Author Topic: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time  (Read 640 times)

PowerPanda

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Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« on: April 22, 2022, 12:53:50 am »


Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
A Story Rewrite by PowerPanda


About This Project
Last year, I released a romhack for Final Fantasy VI known as “Divergent Paths”. This was a storyline re-arrangement of FFVI that improved pacing, added character development, completed the storylines of side characters, and in its biggest stretch, upgraded Leo from a single-battle guest to a fully playable main character.

As I was working on Divergent Paths, I replayed Chrono Cross for the first time in a decade. Chrono Cross is a game that is easy to love, and it is one of my personal favorites. As much as I love Chrono Cross though, it has flaws. The story starts strong, but frays after Ft. Dragonia and completely falls apart once you reach Chronopolis. By the end of the game, rather than feeling like you accomplished some great feat, much of the game’s plot points feel arbitrary. The finale doesn’t even seem to be sure if Serge and co are the good guys or not. Coming off of a series pedigree like Chrono Trigger, it felt like a beautiful picture that was framed incorrectly and out of focus.

While I played through Chrono Cross, I had the seed of an idea in my head. I could rewrite the story in such a way that it would bring out the beauty of the game. It would start by framing the narrative around a small, well-developed cast where each character had clear motivations and reason for being on the team. From there, it would shift to a focused story about the fate of failed timelines, what happens to the people who are trapped therein, and who gets to decide which timelines succeed and which ones fail. It would be a story intimately connected to its predecessor, Chrono Trigger, and one where a Radical and a Dreamer must rise above their fate.

Format
The one thing that it won’t be is a game mod. My life in the past few years has become richer and fuller than I could have ever imagined, and while  the benefits of this are obvious, the detriment is that I no longer have hundreds of hours to pour into a fan mod. I finished FFVI: Divergent Paths knowing it would likely be my last major mod to a video game. So, I will be presenting Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time in text format. I hope that the quality of the writing will speak for itself, and that it might inspire someone in a different stage of life to use it as a basis for their own work.

I will be posting chapters one at a time, as I play through the Remaster on my switch. My last playthrough, I focused on the broad strokes outline, and not on individual scenes. This time, I will be going scene by scene with the changes. There is no real release schedule. At several points in the game, I will need to play ahead so that I can re-arrange scenes and scenarios. Still, I've had this project in my head for close to 3 years, and at this point, I'm dedicated to finishing the script for my own sake. So while it may be a while between chapters, they will keep coming.

Spoiler Warning
Literally everything in these documents is a spoiler, and assumes that you have played and beaten Chrono Cross. Read at your own risk. This is your only warning.

Chapters
Chapter 0 - Storyline Premise and Character Bios
Chapter 1 - Another World
Chapter 2 - Viper Manor
Chapter 3 - The Hydra Marshes

« Last Edit: May 23, 2022, 12:31:39 am by PowerPanda »

Daid

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2022, 12:35:17 am »
I'm really enjoying this so far. It's quite well written and the whole concept is pretty intriguing. You've added well to the dialogue without completely rewriting it and I think it strikes quite a good balance here. I also like how you wrote Guile and Kid in a similar way to how they talked to each other in Radical Dreamers, and having them already have some sort of relationship at that point in the story. His character was definitely something in Cross I felt got a bit sidelined.

Seriously this is good stuff though, I'm looking forward to seeing more ^^

glennxserge

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2022, 08:14:41 pm »
Really interesting ideas in your write up.  I like the reduced cast as a way of focusing on meaningful character interactions.  Excited to see where you take this.

DarioEMeloD

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2022, 06:49:52 pm »
This is good, keep it up!

PowerPanda

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2022, 08:49:35 pm »
Apologies for the delay between chapters 1 & 2. My copy of Chrono Cross hasn't arrived yet, so I haven't wanted to spend too much time on it and burn out before I get a chance to enjoy it.

Today's Chapter covers the events of Viper Manor. This is a very interesting chapter of the game for a few reasons. First, it re-tells the events of the Radical Dreamers text adventure. Second, it represents the first major split path in the game (though in The Scars of Time, this split does not determine which characters join your team). Third, on the night of the Viper Manor infiltration, 7 of the 10 main characters are in the manor for their own reasons, and the reasons are not all compatible with one another. The changes once you get into Viper Manor are very subtle--blink and you miss it lines that were altered to hint at what is to come. You can read it here:
Chapter 2 - Viper Manor

The next chapter will be a shorter one, covering the events of Guldove and the Hydra Marshes. There will be some major changes to the events, so I don't have an estimate of how long it will take. Thanks everyone for the interest and the kind words!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2022, 08:38:23 pm by PowerPanda »

Sailor Phantom

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2022, 08:52:26 pm »
Review Chapter 0
Oh my goodness I LOVE the changes you made to the characters!! Most of all how Serge DOES actually affect the timeline. Also I think Orlha is a LOVELY addition to the main cast, she does make the most sense. That's all I'll say to prevent spoilers.
You fixed Kid's outfit! THANK YOU! BOY did I hate her tiny "clothes", it made no sense to me. I can look at her an d not feel embarrassed. XD

Review Chapter 1
Obviously Termina is the biggest change, but I LOVED the little changes you made before that. It makes the game feel more cohesive and properly planned out. The last bit at the end(avoiding spoilers) is certainly my favorite, as it ties more to RD. :D

Review Chapter 2
Such simple changes but so effective!! Pierre's path is a delight to see there for the humor. The usage of characters appearing and reappearing to further the story is wonderful!

So far I am LOVING what you are going. Thank you sooooo much!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2022, 01:48:04 am by Sailor Phantom »

PowerPanda

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2022, 12:38:27 am »
I'm really glad you're enjoying it. I am working hard on the next section, as it has several completely new scenes. The entire next chapter introduces a new mystery, centered around Orlha and Leena, that is meant to give a "Home World" story arc. Everything with Kid, Lynx, and the Frozen Flame is centered around Another World, and the game honestly doesn't have much to do in Home World aside from making some stops there to further the plot in Another World. I want to take what made Chrono Trigger so strong... flipping back and forth between subplots so that you were always at an important story section... and see if I can capture that in Cross.

PowerPanda

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2022, 12:32:16 am »
My copy of the game has finally arrived! Hopefully that will mean an acceleration of my work on writing these chapters. This next chapter is a very important one for The Scars of Time. It is where the differences from the original game start to pay off. One thing that was off about the original Chrono Cross was that since every character was optional, characters couldn't affect the story beyond their point of recruitment. Here, the story is centered around characters already in your party. As such, many lines have shifted from NPCs to party characters. This is also Orlha's big introduction to the story, and there is a ton of new content and dialogue dedicated to her. I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 3 - The Hydra Marshes

Lennis

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #8 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.

PowerPanda

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2022, 12:14:38 am »
Indeed. That sounds like a fun project. To give non-spoiler answers to your questions, the way I'm dealing with the middle of the story is by completely re-arranging it. All of the same events in the game happen, but they all have different meaning to them. Direa mentions in Chapter 3 that the Dragon Gods haven't been seen by anyone in 10 years. That is significant. That's all I'm saying at this point.  :D

Sailor Phantom

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Re: Chrono Cross: The Scars of Time
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2022, 07:04:28 pm »
I thought I commented on how AMAZING this chapter was, apparently not. So... This was amazing!!