Chrono Cross is actually one of my favorite JRPG games of all time, and one that I spent a considerable amount of time within my childhood, but to my surprise, I didn’t find this opinion shared by many people after being exposed to the general consensus about the Chrono series, which is why I want to prepare this article for others to make more informed opinions about the Chrono Cross remaster rumors and why should they be excited if they were to actually come true.
The Parallel Dimensions
Not exactly a spoiler, since the idea is introduced like an hour after starting the game, and is in fact one of the main core ideas of the whole experience. The story of the game occurs in two separate worlds wherein one of them you lived happily and normally, and in the other world, you weren’t even born to be with. This creates an unimaginable influence on not just your personal story but everything and everyone who inhabits both worlds.
Even as young as I was, I never imagined seeing an idea like this executed on this grand scale. A lot of care has been implemented in rewriting each location and character twice to conform with your presence (or absence of it). There are many islands that don’t look the same across worlds, and you can treat them as entirely new locations. The same could be said for the characters and how they interact with the different possibilities of what they thought all set in stone.
Many games back then (and even now) used to focus on building this one big overworld map, and filling it with as many things as possible, but it was never before that a developer decided to create two different interpretations of their world, and re-challenge what the player accepts about the world as they go through it and think about all the factors that play into creating one specific truth in a certain manner and not the other.
An Existential Wonder
Chrono Cross’s story unlike its predecessor is not driven by how much you have established across your journey with your friends, but instead how you become slightly detached from your world and all the things you hold dear. You can easily find yourself in an antagonistic relationship with anyone you know simply because you haven’t spent enough time with them, and later developments make you question even more what exactly defines your soul and your presence in the hearts and minds of people.
The story gradually starts to remove every pre-established thing that constitutes your normal idea of self. The time you spent with people, the place you are born in, and even how you look. You start to feel like everything that made you connect with the world and its inhabitants were owing to whimsical gestures of fate, nothing more. Even the friends you had complete trust in might leave you just because they cannot adapt to the changes you go through, and cannot see beyond the image they had of you, or stare into your true soul.
The story asks a simple moral question. Would you still be able to have faith in the things you thought you knew (especially yourself) if the ground you base your faith upon is shaken or completely removed? Is the basis on which you define yourself and others that fragile? outside looks, the circumstances of birth, and personal history are all things that we base pride upon, but maybe they don’t need to have the ultimate authority on you and what you believe in.
A Wake Up Call
The story gets darker and deeper with each passing arc (It’s pretty long actually) and has many twists that are again not so easily found in many other JRPGs. I think a lot of players has missed the world for the simple fact that the themes outshine the characters in this game, in fact, building relationships or fleshing out characters would defeat the entire purpose of how slightly you are losing your sense of self and your sight of what’s ahead because simply you are not sure of anything anymore.
It certainly isn’t something for everyone and not something that is easily digestible for fans of this medium who are used to the adventurous spirits. There is a sense of emptiness to alienation to your journey, and your concrete place in the world becomes a metaphorical one, instead of a physical one. If you don’t question the very things you find predetermined in other games and your life in general, you simply aren’t going to enjoy this game, or probably have missed the point of its entirety.
Many aspects of Chrono Cross are spellbinding and can easily withstand the test of time, especially the art and the soundtracks, but their real significance lies in how they all are tied to the greater version of how we appreciate the grand scheme of life, even though we stay oblivious to our role in it most of the time. There are many challenges this game represents, all catered towards preserving the real integrity of your soul, and seeing others for what they truly are, beyond any kind of boundaries or circumstances.
I think many of the themes and how they are executed are tied very closely in the world we live in today, like Environmentalism and Existentialism, and it’s certainly is a much-needed breath of fresh air in the gaming scene that might have become stagnant in recent years. Not every game has to conform to our standards of what we think stories should be, sometimes, we should take a step back and rework our outlook on life, and think about what’s really important beyond all doubt.
I understand that many people might not easily digest the idea that their efforts and the time they spent cultivating relationships might all be for naught, but that’s how life is. It’s unexpected, It does not always go our away, and Chrono Cross heavily criticizes how immature and oblivious can we be in not accepting this simple truth, and that’s why it encourages us to look beyond our small world, and appreciate the beauty of the soul, for if it’s beautiful, it will accept any change, whatever it may be.