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C'mon Square Enix, Just Put 'Chrono Trigger' On Consoles Already

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C'mon Square Enix, Just Put 'Chrono Trigger' On Consoles Already

In the same week that Square Enix showed off a handful of forthcoming RPGs during the Japanese-focused PlayStation State of Play on March 9, including the delayed Forspoken and the newly revealed The DioField Chronicle and Valkyrie Elysium, it quietly updated the PC and mobile ports of one of its greatest-ever games. 

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First released for the Super Nintendo in 1995, Chrono Trigger isn’t just one of Square’s finest achievements, but it’s regularly rated as amongst the finest role-playing games ever created, and listed around the very top of the best SNES games of all time. (We rated it the 14th best game ever, in 2020.) After its SNES release in the US and Japan came a PlayStation port in 1999, followed by a brilliant Nintendo DS version in 2008 - the version I most commonly turn to due to its convenience. Android and iOS got in on the act in 2011; and in 2018 a supposedly updated take on the mobile game released for PC, but some questionable decisions around its visuals and overall presentation saw it heavily criticised, leading to a series of essential patches.

Get a feeling for the incredible team behind Chrono Trigger in its PC launch trailer, below… Good grief, that music is so damn good…

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March 11 2022 saw Square Enix roll out a few more updates both to the PC version of Chrono Trigger and its mobile ports. The PC version now supports full-screen display up to a ratio of 21:9; there are added save slots, taking the total available to 20; controls have been improved and small bugs fixed; and a speed boost of 1.5x has been added to auto-battles. (The full patch notes can be found here.) On smartphones, “extra sections” have been added, whatever that actually means. (Like, don’t play this on your phone.)

What this means for PC players is that a great game has been made ever so slightly better - and the Steam user rating of “Very Positive” serves as a brilliant illustration of how far the PC version has come, given how lambasted it was at launch. There was screen tearing, stuttering, the aspect ratio was all wrong, and at release in February 2018 that “Very Positive” was the rather-less-wanted “Mostly Negative”.

Chrono Trigger (2018 PC release) / Credit: Square Enix
Chrono Trigger (2018 PC release) / Credit: Square Enix
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Again, great for PC players - but the last time that Chrono Trigger was legally, legitimately playable on a games console, be it one for the home or a handheld (I’m discounting the Steam Deck here), was the DS release of 2008. And that makes me incredibly sad. Square Enix has revisited entries in its Final Fantasy series several times, for re-releases and remakes of varying levels of budget. It’s made its Kingdom Hearts series playable on a wide variety of devices, and even the Seiken Densetsu series - known in the West as the Mana series - got itself a very handsome compilation in Collection of Mana, which featured another of Square’s classic SNES titles, Secret of Mana. (Which just about made up for that ill-advised remake of 2018.) Yet Chrono Trigger, it seems, remains forgotten.

Now I’m not here to really get into why Chrono Trigger is an incredible game, a must-play for anyone who loves (J)RPGs, from Final Fantasy to Persona via Xenogears and EarthBound, the latter just recently added to the Nintendo Switch’s Online subscription service. You’re on the internet, you have the power in your hand right now, at your fingertips, to look deeper at one of my favourite games of all time further, should you wish. Which would only frustrate you, given that, again, it’s the DS version or bust, pretty much, for (relatively) easy console options in 2022. 

And yet, the series it’s from is about to be revived - Chrono Cross, released for the PlayStation in 1999 and set in the same world as Chrono Trigger, is to be released in a remastered guise as The Radical Dreamers Edition on April 7 2022 - just weeks away at the time of writing. The name Radical Dreamers matches that of a text-adventure side-story of sorts to Chrono Trigger that released only on Nintendo’s Satellaview peripheral in 1996; and the plot of Radical Dreamers directly inspired the events of Chrono Cross. The DNA is all there, then - but still Chrono Trigger, as a console-specific proposition, slumbers like Lavos itself lurking below the surface. (Spoilers?)

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Chrono Trigger (2018 PC release) / Credit: Square Enix
Chrono Trigger (2018 PC release) / Credit: Square Enix

So really, all these words are here to do is ask one thing. Square Enix, please, come on now, it’s time. Get Chrono Trigger onto modern consoles - be that via the Switch Online service (while you’re at it, Secret of Evermore would be great, cheers); as a straightforward, fuss-free port of the now-wholly-decent PC version; or something else entirely, which gives players the extra quality-of-life options seen in the Final Fantasy VIII and IX remasters, and maybe throws in the Satellaview Radical Dreamers as a bonus, something it was set to be for the PlayStation port before Square got cold feet.

Sometimes I can look at the games I’d personally love to see make a comeback - the likes of Snatcher, Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight, and Sensible Soccer - and understand why they’re probably best left in the past. (Okay, not so much Snatcher. Konami, if you’re reading this: same argument applies.) But Chrono Trigger? It still looks incredible (that pixel art - the fixed version of it - hasn’t aged at all), it plays intuitively, its music is beautiful and its story - spanning time from the birth of mankind to the apocalypse itself - is utterly captivating from start to finish. It’s as important a game, as important an RPG, as anything from the Final Fantasy franchise. I truly believe that, and I know I’m far from alone in feeling that way (look, here are some terrific words to that effect, from a past professional life of commissioning such pieces). So again, Square Enix: bring Chrono Trigger to modern consoles. We know you can do it - and we’ll be here to buy it all over again when you do. 

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Now, where is my DS...

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo, Square Enix

Topics: Square Enix, Retro Gaming, Opinion

Mike Diver
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