This project initially began back in March of 2017 as an attempt at fixing some plot details that annoyed me, namely providing a reason the Zenan Bridge was broken on the first trip to 600 AD, an unspecified amount of jerky feeding a large contingent of soldiers and also being stupidly expensive, things like that. I had too much free time and as I did this I decided flat out rewriting the dialogue, though not the story, would be a fun exercise in our richly expressive English, as well as a method of passing time.
Once I started, I got too lazy to stop, and about a month and a half later I found that I had altered almost every single line of dialogue up to immediately after Magus joins the party. But then I decided it was pretty arrogant to think I could do this better than it already was, and stopped. Every couple of months, typically in my cups, I'd run through the whole thing and think how much better it actually did feel to me. I'd change some line of dialogue and forget about it for some time.
Along with my initial reason, my purpose was not to rewrite the story, but to emphasize and refocus the themes already present, provide for more consistent characterization, remove generic, cliched dialogue that no person would ever actually say (Though being a JRPG, that simply cannot be done completely.), and add a greater depth to the relationships between characters and to the events we bear witness to in this story we so love.
Though I don't think of it as fan-fiction, some plot details are altered to benefit a more cohesive and impactful narrative. At times though, it is to create a inferred lore, or to expand upon what lore is already there to work with.
Three sources were compared constantly in it's creation: The original English script, the DS script, and the hopelessly literal re-translation from the Chrono Compendium (Though a fantastic reference for a line's original intent!) By far it is closest to the original English script, though Crono's trial is taken almost directly from the DS script. That required little change. By far the most changed are the Middle Ages and the Kingdom of Zeal.
There are some parts that are currently empty, being the Jet Bike Race and the dream immediately following the fight with Magus. They won't be empty forever though.
Let's take a quick look at Robo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN9J6vmL82w
As he was originally presented to us, Robo was very much an under developed character, despite there being quite a lot to work with. Like the rest of the living in 2300 AD, Robo too, is a victim of Lavos. Perhaps more so than anyone else in 2300 AD. Upon reactivating, he has lost everything and everyone he ever had. The English scripts deeply neglect Robo, and the original Japanese script grants him something below C3P0 in relevance and transforms him into something more like Jar Jar Binks by saying stupid shit without stopping. Ever.
Many, I hope, will recognize some aspects of the above video being derived from a scene from Terminator 2. A deleted scene, one that should not have been. Applied to Robo, it is taken in the opposite direction. Robo, being Prometheus, was meant to consort with and mingle about living people. Having lost all, would not the possibility of turning things off, shutting down new feelings, become a fervent wish? For a robot, it is not a question to be left to philosophers but a legitimate, physical temptation to tangle with. Couple of switches, screws, and buttons and it would be done.
But, let's not have him ask for his memory wiped, that's too obvious and generic. Besides, few would actually want to lose bad memories at the price of good ones.
Kajar fully explored: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43TCsRdXHII
"Brevity is the soul of wit." said Shakespeare. But to the great and noble people of Zeal brevity is an unspoken (In being unspoken, they might in fact say that's part of the problem!) denouncement of the certainty that they will reach immortality. For them it is the beginning of ostracization. To not ornament your pronouncements is somewhat uncouth, a tactless implication that there is some kind of need to not make ones worldly thoughts drawn out and fully explored when they believe they will quite literally have all the time in the world. The people of Zeal have seen a continent rise, can work what are more or less miracles, and no doubt have accomplished other assorted wonders. Is it so far fetched for them to actually believe they can unravel the secret of immortality? I would have liked to have taken the general verbosity of Zeal further still, but limited space in the dialogue banks present real, impassable barriers.
It is most evident in Belthasar. Consider please, the actual despair of going from Zeal to the misery that is the 24th century, the Forsaken Age.
Keepers Dome before pendant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7YtQZxCkhk
After Pendant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vACwQfDI2A
Zeal is a land of vibrant and contrasting colors, more flamboyant than any other period the party visits. Appropriately, the enchanting thing about Zeal is not only in what is said, but in the contrasts of what is not said
. They display a natural curiosity yet seldom question the direction they are going or what exactly are the moral foundations they have built their kingdom upon. It is the dreams yet to be realized that the people of Zeal concern themselves with, and not the things behind them or even around them. Not often, anyway. Gone is the generic and boring trope of using the Earthbound Ones as slave labor. This was barely elaborated on in the original script and was not at any not point actually visually encountered and affirmed. Something that bland and richly malicious is not needed to establish that Zeal is headed down the wrong path. It is replaced instead with something perhaps even worse but certainly not as loud, a callous apathy. The Earthbound Ones are now beneath contempt and are simply seldom thought of at all.
Magus at The North Cape: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6L9d_Bbv8OQ
And because I'm a tease, the party confronts Magus in 600 AD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFENruc09SY
More to come...
Thoughts so far?