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Friday, June 14, 2024

Chrono Cross is being remastered and my heart is full

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Chrono Crossssssss. Forget all those new games shown in Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct and bask in the warm glow of Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, an HDification of one of Square’s best RPGs.

I challenge you to listen to Radical Dreamers and not feel a sense of calm spread within you, or to feel the call to adventure from Scars of Time. Squaresoft’s 2000 RPG was a game of wonderful vibes: it’s dreamy and painterly, sometimes melancholic, occasionally goofy as hell, and maybe Square’s most beautiful game of the PlayStation era, though that’s some stiff competition. After years of watching Square remaster and port the Final Fantasy games to PC and modern consoles, I’m delighted that it’s finally Chrono Cross’s turn.

The Nintendo Direct trailer only mentioned a Switch version of this remaster, but the above Japanese trailer and official site confirm that it’s also coming to PC. The Steam page isn’t live yet, but it’s set to launch on Switch April 7th; hopefully the PC version lands on the same day.

When it came out, Chrono Cross was mildly controversial: there were definitely Chrono Trigger fans disappointed by how different Chrono Cross was, and how disconnected it was as a sequel. But I always thought that was Chrono Cross’s strength. It’s a wholly unique game, even today.

The big question I have, not answered in this remaster’s reveal trailer, is how much work and care Square Enix put into recreating or upressing Chrono Cross’s backgrounds. Its past “HD” ports for games like Final Fantasy 9 have looked okay, but dedicated modders have shown us just how much better they could look with careful AI upscaling.

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