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History and Features of Chrono Trigger Playstation Re-Release
History and features of Chrono Trigger Playstation re-release
Unveiling itself underneath the collection entitled Final Fantasy: Chronicles, Chrono Trigger was repackaged with Final Fantasy VI and was released to the North American market on June 29, 2001. This was following the enhanced PlayStation (PS) Chrono Trigger port of the original video game exclusively sold in Japan in 1999. These separate and localized re-releases were deliberately planned in order to familiarize new players before the release of the series' sequel, Chrono Cross, and contained much of the same content featured within the previous installment — a fact that produced criticism among reviewers at the time.
FeaturesHowever, the inclusion of stylized “anime” cutscenes created by the original character illustrator, Akira Toriyama's Bird Studios and animated by Toei Animation Studios, added a new vitality to the overall game and was utilized as an added plot device to further strengthen the connection between the characters and their standing in the ever-changing world around them. In particular, the introductory cutscenes help establish Chrono Trigger's plot from the onset, immediately emphasizing the significant thematic elements present in the game — friendship, courage, exploration, and, of course, time-travel. It is also important to note that the ending animation sets up hints pertaining to the plot for the upcoming sequel, Chrono Cross.
Along with these memorable animations, the introduction of “load times before battles that were . . . non-existent on the cartridge version,” was an unfortunate by-product of migration.1 Since this re-release was migrated to the newer PS technology of the CD instead of the ROM cartridge-based technology utilized by Nintendo at the time, this change in gameplay was inevitable. Although data on a ROM cartridge is fully accessible at any given moment, unlike the CD, the greater capacity and lower cost of CD's ultimately resulted in their widespread adoption.
As an added bonus, an "Extras" mode was included as a hub of unlockable content that populated itself as you progressed throughout the game. From left to right, "Theater" allowed you to watch all of the cutscenes you unlocked on your quest; "Art Gallery" hosted a collection of sketches and promotional art for viewing; "Music Box" housed all of the sound tracks featured in the game for future playback; "Dojo" archived every tech move you learned as an image and gave brief explanations concerning each; "Bestiary" gave access to complete data on enemies you fought, providing an image and statistics pertaining to each enemy; "Item Encyclopedia" provided basic information on all items and equipment encountered, mentioning where the artifact could be discovered, its effects on the user, and total buying and selling price in gold (the Chrono Trigger universe currency); "Ending Log" served as a motivation for experiencing all 13 endings and logged which endings you achieved, as well as how many more there were to uncover; and finally, "Treasure Atlas" preserved the treasure locations you discovered through the guise of an interactive map, allowing you to revisit locations on the push of a button.
Music exclusive to the PS iteration also surfaced. These four new soundtracks, composed by the Composer Tsuyoshi Sekito, were featured in the PS “Extras” mode (where they could also be accessed and played from the “Music Box” feature). They are entitled: “One Sunny Day When We Met,” “Scattering Blossoms,” “A Meeting With Destiny,” and “Time To Rest,” respectively.
These “Extras” contributed to enormous amounts of replay value, and with the quintessential “New Game+” option featured in the original release, gave players — new and veterans alike — more reasons to enjoy the adventure multiple times over.
It is also worthwhile to mention the physical discrepancies when accessing this version with the PS hardware itself. Besides being completely different from a handheld console or device, the PS controller — although quite similar to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) controller — still altered the feeling associated while playing Chrono Trigger. Instead of grasping the controller from the sides, the PS controller possessed two downward handles that acted as grips for the hands, providing arguably more comfort than the SNES controller. Although the PS controller included two analog sticks, these were never utilized — not to mention that the second pair of right and left trigger buttons available on the PS controller were only usable for resetting the game (when the “Start,” “Select,” “R1,” “L1,” “R2,” and “L2” buttons must all be pressed in union). The biggest distinction between the two controllers is the button configuration itself. The SNES controller configured the “Action” button as the “A” button (located to the right) and the “Cancel” or “Dash” button as the “B” button (located closest to the bottom), while the PS controller switched the meaning of these two buttons respectively — with the “X” button (located on the bottom) representing the “Action” button and the “O” button (located on the right) signifying the equivalent of “Cancel” or “Dash.”After successfully selling enough copies, a second release of this collection occurred as part of Sony's Greatest Hits in June 2003. It featured the exact same changes made in the original PS re-release, but was distinct in its marketing — the CD case now marked with a bright green “Greatest Hits” bar, not to mention the re-branding of Square co. to Square Enix co. following the result of a merger between Square and Enix on April 1, 2003 (two months before the release of this version). Six years later, Japan's PS rendition of Chrono Trigger was re-branded as an "Ultimate Hits" title (the equivalent of the "Greatest Hits" distinction) on July 20, 2006. Lastly, in two years time, the PS iteration was re-released on the Playstation Network (PSN) for both Japanese and North American audiences as a downloadable game on October 4, 2011.2
"The various operations departments at Square had been used
to working independently, but then Enix entered into the picture.
This meant a lot more chefs in the kitchen and,
in a good way, served to shake things up a bit.
I feel like the company is moving in a positive direction.”
- Takashi Tokita Director of Chrono Trigger Interview (2003)
These perceptible differences intrinsically establish this re-release as an original historical document on many fronts. Migrating to the CD amounted to greater load times, but also allowed for more content to be stored — thus resulting in the inclusion of animated cutscenes and the “Extras” mode.
 IGN Staff. "Final Fantasy Chronicles: Two Classics in One Package — These Chronicles Are a Must-buy for Any and All RPG Fans." IGN Entertainment. IGN Entertainment, 18 July 2001. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.
 McCarter, Charles. "Chrono Trigger Hits PSN This Tuesday." Web log post. PlayStation Blog. Sony Computer Entertainment America, 29 Sept. 2011. Web. 6 Aug. 2015.