Nintendo announced the reveal of the SNES Classic Edition Monday morning to the excitement of fans (and possibly scalpers) everywhere.
The mini-system will launch with 21 pre-installed games that range from many titles that are a huge part of late 20 to early 30 year old’s childhood. Titles that include, Final Fantasy III, Earthbound, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, to name a few. These games that made up a huge part of my life, are now made available for future generations to enjoy.
However, there’s just one thing missing: Chrono Trigger.
Released in 1995 for the SNES, Chrono Trigger possibly changed the lives of many gamers as it told one of the greatest stories in video game history. The main protagonist, Chrono, gets pulled into journey with a ragtag party and thrown into an enormous plot to save the world.
Using the mechanic of time traveling, players need to journey to different eras that will assist them on their quest. Without giving away too much, the game also allows the player to fight the final boss when they might not be equipped to do so, which blew my mind as a kid.
Nothing I say in this post will do the story of Chrono Trigger justice. The game does so much right in terms of story telling, graphics, and character development. Thinking back I can remember waking up early before school to try and play if only for 30-minutes, hoping that I’d get to a save point before I had to leave.
Chrono Trigger deserves a spot in the lives of the generation of gamers growing up today. It’s fast-paced colorful set pieces and explorable areas across different time periods are something that every gamer should experience at least once in their life. Although it’s a turn-based RPG, the battle system is fast and simple, which makes it accessible to players not familiar with the genre.
While Chrono Trigger has been released on PlayStation and Nintendo DS, the former being a botched port. The SNES Classic would offer an easier way for new gamers to experience Chrono Trigger the same way I did, albeit on a way nicer television screen. With the SNES controller in hand they’ll be able to see how truly stunning this game from their past is.
Why wasn’t Chrono Trigger included within the SNES Classic’s roster? No one outside of Nintendo or Square Enix likely has the answer — as much as we would love to, we can’t give you a concrete explanation. However, there are illustrations we can draw from other issues that publishers have experienced when creating collections.
The first reason tends to be the most common in mega collections that span multiple properties: licensing disputes. In the past, this has been the prime reason for both Donkey Kong 64 or Star Fox Adventures (Rare developer, Nintendo published games) to be excluded from Rare Replay.
While many fans of licensed titles are clamoring for the SNES Classic Edition roster to have games like Aladdin, Super Star Wars or Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures, there are immediate problems with licensing issues and working out contracts.
The more companies, developers and publishers you bring in to the project, the more Nintendo has to get lawyers involved. Development and licensing costs begin to add up quickly. Nintendo very clearly wanted to get the most bang with their buck, contracting with some of the best SNES publishers like Square Enix, Capcom and Konami and ignoring one-hit wonder developers.
However, as we mentioned, Square Enix is one of the partners, offering titles like Final Fantasy III, Secret of Mana, and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. With the groundwork in place, it seems weird that Chrono Trigger was omitted — unless there is further issues with licensing Chrono Trigger in particular.
Next, critics will be quick to point out that Nintendo (as always) is targeting the general public and their wants before more niche or hardcore audiences. And though this may be a viable claim to omit obscure titles that have waxed in popularity in niche markets (for example Actraiser), there already is a hardcore following in the gaming community for Chrono Trigger.
Sure, it doesn’t have the name recognition as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or Super Mario World, but Chrono Trigger is often cited by many (even at DualShockers) as the best game of that generation, if not the best game of all time. Not only that, but Nintendo has included the obscure Star Fox 2 in the SNES Classic Edition — a game that never saw the light of day on a store shelf or in a consumer’s console.
Last but not least, there is always the strong possibility that either Nintendo wasn’t interested in purchasing the rights, or Square Enix wasn’t thrilled about licensing them away. This may be the most likely option, given a small bit of contemporary history.
Despite both Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U having Virtual Consoles, Chrono Trigger hasn’t made an appearance on a Nintendo handheld or home system since either the Nintendo DS or Nintendo Wii, respectively. Perhaps Square Enix or Nintendo have their own personal motivation to keep Chrono Trigger out of the limelight.
This isn’t to say I’m not happy with the SNES Classic Edition’s JRPG selections; Final Fantasy III and Secret of Mana are among some of the best games in the genre. With that said, I would switch out any of them for Chrono Trigger. That game gave me an amazing childhood, I can only hope that this generation of gamers will have the opportunity to have that same experience.