Music of Chrono Cross

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The Chrono series is a video game franchise developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square). It began in 1995 with the time travel role-playing video game Chrono Trigger, which spawned two continuations, Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross. The music of Chrono Cross was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the main composer of Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers. Chrono Cross has sparked a soundtrack album, released in 1999 by DigiCube and re-released in 2005 by Square Enix, and a greatest hits mini-album, published in 2000 by Square along with the North American release of the game. Radical Dreamers, the music of which heavily inspired the soundtrack of Chrono Cross, has not sparked any albums, though some songs from its soundtrack were reused in Chrono Cross. An album of arrangements of Chrono Cross songs was first announced by Mitsuda in 2005; its release data has been pushed back several times since then, and it is now intended to be released to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the game in 2009.

The original soundtrack album has been hailed as an excellent video game music album, while the Chrono Cross Music Selection mini-album has garnered little attention. Songs from the soundtrack have been played at various orchestral concerts, such as the personal arrangements by Mitsuda for the Play! A Video Game Symphony concert series. Chrono Cross music has also been extensively remixed by fans, and such remixes have been included in both official and unofficial albums.

Creation and development[edit]

Sample of "Under the Moonlight", illustrating Radical Dreamers' ambient musical atmosphere.

Sample of Chrono Cross's credits theme, demonstrating the voice of Noriko Mitose.

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Mitsuda returned as the lead composer for 1999's Chrono Cross after composing its prequel, Chrono Trigger. After being contacted to compose the score by the game's director Masato Kato,[1] Mitsuda decided to center his work around old world cultural influences, including Mediterranean, Fado, Celtic, and percussive African music.[2] To complement the theme of parallel worlds, he gave the songs for the two worlds of the game, Another and Home, respectively dark and bright moods.[1] Mitsuda was happy to accomplish even half of what he envisioned.[2] Once production concluded, Mitsuda played Chrono Cross to record his impressions and observe how the tracks intermingled with scenes.[2]

Radical Dreamers was a 1996 text-based Visual Novel set as a gaiden, or side story, to Chrono Trigger. It was released to complement its predecessor's plot, and later served as inspiration for Chrono Cross.[3] The music of Radical Dreamers was written by Yasunori Mitsuda.[2] The soundtrack includes several ambient pieces, including the sound of water running in a fountain and wind accompanied by strings. Players can listen to the game's 15 songs by accessing a hidden menu in one of the game's scenarios.[4] The soundtrack has never been released as a separate album.

Several themes and musical patterns from Radical Dreamers were later adapted for Chrono Cross on the suggestion of Masato Kato; many appear unchanged except for new instrumentation.[2] Appearing in Chrono Cross are "Gale", "Frozen Flame", "Viper Manor", "Far Promise ~ Dream Shore" (as part of "On the Beach of Dreams - Another World" and "The Dream that Time Dreams"), "The Girl who Stole the Stars", and "Epilogue ~ Dream Shore" (as part of "Jellyfish Sea").[2] Other entries in the soundtrack contain leitmotifs from Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers. The melody of "Far Promise ~ Dream Shore" features prominently in "The Dream That Time Dreams" and "Voyage - Another World".[1]

Albums[edit]

Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack[edit]

Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Yasunori Mitsuda
Released December 18, 1999
June 29, 2005
Genre Ambient, Classical, Downtempo, Electronic, Minimal,[5] Video game music
Length 2:53:51
Label DigiCube
Square Enix (re-release)

The Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack is a soundtrack of the music from Chrono Cross, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. The soundtrack spans three discs and 67 tracks, covering a duration of 3 hours. It was published by DigiCube on December 18, 1999, and reprinted by Square Enix on June 29, 2005.[6]

Xenogears contributor Tomohiko Kira played guitar on the beginning and ending themes. Noriko Mitose, selected for the role by Masato Kato, sang the ending song "Radical Dreamers ~ Unstolen Jewel ~".[1] Ryo Yamazaki, a synthesizer programmer for Square Enix, helped Mitsuda transfer his ideas to the PlayStation's sound capabilities.[2] The soundtrack has been described as having "some of the most haunting melodies known to man".[6] The "Home World" tracks from the soundtrack have been termed "emotional", "driving" and "striking", while the "Another World" tracks are described as "slower", "dreamier", and more "serene" than their counterparts.[7]

The soundtrack won the Gold Prize for Sony's PlayStation Awards of 2000.[8] It reached #72 on the Japan Oricon charts on its first print and #174 when reprinted.[9][10] It was praised by reviewers such as Patrick Gann of RPGFan, who called it his favorite video game music soundtrack of all time and especially praised the vocals in "Radical Dreamers ~ Unstolen Jewel ~".[6] This high opinion was echoed by Don Kotowski of Square Enix Music Online, who called it "one of Mitsuda's best, both in and out of [the] context" of the game and said that it "surpasses his Chrono Trigger soundtrack". He singled out "Scars of Time" and "Radical Dreamers" as especially worthy of praise.[7] IGN, in their review of the game, termed the soundtrack "a brilliant score" that "does wonders in stirring the emotional strings of the players as they're playing through the game". IGN praised the technical sound quality of the soundtrack as well, though they did comment that for them no specific tracks stood out as especially memorable.[11] In a separate piece about Japanese RPG composers, however, IGN called "Scars of Time" and "Arni Village - Home World" as two of Mitsuda's most memorable tracks in naming him the second best out of ten behind Nobuo Uematsu.[12]

Track listing


Chrono Cross Music Selection[edit]

Sample of "Scars of Time", the iconic title piece featuring the guitar playing of Tomohiko Kira.

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Chrono Cross Music Selection is a mini-album of Chrono Cross music that was released in North America exclusively as a bonus for pre-ordering Chrono Cross. The five-track disc was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, has a length of 15:47[13] and was published by Square along with the game on August 15, 2000. Although the release of the album sparked rumors that it would be followed by a North American release of the full soundtrack album, Square Enix has not to date published Chrono Cross OST outside of Japan.[13]

Patrick Gann enjoyed the album, calling it a "little American gem of VG music", but noted that there is no reason to purchase it now that the full soundtrack is just as easy to obtain, especially given its short length.[13]


Arranged album[edit]

In 2005, Mitsuda announced a new arranged album of Chrono Cross music was scheduled for release in July of that year.[14] It did not materialize, though at a Play! A Video Game Symphony concert in May 2006, he revealed it would be out "within the year" and would feature acoustic music.[15] Later in 2006, Mitsuda alleged that the album would actually be released in 2007.[16] In 2008, Yasunori Mitsuda posted a streaming sample of a track from the upcoming Chrono Cross arranged album.[17] Though no official release date has been announced, Mitsuda more than once stated that the album would be planned to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the game's original release in 2009.[17] Mitsuda claimed that the album is "nearly done", but that it may not be possible to release it before the year is out.[18]

Legacy[edit]

Rony Barrak during the Chrono symphonic suite at the Play! concert

Mitsuda has personally arranged versions of music from Chrono Cross for Play! A Video Game Symphony video game music concerts in 2006.[19] Music from the game has also been performed in other video game concert tours such as the Video Games Live concert series and in concerts by the Eminence Orchestra.[20] Music from Chrono Trigger and Cross made up one fourth of the music in the Symphonic Fantasies concerts in Leipzig in September 2009 which were produced by the creators of the Symphonic Game Music Concert series and conducted by Arnie Roth.[21][22] The concerts featured a suite of music from both games interspersed together with the songs from Cross comprising "Scars of Time", "Gale", "Brink of Death", and "Prisoners of Fate".[23] A suite comprising music from Chrono Trigger and Cross was performed at the Press Start -Symphony of Games- 2008 concerts in Tokyo and Shanghai.[24] "Scars of Time" was played at the Fantasy Comes Alive concert in Singapore on April 30, 2010.[25] Sheet music for Chrono Cross tracks arranged for both solo guitar and guitar duets has been released by Procyon Studio.[26]

Chrono Cross's soundtrack has been heavily remixed by fans, sparking several albums. These include the officially licensed Time & Space - A Tribute to Yasunori Mitsuda, released by OneUp Studios on October 7, 2001 and containing 18 remixes over a span of 1:00:58, with a second version of the album released on June 17, 2003. A related popular album release was Radical Dreamers: Thieves of Fate, an unofficial download-only album release by the remix website OverClocked ReMix on January 5, 2008 containing 15 remixes of the soundtrack to Radical Dreamers, including remixes of the tracks that later appeared in Chrono Cross.[27] Selections of remixes also appear on Japanese remix albums, called Dōjin, and on English remixing websites such as OverClocked Remix.[28] "Time's Scar" was featured in December 2012 by NPR in a program about classically-arranged video game scores.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Studio BentStuff, ed. (1999). Chrono Cross Ultimania (in Japanese). Square Enix. pp. 476–477. ISBN 4-925075-73-X. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mitsuda, Yasunori (2000-12-18). "Chrono Cross OST Liner Notes". Chrono Compendium. Retrieved 2006-07-24. 
  3. ^ "Weekly Famitsu". Famitsu. 1999-07-24. Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  4. ^ Chrono Compendium staff. "Easter Eggs (Radical Dreamers)". Chrono Compendium. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  5. ^ "光田 康典* – Chrono Cross: Original Soundtrack". Discogs. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Gann, Patrick (2000-02-27). "Chrono Cross OST". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  7. ^ a b Kotowski, Don. "Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack :: Review by Don". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  8. ^ Mitsuda, Yasunori (2008-01-28). "Radical Dreamer: Yasunori Mitsuda Interview from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  9. ^ "クロノ・クロス オリジナル・サウンドトラック" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  10. ^ "クロノ・クロス オリジナルサウンドトラック" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  11. ^ Zdyrko, David (2000-08-15). "IGN: Chrono Cross Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  12. ^ Sullivan, Meghan (2008-12-18). "IGN: Top Ten JRPG Composers". IGN. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  13. ^ a b c Gann, Patrick (2000-09-18). "Chrono Cross Music Selection". RPGFan. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  14. ^ "New Year's News". Dengeki Online. 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-01-07. Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  15. ^ "N-Sider: PLAY! Concert Interviews". N-Sider. 2006-05-30. Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  16. ^ Peter, James (2006-10-13). "Yasunori Mitsuda Interview". PAL Gaming Network. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  17. ^ a b Gann, Patrick. "Chrono Cross 10th Anniversary Arrange Album Update". Retrieved 2008-12-27. 
  18. ^ Mitsuda, Yasunori (2009-10-30). "Interview with Yasunori Mitsuda (September / October 2009)". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  19. ^ Driker, Brandon (2006-05-30). "Play! A Video Game Symphony". N-Sider. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  20. ^ Johnson, Stephen (2009-04-13). "Video Games Live to play E3". G4TV. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  21. ^ "Symphonic Fantasies". Symphonic Fantasies. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  22. ^ "The Concert Programs :: Symphonic Game Music Concerts". Merregnon Studios. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  23. ^ Sorlie, Auden (2009-09-17). "Feels Like A Dream: Symphonic Fantasies Report". Original Sound Version. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  24. ^ "Press Start -Symphony of Games- 2008". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  25. ^ "Fantasy Comes Alive :: Report by Between Moments". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  26. ^ "PROCYON STORE - Online Catalog". Procyon Studio. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  27. ^ "Album: Chrono Trigger: Radical Dreamers: Thieves of Fate". OverClocked ReMix. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  28. ^ "Game: Chrono Cross (1999, Square, PS1) - Remixes". OverClocked ReMix. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  29. ^ "A Classical Musician's Game Theory". NPR. 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 

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