Game development

What is the link between Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger?

Fans welcomed Square Enix’s second installment stopwatch franchise just over 20 years ago. Initial reception was generally positive, although many believed that Chrono-Cross was a major change from its predecessor, the trigger of a stopwatch. Since it wasn’t a direct sequel that the vast majority had hoped for, it took some time to Chrono-Cross to establish itself as a worthy extension to the story and grow with the fans of its predecessor. If there is no doubt that the two stopwatch Installments offer different experiences, they are inextricably linked.


Following the release of Xenogears in 1998, Square took steps to bring its ideas for Chrono-Cross to bear fruit. The success of Radical dreamersa Japan-exclusive text-based visual novel at the time, caused the publisher to consider a new stopwatch episode in the spirit of this satellite game. the trigger of a stopwatchScript director Masato Kato thought the visual novel wasn’t polished enough, but still wanted to continue the story of the protagonist Kid. In keeping with the natural transition from the 16-bit era to the 32-bit era, Chrono-Cross became an indirect sequel.

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Official artwork representing the main characters of Chrono Trigger.

Official artwork representing the main characters of Chrono Trigger.

the trigger of a stopwatchThe story revolves around time travel and altering past events in hopes of avoiding the destruction wrought by a mysterious alien entity, Lavos. In the same order of ideas, Chrono-Cross addresses alternate timelines by developing the concept of the butterfly effect, which transcends time constraints and introduces cause and effect into parallel universes. Although it may take new players a while to figure out the gist of the confusion stopwatch narrative, the extended story of Cross would not exist without the procedures that changed history and led to a better future in Trigger.


Bypassing the post-apocalyptic state of 2300 AD using a time machine built by the wise Belthasar, the consequences of a brighter future affected everyone. the trigger of a stopwatchthe characters one way or another. Belthasar, in particular, was not native to his environment, but rather a transplant from a highly advanced magical realm that appeared during Triggerevents. Since the dark future of 2300 AD was never realized thanks to the protagonists’ enterprises, Belthasar’s knowledge was diverted to save Schala, the last princess of Zeal.

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While the princess played a small but important role in the trigger of a stopwatchhis fate was only revealed Cross and the Ocean Palace. At the end of Trigger, Schala was eventually consumed by a dimensional vortex in the darkness beyond time, where she and Lavos merged and became the Time Devourer. Having learned of this, Belthasar put all his efforts into devising a plan to rescue the princess from the clutches of her cruel fate in a changed, destruction-free year of 2300. He eventually built a city-sized laboratory called Chronopolis, which was sent back in time due to a preset technological malfunction.



Promotional image for Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, featuring some of the key characters.
Promotional image for Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, featuring some of the key characters.

Overall, Chronopolis existed throughout the the trigger of a stopwatchbut its presence has been masked by cutting-edge technology, the operation of which is explained in Cross. Belthasar’s quantum AI, FATE, was responsible for keeping everything under control until the fateful day when Cross‘ protagonist, Serge, accidentally came into contact with her. He was also a catalyst for Schala’s “awakening”, as she used the powers of the Time Devourer to create a clone of herself, resulting in Kid’s very existence. Crossmain heroine.

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In a sense, everything that happens in Cross directly correlates to a series of orchestrated events rooted in previously altered futures and Belthasar’s manipulation of history spanning over 10,000 years. At its heart is the rescue of Schala, connecting the two installments via alternate timelines and parallel universes.

Rather than complicate matters further by including the trigger of a stopwatchextensive use of time travel in Cross, the game director decided to break out of the previously established formula and provide a new experience. He thought it would help new players understand the implications of Cross better without getting confused with its plot.


The decision to present Cross in a new light and that it intertwines with Trigger was also driven by the developer’s vision to make the most of technological advancements and promote their efficiency. Rehashing old mechanics designed to fit the limitations of outdated hardware was out of the question, and the game’s development faithfully reflected that position. Although fans never received a real sequel to the trigger of a stopwatch, Chrono-Cross more than compensates with its overarching setting and a carefully crafted narrative that expands on the events of its predecessor.


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