Chrono Cross - GamePro.com Interview, Fan Questions Part 3
Reprinted from GamePro
Questions for Composer Yasunori Mitsuda
The music in your games is outstanding. And I especially like your remix albums like Xenogears Cried. I would like to ask, how did you get started in the video game music business, and what inspires you to compose your music?
MIDI Sequencer, SquallStrife
Yasunori Mitsuda: All I did was to get hired to work at SQUARE (laugh). Really, I just happened to apply for work and to get hired, which turned out to be a very lucky thing for me. It was a great learning experience for me. Personally, I don't consider myself to be a game-music composer. In fact, I do a lot of music outside of gaming now. I would like to continue working with other kinds of music as well.
When I create music, I usually get my inspiration from pictures, scenarios, and lyrics. After all, you can't write anything without a theme.
I got the free music selection disc with my game because I preordered. But when is the music from Chrono Cross coming to the public?
YM:[There are currently] no plans to bring the entire soundtrack to the US.
I would like to know how Mitsuda-san is able to create a very different feel, mood, and style for Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, and Chrono
Cross and still work in his own messages, style, and creative talents. Basically, how does Mitsuda-san come up with a musical feel/theme that
is written into all his songs thus tying the whole score of a game together?
YM:It's probably easiest to think of it this way: There are many dialects in Japanese. You can say the same things in several ways by changing the expression, the wording, and the feeling of how you say it. The same applies to music. Take "happy" for example; there are many ways to approach this theme. You can base your approach on the type of musical genre, the instruments, or the key of the music. In any event, I believe it's important to have many ways to approach music.
Hi, the music to Chrono Cross is so beautiful and I was wondering how long it takes to compose those beautiful songs and if the composer
was in any other games?
YM: It took about half a year to make all of the pieces. It went along pretty smoothly and it was the quickest of all the titles I've worked on.
As far as games, I worked on Chrono Trigger (Super Nintendo), Gun Hazard (Japanese Super Famicon), Xenogears (PSX), and Mario Party (N64). I make music outside of games as well. You can find further information about my work at my homepage: www.procyon-studio.com
Questions for Director/Scenario Writer Masato Kato
Is there any connection between Guile in CC and Magus in CT? Both use black magic, have purple hair, and float. The only difference that I
can tell is their dress and the fact that Guile uses a staff. I was thinking that they could both be different adult versions of Janus (from CT).
Of course, it's been a while since playing CC, so I could be totally wrong. There are some other character connections (I.E. Frog and Glenn)
but Guile and Magus raises the most questions. Thanks for the great game.
Freight Train email@example.com
Masato Kato: To let the cat out of the bag, in the early stages of development, Guile was indeed meant to be Magus. In our original plan, the true identity of Guile was supposed to be Magus after the events in Trigger. (At the end of Trigger, Magus [a.k.a. Janus in Trigger and Magil in Radical Dreamers] disappeared into a Time Gate to go searching for his big sister, Schala, who was lost somewhere in time.) However, as the game's development progressed and we decided to use such a huge number of playable characters, we decided not to make him be Magus. We thought it was impossible to portray the relationship between Magus and Schala adequately in this game. So we changed tracks, made the colors of the Magus character design paler, and turned him into Guile, the magician. In a way, it's a pity, as I really would like to have seen the valiant figure of Magus come to life again.
To me Chrono Cross seems to speak out against racism. Was this intentional or did it just kind of work out that way? My nephew was playing the
game the other day and he said how awful the demi humans were treated and that no one deserves to be treated that way just because they are
different. I think it's great that video games can help kids realize things like that with out seeming preachy.
MK: When I was writing the story data for Cross, I didn't just have racism in the back of my mind, but the overall relationships between different kinds of things, such as human and non-human life forms. I thought, "I'd be pleased if the kids who play this game can think about this in their own way." So, it makes me very happy to hear that this game has inspired your nephew to think about these themes on his own.
If Serge went back in time to help Kid out of the burning house along with the rest of the children, why does she still say that ALL of the
children are dead? Are they dead?
RD Chrono X
MK: Actually, I think that several of the children were fortunate enough to escape from the burning orphanage. But little Kid doesn't know this at that point, and in her despair, assumes the worst.
Translator's note: Please don't jump to such morbid conclusions! If you look at what Kid actually says, you'll note that she doesn't actually say
they all died...
Our 'home' is burning!
All my friends...
In Chrono Cross, Porre has a great military, a strong kingdom, and even caused the fall of Guardia. The question is, how did such a small
village grow to be so large and powerful to even overthrow the kingdom of Guardia and expand so much in a mere 20 years?
MK: Actually, this is not explained in any of the games, but Porre had some kind of intervention or help originating outside of the original flow of history. But if I start to explain this, it will take me a long time to finish, so I'll stop myself here. (laughs) As it doesn't directly have anything to do with the story of Cross, we cut the details out of the game.
Mr.Tanaka/Mr.Kato, I have a very serious question for both of you concerning Chrono Trigger, which I'm assuming one or the other of you
worked on. Chrono Trigger appears to hold many, many similarities and parallels to characters and tales from the Bible, but in a somewhat subtle
manner. For instance, Crono exhibits many telltale traits of Jesus Christ, such as his selfless death and resurrection, gifts from three wisemen
who carry the same names as the Biblical wisemen, a walking-on-water scene in the Heckran Cave, etc. Not only Crono, but many other characters
have Biblical names whose Biblical roles they conform to with great accuracy, such as Magus and Mammon. I know from Xenogears that Square has
used the Bible as an extensive base for concepts, so I was wondering if either of you gentlemen could verify for me (and many other curious
Chrono Trigger fans) whether or not you intentionally patterned many areas of Chrono Trigger after well-known Biblical tales. I cannot express
in words how much your answering this question with a confirming yes-or-no would mean to me. I have spent an incredible amount of time dissecting
and analyzing Chrono Trigger, and I simply would like to know if I'm on the right track. Thank you for your time, and thank you for the superb
games you've brought us.
MK: I wasn't the main story writer for Xenogears, so I can't say much on it, but as for Chrono Trigger, I didn't especially think of the Bible when I was writing the story. "Three wisemen who carry the same names as the Biblical wisemen...?" Oh, I see... So, that's how they were named in the English version? In the original Japanese version, the ancient sages were named GASSHU, HASSHU, and BOSSHU. Regarding the other things you pointed out, I didn't consciously have anything in mind, biblical or otherwise, when I wrote the story.
When Lynx was with Serge they switch bodies and the tear became the tear of hate, but when Serge was there alone it gave him his own body back
and the tear became the tear of love. Why didn't Serge and Lynx switch again? Lynx was in the tower and you had to fight him. He couldn't have
gotten that far.
MK: The system composed of the Dragon Tear and Fort Dragonia's ceremonial hall didn't just have the function of switching peoples' minds; it also had the ability to reconstruct a person's body by recombining his body cells. Because Lynx (in the form of Dark Serge) was not in the room at the time, and would by no means willingly partake in the ceremony again, the switching function didn't work, so instead the system rebuilt Serge's body in its original form. However, the act of restructuring a whole body was too great a strain on the system and caused it to overload, shattering the Dragon Tear once Serge was reborn.
I just beat Chrono Cross for the first time and I have found four very annoying plot holes that are never explained in the game...here we go.
1) How and why did the Dead Sea contain the remains of the terminated future of the planet? Miguel mentions that something happened 10 years ago
that caused the Dead Sea to turn out that way...ok, Serge's future was split into two 10 years ago but how does this tie into the Dead Sea having
these futuristic ruins? And why do they exist in the Home World and not the Other World? 2) Chronopolis came from the future in which Lavos was
destroyed and the human race was flourishing...so, how the heck is this a back-up plan for Lavos? By pulling back Chronopolis to make sure history
is unchanged only assures Lavos's demise. What the hell is Lavos thinking?!?! 3) How come there are two frozen flames? I found one in Chronopolis
and one in Terra Tower...I remember because Glenn distinctly said atop Terra Tower that the flame they found is the true frozen flame...I was
like ????? My only guess that there are two flames is because Terra Tower and Chronopolis are two different futures, both pulled into the same
time and place...one future in which humans get the flame(Chronopolis) and the other future in which the Reptites get the flame(Terra Tower).
4) Last question...what is up with the whole Prometheus traitor bug circuit lock thingy in the FATE computer? I know it was supposed to start a
rebellion and that it prevented contact between FATE and the flame but why does FATE want it destroyed? And why is it such a big fuss when FATE
destroys it within Chronopolis? Phew, there you have it...if anyone has the answers(preferably a CC Game Designer), please enlighten me so I could
sleep at night. Thanks.
MK: 1) The Sea of Eden is really Chronopolis from 2400 years in the future, which, due to the Time Crash catastrophe, time-slipped 10,000 years into the past. In Trigger, Crono and friends defeated Lavos and saved the planet's future. Chronopolis is from this prosperous future. The Sea of Eden became the Dead Sea in the Home World because of the incident 10 years ago at Opassa Beach. Serge lived on in that world, causing the time-line leading to destruction (which Crono and friends nullified) to come back into existence again. In the Other World, where Serge died, the Sea of Eden and Chronopolis remain as is. In other words, the Dead Sea indicates that if Serge lives, the future will probably lead back to destruction.
2) It wasn't Lavos's intention that the Time Crash catastrophe at Chronopolis in the future should occur. Even if Lavos interfered with the events, it was simply because Lavos thought that those events could be used to its advantage. By introducing a major new factor like Chronopolis into history, Lavos was trying to bring about a new future.
Translator's note: Remember too that the Frozen Flames locked away in Chronoplis were part of Lavos originally, and this could be used to reproduce itself. Perhaps Lavos was ensuring its own survival in this way? Just a thought... - R.M.H.
3) There is only one Frozen Flame -- the one in Chronopolis and the one at the top of Terra Tower are the same thing. The newly reunited Dragon God ("Devourer of Time") carried the Frozen Flame from Chronopolis to Terra Tower.
Translator's note: Remember, the Dragon Gods were warring with FATE for the very purpose of recombining into their original singular form and taking possession of the Flame for their own use. Once Serge and co. defeated FATE, it was theirs for the nabbing. -R.M.H.
4) Prometheus was an independent safety program to prevent the machine from going out of control. FATE itself did not know that such a thing was built into its circuitry. In a way, you could say Prometheus had been waiting for Serge for a long, long time. Prometheus was the one who had protected the Frozen Flame from FATE ever since the young, dying Serge had come into contact with the Flame all those years ago. FATE dared to delete the defiant Prometheus right in front of Serge and friends. Of course, on seeing the death of Prometheus, Serge and friends... (Well, I don't want to give away the story any more than I already have...)
Anyway, if you have played Trigger, then Prometheus should be very familiar to you. I'm sure a lot of players would make a similar 'big fuss' over the death of such a much-loved friend...
Translator's note: I don't want to give away more than Mr. Kato just did, but as a side note to people who played both Trigger and Cross, they'll notice the connection between Mother Brain and FATE and see how long the enmity between Ro... I mean, Prometheus... and the computer had been going on. It is so sad to see Mother succeed in taking her final revenge... - R.M.H.