Tag Archives: chrono cross

Twenty Years Later, Chrono Cross Remains A Musical Masterpiece

I’m playing Greedfall right now and enjoying myself in spite of some misgivings. One thing I miss at the moment—and it’s something crucial to role-playing games—is a solid musical score. There’s moments of rousing action music, but it’s very limited. That got me thinking: What RPG has the best music? The answer is simple: It’s Chrono Cross, and nothing else has ever come close.

Chrono Cross released in 1999 and was met with praise and confusion in equal measure. It was a good game, but this was the eagerly awaited sequel to Chrono Trigger? A game that only loosely related to the original? Yet Cross built an identity of its own with magical dragons, cerulean seas, a huge cast of characters, and fantastic music. Composer Yasunori Mitsuda had worked on Chrono Trigger alongside Nobuo Uematsu and Noriko Matsueda. Here, he took the reins into his own hands. The results are absolutely stunning. The opening theme, “Scars of Time,” remains unmatched and has really stood the test of time.

Mitsuda had previously worked on the similarly stunning (albeit somewhat incomplete) Xenogears and would go on to write music for games like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. He’s one of the best composers that video games has ever seen. Just listen to Chrono Cross’ haunting and beautiful ending theme, “Radical Dreamers.” I’ve been listening to it for days now and every time, it stirs a deep reaction in my soul.

Apocryphal stories say that when when director Masato Kato and Mitsuda sat down to replay the game, this ending theme was enough to move Kato to tears. I don’t know if that’s true, but it really is a fantastic piece of music. Tracks like these cement Chrono Cross as a high watermark for video game scores, and while games like Octopath Traveler have sometimes come close to matching it, I’d suggest that Chrono Cross is a singular achievement in this regard. Even if you don’t like where the story went after Chrono Trigger, Mitsuda nailed it here, to the point that two decades later, there’s not really been anything else like it.

Source: Kotaku.com

What Is Your Favorite Game Sequel?

There are great sequels. And then there are all the crappy ones that seem like little more than cynical cash grabs. I’m going to focus on the former.

Sometimes, the best sequels take a classic formula and evolve on them. I loved Final Fantasy II (IV in Japan), Uncharted II, Mass Effect 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Phantasy Star II. Other times, they take the series in a completely different direction, giving it new life as with Resident Evil IV, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Grand Theft Auto III.

From a developer’s perspective, sequels can be a lot more work than they might seem on the surface. I’ve had the chance to work on multiple sequels, from the Medal of Honor games, to movie sequels, like Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2. It all comes down to planning; how much to reuse, and how much to adapt to new technology? In all the games and films I’ve worked on, it’s always been important to keep in mind that older iterations used older tech and modernizing them can take a lot more time. How to satisfy fans and stay true to the spirit of the original while also innovating enough so that it actually adds to the original?

I like how every main Final Fantasy is a standalone game without any real connection to the previous games (aside from character and thematic ties). Dragon Quest does a good job of tying to the legacy of the series while weaving a new story with each entry.

And then, there’s Chrono Cross. I wrote about Chrono Cross at Kotaku a few years back and called it “a bad sequel, but a brilliant game.” The interesting thing was, that was by design. As director Masato Kato stated: “In my view, the whole point in making Chrono Cross was to make a new Chrono with the best available skills and technologies of today. I never had any intentions of just taking the system from Trigger and moving it onto the PlayStation console. That’s why I believe that Cross is Cross, and NOT Trigger 2.”

If you take Cross more as a thematic link to Trigger, rather than a sequel, you start to see Chrono Cross’ unique brilliance. It’s about different realities, the choices characters makes, and how circumstances give people varying lives based on those decisions. Serge is one of the most dramatic examples, being dead in one universe, and alive and thriving in another. Following those threads to their ends and seeing the way their fates are interlinked is in some ways deeper than the genealogy of time with Trigger. And the soundtrack is nothing sort of sublime.

So Kotaku, the question today is, what is your favorite game sequel?

Source: Kotaku.com

Twitter Account Serves Up Perfect, Bite-Sized Samples Of Video Game Music

Video game music rules. Sometimes, it is legitimately great. Since the start of 2019, Twitter account 140 Seconds VGM has been breaking down game tunes into bite-sized chunks. Sometimes the songs are classics, sometimes they’re random oddities. But every new post brings a bright blast of music.

140 Seconds VGM posts a handful of times a day, with samples slightly over two minutes. It’s a good way to get a taste for well-known composers as well as find some of the stranger, lesser-known pieces of music. For instance, you might go from the JRPG boldness of Octopath Traveler’s Yasunori Nishiki to the operatic and inimitable work of Nier composer Keiichi Okabe:

Other times, it’s something a little more random and funky. For instance, you might stumble upon the pop music from the clumsy-to-play but still pretty charming Sega Saturn racing game Sonic R. 140 Seconds VGM has something for everyone.

Now, one might say “Heather, you bojo! This has been running nearly a year! Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” or even “Psh, I knew about this before it was cool.” But 140 Seconds VGM has just recently stumbled into my life, and I want to share the joy. Start your morning right with a little bit of music.

I know I’m gonna keep an eye out for whenever they post the title screen music from Skies of Arcadia. It’s the second best piece of game music. The first is Chrono Cross’ ‘Scars of Time.’ Nothing’s ever come close to beating that one.

Source: Kotaku.com