Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition – Remastering a classic

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Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition – Remastering a classic

Producer Koichiro Sakamoto reveals the exciting challenges of remastering and enhancing the classic PlayStation RPG.

Hello everyone – this is Koichiro Sakamoto, Producer of Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition. I’m excited to announce that our new remastered version of this classic RPG is out tomorrow on PlayStation 4!

In addition to the original adventure, the new release includes some additional features, including the never-before released in the West: Radical Dreamers – Le Trésor Interdit.

Working on this remaster has been a real labor of love for both me and the team, but you may be wondering, “how exactly do you remaster a game as beloved as Chrono Cross?” To celebrate the game’s release, I thought it would be interesting to give you some insight into how it all came together.

Mastering the remaster

Some gamers might expect that creating a remastered version is simply a case of taking a game from one system and moving it onto another – but it’s far more difficult than that! I’ve worked on a number of remaster projects, and they’re often very challenging.

For example, original PlayStation games – especially late-era games like Chrono Cross – really pushed what the hardware was capable of. Developers used their technical knowledge and skills to overcome barriers that hardware presented them with, which makes it difficult to break that code down and analyze what it’s actually doing.  

It is at least typically easier to port original PlayStation games than PlayStation 2 titles (the chip inside the PS2 is really unique, and difficult to emulate well), but we faced an additional challenge when it came to Chrono Cross, as the game program and graphical data weren’t preserved in a complete form.

That meant across the start of development, it was impossible to recreate the original version of the game across multiple platforms. We had to pore through the data that had been preserved and play through the original game ourselves to work out what was missing and restore it.

That required an enormous amount of effort from all the companies involved in development.

Still, there were some upsides to it too, of course, including the fact that Chrono Cross has always been a great game – so playing though it again was actually quite a lot of fun.

Scars of time

Another big technical challenge that we faced on Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition came from the static backgrounds used in the game.

To offer up a little history lesson: when the original PlayStation first came out, it was exciting for a lot of developers. Many of us imagined that they could now use polygons to create more realistic worlds – but we soon discovered there were a lot of obstacles to overcome.

Not only were there the limitations of the hardware itself, there were also serious issues when it came to loading times. As a result, there often had to be a balance between 2D and 3D elements.

Take a game like Final Fantasy VII, for example, which has 2D backgrounds. I think that if you tried to create them in 3D, and then have characters in 3D and a movable camera, it simply wouldn’t be possible with the original PlayStation hardware.

At the same time, just having an old-fashioned 2D background wouldn’t feel like much of an evolution from the previous generation of consoles.

As a result, what we did back then was to create a 3D image, and then take a still capture of it. By using a still image for the background and moving the polygon characters around, we were able to depict depth and make it feel like a 3D space. It was a compromise between the realism that people wanted, and what we could realistically achieve with the hardware.

This is an approach the developers of Chrono Cross also took, but unfortunately, like many games of that era, the original 3D data before the prerender is no longer available – and that’s a problem.

Static shock 

What we had to do when working on this Chrono Cross remaster was to take each existing pre-rendered image to as high a resolution as possible. We then upscaled that and manually built on some of them at an even higher resolution.

It’s a very difficult task. We used AI to help to sharpen the images, but that’s not perfect – everything still comes down to having manual processes or the “human touch” to make sure it all looked appropriate.

The backgrounds you see in the final release is the result of a lot of effort from the team – something I’m very grateful to them for.

 

Boosting battles

While remastering Chrono Cross is a big job, it’s also been an extremely exciting one – particularly in the potential to add additional features.

For previous remasters I’ve worked on, such as Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, we implemented features like invincibility, speeding up time, and the ability to turn off random encounters. These have been popular with players – particularly those who don’t want to spend as much time playing games, and those who want to play through the games again once they’ve completed them.

In a similar spirit, we’ve added some amazing new battle enhancement features that make the game even more convenient to play. You can now auto-battle, turn off enemy encounters, change the game speed right from the beginning – and there’s even a Battle Boost option that makes battles easier.

The last one was an interesting one to develop because it raised a lot of questions about the balancing of the game, and whether these new features made it too easy.

The Battle Boost does make the game easier – that’s the point after all – but we wanted to ensure it didn’t also make it feel uninvolving. In previous remasters, we’ve included an invincible mode, but for Chrono Cross we have instead implemented a system where the enemy’s attack has a high chance of missing.

That way, combat is made easier, but still requires involvement from players.

Radical dreams

Speaking of new features, I’m also thrilled that we were able to include Radical Dreamers – Le Trésor Interdit.

This text adventure is something that many players never got to experience, as it was released exclusively for the Satellaview in Japan. However, one of the scenarios included in the adventure connects to Chrono Cross (and Chrono Trigger), so it’s something that fans will definitely want to play. I’m very proud of the fact that now they can.

I hope you enjoyed reading that insight into the development of Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition.

From me and everyone on the team, thank you so much for your support and interest in the game – I hope you have a great time playing it. Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition launches tomorrow on PS4.

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37 Comments

  • The last several remasters you felt the need to alter content, rather than just update the visuals.
    So I’ll pass. Thank you, no thank you.

    • And they really shouldn’t be saying mastering the remaster. Leave that to Blue point. These are half-hearted portmasters. This is not what people wanted. Pass.

    • Yeah, the Steam reviews are savage. This is a lazy port job, not an upgrade.
      I don’t understand why they keep doing this. These half-hearted rush jobs aren’t doing your legacy any favor. Quit shooting yourself in the foot Squeenix!

  • I’m excited to replay Chrono Cross! It’s been too long.

  • You really should’ve included Chrono Trigger in this package; even if you didn’t put the extra effort into remastering it. The first game is coming up on 30 years old soon, so a good majority of players likely to buy this collection may not have played the first game. They really should have the opportunity to do so in order to better appreciate these sequels.

    • The fact that they remastered this and not Chrono Trigger is a damn crime. Chrono Trigger is one of the best games ever made and they ignore it like it never existed.

    • They released it to Steam, but not the PSN. Why not, SE, why not?

  • Never played the original, excited to see how this turns out.

  • Let us open the door to the great unknown,
    Come across another reality,
    And live another today…

    Even after replaying the PSN version on PS3 about a year ago, I can’t wait to dive into this.

  • Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite games of all time, and I loved Chrono Cross just as much when it released on PS1 way back in the day, and I’m super excited to revisit CC! I’ve only beaten it once, and I still have my old strategy guide for the PS1 version on my bookshelf! Time to whip it out and see if I can get all the different endings this time XD XD

    It’s already been added to my wishlist on PS5, so now I’m just waiting to actually be able to buy it and download it!

  • I’m genuinely excited that Chrono is finally getting some attention from Square. I’ve never played Cross, so this is an easy pick up for me. Fingers crossed Trigger gets put on the Playstation store at some point, and maybe, just maybe, we see something new for Chrono? Hm? Hm? *nudge nudge*

  • Very much a sad day again for Square releasing their game as it’s not even worth of a re-release with this stuck at 30fps.
    It’s 2022, fix your internal framerate limit on your old classics.
    I’ll stick to my OG PS1 copy for now until they get with the times.
    It’s like 99.9% of Square’s RPG budget is going to either Forspoken or Final Fantasy 16, which I hope is worth the risk for them.

  • I can’t decide on getting the PS4/5 version or PC version. PC will likely have mods, but Square Enix PC releases tend to be hit or miss on bugs.

    Either way, I hope it sells enough for Square Enix to warrant releasing Chrono Trigger’s PC version on consoles, with all of the DS version content added, and then work on finally releasing Chrono Break.

  • BFM next please.

    Regard,
    John Earwig

  • First of all, this was handled by Square, not Sony.

    Second of all, you and 17.3 million other people bought a PS5 (notwithstanding the scalpers).

    Third of all, first and second add up to if you don’t like it, you can use your PS5 how you want to use it and let everyone else use theirs how they want. Then everyone is happy. Stow the nasty attitude, it’s not welcome here.

  • Now we just need a remaster of Threads of Fate to have a completely remastered version of Square’s Summer of Adventure 2000.

  • looks exciting

  • Thank you guys for the effort you put into this! If not for you, many more generations would still not know wtf Chrono Cross is. Even if this still has some issues, I will buy it and play it, and hope down the road you guys patch it. I can’t even imagine the development work it takes to do this… and also, remastering the OST was a nice surprise. I’m very happy. Thank you to the team and Yasanori Mitsuda!

  • Been waiting for a prepurchase to drop so I could get it installed ahead of binging it; have the PS1 Classics release on my PS3, but with this news, I felt fit to wait. Frustrating that what I expected to be midnight going into or noontime of the 6th turned out to bed instead right when I need to turn in for work the next morning, but I would hope that time away will see a day-one patch to address these performance issues I’ve seen in prerelease press. Certainly the successor systems to the original PS1 hardware should be sufficient to maintain a steady framerate, let alone whether it’s a modern 60FPS.

  • Real wide-screen, please..

  • I only buy QUALITY remasters.

    This ain’t it, chief. Do better.

  • Hello Sony I want to purchase a PS5.I been waiting a long time how do I go about buying one

    Thank you
    Raymond Sliwinski

  • Chrono Cross is still my favorite game of all time. I’m so excited to see Square give it some focus. Hopefully the series can get some proper attention going forward 🤞

    Sony, you should really consider remastering and revisiting The Legend of Dragoon.

  • Sounds like an awesome remaster that was well done. Personally I have always adored “Chrono Trigger”, so I expected to love “Chrono Cross” when it first released, I however did not. Originally I had issues on the story & character front when it comes to “Chrono Cross”- as I usually prefer a smaller acquirable cast. But I still greatly appreciated the design and the admirable effort the game made as a stand alone RPG. This “Radical Dreamers” edition seems to have been able to streamline the experience making going through game a succinct enjoyable experience.

  • The_0neAbove_AIl

    I never tried Chrono cross before. However, with these remastered version are finally release on PS4/PS5. I can play them whenever I have the chance. At least I played Chrono Trigger and complete the game.

  • So yes I have to be a jerk. It’s depressing to see that Crono Cross has a release date of 4/6/2022 didn’t release today. Also Trigger was better. Same statement I mention about .hack why release the end and not the beginning. Makes no sense.

    • It’s on the store already. I believe that’s the USA date format

    • The fact that they remastered this and not Chrono Trigger is a damn crime. Chrono Trigger is one of the best games ever made and they ignore it like it never existed.

  • Yes an Original Classic game!!!!! Miss it so much! They should add Legend of Dragoons too! But can’t wait for Crono!!!! It better run at 120 too lol

  • This is how I feel like also. It’s nice to have a remaster every once in awhile but I wish companies would focus on the PlayStation 5. I remember reading an article back drugly from Sony where they said that every time a person gets a next generation system they want next Gen games but they sure seem to be focused on allowing nothing but remasters

  • Your “opinion” wasn’t an opinion, it was a condescending and self-important demand. If you don’t personally like something, don’t try to speak for everyone. And no, I won’t go away.

  • And since I can’t edit comments, I’ll add that I’m not even a Chrono Cross fan. What you said was so stupid that I had to say something.

  • Avoid this “remaster” unless you have no other way to play Chrono Cross. It actually has worse performance issues than the original on PS1 hardware. I’ve tested this out myself and Digital Foundry recently put out a video with the same conclusion. I’m hoping for a patch to fix this but my faith in SquareEnix is not as strong as it once was.

  • It’s an emulated version with poor AI upscaling inferior to what’s been done with existing emulator mods, that runs at a worse framerate than the original PS1 version.

    A PS4 game, running on the PS5, with worse performance than a PS1 game.

    SAVE YOUR MONEY.

  • Does Sony have any comment to explain why the PSOne Classics version of Chrono Cross on PS3 and PS Vita were given an expiration date of 12/31/1969 and thus unplayable?

    Because the people who bought that game with their own hard-earned money on Sony’s store front on their PS3 and PS Vita consoles that they also bought with their own hard-earned money are entitled to answers, as well as a fix to make the expiration date as “never”. This is in the news, and Sony is getting negative publicity out of this.

  • Thank you so much for these remasters! Final Fantasy VIII and IX were really well done and I look forward to playing Chrono Cross with similar treatment. I’m really not much of a gamer any more but every time I see a remaster of a classic JRPG its full stop, give up my morning coffee and breakfast and head over to PlayAisa to purchase a physical copy. I hope to see Final Fantasy: Origins, Anthology and Chronicles on the Switch and maybe even some forgotten gems like Parasite Eve in the future. Keep up the great work and thanks again.

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