After the release of Chrono Cross, it was rumoured that SquareSoft had planned to create a third Chrono game under the name of Chrono Break. It never materialised and some 10 years later there has never been a continuation of the series. I enjoyed Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross so much that I wondered what a third game in the series would have been like if it had been made right after the release of Cross. So here is my idea for a sequel to Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross.
Firstly, I thought about a more direct sequel to Trigger. The first thing that came to mind was Magus and his continuing journey to find Schala. This could bring a lot of new travels for Magus in new locations, but Schala’s ultimate fate is shown through the ending of Cross. Next, I moved on to a story following Crono and Marle straight after the ending of Trigger leading up to the fall of the Kingdom of Guardia. This could set up an interesting narrative with an expected tragic ending, but again Cross shows what events are like later in that timeline anyway. So I needed something new.
This led me to think differently about the main story overview of both Trigger and Cross and look at the bigger picture of what both of the games represent. While the personal stories of the main characters are what we as the players are attached to, the games are really telling the life of another character, The Planet.
When I thought about it like this, the concept used by the designers of the story in Chrono Cross made a lot more sense. So, like Cross, the third Chrono game must expand on the story of The Planet and feature a new cast of characters discovering more of The Planet’s life-cycle. A few general ideas connect the games that should also be used in the third game to retain the spirit of the series. As far as mechanics, time travel and alternate dimensions are a must, as well as multiple endings. For the story, The Planet’s life must be in danger from some form of Lavos and the actions of the characters in the past must be shown to have consequences in the future.
The most interesting idea that Cross hinted at, is that while the original cast of Trigger saved The Planet from Lavos in the first game, it made an entire future cease to exist and now people from that reality never have a chance to be born. A plot could then be constructed, that the new main cast of characters are originally from that now alternate timeline and would find out about Crono’s team stopping Lavos from destroying the world in AD 1999. They would then need to formulate a plan to travel back in time and across dimensions to again rewrite history to preserve their timeline’s existence. While travelling across time they would find out more about The Planet’s history and I could see it ending up as being a choice of selfishly wanting to protect their own future, or once again making sure Lavos is defeated for the greater good of The Planet’s life-cycle. They could freely travel between timelines through the use of an invention left by
Belthasar know as the Chrono Shift which allows access to various locations much
like the time gates from the original Chrono Trigger.
With that general plotline in place the story could have the characters view events from the various time periods and alternate dimensions from the previous games as well as discovering new ones. This would enable the ability to have old characters make an appearance, have a variety of interesting locations, both old and new and make a definitive ending to the series story. It also gives plenty of opportunity to create both serious and comedic multiple endings, if the new characters mess around with events from past too much and radically change the timeline’s history.
I think it would make for an appropriate conclusion to the Chrono series universe, letting the fan’s experience another great RPG in the franchise as well as showcasing the classic games to a new generation of players.