Author Topic: All Problems Solved.  (Read 1610 times)


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All Problems Solved.
« on: October 28, 2022, 04:38:51 pm »

Fred here!  Long time lurker and reader, but first time poster. Pity there isn't more activity here  particularly now after the release of Radical Dreamers Edition of Chrono Cross HD. Hopefully this topic of mine may garner some attention and help change that. How humble of me!  :shock:

I'm interested to read all points of view on my theorizing, especially as I'm not an expert per se, but I've read through most of the encyclopedia here. I am fairly certain I discovered something that has not been noticed or simply not acknowledged by this community as far as I can tell. I found this surprising.

Great remaster of Cross, IMO! I have on the PS5. My theories relate to this game—as I've just beat it again with three or four consecutive playthroughs. 

Quick background on me. First played and beat Trigger on SNES w/ school buddy in '95/'96 with that journey through time being among my fondest memories. Didn't get into Cross initially, but once I did later in the 2000's, I was so immersed that I partially credit the game with my decision to enlist in the US Navy to go sailing and island-hopping (without Korcha for sure!) in the Pacific. My journeys eventually even took me to Japan itself!  It goes without saying that I spent lots of time topside on my ship listening to the combined works of Yasunori Mitsuda on my MP3 player and getting lost in the Scars of Time. Ha!

I remember reading an article where one of the lead designers (could be Kato, but most likely Nobuteru Yūki who was in charge of characters) explained that the lack of use of playable Chrono Trigger characters was because of the fear that the gamer would then avoid the variety and focus on their familiar favorites once they are, often forcibly acquired. In a game built around the mammoth roster on the 3d engine, that would have been a big buzzkill for sure. I'm not sure I even disagree, despite loving Crono, Marle, Lucca, etc.

I found this all very curious, and it lead me to wonder if perhaps this decision came later in the process after the plot outline was decided. What I mean is, essentially, are the Chrono Trigger cast actually indeed involved (written in the plot) but deeply disguised? This would presumably have taken place much later in the actual coding/graphic design process, as opposed to, you know, the story/script phase, which is what most of us focus on here at Compendium.

Lets take a quick look at the characters!

The El Nino natives are governed by FATE and are essentially simpletons in a isolated (perhaps hidden) archipelago in the Southern Hemisphere. On paper, that doesn't exactly scream excitement for a new crew. The, arguably, more important characters are NOT. Who's from Zenan Mainland? Are their designs and behaviors consistent with Trigger's cast in more than superficial ways, such as with Turnip or Glenn (as being Frog-like) or Leah (Ayla)? These characters are throwbacks, sure, but they are essentially distractions as well. They are misdirection.

The Zenan Mainland Cast:

Kid - Sister-clone Schala, confirmed! Knows Lucca, but it's been awhile. LOL

Guile (Magil) - Magus, amnesia (confirmed in CT DS)

Luccia (Lutianna) - Lucca, in disguise to protect herself/loved ones & w/ "Lucca's letter" to Kid about a worry of revenge to be inflicted on time-travelers.  Suspicious, but totally consistent with the scientist who's orphanage was burned to the ground. It reminds me of Doc Brown's cautiousness in Back To The Future worrying about space-time continuum. She is hiding from The Entity.

Norris - Marle, undercover/infiltrated in both Porre and Viper Manor. (Wild "tomboy"—actions totally consistent w/ previous portrayal minus actual gender-swap.) Norris is not exactly uber-masculine, though. It looks like Marle, and her an Lucca still use projectile weapons.

Greco - Frog, eventual human form but w/ GREEN mask w/ Frog design, obsesses over fallen partner, Ghetz (like Cyrus), but finds peace.

Doc - Fritz, maybe? Or, Kino?

Orhla - This one is a different level of speculation. She's an El Nino native, supposedly. Doesn't quite fit! With that said... Physical powerhouse, intimate friendship with Doc, a Zenan Mainland character. Lives in the primitive human settlement, serves alcohol, dresses sexy but more modern... doesn't fully trust demi-humans. Her character arc is prominent, but it ultimately leads nowhere. Maybe she was tasked to show Serge and company the importance of family and tribe and the possibilities of the two dimensions. In an earlier draft, I can imagine Tia not being her sister... but her lover—Kino!

Toma the Explorer - himself

Skelly - Obviously, Norstein Bekkler, no? Nyak, Nyak, Nyak

Prometheus Circuit- Robo, confirmed.

Grobyc - Crono (a cyborg ["grobyc" spelled backwards] is NOT a robot, but a human with mechanical or electronic alterations) He lost his arm and was heavily damaged during the overthrow of Guardia Kingdom via Dalton. Single-spike hair.

Mojoy - Crono's clone-doll inspired. Only appears in Another World where Lavos was defeated by the heroes. (Red flames on head instead of spikes)

Belthasar - himself, confirmed.

Starky - This was tricky!  He's the Lavos Core species. Swallowed by the creature. His ship is the exterior, he's the center bit. Inside his ship, the left bit restores life (cryo-chamber), but the right bit is the energy source. Star Fragment, whatever. You follow? Review the game. A colleague of The Final Boss of Trigger is playable in Cross.

That may be it! Everyone else seems to be of El Nino origin.

Pip - This character, incidentally created by "Luccia", was introduced to indicate the evolving nature of advanced magic users. That's what initially sparked my skepticism. I said, well,  Lucca was Red, not Black. "It can't be!" Pip was a CLUE for the gamer. These characters are adults now, and adults evolve. Their changes even sort of make sense on a gut-level when you extrapolate their journeys into maturity and the events they may have lived through, including those we are ignorant to. Obviously, war has been brought to Zenan, and then there's this Time Crash thing.

Crono: Yellow to Black
Lucca: Red to Black
Marle: Blue to Yellow
Frog: Blue to Red
Magus: Retains Black Magic, didn't evolve due to amnesia
Robo: N/A
Ayla: N/A, or Blue for Orhla

Upon subsequent playthroughs, I challenge you to use Relief Charm and create a party of Grobyc, Norris, Luccia... or Groybc, Luccia, Greco and tell me you don't get Chrono Trigger vibes big time giving what we've seen of the characters as presented. With the right Element placement, even more so. It's more than just design and attributes (that's there too)... but their behavior, characteristics, and locations in the game are spot on. Crono, though not quite voiceless, also retains that spirit of strong, silent type. Use them to beat Chronopolis & Terra Tower. Evolved Trigger Humans vs. Mother Brain vs. Evolved Reptites! It's the payoff.

Look at the ages, as well. 26, 26, 28 (Lucca was always older).  Now, granted, in AD 1020, most characters would be in mid-thirties at least. But, if they were to be ahead of the curve & the heroes we all know them to be? Then they likely had gotten the ball rolling in AD 1010 at the time of the dimensional glitch w/ Serge's death and then time-travelled in Epoch w/ Belthasar to direct 1020 El Nino roster in Project Kid to Free Schala from the Time Devourer and solve all problems. That is my understanding. I'm a little fuzzy on some details where others may be a little more savvy. Regardless, wouldn't it be fairly simple to make a third game, Chrono Break, to reveal this, show the events from a Trigger-perspective, and close the loop with a rock-solid trilogy. El Nino's cast of youth (Serge, Leena, Korcha, Glenn, etc.) have to complete their own adventure without the greater knowledge, but the Zenan folk are supervising for sure. It could all be laid out for a subsequent game to tie things up and sort things out.

Do you think it's possible that too many of us speculated on the supposed DEATHS of the Trigger cast, and perhaps the outside characters brought a charm of their own? Too much charm? I don't know. But I never accepted the heroes as dead... not even Lucca. Classic rule of storytelling. No body, no death. All we know is from PS1 cutscenes is that Trigger had loose ends, Lucca finds mysterious time-baby, and war had been brought to Guardia. 'O ye, of little faith'?
They are alive. They are right there with Belthasar. You know I'm right.

Lucky I came along.   :lol:

[Original Post edited and improved upon 10/30/22. Extra snarkiness removed.]
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 09:00:35 pm by OriginalManFred »


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Re: All Problems Solved.
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2022, 09:26:35 pm »
Also, don't forget the MAJOR symbolism in some Termina and Guldove NPCs, and some of the in-game themes.

"Me work hard."

"What am I doing? I'm supervising"

We, the gamer, using the characters laid out for us, are doing the grunt work. Even when we think we are a badass human like Serge, the center of the universe, amongst a bunch of clodpole NPCs. It turns out we are one bad day from being turned into a giant cat-man pariah with no friends, except for a Mystic and Court Jester.

Serge ----> Demi-Human doing the heavy lifting. Metaphor.

This is prominent to the game, because we are supposed look for the puppet-masters, the supervisors. And it's not just Belthasar and Nu. It's Luccia, guardian of young Marcy, who sent the Devas to find the "ghost-child". It's Grobyc, hanging out in Luccia's lab. It's Commander Norris from Porre, who mysteriously shows up at the Dead Sea "Day of Lavos" whether in-party or not, and then leaves. Termina guide, Guile. It's Greco, watcher over the dearly departed.

Perhaps others.

And it's FATE, too.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: All Problems Solved.
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2022, 10:19:29 am »
Hey! Welcome tot he party!

Glad to have you here. I also got into the series with Trigger back in ~1996, and have been madly in love with the game series ever since. The games are such treasures and both Trigger and Cross are wonderful, valid games that stand strongly independently, but such connections like you've mentioned make for a very enriching Cross experience.

I definitely think there are Cross characters that are reminiscent of Trigger characters, which would have to be by design. Some of it falls into your typical jRPG trope territory (ie Greco and his lost loved one), but by and large Cross is full of great homage moments hitting character beats from Trigger.

The theorizing is half the fun of the Chrono series! I know there's been a lot of similar theorizing on the lines of what you've proposed, and then some variance (such as that Zoah is actually Crono).

A group of us even attempted a hack back around 2009 or 2010 in which we inserted the Trigger cast directly into the events of Cross, and we leaned in very hard with Norris being an undercover Marle, Luccia having heavy ties to Lucca (despite the two being different beings), and even included Ayla in events at Gaea's Navel. Not to mention Crono and Guile/Magus. *smiley face* Alas, like most projects, the hacking tools needed were minimal at the time, and we had a ton of ideas but few technical resources capable of assembly. The Cross hack "Magus Unmasked" was a proof of concept and about the limit of what we could pull off at the time.

Personally, I don't really think we see any of the Trigger cast outside of Another World's Lucca (probably) being killed, and Robo as the Prometheus circuit. Outside of Belthasar and the possible (and likely) Guile = Magus theory (which Chrono Trigger DS helped reinforce). But it's definitely fun to imagine, and I think your comments on how similarly the characters align are spot on.

Another fun fact, regarding your second post, is just how much the game subtly reinforces a lack of free-will. We are all minuscule and cogs in the grand scheme of things. Especially with how the entire game is part of Project Kid; every event in the game until Serge and the Time Devourer squared off was designed by Balthasar and FATE. Balthasar is a wily dude, and he orchestrated the entire creation of the El Nido archipelago and all of events there so that Schala could be saved. Pretty wild stuff. Even with the Records of Fate, and how they are really just interfaces to FATE so that it could guide the residents of El Nido down predetermined paths. I would've loved to have seen those that rejected such "indoctrination."


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Re: All Problems Solved.
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2022, 07:11:14 am »
Thanks for the quick reply, Boo. I see you limit Cross to Belthasar, Nu, Kid and Guile as being return characters from Trigger, and I agree that this is a solid conclusion which relies on very little speculation beyond what is presented.

Here's where I'm not sold—Nobuteru Yuuki (or someone on design team) was quoted as being worried that players would not warm to new characters if the old ones were explicit, so the disguise route seems a likely angle and we have that confirmed with Guile. If the characters were real people, having real adventures, then I'd say it would be totally a logical conclusion as well. It's a reasonable course of action with the contents of Lucca's letter. And Marle's done it before even.

That aside, I just can't imagine a process where the character and graphic design aspect is done BEFORE the plot/storyline and themes are mapped out. So, it seems like a team of writers made a Chrono Trigger sequel, and later on many of the connections were severed or hidden—at least on the surface. But if you deconstruct the product like you would with a book or a film, then you can use clues like pacing, character motivation, and other factors to decipher the original intent.

Here I go writing an essay again. Forgive me, but I've done tons of thought about this and I really could go on all day.

Let me keep this short, and focus on the strongest aspect of my theory. We need to place extra special attention to the outsiders. Zenan Mainland is not seen in Cross, yet so many side characters are from there. Why? These characters must be of utmost importance and not just random travelers because the El Nino folk are established to be sort of brainwashed by Fate. So, the outsiders would be beyond that. Cross came out in 1999, same year as The Matrix. I know synergy in media and entertainment is a big discussion piece among developers. The El Nino cast are sort of like being in the Matrix, and they are going to need characters outside their social circle with a wider view of the nature of reality to provide exposition. Characters like Belthasar, Luccia, Norris, etc. Disguised or no—one thing that should be obvious is these characters, especially, seem to know more than they're telling.


Here's the list of playable El Nino natives, humans and demi-humans, with some characters being caricatures of Trigger cast, but too heavy-handedly to be taken seriously as anything more than an "easter egg".

El Nino (Viper, Riddel, Karsh, Zoah)
Arni (Serge, Leena, Poshul, Lynx)
Termina (Funguy, Van, Pierre, Glenn)
SS Zelbess/Invincible (Fargo, Nikki, Miki, Janice, Sneff)
Guldove (Orcha, Macha, Korcha, Mel, Orhla, Steena)
Viper Manor (Neo-Fio, Pip)
Water Dragon Island (Razzly)
Marbule (Irenes)
Gaea's Navel (Leah)
Fossil Valley (Draggy)
Hermit's Hideout (Turnip)
Another Planet (Starky)
Dimension Vortex (Sprigg)


Now for the outsiders (w/ a few NPCs mentioned). Serge dies in 1010 AD, and thus the beginning of the dimensional split. Even though the game takes place in 1020 AD, the ages provided for the remaining characters roughly line up with Chrono Trigger characters at the year, 1010 AD. So... they must have set up a plan to observe Lynx, and then shepherd Serge, Kid and company towards a specific goal relating to the Frozen Flame, and then time-traveled from 1010 AD (Another World) to 1020 AD (Another World) to carry out that plan with Serge then on the cusp of adulthood.

Belthasar and Nu assistant (themselves, confirmed) - NPC - Chronopolis, 2300 AD

Kid (Schala, sister-clone) - 16 (F) - Unknown

Luccia (Lucca)  - 28 (F) - Zenan Mainland
Norris (Marle) - 26 (M) - Porre Commander, Zenan Mainland
Grobyc (Crono)  -  26 (M)  - Unknown, w/ the Porre group, hangs w/ Lucca)
Guile (Magus/"Magil"/Janus) - 26 (M) - Zenan Mainland
Greco (Frog/Glenn) - 33 (M), now human - Zenan Mainland
Promethus Circuit (Robo) - NPC - Chronopolis, 2300 AD

Doc (Fritz?) - 27 (M) - Zenan Mainland
Skelly (Norstein Bekkler from Tent of Horrors) - 32 (M) - Zenan Mainland
Mojo (Sort of like a Crono-Clone Doll from Tent of Horrors) - UNK (M) - Far East (Another)
Toma XIV - NPC - UNK (M)  (Son of Toma the Explorer XIII, of Zenan Mainland, 1000 AD)
Zappa (Taban?) - 52 (M) - Zenan Mainland

Orlha (Ayla?) - 23 (F) - Guldove (Pure speculation & wishful thinking, Age closely matches Trigger so, maybe, last minute recruit?)
Tia - NPC - 23 (F) - Guldove -  (Kino, in previous draft?)

Radius (Melchior?) - 62 (M) - Zenan Mainland (Storyline contains elements of Masamune Sword, and Masa, Mune, Doreen, and the Time Egg from Zeal. Age and whereabouts don't exactly line up, but he's somehow in league with Melchior)

Marcy - 9 (F) - Zenan Mainland
   Clue to orphanage -- Lucca is guardian, bio-daughter of Zelbess & Capt. Fargo
Pip - UNK (M) - Viper Manor Lab
   Clue to Innate Magic Evolution-- Lucca's creation


Go ahead and give the game another playthrough with all this in mind, and then tell me that the convoluted narrative doesn't dissipate and start to make sense as a proper sequel, with Trigger characters alive, and on yet another side quest to right the wrongs of time-travel shenanigans.

You know what it is? You know what I believe too many people get caught up on? The Dead Sea cameos. The "Ghost Children" lend credence to the main characters supposed deaths in too many folk's eyes. But they weren't actually ghosts to be taken in that way! They were manifestations of The Entity, which was mentioned in the fireside scene of Trigger, and they are not authentic representations of Crono, Marle or Lucca at any time that we observed them. 

I hope to provoke more discussion, and I know Yuuki is on Twitter, so I intend to reach out to him in the coming days, and, to all readers... don't be afraid to do likewise. I want to demonstrate interest. I want these connections established! I want some answers! And doggonit... I want another flippin' sequel to tie these games together as a proper trilogy.

Until such time, as Robo would say, "Good... bye..."
« Last Edit: November 07, 2022, 07:26:20 am by OriginalManFred »

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: All Problems Solved.
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2022, 11:11:31 pm »
I see you limit Cross to Belthasar, Nu, Kid and Guile as being return characters from Trigger, and I agree that this is a solid conclusion which relies on very little speculation beyond what is presented.

I definitely forgot about the Beach Bum / Nu reference! :D

I clearly missed a few literal returning characters, now that I think of it: Masa and Mune; Ozzie, Flea, and Slash; technically the FATE AI is a successor to Mother Brain... There's probably more that I'm not thinking of. It's been about a decade since I last played the game. I picked up a copy of the CC Remaster, but I've only played through the now-official translation of Radical Dreamers.

... I believe too many people get caught up on? The Dead Sea cameos. The "Ghost Children" lend credence to the main characters supposed deaths in too many folk's eyes. But they weren't actually ghosts to be taken in that way! They were manifestations of The Entity, which was mentioned in the fireside scene of Trigger, and they are not authentic representations of Crono, Marle or Lucca at any time that we observed them.

I definitely agree here. I don't think the ghost children are the souls of Crono, Marle, or Lucca at all. They're just visages from the planet, as you stated. The game revolves much around dreams and the dream of the planet, and they're just avatars of that dream. I'm with you in that they almost certainly aren't ghosts in the literal sense (if at all).


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Re: All Problems Solved.
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2022, 02:06:23 am »
"Visages of the planet." Well said.

Also, I can't believe I didn't mention Ozzie, Flea and Slash. In fairness, I rarely hang out at the Bend of Time, but have indeed beaten them once. Fargo is awesome with the Slasher, and Poshul is fun when he's wearing Ozzie's Pants.

Their presence likewise lends credence to Chrono Trigger characters sort of grooming, and training the simpletons of EL Nino Archipelago to solve their own problems. The Mystic-folk... the fiends serving the Fiendlord (Sprigg included? lol) all arrived from 600 A.D. brought by Frog/Glenn (Greco) & Magus (Guile) who obviously put their differences aside by this point.

Probably Gaspar & Spekkio have been in on this arrangement, too, since it's sort of like a transplanted End of Time.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2022, 03:25:42 am by OriginalManFred »