Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition has been out for a week now, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. Some have complained about the framerate issues, which were there in the original game (though a Digital Foundry inspection found the “new” version to be slightly worse at it). Though not without flaws, the game is Square at its creative peak: a wholly beautiful and engrossing world, memorable characters and hard-hitting twists that make it impossible to put the controller down. Then there’s the soundtrack, which has never been bested by anyone.
Chrono Cross hasn’t been readily available for a while now: the last time it was technically sold was on the Playstation 3, buried in the “Classics” section of their store (and it may have expired). One might ask, what took so long? Koichiro Sakamoto, the producer of the remaster, revealed in a new interview on Square Enix’s website that when the project was started, the intent was to re-release Chrono Cross on the 20th anniversary of its original release.
“To tell you the truth, we started development with the 20th anniversary of CHRONO CROSS in mind, but we ended up putting a bit too much effort into development! As a result, we couldn’t make it in time for the 20th anniversary – so please think of it as having three years’ worth of extra excitement packed into the game,” Sakamoto says.
In America this would mean 2020; in Japan it would mean 2019 (in Europe it would mean nothing since they sadly never got the game). This means the remastering of Chrono Cross started at least one year before then, or four years ago. What about porting a game that was already finished could have possibly taken that long?
Well, as we pointed out earlier, the assets had to be rebuilt from nothing. “It’s a real shame, but unfortunately the game program and graphical data weren’t preserved in their complete form. That means that at the start of development, we couldn’t recreate the original version on any hardware other than the PlayStation.”
Fortunately that’s no longer the case. Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition can be played on Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, XBox One and PC — and now that the hard part is over, versions for future consoles are inevitable.