one point during the album's recording, a guitar amplifier caught fire.
* The photography for the Brink of Time's CD jacket was done in the studio. Mitsuda joked in his Procyon Q&A that any failed attempts at cooking the eggs were eaten by the studio assistant.
* Mitsuda composed the soundtrack for Radical Dreamers while working on Gun Hazard.
* Per Mitsuda, the original composition data for the Radical Dreamers soundtrack was lost by Square, and this is part of the reason why it has never been released. He also noted that he doesn't own the copyright; Square would have to do it.

PSX Era:

* Mitsuda claims that Tsuyoshi Sekito only arranged the PSX cutscene music, not the four additional tracks. These were done by the in-house composer at the company that converted Chrono Trigger to work on the Playstation. (Anyone know who that would've been? Someone at Bird Studios?)
* Mitsuda noted that due to rights issues, he could not release a guitar arrangement book for Chrono Trigger or Xenogears.
* Mitsuda composed Scars of Time to very closely match the Chrono Cross intro FMV, and considers the song arguably his most memorable.
* Mitsuda bought a guitar during the recording of Chrono Cross after being frustrated with his lack of technical ability, as he wanted the instrument to feature prominently in the soundtrack.
* Mitsuda demanded that programmers find a way to disable the "Victory" fanfare after beating Miguel in the Dead Sea, as he felt it completely destroyed the mood set by the "Prisoners of Fate" music.
* Mitsuda stated that "Lizard Rock" (Dance the Tokage) is explicitly NOT related to "Guardia Millennial Fair".
* The Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross music boxes sold by Square was Mitsuda's idea.
* Mitsuda wanted to remove his unused tracks from Chrono Trigger DS, but Intelligent Systems overrode him, considering them too important to omit.
* The "To Faraway Times" arrangement album was originally going to feature a story about Kid written by Masato Kato, before Mitsuda decided to include Chrono Trigger tracks.

At some point in the future, I will add DeepL translations to those interview pages and get the notable facts cited in the Wikipedia articles for the games. In the meantime, we'll leave you with two other Youtube interviews that supposedly talk about the development of Chrono Trigger, as well as Chrono Break (the Another Eden video). If you know any fluent Japanese speakers willin to sit through these and give us the gist of the Chrono parts, you know where to reach us...

* アナデンまつり2018春アナザーエデン超感謝!祝リリース1周年生放送 (supposedly, Kato talks about Chrono Break on this one)
* FFXI もぎたてヴァナディール!第45回 (テスト放送付き)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 02:56:15 am by ZeaLitY »

reev

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Re: Interview Update! Xenogears x Chrono Trigger 2 Connection Found!
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2021, 05:19:25 am »
Those are some great findings. Amazing work as always. :D

Acacia Sgt

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Re: Interview Update! Xenogears x Chrono Trigger 2 Connection Found!
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2021, 01:16:06 pm »
Man, imagine how things would've developed if we would've had that Chrono Trigger 2. Though then it'd mean no Xeno series? Hmm...

Dialga_Palkia

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Re: Interview Update! Xenogears x Chrono Trigger 2 Connection Found!
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2021, 01:00:09 am »
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 somewhat reminds me of Trigger or Cross in several ways.  Also due to Mitsuda actually being involved with the orchestra. The Architect (also related to XC1) and Amalthus somewhat reminds me of Lynx.  that is a cool afterthought how the characters would travel to various planets just to defeat spawns of Lavos. Imagine if Lucca or Fei (?) were in Xenoblade.