If I Were Writing JRPG Prequels

I’m fond of theorycrafting what’d I’d do if I held a position of power in a prominent video game company. I’ve always explained how I’d move a franchise forward (Breath of Fire & Chrono for example), but I’ve never considered how fun it would be to expand the lore that’s already there.

Let’s see how we can expand these well known stories even further:

Final Fantasy IV

final fantasy iv cast of characters

This game has had 29,367 remakes, but the story never gets old. I know quite a few fans would play the game yet again if it received a current-gen remake. What possible angles can we take on a story that’s been rehashed several times, on top of receiving a sequel?

Considering that Cecil inherits the throne despite sharing no blood relation to the previous king (saving the planet helped his candidacy a bit, but humor me), how about telling the story of King Baron’s ill-fated son? I would probably begin the tale with Kluya (Cecil’s father) immigrating to the Blue Planet, saving a village, and fighting off all the earthly females throwing themselves at the mysterious Lunarian.

He picks the lucky lady, and out pops Golbez. The expanded story seen in the NDS version of FF4 dictates that Zemus starts to control Golbez when Cecil is born. But in my version I’d rather have the seeds be planted, and Golbez teeters back and forth, not much unlike Kain in the original.

After some events, flash forward to teenage Cecil and Kain joining the Red Barons, led by Max Baron, the king’s only son, heir to the throne, and boyfriend of Rosa (ooooooh drama). Since there’s obviously no Max Baron in the original nor After Years, we all know what trope-filled direction this plotline is headed.

And with this foundation, round things out with political intrigue involving all the nations and towns, making room for appearances by Edge’s parents, a younger Cid, Yang, Edward, Tellah, Palom & Porom’s parents, etc. I could go on and on, but let’s move on to the next story before I get carried away.

Chrono Trigger

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This one is the hardest because a lot of the important plotlines opened in both games are resolved in their respective games (except for whatever the hell happened to Schala, gamers had to wait 5 years to find that one out).

Chrono Cross’ plot is so detailed (for its time) that you can make a full-length RPG solely from the events referenced in the story.

[Not only is this saying a lot, but that feat isn’t as common as it sounds. For example, Final Fantasy VII is longer than Chrono Cross but you can fit Cloud’s entire origin story (and I mean ENTIRE – buster sword, his personality, everything) into a four hour action game. He doesn’t even appear until about 3 quarters in.]

Further complicating things are the best Chrono fans in the world over at Chrono Compendium. They created an awesome, full-length sequel to Chrono Trigger that further bridges the two games and covers a lot of the hooks one could use to build a prequel with.

Things would be most interesting if this game could be tied to both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. I would probably start by dropping a bombshell – Crono’s father is MIA because he never returned from his trip to Chronopolis with Wazuki.

GASP! Yeah, I said that. If you never played Cross I’m probably making no sense whatsoever though. But anyways, plotwise I’d leave Lavos (a focal point in Trigger) in the backdrop and flesh out the splitting of the timelines (a focal point in Cross). That way Square Enix can still make good use of their Chrono Break trademark. Well, they’d have to renew, because it expired recently IIRC.

P.S. I don’t think Miguel is Crono’s father. That kind of twist would make me go “whaaaaaaaaaat” though.

Final Fantasy VI

final fantasy vi cast of characters art

Since that ensemble’s stories intertwine ever so gracefully in the original, I wouldn’t feel guilty jumping around much here. I’d start with the perspective of young generals Celes and Kefka as they work their way up.

Let me refresh you on the actual lore before I theorycraft. Kefka’s character starts out as a perfectly sane general. It’s when the military attempts to infuse him and Celes with magic do things go awry. Celes procedure goes perfectly fine, giving her the ability to cast and absorb magic. Kefka’s procedure goes wrong, and like Deadpool, the experiment gives him the intended powers, with a side effect of grade A lunacy.

There’s so much story potential that plotwise I’d definitely place the procedure during or after the ending, perhaps as a stinger of sorts. The rationale for the experiment would be that the Empire is better equipped to defend itself shall any formidable threats rise again.

Speaking of formidable threats, I’m thinking a half-human half-esper bent on revenge for banishing his people. At his disposal are a band of mythical creatures, ranging from Atma Weapon to the Unholy Beasts seen in Kefka’s Tower. You remember, the monster three screens tall, whose only purpose seems to be delaying you from listening to the amazingly catchy Dancing Mad Part II track.

A global threat like this could bring some of the original cast together. Among the knights sent by Figaro are a young Sabin and Edgar. The knights sent by Doma are led by a young samurai prodigy in Cyan. Relm isn’t born yet, but her father Shadow is the best in the world at gathering intel. Etc, etc.

Generals Celes, Leo, and Kefka under the leadership of Emperor Gestahl head the unified defense force as they fight to protect their planet.

That could make for a solid second half of the game. I could take a Suikoden III approach for the first half. I’d love to see characters like Master Duncan, King Figaro, Rachel, Strago’s daughter (aka Shadow’s baby mama), and Interceptor play a strong role in their related character’s scenarios.

Sigh, I need to stop giving myself new reasons to be disappointed in Square Enix.

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