For the last few weeks, Japanese web sites have been rumbling with a rumor that one of the titles found on the Legend of Mana's demo disc will be a sequel to Chrono Trigger. Word on the street says that Square has also registered the name "Chrono Cross." Now, additional evidence appears to confirm that the rumor is correct. In a recent post to a public message forum, one of Xenogears' character designers dropped a bombshell:
"Some of former Xenogears staffs are now working for Square's two RPGs. 'Dewprism' (action RPG) and a big RPG. (Sorry, title is confidential. *A hint: 'Ch' begins the title*) and they do really good job. RPG fans will have a lot of fun in this winter holidays!"
Astute Square fans may remember that many "former Xenogears staffs members" were once "former Chrono Trigger staff members." And it seems unlikely that such high-profile staff members would be placed onto a "Chocobo" title - could this hint be referring to a title starting with "Chrono"?
Additionally, an animation company in Japan has been working on a project code-named "Anime of Toriyama Akira" (Akira Toriyama was the character designer for the first Chrono Trigger). And one source indicates that this project is "Chrono Trigger 2." This assumption is further supported by the large number of Chrono Trigger posters now adorning the company's walls. The CT sequel would appear to have traditional cel animated sequences similar to Xenogears'.
And the time is right for a Chrono Trigger sequel. At a recently announced international press conference to take place next month on July 14, Square is set to announce a huge, "new Square title not yet announced in Japan." With Legend of Mana's release set for July 15 - a mere 24 hours after the conference - this conference likely concerns the identity of one of the as-of-yet unrevealed games on the demo disc. It seems unlikely that Square would invite the international press to Japan for anything less than a marquee title, and it seems even more unlikely that Square would start Final Fantasy IX hype before Final Fantasy VIII's US release. Could a Chrono Trigger sequel be the planned announcement? An old promo reel of Square's from mid-1996 contained footage of a "Chrono Trigger 2"; while much of that technologies appear to have gone into Xenogears, it's clear that Square has kept the franchise in mind.
One final detail concerns Square's Japanese web page. This past March, Chrono Trigger was added to its archive of older Super Famicom titles - an interesting and late appendix to Square's history. But the "new" Chrono Trigger web page also features "new," never-before-seen artwork by an artist other than Toriyama. What's more, while found in the Super Famicom section, the art was classified under the internal web structure as a PlayStation game. A few weeks ago, Square changed the page's original artwork to the older, Toriyama-drawn artwork for the SNES game. While this eleventh-hour Chrono Trigger coverage and artwork swap may be just coincidence, it shows that Square is intent on making sure gamers don't forget about the original game.
All in all, the evidence strongly points toward a follow-up to the original Chrono Trigger. Millions of eager fans would love to see this "impossible" sequel finally come true - hopefully, Square will make an official announcement soon.