Woah, those maps changed a lot between beta stages!
Speaking of beta, I remember reading once here that a lot of what was once planned for SD2/Secret of Mana was put into Chrono Trigger. Can anyone confirm that theory?
The theory can be confirmed, but it sure as shit cannot be proven. They really wanted to make Chrono Trigger and not another Seiken Densetsu. The were apparently what was cut off from more important projects and stitched together into a game. It's sad, but that's pretty much the truth of it according to the creators. It's amazing that they were able to make such amazing games with what they had to work with. Just goes to show you how gaming has changed in the modern age of clones and cashgrabs.
Even Xenogears was called "Chrono Trigger 2" in it's development.
From Legends of Localization's article on this, quoting Hiromichi Tanaka (the producer of the game): "After we finished FFIII, we started FFIV with the idea of a slightly more action-based, dynamic overworld rather than keep combat as a completely separate thing. But, at some point, it wound up not being IV anymore… Instead, it was eventually released as “Seiken Densetsu 2” (Secret of Mana), but during development it was actually referred to as 'Chrono Trigger'. (laugh)"
I'd wager it to be a massively different game if it had panned out the way it was supposed to be; maybe even a different game entirely. It was to feature a "seamless, side-view system" which makes me think of Y's 3. I read some where that FFA/Seiken Densetsu was actually supposed to be a 3D dungeon crawler that was to predate Dragon Quest as the first commercially available RPG in Japan. One could speculate it would have taken off like a rocket into the sky and everything would have been "Seiken Densetsu" in the 80's/90's, but that's debatable. Just goes to show you that they really did not have a clear image of what Seiken Densetsu was supposed to be, but that could be because they wanted to keep making Final Fantasy.
Personally, I think if they knew that the Playstation was going to come out and shelved the Nintendo game, then we may have actually had the real SoM/Chrono Trigger rather than the two games we got. If that would have been better is debatable. Chrono Trigger is a hard game to give up to the void, but if it could have been improved, then maybe it would have been worth it.