January 28, 2008 - 1UP Interview with Yasunori Mitsuda
1UP: When it came to then working on Chrono Trigger, you famously told Final Fantasy creator/producer Hironobu Sakaguchi that if you weren't allowed to score that game, you were going to quit Square. Is that pretty much how it went?
YM: Yeah, that's true. I started as a sound composer, and that meant that all I was able to do were sound effects -- not to mention that I wasn't being paid very well at the time. I wasn't even able to pay the bills, so I started thinking to myself that I had no other choice. I felt the situation was unfair. "If you're not going to let me create music, then I'm going to quit," is what I basically said to Sakaguchi. So he responded: "In that case, you should do Chrono Trigger -- and after you finish it, maybe your salary will go up."
1UP: So did it?
YM: Only slightly!
1UP: So when all that happened, were other people at the company surprised or jealous with your perhaps sudden rise in stature?
YM: Inside the company, not that many people paid attention, but outsiders who liked my work were definitely excited for me.
1UP: I also remember that you said you'd fall asleep in your chair because you'd be working so hard and that melodies would actually come to you in dreams. The ending theme to Chrono Trigger, for instance, came to you in a dream.
YM: Yeah, that's true. Back then, I'd camp out in the studio the entire time. I'd keep everything on all the time and I'd drift off to sleep. If I was sleeping and a melody came to me, I'd jump right up and be able to work on it.
1UP: So did that really happen?
YM: Yes, and it's happened a lot to me recently.
1UP: Do you think that's kind of amazing in a way?
YM: You know, it's kind of like what happens in everyday life -- if you think about something a lot, it'll appear in your dreams. That's how music can be for me. I'll be thinking about a project so much that melodies will come in my sleep.
1UP: You wouldn't believe how many questions we get about whether there will ever be another Chrono game. What are the chances of you and Kato getting together on that, you think?
YM: Regarding the series itself, there are a lot of politics involved, but of course if anything were to move forward on it, I would love to be a part of it. Regardless of whether it's a Chrono game or not, though, I would want to work on something similar in scope and atmosphere with Kato again in the future.
1UP: Kato doesn't actually work for Square Enix anymore, though, right?
YM: Not anymore, no.
1UP: So would it be possible to do a new Chrono game anyway, then?
YM: Well, I still talk with the folks at Square Enix, and I have a really good relationship with some of them. If they had a good concept for the game, I would be OK with it.
1UP: Kato too?
YM: Of course, he left the company for a reason -- there was some frustration -- but if Square asked him to work on it, he probably would. [Kato actually recently worked with Square Enix as the scenario writer on Dawn of Mana and Heroes of Mana--Ed.].
1UP: If Square Enix didn't ask for his involvement, would you still do it?
YM: If that would be the case, I would feel weird about it -- because if it's a Chrono game, Kato should be involved.