Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes
Release Date: Officially canceled, but an alpha version leaked online on May 2009.
I’m not too familiar with the legal system, but I’m pretty sure I can draw a picture of Batman, a copyrighted character, and share it amongst my friends without facing any legal trouble.Hell, I could just as easily change the ending to the Harry Potter franchise and
However, according to fan-made games involving Chrono Trigger license, I cannot make a sequel to a game of a franchise I love.
Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes takes place a few years after the SNES classic, which was released back in 1995 (and was rereleased on the Playstation and Nintendo DS years later with some additions). The project apparently started back in late 2004 by using a ROM hack, which in this case was the main factor that caused Square Enix’s legal team to file a Cease and Desist letter. The letter, which you can read here ( http://crimsonechoes.com/letter.pdf), states that the ROM was altered, and that the creator’s of Crimson Echoes acknowledged that they with stop the project if Square Enix felt threatened by it. This is very unfortunate for fans of the series and the creators Crimson Echoes, as the main website states that “the game featured ~35 hours of game play, 10 multiple endings, and 23 chapters, much like the original Chrono Trigger” by May 2009, and it was to be distributed by the end of the month.
However, the game was leaked online and made available to download through torrent sites. The designer’s site claims this was an alpha build though, and while it has the basic structure of the game, there are some bugs that were removed in later versions of the title. If you are interested in downloading it, it is recommended to use the ZSNES emulator. Also, several videos of the game were released on Youtube, complete with commentary on some of the design choices. You can watch the first of these walkthroughs here:
Unfortunately, this was not the first time a fan project of the Chrono Trigger universe was shut down. The original was considered to be one of the greatest RPGs of its day, and fans have asked for a sequel for years (the 2000 release Chrono Cross, while also praised, had some allusions to its predecessor, but also had different themes, characters, and art designs). Another ambitious project that was revealed in 2004 and cancelled later that year was Chrono Resurrection, which was set to recreate events from the Chrono Trigger game in full 3D. That project was destroyed on grounds of copyright infringement as well, so it appears history repeats itself. Here’s some footage on the project:
As for my personal opinion on the matter, I’m not too sure where the legal line is drawn. Flash games are all over the internet, and many of which use copyrighted characters, so I’m a bit confused as to when something is acceptable as fan fiction and when some trademark is broken. Nevertheless, I commend the dedication that all these gamers have in recreating and reimagining a video game without expecting personal gain. Also, they have proved themselves as adept programmers, which is a talent that many do not have.
With classes ending soon, I may go back and play the original and give the Crimson Echoes videos a look.
- On Crimson Echoes
- On Chrono Resurrection