Published by: Squaresoft
Developed by: Squaresoft
Released: August 1995
Chrono Trigger is a Japanese RPG for the SNES by Squaresoft it was conceived by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and designed by himself, Dragon Quest creator Yuji Hori, and Dragon Quest artist/Dragon Ball manga creator Akira Toriyama. Internally the trio were refered to as "the dream team". The majority of the game plot was written by Masato Kato and the music was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda and Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu.
Chrono Trigger was in development for over 2 years in which the team tried to create something unique in the JRPG space. The game was originally designed as a title in the Seiken Densetsu (Mana) series and was titled "Maru Island" before the team make it an original project and renamed it during development. The game was also planned for original released on the Super Famicom's Disk Drive add-on which was canceled.
Horii, along with Toriyama, came up with the time travel plot device and planned the original story outline for Chrono Trigger before Masato Kato took control of the plot and the rest of the story including all of the 12,000 BC era plot. He was came up with and wrote all the multiple endings used in the game.
Square shipped an unfinished beta version of Chrono Trigger (time stamped November 17, 1994) to magazine reviewers and game stores which contained unused music tracks, locations, and features including the later removed dungeon "Singing Mountain".
Chrono Trigger's story begins in the Kingdom of Guardia in 1000 A.D. The main character Crono heads to the Millennial Fair to visit his inventor friend Lucca when he runs into a girl named Marle and decides to spend his time at the fair with her. During the presentation of Lucca's new teleportation device Marle is sent through a mysterious rift and Crono sets off to save her. On his journey Crono discovers gates that allow him and his friends to travel through time. Eventually they learn of a creature named Lavos which will destroy the world in the year 1999 and decide to stop it.
Throughout the game the player will travel to 7 different eras. The time travel elements of the plot also make their way into the gameplay mechanics. With the player able to travel through different eras in the game the effects they preform in one era may have a direct impact on other eras.
The game includes 7 playable characters which the player can swap into his 3 character battle team as they become available. Characters include Crono, Lucca, Marle, Frog, Robo, Ayla, and an optional secret character.
Chrono Trigger follows many standards set in the Final Fantasy titles including how the player moves throughout the environments and world map, and the ATB battle system. Chrono Trigger also innovates on these mechanics in unique ways.
In the game the world maps appear zoomed out further than traditional RPG world maps and do not feature any battles, the player can move freely from one location to the other.
The traditional RPG random battles have been replaced with a system where enemies appear within the locations the player is exploring. If the player comes into contact with an enemy, or if an enemy jumps out to surprise the player, the battle commences directly where the encounter takes place. The game does not cut away to a battle screen/location which was a major improvement over other RPGs at the time.
For each battle the player's characters and the enemies are in position depending on where the encounter took place. The player has no control over the position of the characters, but there is strategy involved with positioning including which techniques to use in each situation and seeing which monsters are moving in for an attack.
The battles use a modified version of the ATB system from Final Fantasy where the players can preform actions after a set period of time, shown as a bar which fills up. Each character can attack, use magic or techniques and use items. Techniques can have a set attack spread which allows them to hit multiple monsters based on positioning. The game also features dual and triple techniques which uses up the turn of two or three characters to preform a special combo technique.
The game allows the player to set the battle system to active or wait. Wait pauses the battle while the player chooses inputs for their characters, while monsters can still move and attack while the player chooses during Active.
After completing a game, the player can utilize the New Game + feature which allows the player to restart the game with their powered-up party. Using this party the player can attempt to achieve any of the 13 endings. Some of which are nearly impossible on the first playthrough because of how early in the game the player would have to defeat the final boss.
Chrono Trigger was released on the Playstation as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles set (Final Fantasy 4 and Chrono Trigger). The Playstation version featured anime cutscenes inserted at key points in the game. A Nintendo DS version was also released which includes 2 new dungeons (one being 'Singing Mountain' restored) and a new ending.
A short anime OVA, Dimensional Adventure Numa Monjar, was broadcast at the Japanese V-Jump Festival on July 31, 1996. The short takes place the night before the Millennial Fair where a Nu and Mamo are have arrived at the fair along with other monsters through portals. The anime was followed-up with a manga series in Japan in V Jump.
The game was followed up with Radical Dreamers, a Japanese only title released for download through the Super Famicom SataliteView service. The events of that game were changed and reused in the Playstation sequel Chrono Cross.