Author Topic: Theory: Zenan, Medina, and Choras Continents Are Merely A Large Island Chain  (Read 3777 times)

Kyronea

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In essence, this theory suggests that due to various evidence--most notably in terms of scale--that the Zenan, Medina, and Choras continents are in fact merely part of a large island chain, perhaps the size of Japan, though no specific size will be mentioned by this theory. This theory will also not take into account the Sun Keep, though the continued existance of it in the same place for 65,002,300 years may be explained at least partially by it.

First, let's look at a standard map of the Chrono Trigger world. For the sake of ease, we will use the 1000 A.D. map prior to the ressurection of Fiona's Forest: http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/0/02/Present.png

Examine it carefully. Note that the number of towns in the world is no more than four, spread across the entire world. One near the north eastern tip of North Zenan, one at the southern edge of South Zenan, one in the approximate middle of Medina, and one in the approximate middle of Choras. Also consider the scale separating the towns; compared to other Square SNES RPGs, such as Final Fantasies IV, V, and VI, the world map is rather tiny and crowded. Walking from Truce to Porre, even scaled up, takes an amazingly short amount of time for what is supposed to be a walk between towns/countries on the opposite sides of two different continents. Consider the Zenan bridge, which is nigh ridiculously short for being a bridge between continents. While in a few instances on our own world--such as Gibralter--the continents might be straddled with such a short span of bridge, this is not exactly typical.

For comparison, let's look at a map of our own world: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/WF1.WORLD.JPG

Compare that map to the map of 1000 A.D. Even when taking into account gameplay scaling, the world of Chrono Trigger is quite small compared to that of our own. If you take a look at a map of any other Square SNES RPG, you will usually see a much larger map, albiet still massively scaled down for gameplay purposes. (I am aware of the fact that this was done to allow for five different world maps, but as this is a gameplay issue, we must ignore it for the sake of argument.)

Now, for examples of why the scale involved supports this theory:
1. Ferries between the towns. Consider the locations of Porre and Truce, as well as the amount of distance needed to travel between them by ferry. If we were to scale this up to our own world, it would be like a ferry from New York City in the United States taking you all the way to Punta Arenas, Chile, for just ten dollars. Any way you look at it, that is ridiculous, in terms of fuel cost, in terms of the number of possible passangers, the travel time, ect ect. What's more, take a look at the design of the ferries themselves. They appear to be nothing more than steam-powered boats, almost like SNES renditions of 19th century Mississippi River ferries, certainly not qualified for a travel across such an enormous expanse of ocean.
2. The Millennial Fair. In Porre and Choras both residents expressed an interest in attending the Fair, which celebrated the 1000th year of the Kingdom of Guardia, as we all recall. A few residents from Porre even attended the fair. Again, consider the amount of travel time. Even in a world with what appear to be steam-powered ships, that is an enormous amount of travel time for just one celebration, for a kingdom in one corner of the world. It would be like residents from Paris heading to China for a cultural celebration.
3. Melchoir and Heckran's Cave. Melchoir lives on the continent of Medina, near a cave that allows swift travel to North Zenan by way of some form of whirlpool. Even Melchoir would have traveled quite the distance to the Fair, just for the sake of selling a few swords? I think not. It would not be worth the amount of time required for such travel, even taking into account Heckran's Cave, which is only a one-way trip in any case. Heckran's Cave itself stretches belief when you consider it allows travel through some form of underwater current across the ocean to another continent. I would suspect that one would drown long before emerging on the isle where Lucca's house resides were it actually to connect two separate continents.
4. The entire Mystic War. Let's remember, for a moment, that 600 A.D. is in essence the Middle Ages of the Chrono Trigger world. As such, technology should be as it was in our own world circa 11th century or so, for a generous level of technology. We are asked to believe that the entire world rallies against the Mystics, that the Mystic War is a World War, that despite what would be required for various elements of human forces to cross the world and do battle with the Mystics they all rallied around the Kingdom of Guardia? Again, I think not. Even in our own world empires did not fight such spanning wars. Most wars between powers were limited to small areas of Europe. It was not until the 15th century with the emergence of new technology thanks to the Renaissance that globe spanning empires even became possible. Full-scale travel between Europe and the North American continents did not occur until the 16th century at the earliest(though many expeditions did happen upon the continents, such as the Norse expedition in the--ninth?--century.) Even then it was mostly limited to exploratory expeditions. Actual wars between continents did not start occurring until the 18th century. It would be much more logical if the Mystic War occurred on an island chain rather than across the entire world during a time period where technology would prohibit such a war from even being possible.
5. Cyrus' grave in the Northern Ruins. Regardless of what theory espoused for why Cyrus was there, be it Frog hiding his shame from the rest of Guardia and burying Cyrus there, or Cyrus originating from Choras, ect ect, we still run into a massive scale problem, especially so were it merely Frog himself.
6. Islands and continents changing shape and even appearing or disappearing. Again, to point out what I mean, let's look at maps of 1000 A.D. and 600 A.D. respectively:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/0/02/Present.png
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/c/c4/600_A.D..png
Take a look at most of the islands. Note how the island where Magus' castle was in 600 A.D. appears to have partially or mostly sunk, with the remnants joining with the rest of the Medina continent. Note how Lucca's island almost doubles in size from 600 A.D. to 1000 A.D. Note the Giant's Claw, which is oddly missing from 1000 A.D. Note the differences in the size of the desert area between San Dorino and Porre, or even the lack of San Dorino's existance in 1000 A.D. Whole mountain ranges appear to shift over in the course of a few hundred years.
As a more serious example, let's look at 2300 A.D.:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/1/14/2300_A.D..png
Even taking into account Lavos' destructive power, whole continents have shifted, the most obvious example being the rotation of the Medina continent into the Zenan continent. What's more, they must have shifted prior to 1999, or else the architecture in place could not have existed, as nothing was built after the Day of Lavos. That would give at most 900 or so years for the shape of the world to change radically. Such a massive shift would have been almost as devestating to civilization as the Day of Lavos itself were it to occur on our world, even spreading it over just 900 years. There is no natural process that could have changed the landscape of an entire world by that much.
7. The Skyways of Zeal. Even taking into account a scaled up size for Zeal, the skyways appear to be scattered across the world. Take a look at a map of 12,000 B.C. prior to the destruction of the Kingdom of Zeal:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/b/bf/Dark_Ages.png
Look at the distances between the skyways. Consider that if these were located on different continents it would take enormous amounts of time to travel between the islands of the Zeal Kingdom. I would think that considering their magical prowess they would create a faster method of travel if the skyways were actually placed as far away from each other as they would be if they were on separate continents.
8. 12,000 B.C. after the destruction of Zeal. Take a look at a map of 12,000 B.C. after Zeal's destruction:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/0/00/Dark_Ages_%28After_Zeal%29.png
Most of the entire world disappears. We're left with just the Sun Keep, the Earthbound Isle that houses the Gate to Tyrano Lair, and the isle of Last Village. Now compare that to 600 A.D:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/c/c4/600_A.D..png
In just 12,400 years the entire world bounces back from not only a loss of most of its surface, but what would follow, such as an extreme extinction period. I don't see how most of the life of the world could have survived such a cataclysmic sinking of land and destruction of the world that rivals the Permian extinction in terms of scale. Certainly not in the span of 12,400 years. And yet in 600 A.D. life appears to be quite abundant with no problem. This makes no sense if this was meant to respresent the destruction of the world.
9. Fiona's Forest. Let's take a look at maps of 1000 A.D. prior to and after the restoration of Fiona's Forest:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/0/02/Present.png
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/b/bd/Present_%28Forest%29.png
Ignoring the scale of the shrine for the sake of argument(as if we took gameplay size of buildings for the real size of buildings we'd be seeing towns the size of mountains), we're talking about a change in a large desert to a forest over 400 years. A desert that spans at least half of South Zenan, and a forest that spans an equal size. That would be like turning the entire United States--exclouding Alaska and Hawaii--into one gigantic forest. That is absolutely ludicrous, from an environmental standpoint, from a time standpoint, and most certainly from a sheer area standpoint. Such massive forests are nigh impossible except in tropical areas, and given that Fiona's Forest appears to be deciduous in nature rather than tropical, it would simply make no sense for it to be that large.

In short, the scale of the world map and events far more supports the idea of the Zenan, Medina, and Choras continents being part of a large island chain--possibly the size of Japan or slightly larger--rather than being representative of the whole world. Of course, a few problems do remain:

1. 65,000,000 B.C. All of the various continents are part of one giant continent, which is meant to represent stages of the world where our own world was one gigantic continent. However, considering the extreme geological instability of 65,000,000 B.C., it is quite possible that it is merely one very large island, and the volcanism would lend credence to the idea of islands submerging or reappearing. We have evidence of this in our own world; the island of Thera being devestated by a volcanic eruption provided what many believe to be the inspiration for Plato's tale of Atlantis, for one.
2. The Epoch can only travel over these continents. This may, however, be a gameplay mechanic much like the limited time-travel access of the Epoch may be a game mechanic rather than an actual problem, as exploring so much more of the world suddenly with the Epoch would, like exploring countless years of time, be impossible in terms of the game itself. Consider the El Nido Archipelago. Though it was mostly constructed by FATE, Gaea's Navel existed prior to the Time Crash, as did other aspects. It is mysteriously absent in any part of the world in any age visited by Crono and friends, whcih suggests that there may be more to the world than covered in Trigger.

Obviously those two issues are mildly glaring, the 65,000,000 B.C. being the largest one, but they are countered by the enormous sums of other evidence. Still, it's quite possible I may have missed something, and we should discuss the various aspects of this theory to hammer out the fine details and whatnot. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

kennyj2003

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Well thats good and all but I think its the way it is  because 1. Its a game, due to the limitations of the SNES exact scale could not be supported 2. no one wants to walk for 25 minutes to get to the next town, specially when there are no random battles to keep it interesting. 3. In Chrono Cross, its refered to as the Zenan Mainland, not Zenan Island. But good job on making that theory.

Kyronea

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Well thats good and all but I think its the way it is  because 1. Its a game, due to the limitations of the SNES exact scale could not be supported 2. no one wants to walk for 25 minutes to get to the next town, specially when there are no random battles to keep it interesting. 3. In Chrono Cross, its refered to as the Zenan Mainland, not Zenan Island. But good job on making that theory.
I was taking into account the scaling factor. I know that obviously it had to be scaled down for gameplay purposes, as is done in every other game with a world map. In fact, the scaling factor is the main element to this theory, that when scaled up to real world size it just doesn't work.

I know it is referred to the Zenan mainland in Chrono Cross, which I hadn't realized when I was constructing the theory. It begs the question of whether we should just dump all of the evidence in support for it however. As I said, it needs to be hammered out. In any case, thank you for pointing that out.

kennyj2003

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Of course Im not trying to say your work is unappreciated, anyone who delves that deep into chrono trigger is a fan of mine. I hate to do this but proof is in the script of CT.

MELCHIOR: I live on the continent to the
   east.
   Come see me sometime...
« Last Edit: February 07, 2007, 10:50:17 pm by kennyj2003 »

Glennleo

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Yea like kennyj said it all has to do with scale. It's a game, and well scales don't necessarily have to make sense at all as long as it gives the right feeling to the player.

I love your theories, and do agree with most of your reasoning, but I just think you are over analyzing things a bit. I hope I'm not coming off that your work was for naught, because I did enjoy reading it and thinking about your arguments.

My personal opinion was that this is only half of the world. Like the Western or Eastern hemisphere if you will. I don't have any theories or facts to back that claim up, but to me it just feels like half of the world  could be on the other side. Sort of like the world is flat sort of thing. That's how the scale felt for me anyways when I play CT.

But it's just a theory I have just not as well written or researched  like your theory was  :lol:. Good work, and hope to see more of your theories on the Compendium.

Kyronea

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Yea like kennyj said it all has to do with scale. It's a game, and well scales don't necessarily have to make sense at all as long as it gives the right feeling to the player.

I love your theories, and do agree with most of your reasoning, but I just think you are over analyzing things a bit. I hope I'm not coming off that your work was for naught, because I did enjoy reading it and thinking about your arguments.

My personal opinion was that this is only half of the world. Like the Western or Eastern hemisphere if you will. I don't have any theories or facts to back that claim up, but to me it just feels like half of the world  could be on the other side. Sort of like the world is flat sort of thing. That's how the scale felt for me anyways when I play CT.

But it's just a theory I have just not as well written or researched  like your theory was  :lol:. Good work, and hope to see more of your theories on the Compendium.
Aye, I'm afraid that, delving into more of it myself now, I have to concur and consider my theory somewhat of a bust, thought-out as it was. Plenty of people refer to the continents as continents, and of course there is always this:
http://www.chronocompendium.com/images/wiki/4/4a/Ebadending.png
It's a rather tiny picture but the only one I could find on the site of the world. Seeing that in-game makes it more clear, as it shows the continents as continents on the world. (It's from the bad ending, where you lose to Lavos. A rather depressing ending at that.)

Ah well. It was still fun to develop even if it was trashed by these few yet undeniably strong pieces of evidence.