This is my personal long form concept project. Redoing all the concept art of Chrono Trigger, the legendary Super Nintendo RPG from Square Enix, is no small task!
This is a character and, eventually, a world exploration. A way for me to work on my character design muscle. Some are complete reinventions, some are tweaks and some are celebrations. I want these to feel loose, fun and varied.
Hover/Click the images for a brief description of my thought process.
Crono needs to read as a samurai fanboy. Make the clothes a little oversized, make him look a little bit messy. He needs to pull off a look that works when hes a noob and a badass when hes going through fools with the rainbow sword
Hoping to explore further, this is a first take on a Visual Target for the eventual 3D model and texture
Since Crono is a silent character, this is a perfect opportunity to introduce some player choice. I designed Female Crono to offer some contrast with her male counterpart but still retaining the characters flavor
Character Sheets are indispensable when creating a character from scratch. Crono is a silent character but she is actually really emotive and should be able to display a wide range of emotions
Marle is running away from home, so I imagine her trying a little harder to pass of as a local but not doing a great job, that includes a rushed hair recolor and not realizing she shouldnt leave the castle with all that jewelry on
CT really overdoes it by giving everyone the same overall scarf fashion so I want to make the characters feel a bit more different. Lucca needs to feel a bit more sciency, maybe a bit sleep deprived and give you a sharp contrast from Marle. I imagine shes wearing her dads lab coat, hence why it looks a tad too big on her
Robo is a perfect design as it is, so less is more here. Just redrawing him in my style and making sure he looks like he can open up was enough for me. Drawing robots is har
Frog is a master swordsman and kind of an aspirational character for Crono. Making him look more ragged and giving him a sword that, at least in the looks department, may in fact cut a mountain in two are two important factors I wanted to get across. Adding a bit more armor to really push the medieval time period and to show that hes not given up on being a human just yet
For Ayla I knew I wanted darker skin, I also wanted darker hair but the blonde worked better in terms of contrast sooo I thought maybe some different colored streaks? Maybe as tribal leader she gets to do that, be more flamboyant and all that. Dropped the club, she doesnt need it, she needs to look like she can wreck house all by herself
Magus v1 (for posterity) Magus has the most drastic change, hes simply too cool a character so I couldn’t resist. As the first major antagonist making him look more adult seem fitting, adding the demon horns seems like something he would do, its all a bit Marilyn Manson so this design is not gonna be for everybody but I think he contrasts really well with the rest of the cast. Nothing wrong with the original look either by the way, this was just a good chance to be less traditional
Magus v2. I took a close look at all the feedback and made some notable changes. Made him a bit more badass, more focused, added some Zeal elements so you can still see the connection to his past, still kept him provocative and alluring … or at least I hope I did!
I love the idea of Crono living a bit of a secluded life (if you notice, his house is a bit farther from Guardia than most) working on his swordmanship skills and not taking care of the yard
I picture Marle wanting to have a fun time at the fair, just the thrill of behaving like a regular passerby would be enough thrills for the day
I can only imahine how many times Lucca has fell asleep trying to work on some sort of machinery that would fix her mothers legs. That work ethic would pay off big time for her in the future
I love Frog, his demeanor, his reluctance to be a Hero yet hes constantly willing to fight on regardless of how tired he is or how hopeless he feels about himself
Finding Robo in the wreckage soon after you arrive in the future is an all time great moment in that era. I imagine this scene could be reinterpreted to be even more off-putting for the cast
I really loved the eating contest Ayla has with Crono, its one of those dumb, character building moments that can so easily establish a character and you dont even have to come up with a crazy gameplay mechanic to make it work
EXTENDED CAST AND NPC’S
Schala, I like her overall look and feel but I saw an opportunity to add more detail and make her attire look a bit more put together. Mixed in some extra colors, added more jewelry but tried to keep things flowy and natural. As I make more Kingdom of Zeal characters I could see experimenting with more patterns and then revisiting this design a bit but for right now it strikes a good balance, I think
Janus. Not a drastic change, I think keeping him looking like a mysterious magical kid is the way to go, I added a few more details in order to make him look like a mini Schala, made his hair a bit wilder and if he looks like he may have more magical power than he needs, that’s a good thing
Queen Zeal. Her original design worked fine in the sprite form but as far as her concept goes … its not for me, so I wanted to make more changes. She should look like the evolved version of Schala with a bit of corruption in there. More jewelry, more complex silhouette, more colors, more magic and all the while she looks composed enough to make her look like a good ruler on the surface eventhough shes totes OKwith sacrificing anyone she holds dear in exchange for power
Belthasar. Great chance to make some changes and add some damn melanin into this game. I wanted her to look really sage and have some good contrast between her and Melchior. Still classy but more flowy, less harsh silhouette, somebody you could see work in isolation for a long time
Melchior, the Guru of Life! Good chance to make some changes. I always thought he had a very playful personality, I see him as more of a swordmaster, a war hero, a flamboyant old man, somebody who likes to laugh and tell stories, possibly blind. Affable, open and mysterious all at the same time He didn’t even change his aesthetic when he time traveled, hinting at a deep love for his Kingdom of Origin so lets push that!
Gaspar. Not too much of a redesign, more of an updated! I like the classical look from the original, but I also see Gaspar as somebody who is a bit out of touch and not as good at disguising his magical nature as he thinks he is … maybe he floats a bit by accident while he sleeps! I added some color accents reminiscent to his Zeal design and overall made him look a biiit more “magical gnome” like which I think fits him well
Cyrus and Tata. Not a ton of changes for either but really trying to push the “stereotypical JRPG heroes” trope that the game itself does. The Hero’s Badge is prominent on both and it seems to be a heavy burden for both in different ways
Tata does seem to ressemble a very “kids take on Link” With an oversized shield and a knack for finding himself surrounded by monsters. He tries hard but needs to look overwhelmed and oblivious at the same time
Squire Glenn needs to hint at his future in subtle ways and still be a design that reads NPC+. Being overshadowed by Cyrus is pretty important at this stage but you still need to see a fledgling swordsman in him
Masa and Mune. The game tries to give them a bit of a distinct flavor and I tried leaning on that a little bit further but otherwise I put a bit more Zeal fashion on them and kept their original, semi Reptid look fairly close
For the adult/human/badass version of Glenn I really liked his original sprite, I instantly wanted to play a whole game as that character so I moved in that direction rather than his Son Gohan esque makeover in the anime cutscenes
In terms of memorable bad guys, Ozzie does pretty well for himself. Toriyama has a very particular way of drawing this type of character so I tried to be respectful of that, specifically the silhouette and the fact that you get those giant metal underpants as a piece of armor (somehow) so I wanted to spend some time making that look important. Hes an opulent, full of himself character that is eager to fuck your shit and characters like that are always fun to design
Slash has a similar challenge. I don’t think they gave him giant lips and dark skin as a malicious gesture but that’s not something I will be partaking in so changes were needed. I liked the idea of making him a magical swordmaster because that gives us a bit more variety and fleshes out the world more. We already have Crono, Frog, Cyrus and other people fighting in more traditional means so lets come up with something that feels like a very different style for a character of this type
I wanted to keep Flea fun, alluring, magical and still change elements from his portrayal that just haven’t aged well. Hopefully this design resonates well with the old fans and it’s a fresh enough look to stand on its own
In the spirit of change, I wanted him to have the one legged look and, if that means he transforms into a 3 wheel vehicle, thats fine. I liked the Greaser look so I tried to push it a bit more, made the leather jacket orange for some better contrast, kept the BADYEAR of course and went a little extra Kamina on the sunglasses because how could I not
Doan. I think his original design is … fine but theres a lot of room to do something more significant here. 300 years after the apocalypse humans have become tribal again, with the lack of food, sunshine, probably excess radiation and whatever else, humans should look slightly different, especially as they age and deteriorate it shouldn’t be shocking to see cybernetic implants and discolored skin. They would still look for trinkets, they would still adorn their leaders with ways to distinguish them, this kind of stuff is prevalent through human history and it would persist even in 2300
Atropos XR! Good chance to make some alterations to the factory model for a little extra personality. I considered changing the stereotypical pink but seeing how there are a lot of female character in this game, having one be a more “typical” girl and, even better, going the robot route did seem like a good thing to keep
Kino is a pretty basic character, if he reads like a wannabe hero who doesnt have his shit together and may or may not fuck up at any moment then mission accomplished. You also need to get the impression that he can grow into not being a total loser, so I couldn’t go too wild here
Stone Age doesnt have much, but it has reptites! I wanted to set the look before getting to Azala who, ultimately will really embody the whole culture. I made some changes from the original, they had pink skin in places and instead I made that coral’ish armor. I want them to look smart, having tools, weapons and armor, I wanted them to look like the top of the food chain and establish humans as the obvious lower class citizens
Azala! Queen of the Reptites! This was a fun update, wanted to make her look more royal, more complex and more fun. She already had a great, memorable silhouette that I wanted to develop more and it was a good way to keep adding layers to Reptite culture which is sorely needed. When you stop to think about it, CT has quite the memorable female cast!
Yakra’s “final form” The original sprite was fairly confusing to look at, with its blue horns that could be interpreted as eyes. Other than needing to clear that up, no need to reconcept a lot here, its a fun animal shape that has some extra stuff going on. The fight itself is pretty good though, great choice for a first boss
I made some changes so that I can tie him to his monster form in a bit. I also used the opportunity to add some extra flair, maybe his sense of fashion has Zeal hints to it? Maybe he makes some odd choices since hes just pretending to be human? At the end of the day you cant go all out since its the first boss so just introduce some concepts and leave room to level up later
The Dragon Tank fight is a pivotal moment in the game, and I remember it being heavily advertised so it had to deliver! Mechanical designs are not really my thing and I really like Toriyama’s approach to his vehicles so I tried to learn from him here
Dalton, I knew I wanted to lean HEAVY on the JoJo influences. He is an extravagant person WITHIN Zeal so he needed to be extra on top of extra … and what better inspiration than Arakis work
This is the end of the gallery but not the project, the work continues! Check twitter for the latest live updates, this page will also be updated when new content is dropped.