Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition owes its existence to the fact that the devs at Square Enix were afraid that the original version of the classic Japanese RPG was about to become “unplayable.”
Details on the origins of the project come to us from a new, official Square Enix interview with the developers behind the project. The Radical Dreamers Edition originally began as a way to commemorate the game’s 20th anniversary – which would have been in 2019 – but ended up coming out in 2022, awkwardly timed with the 23rd anniversary. The intent of the project is nice to hear, though.
“Back when the project was launched, Chrono Cross was possibly going to become unplayable,” remaster producer Koichiro Sakamoto explains. “There was a Game Archive service on PlayStation 3 that allowed you to play PlayStation 1 games. But PlayStation 4 was already on the market. We didn’t know at the time if PlayStation 4 would also have a Game Archive service. It looked like Chrono Cross could become unplayable. So, a remaster project was set up. That’s the backstory.”
Outside of Japan, that service was known as the PSone Classics collection, and was – or rather, is – basically just a selection of original PlayStation games that were available for a few dollars on PS3, PSP, and Vita. Many of those games are still available on the old machines, but their store pages are beginning to require increasingly draconian steps to locate, and intermittent tech issues have occasionally rendered them unplayable.
The Radical Dreamers Edition launched with some questionable performance and visual issues, though recent patches have improved those problems quite a bit. Radical Dreamers itself – the text-based spin-off that gives the new edition its name – is perhaps the most notable preservation effort here, since it had never previously been released in English, and was becoming quite rare in Japan.
Original director Masato Kato says he was “a bit ashamed” of Radical Dreamers, since it wasn’t truly finished, and pushed for it not to be included in previous Chrono series re-releases. “But then the game started selling at an incredible premium, which was a strange and unpleasant situation. So, I thought ‘why not?'”
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