OpinionVideo Games

Dear Square Enix: Hire Sabotage Studios to Remake Chrono Trigger

chrono and marle spending time beneath a sea of stars

Dear Square Enix,

It’s time. You’ve neglected Chrono Trigger long enough. As one of the greatest games ever made, many fans – myself included – think it’s absurd that we haven’t seen any significant re-release since 2008’s Nintendo DS port and the shoddy PC version a decade later that required several updates to make it playable. At the same time, your other role-playing juggernauts have gotten enough spinoffs and remakes to satisfy the hunger of the people of 2300 A.D. And no, I don’t mean a remaster like the recent Chrono Cross: Radical Dreamers Edition on the Nintendo Switch, which somehow runs worse than the original PlayStation 1 version.

Instead, it’s time to give Chrono Trigger a full-blown remake. I don’t think anyone wants a high budget Final Fantasy 7: Remake version of Crono, Lucca, and Marle’s quest to stop Lavos from destroying the planet. Rather, I think most fans would prefer a faithful reimagining that captures what made the original great: stellar music that backdrops an enigmatic, time-hopping adventure with one of the most memorable casts in RPG history. And with the release of Sea of Stars last month, there’s no better developer to hire to make it happen than Sabotage Studios.

There’s so many ways in which the Canadian developer proved they could handle a remake of Chrono Trigger better than any other, whether they meant to do so or not. Sea of Stars encapsulates what made Chrono Trigger so special all those years ago, yet successfully modernized for 2023, to the point where it feels like a pseudo-spiritual successor. Every screen is a gorgeous work of pixel art – one of the areas where Chrono Trigger most needs an upgrade. Imagine seeing Leene’s Square done up with the same love given to Brisk, or the Kingdom of Zeal rendered as beautifully as the Cloud Kingdom.

Related: Garl Is the True Protagonist in Sea of Stars

valere zale and garl exploring the port town of brisk

I would be remiss not to mention the animations. For 1995, Chrono Trigger was a marvel, but in 2023 pixel-based games have come so much further. Seeing Giga Gaia animated like one of the monstrous Dwellers would be a special treat that Chrono Trigger fans deserve and well worth another hike up the Mountain of Woe. But even the smaller enemies, such as Freelancers and Kilwalas, would benefit greatly from a few more frames to truly bring their attacks to life.

And you already know they’re capable of doing the music justice, Square Enix. Yasunori Mitsuda, Chrono Trigger’s original composer, provided Sea of Stars 10 guest tracks, after all. Maybe he’d sign on to help remake them all, or maybe you’d prefer to go the full orchestration route the same way you did with the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters – I wouldn’t complain either way. I just want to see what I’d argue is the best video game OSTs celebrated with a modern reimagining.

The combat doesn’t need changing outside of, perhaps, a higher difficulty mode. While Sabotage Studios innovated upon turn-based RPG mechanics with a combination of the timed-button presses from Super Mario RPG mixed together with their own ‘lock’ and ‘live mana’ systems, Chrono Trigger wouldn’t be the same if it’s active-time battle combat was tampered with too much. Much like how Super Mario RPG will get a remake for the Nintendo Switch this November (yes, I am unreasonably excited for it), faithfulness here is key.

Speaking of the Super Mario RPG remake, what else is there left for you to remaster, re-release, or remake that is more renowned than Chrono Trigger, Square Enix? Sure, the Final Fantasies from VIII to X also need your love, and so do a handful of other nigh-forgotten franchises like Vagrant Story, but honestly I would take it as a personal insult if the latter was remade before Chrono Trigger, as much as I’d like to play it again.

Regardless, I realize this open letter likely only amounts to a far-flung hope of a starved, longtime fan. Not only would you need to see financial benefit of remaking the game wholly instead of producing a shoddy port that would sell well enough anyway (and that I unfortunately would buy), Sabotage Studios would have to agree to remake it. But you should still think about asking them, Square Enix. If not for all the Chrono Trigger fans that have supported you from when you were known simply as Square, then do it for the gargantuan Nintendo Switch install base that will definitely eat up another classic Japanese role-playing game on the system.


Lowell ‘Chrono Trigger is the best JRPG’ Bell

About the author

Lowell Bell
Lowell is a freelance contributor with The Escapist that began his career reporting on live events such as the Penny Arcade Expo and E3 back in 2012. Over the last couple of years, he carved a niche for himself covering competitive Pokémon as he transitioned into game criticism full time. About a decade ago, Lowell moved to Japan for a year or two but is still there, raising a Shiba Inu named Zelda with his wife while missing access to good burritos. He also has a love/hate relationship with Japanese role-playing games.