Chrono Trigger Prerelease Coverage

This page catalogues all print coverage of Chrono Trigger of which we're aware, including coverage of earlier builds of the game (the "Prerelease", the "24-bit overworld" build, and even mockups). These builds, or in most cases, the screenshots themselves, were sent to magazines. Please note, modern (better) terminology correctly refers to the Chrono Trigger Prerelease as a prototype (not "beta" or prerelease), and any prerelease coverage is named that—prerelease coverage. Due to the incredible confusion it would cause in the Chrono community, we're keeping the old names for now. Thanks to ONSLAUGHT, Boullion Vincent, Legacy Crono, Reld. Huge thanks to Frank deWindt II for almost all the V-Jump scans.

Contents

Magazines[edit]

Trackers[edit]

Two Japanese trackers have assisted in our effort to track down and scan all print coverage. The first might be down: https://tgear99.info/doku.php?id=tag:chrono_trigger_sfc&do=showtag&tag=chrono_trigger_sfc The second is at https://labx8.org/magazines:pages:chrono_trigger

Based on these trackers, we have assembled the following list, with notes on whether the Compendium has obtained the scans or not:

Not obtained; there is no section for these on this page yet:

  • 1994-08-26 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.17
  • 1994-09-02 - 週刊ファミ通 No.298
  • 1994-09-09 - スーパーファミコンマガジン
  • 1994-09-09 - 週刊ファミ通 No.299
  • 1994-09-23 - The スーパーファミコン No.17
  • 1994-09-23 - マル勝ファミコン No.15
  • 1994-10-14 - The スーパーファミコン No.18
  • 1994-10-14 - 週刊ファミ通 No.304
  • 1994-10-28 - The スーパーファミコン No.19
  • 1994-10-28 - 週刊ファミ通 No.306
  • 1994-10 - 必本スーパー!
  • 1994-10 - 電撃王
  • 1994-11-04 - スーパーファミコンマガジン
  • 1994-11-04 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.22
  • 1994-11-11/18 - 週刊ファミ通 No.309
  • 1994-11-25 - マル勝ファミコン No.19
  • 1994-11 - コロコロコミック
  • 1994-11 - 必本スーパー!
  • 1994-11 - 電撃王
  • 1994-12-02 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.24
  • 1994-12-09 - マル勝ファミコン No.20
  • 1994-12-23 - 週刊ファミ通 No.314
  • 1994-12 - 電撃王
  • 1995-01-06/20 - The スーパーファミコン
  • 1995-01-06/13 - 週刊ファミ通 No.317
  • 1995-01-13/27 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.01-02
  • 1995-01-20 - マル勝ファミコン No.01
  • 1995-01-20 - 電撃スーパーファミコン No.02
  • 1995-01 - 必本スーパー!
  • 1995-02-03 - The スーパーファミコン
  • 1995-02-03 - 週刊ファミ通 No.320
  • 1995-02-10 - マル勝ファミコン No.02
  • 1995-02-24 - マル勝ファミコン No.03
  • 1995-02-24 - 電撃スーパーファミコン No.03
  • 1995-02 - ゲーム・オン!
  • 1995-02 - 月刊週刊ファミ通
  • 1995-03-03 - The スーパーファミコン
  • 1995-03-03 - 週刊ファミ通 No.324
  • 1995-03-10 - マル勝ファミコン No.04
  • 1995-03-10 - 電撃スーパーファミコン No.04
  • 1995-03-24 - マル勝ファミコン No.05
  • 1995-03-24 - 週刊ファミ通 No.327
  • 1995-03-31 - The スーパーファミコン
  • 1995-03 - 必本スーパー!
  • 1995-04-07 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.07
  • 1995-04-07 - 覇王
  • 1995-04-07 - 電撃スーパーファミコン No.06
  • 1995-04-14 - マル勝ファミコン No.06
  • 1995-04-14 - 週刊ファミ通 No.330
  • 1995-04-21 - 電撃スーパーファミコン No.07
  • 1995-04-28 - マル勝ファミコン No.07
  • 1995-04-28 - 週刊ファミ通 No.332
  • 1995-04 - ゲーム・オン!
  • 1995-04 - 月刊ファミ通
  • 1995-04 - 電撃王
  • 1995-05-19 - マル勝ファミコン No.08
  • 1995-06-02 - 週刊ファミ通 No.337
  • 1995-06-09 - 電撃スーパーファミコン No.09
  • 1995-06 - Vジャンプ
  • 1996-02 - サテラビュー通信 1996年2月号 (Satella News)

Additionally, Squareference writes that Marukatsu Famicom released June 9, 1995 (not in the above list, but another one we need to find) covers these questions:

p10-11
クロノ・トリガー
Q&A
・マールのペンダントがテレポッドに反応した理由は? (Why did Marle's pendant react to the Telepod?)
・ダルトンはあの後どうなった? (What happened to Dalton?)
・魔法王国ジールが消滅したあとサラはどこへ? (Where is Schala after the fall of Zeal?)
・ベッケラーとは何者なんでしょう (Who is Bekkler?)
・2が出るというウワサは本当ですか? (Is Chrono Trigger 2 coming out?)
など

Why did Marle's pendant react to the telepods? What happened to Dalton after that? What happened to Dalton after that? Who is Beckerer? Is the rumor true that there will be a second installment?

Obtained, but needs better scans or is incomplete; these are present on this page:

  • 1994-09-09 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.18
  • 1994-09-09 - マル勝ファミコン No.14
  • 1994-10-28 - マル勝ファミコン No.17
  • 1994-10 - ゲーム・オン!
  • EGM Issue 63, October 1994
  • 1994-11-11 - マル勝ファミコン No.18
  • 1994-11-25 - 週刊ファミ通 No.310
  • 1994-11 - ゲーム・オン!
  • 1994-11 - SuperGamePower
  • 1994-12-02 - 週刊ファミ通 No.311
  • 1994-12-09 - 週刊ファミ通 No.312
  • 1994-12-30 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.26
  • 1994-12-30 - 週刊ファミ通 No.315
  • EGM2 Issue 7, pp. 86-7, January 1995
  • 1995-01 - ゲーム・オン!
  • 1995-02-10 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.03
  • 1995-02-24 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.04
  • 1995-03-10 - 週刊ファミ通 No.325
  • 1995-03-10 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.05
  • 1995-03-14 - 東京ウォーカー No.11
  • 1995-03-17 - 週刊ファミ通 No.326
  • 1995-03-24 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.06
  • 1995-03-31 - 週刊ファミ通 No.328
  • 1995-03 - ゲーム・オン!
  • 1995-04-21 - 週刊ファミ通 No.331 (Weekly Famitsu)
  • 1995-04-21 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.08 (Family Computer Magazine)
  • 1995-05-26 - 週刊ファミ通 No.336 (Weekly Famitsu)

Obtained and scanned:

  • 1994-09 - Vジャンプ
  • 1994-09-16 - The スーパーファミコン No.16
  • 1994-09-23 - 週刊ファミ通 No.301
  • 1994-10 - マイコンBASICマガジン
  • 1994-10-31 - 週刊少年ジャンプ
  • 1994-10 - Vジャンプ
  • 1994-11-18 - ファミリーコンピュータマガジン No.23
  • 1994-11 - Vジャンプ
  • 1994-12 - Vジャンプ
  • 1995-01 - Vジャンプ
  • 1995-02 - Vジャンプ
  • 1995-03 - Vジャンプ
  • 1995-04 - Vジャンプ
  • 1995-05 - Vジャンプ
  • 1995-07 - Vジャンプ
  • 1995-08 - Vジャンプ

Unknown[edit]

Family Computer Magazine, No. 18, September 9, 1994[edit]

Marukatsu Famicom, No. 14, September 9, 1994[edit]

V-Jump Festival 1994 Booklet, September 15, 1994[edit]

See also the section on the video itself later on this page. All thanks to Reld for getting these scanned.

The Super Famicom, September 16, 1994[edit]

Please see Video Game Densetsu.

Weekly Famitsu, No. 301, September 23, 1994[edit]

Several tantalizing things here:

  • 24 Megabit build overworld
  • Crono's sprite has less-spiky hair
  • Marle has her pink hair sprite
  • Scene of a better-looking ruined future dome, with a different tileset (see mockup recreation section later in this article)
  • Scene of Lucca's workshop
  • Zenan Bridge with tombestones/graves (see mockup recreation section later in this article)

EGM Issue 63, October 1994[edit]

Moving on, Chrono Trigger was again featured (barely) in EGM #63 (October 1994).

The first and third images come from preview materials we've already seen, but the second image is fascinating. It shows Crono at the Ocean Palace entrance speaking to Schala and Janus; it's also possible that they're at the Sun Palace or another Zeal structure entirely, like an early version of Sealed Pyramid. It's possible that Schala and Janus were meant to survive the events of the Ocean Palace in Masato Kato's early planning; naturally, he would have changed this to avoid a temporal paradox and to set up Schala's involvement in future Chrono games. On the other hand, perhaps the Sun Stone recharging event happened before the Ocean Palace Incident in early planning. There appear to be two Moon Stones on either side of the group under columns of light.

Game On, October 1994[edit]

Need better scans.

micom BASIC, October 2, 1994[edit]

V-Jump, October 1994[edit]

Marukatsu Famicom, No. 17, October 28, 1994[edit]

Weekly Shounen Jump, October 31, 1994[edit]

Thanks to Reld

Notably shows:

  • Robo racing an empty Jet Bike in Mode 7
  • Blade-armed Zombor on Zenan Bridge (narrower bridge; grass on right)
  • Screenshot of Truce, which has a building with a church steeple and cross on top (initial Manoria Cathedral?)
  • Excellent quality mock-up of the snowy mountain Heckran battle that was the basis for the cover art of the game

Crono has equipped:

  • Father's Katana
  • Leather Hat (on his torso apparently)
  • Leather Clothes (on his head?)
  • Holy Ring

Marukatsu Famicom, No. 18, November 11, 1994[edit]

V-Jump, November 1994[edit]

SuperGamePower Vol. 8, Nov. 1994[edit]

Crono's hair is different; it lacks the usual spikes. The status screenshot shows a count of "5" for each of the four elements, suggesting that characters may have different charges or levels of elemental power despite having a primary element affinity. The Epoch is flying over the ground, and jet vapor seems to be coming from two exhaust pipes. The details of the Arris Dome are also a little different. Thanks to Ricardo C and RetroAvengers

Nintendo Power Vol. 68[edit]

This issue was released in 1995, but covered the Shoshinkai that was presented November 1994.

Family Computer Magazine Famimaga November 18, 1994[edit]

Thanks to Reld

Weekly Famitsu, No. 310, November 25, 1994[edit]

Game On!, November 1994[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 311, December 2, 1994[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 312, December 9, 1994[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 315, December 30, 1994[edit]

Family Computer Magazine No. 26, December 30, 1994[edit]

V-Jump, December 1994[edit]

EGM2 Issue 7, pp. 86-7, January 1995[edit]

Many of these screenshots seem to be taken from the mock-ups made for the prism cards).

On the first page, the Giga Gaia battle is clearly taken from the One Peaceful Day scene prism card mock-up. The EGM writer also claims that Crono is from a town called "Stoal", a reversal of the Japanese character; Truce = トルース (Toruusu) while Stoal = ストール (Sutooru). The tiny character images near their descriptions are taken from other screenshots and mock-ups in the article.

Things get interesting on page two. In the upper left, there's an early screenshot of a Heckran battle; the battle menu is very rough. The battle is clearly meant to show the cover art of the game, and it features a mountain tileset that doesn't appear in the final version of the game or the Chrono Trigger Prerelease (it's quite beautiful with snow-covered leaves). In the next screenshot to the right, the party's fighting a Goon in a forest setting (this isn't on any of the cards). And to the right of that is the scene from the All Star Cast card. The next row of screenshots begins left with an image of the Epoch flying over Guardia Kingdom in 1000 A.D.; interestingly, there's no western landmass leading to Zenan Bridge, but there does appear to be extra eastern landmass. To the right of that is the Epoch Lucca prism card scene, followed by the Riding the Pterans scene. The final row begins and ends with a tall image of Magus's castle and an image of the courtroom, respectively; the courtroom image is what the The Silvard scene card is taken from, and this EGM issue allows us to see that King Guardia XXXIII is the one sitting above the judge. Between these two tall images are three screenshots; the first shows the Telepod experiment. The second shows the party fighting a Goon in Manoria Cathedral with dialogue (which is completely new), and the third shows the party running around the early version of Algetty with Ayla seemingly pasted in the lower right corner in her victory pose (this is probably a mock-up image).

Game On!, January 1995[edit]

V-Jump, January 1995[edit]

V-Jump, January 1995[edit]

Family Computer Magazine, No. 03, February 10, 1995[edit]

Family Computer Magazine, No. 04, February 24, 1995[edit]

V-Jump, February 1995[edit]

Reld: I found and scanned the "Atsusugiru souryoku tokushuu Appendix". It's a little booklet, like a mini magazine, that came with the Feb. '95 issue of V-Jump. It's a little weird how they did it. The open edge of the front cover was bound into the spine of the main magazine with a perforated edge so you could tear it out (which I ended up doing so I could scan it). I did them all up as two-page spreads and tried to make them presentable. The quality of the print and the paper wasn't great, and mine was a little stained along the top edge from exposure to something. They seem to count the cover as a page, which is why my page numbers start at 2.

WwWy7RIf o.jpg

Several old world maps in here. I believe these actually predate the full 1000AD map from Famimaga that I posted before. The 1000AD map at least appears to be "version 2" from my little comparison GIF. I'm assuming the other maps probably come from the same build.

The sealed pyramid on the 600AD map appears to be brown instead of blue. This was true in the tiny map Vehek mentioned upthread too. Maybe it was supposed to be buried in 600AD? Or maybe they just hadn't finalized the palette for that map yet. It's too hard to tell if the graphic is actually different or not. Fiona's Villa and Fiona's Shrine both appear south of the desert, although the little key for the 600AD map on page 11 indicates (erroneously I assume) that Fiona's Villa is in the northeast corner of the continent instead. The change in the surrounding forest between 600AD and 1000AD seems really minimal compared to the final game.

For some reason Choras is called "Choriso" (チョリソー/Chyorisoo) in 600AD. It's still Choras (チョラス/Chyorasu) in 1000AD. Another error? The unknown house in Medina is labeled as Melchior's hut. Melchior's hut isn't in the Prerelease/Sample ROM at all, is it? And I think that unknown house had a different interior and associated dialogue for an imp. Maybe it became Melchior's hut later? Or maybe the person doing the labeling just got confused because the map in the screenshot was outdated. Ozzie, Slash, and Flea in the mayor's manor in Medina on page 10. There are more screenshots from this location on this page of the main Feb. 95 magazine. I did a quick hack-job translation with DeepL. The dialogue in those screenshots is this from Text Block 07 3BB400-3BD43B in the Prerelease/Sample ROM:

    Bronze Statue
    [Green Imp]
    この広場のまんなかにあるのが
    魔王様のどうぞうだよ。[END]

    [Green Imp]
    The thing in the middle of this square is
    a bronze statue of the demon king.

    Ozzie VIII
    ワシがこのメディーナ村の村長、
    ビネガー13世じゃ!
    ワシの先祖は、あのいだいなる魔王様の
    一の部下として人間どもと戦ったのだぞ。
    ああ、魔王様…… なぜ400年前に
    人間達をほろぼして下さらなかったのじゃ?[END]
    In the Prerelease, he was known as Ozzie XIII instead of Ozzie VIII.

    Slash and Flea, Weiner and Ketchappa
     [Weiner (Slash)]
     オレは、ワイナー。
    魔族がその力を取り戻す日にそなえて
    剣の修行にいそしんでいるのだ。[END]

     [Ketchappa (Flea)]
     私は、ケチャッパ。
    日夜、魔王様をあがめて、魔族がこの地を
    手に入れる日を願い続けているのよ。[END]

     [Weiner (Slash)]
       I am Weiner.
       To prepare for the day when the demons regain power,
       I'm working hard on my swordsmanship.

     [Ketchappa (Flea)]
       I am Ketchappa. Night and day the demons worship the
       demon king, continuing to pray for the day when the
       our kind will gain control of the world.

So I guess Wiener and Ketchappa weren't early names for Slash and Flea. They're the names of Slash and Flea's descendents who once lived in Medina with Ozzie XIII. The unknown village in 65,000,000BC gets a label on page 13! Buuuuut... it just says "tent". One more thing I thought might be worth mentioning is that these V-Jump magazines did not come out in the month that's on the cover. The Feb. '95 issue for example came out Dec. 21st 1994. This date is in the back of the Jan. '95 issue telling the reader when the next issue will be out. I bring this up because that means despite being dated only a month before the game's release, all of the content in this issue is from at most about a month after the Prerelease/Sample ROM build.

Family Computer Magazine, No. 05 March 10, 1995[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 325, March 10, 1995[edit]

Tokyo Walker, No. 11, March 14, 1995[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 326, March 17, 1995[edit]

Family Computer Magazine, No. 06, March 24, 1995[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 328, March 31, 1995[edit]

Game On!, March 1995[edit]


V-Jump, March 1995[edit]

Family Computer Magazine, No. 08, April 21, 1995[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 331, April 21, 1995[edit]

V-Jump, April 1995[edit]

V-Jump, April 1995[edit]

Weekly Famitsu, No. 336, May 26, 1995[edit]

V-Jump, May 1995[edit]

V-Jump, July 1995[edit]

V-Jump, August 1995[edit]

V-Jump, September 1995[edit]

V-Jump, October 1995[edit]

V-Jump, November 1995[edit]

V-Jump, December 1995[edit]

V-Jump, January 1996[edit]

V-Jump, February 1996[edit]

Huge thanks to Reld. This Next Gate featured a postcard sent by a reader, asking why preview coverage in 1994 looked so different than the final product. What is thus established:

  • The V-Jump Festival 1994 VHS video apparently shows a 24 Mb build, prior to Chrono Trigger's expansion to 32 Mb.
  • The ice field map is a location that's floating in the sky. The magazine speculates that this area was like Zeal, but it's obvious they aren't sure what its purpose was.
  • The darkened chamber with the two Zeal statues "had something to do with techs", according to Square. The magazine speculates that Spekkio may have been involved.
  • A Mode 7 overworld mode is shown. It's difficult to tell if it's Ayla or Marle walking on it.

Speculation:

  • Are the R-66 series in the dummied out location "Robot village"?
  • Zenan Bridge has gravestones by the entrance. See later on this article, "Mock-up Recreation" section, for speculation on this based on the possible name of Zenan Bridge in the 24Mb build.

V-Jump, March 1996[edit]

V-Jump, April 1996[edit]

V-Jump, May 1996[edit]

V-Jump, June 1996[edit]

V-Jump, September 1996[edit]

V-Jump, October 1996[edit]

V-Jump, November 1996[edit]

V-Jump, December 1996[edit]

V-Jump, January 1997[edit]

V-Jump, February 1997[edit]

V-Jump, April 1997[edit]

V-Jump, May 1997[edit]

V-Jump, June 1997[edit]

V-Jump, July 1997[edit]

V-Jump, August 1997[edit]

V-Jump, September 1997[edit]

V-Jump, October 1997[edit]

Unknown[edit]

One shot illustrates an extra door to the Guardia treasury in 600 A.D. (recall that it did not exist in that era), and pale guards.

Ctbeta600ad.jpg

Videos[edit]

V-Jump Preview Video 1, September 15, 1994[edit]

The V-Jump preview video reveals huge overworld differences between versions and other changes. It's an incredible contribution by Chrono fan Carnivol, and features interviews with Chrono Trigger's creators. The video begins, amazingly, with the Untitled track from the Chrono Trigger Prerelease. Several alpha arrangements of the tracks play throughout, featuring very rough and basic instrumentation.

Interview Translation[edit]

Transcribed by GekkaHikko and translated by GlitterBerri.

Japanese

司会者:
スクエアの新作、CHRONO TRIGGER!
青木和彦さん、坂口博信さんからの紹介だ。

青木和彦:
鳥山先生がキャラクター、モンスター、
そして時代のイメージをセットして下さって、
堀井さんがシナリオ、
そして坂口がシステム全般を担当して、
「まったく新しいRPGを作ろうじゃないか」と言う事で、
出来上がったのが、
このCHRONO TRIGGERという事です。

司会者:
CHRONO TRIGGERの意味は時の引き金。
あの鳥山明先生、堀井雄二さん、坂口博信さんの三人が集まって作る夢の超大作だ。
現在、過去、未来のいくつも時代を駆け抜け、
巨大な悪を倒していくストーリー。
また光と影の表現をテーマに、
今までにない深みのある美しいビジュアルも特徴の一つだ。

鳥山明先生デザインによるタイム・マシンで時をかけめぐる。
モンスターキャラとプレイヤーキャラは動きながらの戦闘攻撃が可能。
また、魔法の効果はファイナル・ファンタジー6よりかなり派手な物になってる。
モンスターも小さなものから、迫力のある大きいなものまでたくさん登場するぞ。

キャラクターも紹介しておこう。
日本刀に武器に持つ東洋的な主人公クロノ。
ボウガンを武器としたマール。
棍棒(こんぼう)を持ち回転スピンキックなどの技を持つエイラ。
剣が得意なカエル。
主人公のアドバイザー的人物、発明家ルッカ。
有力と戦力となる頼れるロボ。

さてここで、坂口さん、堀井さん、青木さん!
この三人の方から制作秘話を聞いてみよう!!!

坂口博信:
あの~、二年程前、アメリカにですね、
最新のコンピューターグラフィックスをみんなで見に行こうというか
研究しに行こうと旅をしまして
そのときに偶然堀井さん、それから鳥山先生、一緒に旅をして、
その旅の途中でですね、
「何かその一緒にやろうよ、新しいことをやろうよ」
あの時は、結構、でも、気軽に-

堀井雄二:
そう盛り上がってね。
普通だったらその時で終わったかなと思ってた事で、
盛り上がるとは思わなくて

(談笑)

坂口博信:
はい、かなり盛り上がって、
まぁ、ただね、なかなかそう言う話は、
その場は盛り上がるんですけど、
いざやっぱり作ろうとなると、
それから1年、1年半ぐらい、
苦しい思いして作らなければならないんで終わってしまうんですが、
その時に青木が─プロデゥーサーの青木が、
「いや、そういう話だったらぜひ僕にまとめさせてくれ。それは絶対実現したい」
と言う事で受けてくれまして、
大変ですか?

青木和彦:
おかげでだいぶ大変な生活をさせられています(汗)

博信坂口:
結構合宿もしましたよね。

堀井雄二:
そうですね。1年ぐらい前ですかね

青木和彦:
そうですね。缶詰になって・・・
結構つらかったですよね・・・

青木和彦:
どんなゲームにしようかに始まって、
あ~だ、こ~だ・・・
四日くらいやりましたね。

Announcer:
Square's newest creation, Chrono Trigger!
With an introduction by Mr. Kazuhiko Aoki and Mr. Hironobu Sakaguchi!

Kazuhiko Aoki:
Mr. Toriyama designed the characters, monsters, and the look of each era.
Mr. Horii did the scenarios, and Mr. Sakaguchi was in charge of the entire system. Our desire to make a completely new RPG resulted in the creation of Chrono Trigger.

Announcer:
The meaning of Chrono Trigger is "time trigger."
This epic game was born from the collective dream of Akira Toriyama, Yuuji Horii, and Hironobu Sakaguchi.
Passing through a variety of eras from the past, present, and future, it is a story of a fight against monumental evil.
With its recurring themes of light and shadow, the game is partly characterized by the never-before-seen depth of its beautiful visuals.

Players can soar on the wings of time in the time machine designed by Mr. Toriyama.
Player and monster characters can attack while moving around during battle.
The magic effects are more impressive than in Final Fantasy VI.
The enemies are many and varied, ranging from small monsters to powerful giants!

Now to introduce the characters.
With a Japanese blade and a hint of the Orient, our protagonist, Chrono!
The bowgun-wielding Marle!
The spin-kicking, club-carrying, fist-fighting Ayla!
The skilled swordsman, Frog!
Our hero's advisor, the talented inventor, Lucca!
The strong and dependable battler, Robo!

And now, Mr. Sakaguchi, Mr. Horii, and Mr. Aoki take the stage! Let's listen as these three spill the secrets behind the creation of Chrono Trigger!

Hironobu Sakaguchi:
Around two years ago we traveled to America to do some research, checking out the latest in computer graphics.
I ended up travelling together with Mr. Horii and Mr. Toriyama.
During the trip we decided that we wanted to create something together, something that no one had done before.
We were really naive...

Yuuji Horii:
We got all fired up about it.
Normally you'd think things would have ended there, that we wouldn't have been so excited...

(laughing)

Hironobu Sakaguchi:
That's right, we were really enthusiastic about it.
Just talking about it was really exciting.
However, once we decided we were going to do it for sure, we spent a year or a year and a half thinking about all the difficulties we'd encounter.
We had almost given up when we received word from the producer, Mr. Aoki.
He said "No, if you're going to talk like that, please ask me. I definitely want to help make it happen."
Was it difficult, Mr. Aoki?

Kazuhiro Aoki:
My life was made considerably more difficult thanks to this project.

Hironobu Sakaguchi:
We were staying together too.

Kazuhiro Aoki:
That's right, one year ago, wasn't it?
Packed like sardines...
It was hard.
We started thinking about what kind of game we should make...
This type, that type...

Four whole days we spent...

Video and Screenshots[edit]

You can watch the video here, or download it here. To play Youtube's "flv" format files on your computer, you can use VideoLAN, a great freeware tool capable of handling countless types of encoding. The video begins with the title of the game with the "Untitled" music playing.

Title Screen

The preview then shows the announcer talking about the Dream Team, which cuts to a clock background with a spinning Crono sprite.

CT Alpha Crono Sprite.png

CT Alpha Crono Sprite 2.png

The preview then shows the beginning of the game as normal. The overworld is distinctly different; Truce appears larger and more primitive than its future self. The graphics are pretty standard and Leene's Square appears bare save for the bell and a few balloons.

CT Alpha Truce.png

CT Alpha Truce 2.png

CT Alpha Truce 3.png

The Epoch then appears with the exhaust vapor behind as in the magazine screenshot. What's interesting is that the back grill raises and closes during the course of the video, hinting at some other function of the vehicle.

CT Alpha Epoch Grill Raised.png

CT Alpha Epoch Grill Regular.png

The narrative continues as the Epoch flies over 1000 A.D., revealing Guardia Castle (which appears as a normal house) and the Cathedral. As the Epoch flies north, it passes several planes.

CT Alpha Cathedral and Guardia Castle.png

CT Alpha Planes.png

Two battle scenes are then shown. Robo uses his rocket arm and Ayla uses Charm. Robo's sprite is especially unpolished.

CT Alpha Battle.png

CT Alpha Battle 2.png

Two sets of four monsters each appear following the battles. Very minor differences, if any, exist between sprites. The Cave Ape retains the sad face in the Prerelease beta version.

CT Alpha Monsters 1.png

CT Alpha Monsters 2.png

Character art and brief explanations of every character but Magus are then supplied.

The scene shifts to the Dream Team, including Sakaguchi, Horii, and Aoki. A brief shot of unreleased Epoch concept art flashes in the background with the rest of the preview.

CT Alpha Epoch Design.png

Guru of Reason Chrono'99 has linked the screenshots together for composite pictures:

Forumer cald attempted to recreate the plane's graphics:

Alphaplane.gif

Alphaplane2.gif

Reld attempted to decipher the location name that pops up on the overworld:

6Nh0sWhY o.gif

The text on the top and bottom is screencapped from the video (the only difference is the bottom is deinterlaced, which didn't make much difference). In the middle is my recreation of the same text using the final game's font. It's a little blurry because I stretched it horizontally to try and match the aspect ratio from the video.

I think it says おもかげ橋 or Omokagebashi/Omokage Bridge. The only part I'm really not sure about is the 橋 on the end. The kanji character in the video seems a little simpler/like it's lacking some bits. The overall shape seems right though, and 橋 is the same character for bridge used in the final game's label for Zenan Bridge.

There is apparently a real bridge in Japan called Omokage bridge as well, although it's written as 面影橋. I tried looking up the meaning of Omokage/面影. This site says it means "face; looks; vestiges; trace" and gives the following example sentences:

This town still retains something of the old days.

Hollywood isn't what it used to be.

At her age, she still preserved the appearance of a young girl.

The village is now different from what it used to be.

Seems like kind of a melancholy/nostalgic word. Later I was looking at some screenshots from magazines and it occurred to me that this bridge that shows up a couple of times is probably Omokage Bridge as well.

YNC76iro o.png

I don't know whose tombstones those are, but their presence kind of fits the vibe of those Omokage example sentences above in my opinion. The larger of the two tombstones seems to be the unused tombstone sprite from the Prerelease ROM that Vehek posted about here, so that's kind of neat as well. Oh, I didn't know where else to mention this, so here's a random tidbit: The bridge in the shots above with the tombstones is 16 pixels/two tiles (subtiles I guess in TF terms?) narrower (meaning vertically on screen) than Zenan Bridge.

Random tidbit #2: I think maybe a playable version of this (or possibly a video tape) may have been sent around at some point. I'm basing this entirely on the fact that we have two shots that seem to be from different moments in the same battle. If it was just a mockup I'd think there'd probably only be one. That's just wild speculation though.

Brut Press Volume, December 1994[edit]

Recovered by Cabbusses's Retro Obscurities here. Download the original file here (MP4, 250 MB). Original NicoNico URLs, now down:

A rip of a Brut Press volume from Dec. 1994 (sm21657890 + sm21628083 + sm21657890 -【非売品】ブルートプレス Vol 17 19). Contains previews for various Super Famicom and PC-FX titles. Chrono Trigger coverage starts at roughly ~15:43. Among the findings:

  • Different dialogue box
  • Different instrumentation for some songs (Chrono Trigger, Lavos's Theme, Battle 1 (very briefly))
  • A possible demo version of Battle 1's percussion/drum track
  • Mock-up battles (Goon on Zenan Bridge; Gato on the Blackbird)

Translation is hopefully forthcoming.

V-Jump Preview Video 2, 1995[edit]

This is a second V-Jump video lasting 18:56 in length, released as its own VHS tape by V-Jump. It features scenes from a build of Chrono Trigger a little earlier in development than the Prerelease. The extended demos are narrated by developers in Japanese as an extended interview. The personnel interviewed include Akira Toriyama, Yuji Horii, Hironobu Sakaguchi, and then Hoshino Masanori (art director), Keizo Kokubo (main program), Yoshinori Kitase (director), Takashi Tokita (director), and Kazuhiko Aoki (producer). The instrument sampling is different. Thanks go to dan_death for finding it on NICOVideo, and to Chrono'99 for helping analyze personnel. You'll probably have to get the great, open source freeware player VideoLAN to play it. To download it:

A better rip is now avaiable:

Recordings of the altered instruments are available by clicking Alpha Tracks. Please visit Supporting Material Translation for translations of the unique/different screenshots. The interview can also be found there, but unfortunately doesn't have that much information (it's mostly the developers hyping up the game in vague terms). Getting started, the demo scenes proceed like this:

  • Dactyls flying to Tyrano Lair

Vlcsnap-119193.png

The lava burns brightly as it does in the later Prerelease.

  • Crono standing near campfire

Vlcsnap-119262.png

  • The Blackbird sailing over water

Vlcsnap-119525.png

The thrusters burn brighter.

  • Zeal, with the Blackbird docked
  • Crono, Lucca, and Robo crossing Zenan Bridge

Vlcsnap-119727.png

  • Magus's Lair
  • Crono slashing the Dragon Tank
  • Crono arriving at trial
  • Lavos erupting (with early sprite)

Vlcsnap-120451.png

The demo then features Crono, Marle, and Lucca's arrival, a short trip to the Arris Dome, and the Day of Lavos cut scene. Instead of triggering the video, Marle engages a menu with the three Dream Team members on it (Toriyama, Horii, and Sakaguchi) and other developers. Each narrates several scenes of the game while music plays.

Vlcsnap-120538.png

Early sealed door design is present.

Vlcsnap-125840.png

Vlcsnap-125860.png

Toriyama is selected first. Character and scene art follow; the scene stuff includes the full picture frame, which has never been seen before.

Vlcsnap-131565.png Vlcsnap-131589.png

Vlcsnap-131613.png Vlcsnap-131670.png

Vlcsnap-131697.png Vlcsnap-131772.png

Vlcsnap-131797.png Vlcsnap-131873.png

Vlcsnap-131897.png

Vlcsnap-131997.png

Yuji Horii is then selected in all his plot-hole creating glory.

Vlcsnap-133294.png

Here's the unknown village.

Vlcsnap-133895.png

One of the imps is gray instead of green.

Vlcsnap-134012.png

The party enters the Proto Dome Gate.

Vlcsnap-134129.png

Sakaguchi is then selected.

Vlcsnap-134952.png

The King's sprite may be slightly different.

Vlcsnap-135021.png Vlcsnap-135034.png

These Chancellor lines are different.

Vlcsnap-135057.png

This judge dialogue is different.

Vlcsnap-135315.png

This Lucca line is unique to the video. It takes the place of her line about identifying the Prometheus Dome.

Vlcsnap-135410.png Vlcsnap-135424.png

Vlcsnap-135439.png

Here's Hoshino Masanori, art direction. Remember "Hoshino Trigger"?

Vlcsnap-135909.png

The flowers at the base of the Mystic Mts are purple instead of beige (as they are in the Pre). Ultimately, this would turn mostly into dirt for the final version.

Vlcsnap-136103.png

This Masa & Mune fusion line seems to be different.

Vlcsnap-136177.png

Two Leapers chase the party down a primitive-looking Mystic Mts entrance. The palette hasn't even been adjusted to fit the 65000000 B.C. look, yet.

Vlcsnap-136212.png Vlcsnap-136229.png

Keizo Kokubo (main program) appears.

Vlcsnap-137239.png

Barrels are on the conveyor belt rather than robots.

Vlcsnap-137460.png

The Ioka Meeting Site design is primitive.

Vlcsnap-137719.png

Yoshinori Kitase (director) is next. His segment is mostly composed of music.

Vlcsnap-138230.png

Next is the race.

Vlcsnap-138438.png

Frog's dialogue contains an extra character at the end.

Vlcsnap-138672.png

We then come upon Takashi Tokita (director).

Vlcsnap-58062.png

Johnny's dialogue here is slightly different.

Vlcsnap-58095.png Vlcsnap-58137.png

Vlcsnap-58166.png

The Underground Sewer unused area appears here as host to a staged battle. In the Sewer Access (CTP), you talk to a bullfrog character named Part and then must race to the end of the pathway as 4 flames chase you. If the flames catch you, you are sent to a new B3 level; there, three Egger enemies surround you. An egger named Timer apologizes to Part for being late, and then the four battle the party. You can then talk to Part to return to the second basement level. The puzzle only happens once.

GlitterBerri: Part's name is バイト (baito), previously translated in the enemy list as Byte. However, Baito is actually a joke on アルバイト (arubaito), an adopted German word which means "part-time job". Timer's name is actually パート (paato), an abbreviated adoption of the English word "part-timer" or "part-time job". I couldn't figure out how to make the joke work without changing both of their names, so I turned Baito into "Part" and Paato into "Timer". For more, see Translated Text (CTP).

Vlcsnap-58396.png

Though unimportant to analysis, the famous mountain Kilwala makes an appearance.

Vlcsnap-58430.png

The Chancellor's "justice system" dialogue is slightly different.

Vlcsnap-58551.png

There's a long pause (two ellipses' worth) when Lucca talks about robots' hearts which isn't present in the final.

Vlcsnap-58643.png

Doan's wording is slightly different when talking about 'healthy'.

Vlcsnap-58751.png

Finally, there's Kazuhiko Aoki (producer).

Vlcsnap-58800.png

Orange bats are present.

Vlcsnap-59076.png

Flea's eyes seem different.

Vlcsnap-59315.png

Crono, Robo, and Lucca try out a prototype triple tech on a Goon (whose name is different from the final's).

Vlcsnap-59436.png

The bit stays in the center of the Guardian, and the strange gun emplacement removed in the final can be seen in action.

Vlcsnap-59556.png

Lavos spits fire and battles on the ground.

Vlcsnap-59608.png

Lavos exhibits a prototype of the Shadow Doom Blaze.

Vlcsnap-59722.png

The graphics beneath the information center's monitor are different.

Vlcsnap-61080.png

The Blackbird sprite flies over a totally static Zeal with the blimp also seen on the hologram cards. The fact that Zeal's sky is totally stationary suggests that this was completely a mock-up. If anyone knows the purpose of that blimp, it's Masato Kato.

Vlcsnap-61143.png Vlcsnap-61220.png

マル秘情執 Vol. 5 428[edit]

This appeared to be a game tips presentation downloaded over the BS Satellaview service. This particular excerpt seems to discuss the secret room in Enhasa.

Nintendo Power Previews 15 (Laserdisc)[edit]

Ripped by James Sternberg.

Nintendo Power Previews 15 (Laserdisc)[edit]

Ripped by James Sternberg.

Square Store Preview Video[edit]

We acquired this video via Yahoo Japan auctions . It's a VHS tape that would've played on repeat in a video game store, showing gameplay from Chrono Trigger and Front Mission. The Chrono Trigger portion seems to have been recorded using the Prerelease build, or possible a build in between, as it contains the Prerelease version of the Lavos eruption sprite. In the exploration of Magus's Lair -- the party finds Magus, but the battle doesn't start (obviously this event was disabled. The most exciting find with this tape, however, is that it plays A Premonition, Chrono Trigger, Secret of the Forest, and Battle 1 as they would've originally sounded before downsampling/conversion to Super Famicom/SNES hardware. These versions are potentially how Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu heard them before they were placed into the game.

There are two versions available (including the Front Mission vide). The Nico version has correct pitch.

Mockup Recreations[edit]

Recreated images follow. These were done by Reld; many thanks for his attention to detail with these!

Overworld Change GIFS

SspdkYUQ o.gif

TM1Aamdh o.gif

Snow Scene

3maKjwi0 o.png

It turns out most of the graphics in this "alpha" screenshot are present in the final game, although slightly modified in places, so I tried my best to recreate it. The leaves are used in a few places. I swiped them from Denadoro Mountain and altered the palette. The sky/distant mountains were taken from Denadoro as well, but I tweaked the palette a little and altered some of the mountain peaks to match the screenshot. The ground tiles are from Death Peak, and they use the same palette as Death Peak's ground tiles in the final.

The Heckran sprite in the screenshot is considerably different from the final, but I didn't want to mess with it so I just pasted in the final one. Same goes for the flames.

I did modify all three of the character sprites.

Chrono's sprite seems to be almost identical to the final, except that I had to move the blade of his sword a little.

Frog's sprite is a little different from the final. His feet don't stick out quite as much, and his tongue isn't as big.

Marle's sprite I had to cobble together from two different poses. That exact pose doesn't seem to exist in the finished game. I also changed her hand so that she has a finger extended.

The menu background is basically just the default from the final without the HDMA gradient and with a custom blue palette. I did add some highlighting on the right edge tiles though. Looking at it again now I think the right edge tiles might have just been mirrors of the left edge at this point in development, which would mean mine are slightly wrong.

A few of the Japanese text characters appeared different as well, so I modified them a little. Specifically ざ ン パ ル and ス.

I haven't really looked into it much, but I think you'd have to create custom graphics packs to get all of those background tiles on the same screen, even if you didn't care about including my edits. And you'd definitely need a custom palette for at least the leaves. There's nothing about the structure of the map that couldn't be done in TF though.

Speaking of which, here's a fun fact: one of the leaf tiles in the right set of leaves is actually two tiles on top of each other. One with no transparency on the bottom layer, and one with transparency on the top layer. It took me forver searching for that "one tile" before I figured it out.

2300 A.D.

ZyJ8MLHJ o.png

This tileset is interesting. At first glance it looks pretty much like any other future location from the final game, but there are a bunch of differences. The door and the little hatches with the ladders sticking out are smaller. The hatches also have steps leading up to them, suggesting maybe they were actual functioning exits, and there's a closed-lid version. The vertical girders/rafters are narrower. Those two square grates on the floor near Crono are completely new. I'm probably forgetting stuff. Maybe the most interesting difference is that this early version of the future tileset isn't as broken.

Here's a gif that flashes back and forth between the busted up final tiles and the "fixed" ones I made to match the screenshot (where applicable).

LAaszevr o.gif

Makes me wonder if the future scenario was once a little less dystopian.

Overall this one required a lot more actual drawing, and is therefore surely a lot less accurate. It was fun to do though. I love prototype stuff like this.

My Japanese knowledge is extremely limited, so I was using a combination of Google Translate and DeepL machine translation. I'm pretty sure they both gave me the phrase "end of time". It seems like an odd question to me. Why would the fact that it looks like a spaceship mean it's the end of time? The exact Japanese phrasing used doesn't seem to match the location we know as "The End of Time" though, so I don't know if there's a connection there. I think they might have been going for something like "this is obviously the far-flung future, surely we won't be going any farther!" maybe? Like it's the end meaning it's as far in the future as we'll go? I don't know.

1000 A.D.

ZhAg9Jsx o.png

I did have to steal a few tiles from the 600AD house tiles, like the red soup and the pitcher on the large table. There are a few new things, like the larger picture frames and the little wrenches on the floor. Some things were modified, like making the mouths of the pots below the big window a little smaller, and reducing the thickness of the side trim on the wood columns between the windows.

I didn't do much to the character sprites. It's especially noticeable for Crono whose stance is totally wrong. I did give Marle pink hair though.

Looking at it again now I can see a few things I missed, like a groove around the edges of the small table that I think should be removed, but overall I'm pretty happy with it.

I did notice something kind of strange about the layer 3 tiles for the light coming through the big window.

A0OYeQfN o.png

In the prerelease ROM there are little lit up bits for the light hitting the curtains, but they're placed a few tiles too high. You can see them as little spikes protruding into the black (dark brown) empty part around the edges of the map. Instead of fixing them for the final game they seem to have just removed them completely. Probably not news around these parts, but it was new to me. For this mockup I just moved them down to where they should be.

EDIT: I guess it's not really the light hitting the curtains. It's more like light hitting the inner walls of the window alcove or whatever you call it.

Telepod GIF

Telepod-Anim.gif

Thanks to Reld.

From: Chrono Trigger Prerelease