When asked what JRPG they’d love to “Westernize,” two of the leads at Obsidian Entertainment chose the 1994 SNES classic Chrono Trigger.
Many of the folks at Obsidian have a long and storied pedigree of working on Western RPGs, from tenures at Black Isle working on Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment to their time at Obsidian with Knights of the Old Republic II and the upcoming Fallout: New Vegas. Speaking with Siliconera about their work on the recently-announced Dungeon Siege 3, however, two Obsidian higher-ups discussed RPGs from the other side of the Pacific.
According to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart, the developer had been in talks with JRPG giant Square-Enix for quite some time – which is how they’d been tapped to make Dungeon Siege. “We were talking to Square for quite awhile,” said Urquhart, “You make RPGs, we make RPGs, it would be great to see what we could do together. And they really wanted to start getting into Western RPGs. And, so it kind of all ended up fitting together.”
When asked what other Square-Enix franchise they might want to work on, however, Urquhart and lead designer Nathan Chapman agreed on the seminal Chrono Trigger. “[Across] everything that I played I would have to go with Chrono Trigger. I think Chrono Trigger was one I really enjoyed.”
Of course, then the question is: How do you make it into a Western RPG? “I think we’re going with Chrono Trigger because it has elements of a Western RPG. It’s more open, it’s still mostly linear, but there are parts you can explore more,” said Chapman, praising the game’s multiple endings and ability to fight the final boss at pretty much any moment after an early checkpoint.
“I think it would be fun to take the setting of a Japanese RPG, which is a weird mix of fantasy and sci-fi mashed together and make a Western RPG out of that,” elaborated Urquhart. “I think that would be cool. I mean it’s kind of Star Wars, that’s kind of what Star Wars is a fantasy in space. I think that would be interesting.”
I think it would be interesting too, Feargus. It also helps that Chrono Trigger is, in this writer’s humble opinion, one of the best games ever made by anyone anywhere. So more Chrono Trigger is always a good thing.
Though I can’t help shake the feeling that an Obsidian-developed Trigger would actually give Crono a voice. And that would just be wrong.
I’d still play it, though.