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The Chrono Trigger Novel Project is an online project founded and managed by Wayne Kramer. The goal of the project is to publish an officially sanctioned novel based on the 1995 RPG video game Chrono Trigger.
The project was started by Wayne Kramer, who previously worked as an executive in his family's medical equipment business and now runs a business of his own in the same field.(1) His public LinkedIn profile reveals that he also spent a few years working in the field of promotional and licensed products, which included working with brands like Garfield, Felix the Cat, Legends of Oz, and private membership clubs, before returning to the medical sector. His first manuscript was started in 1996, and as of yet the novel remains uncompleted.(2) The Novel History page of his website indicates that the story has effectively been completely rewritten at least twice, at least in part due to a number of challenges he describes as having faced in doing a proper game-to-novel conversion. A select number of the video game’s fans have assisted him in this project by editing his writing, providing fan-represented consultation on a number of the game's subjects, and past work on efforts to get petition signatures to convince Square-Enix to allow the manuscript's eventual publication.
In 2009, Square-Enix notified Kramer that they would not be granting him publication rights at that time.(3) Despite this notification, he presses forward with hopes that he can shift the tide and ultimately convince Square-Enix that the novel is a worthwhile business endeavor for them to take more seriously.(4) Kramer has directly approached Square-Enix staff about the novel in both the USA and Japan and appears to be in continuing pursuit of them to this day.(5, 6, 7, 8) Due to barely any updates to the project's website since 2011, it is difficult to discern the actual extent of efforts in both pursuing Square-Enix as well as completion of the novel itself. However, most recent updates suggest that he may be pursuing a strictly "business" approach, specifically in the area of licensing, which would line up with some of Kramer's more recent professional endeavors.(23)
Kramer’s qualifications as a writer have been occasionally called into question in the website’s forums. He has never formally studied literature, instead earning a degree in business, and has never been previously published.(12) When describing his writing, he often compares it to literary works which themselves involve epic medieval and sci-fi narratives.(13, 14) He goes on to describe a seemingly altruistic side to the project, as the sort of product which could pioneer a stronger link between the very different experiences of gaming and literature, and in a way that draws attention to and enhances the attractive merits of both.(15, 16, 17)
Since receiving notice from Square-Enix in 2009 that his manuscript would not be granted publication at that time, Kramer has implied on his website that he will continue to pursue means to publication regardless, even if it means removing copyrighted elements so that the story can be published legally without the permission of Square-Enix.(18, 19, 20, 21, 22) To date, it is unclear if Kramer has sought or intends to seek legal counsel to determine the feasibility of doing so, and it is equally unclear if the resulting story would be even remotely recognizable as having come from Chrono Trigger. As so much of Kramer's writing of the story has actually never been made public (only chapters 2-5, released as "demo chapters" on the project website, out of a potential 45 planned across 2 books), it is unknown how much of the retelling is an exact following of the Chrono Trigger story and how much are elements uniquely added by the author. While these known chapters 2-5 appear to follow the story fairly exactly, many expansive and original elements exist, and reportedly even the novel's first chapter and prologue are slated to be completely original.(24, 25) The level of originality throughout the complete story may ultimately hold the key to Kramer's success with this approach, although only time will tell. For the present time, all indications point to the continued pursuit of publication of the novel under approval or license with Square-Enix, as written under the Chrono Trigger label.
- I have a job at my father's company, C & G Technologies, where I work a high-level management position as the V.P. of Global Parts Operations. (Novelist Personal Info. Page)
- It all started back in 1996, back when I was just a mere 8th grader... (History of the Novel Page)
- The presentation packet and samples that I sent had reportedly been reviewed by what they called their "Chrono Trigger Team," and they were very impressed. However, as the letter stated in a nutshell, they did not accept my proposal due to the copyright issues and an inability to allocate the resources necessary to put this plan into motion. (7/27/09 main page)
- [T]here is no indication from Square-Enix that they will accept the novel. This will continue to be pursued with them. (12/6/10 main page)
- I've talked with some representatives at SquareSoft USA (none of which are still with the company, actually). They, in turn, can't really do anything without consulting with their parent company, Square-Enix (of Japan). Square (now Square-Enix) is the literal owner of the copyrights. So, basically, the American outlet is NOT the place to go for something like this. All they can do is shove policy in your face and ACT like they're going to mention it to the people in Japan, though they likely never will. (Forum 12/07/03 5:52 PM)
- When the opportune time comes, I will contact Square-Enix, and I won't waste my time with middle-men who have to ask if they can go to the bathroom while they're at work. (Forum 12/07/03 5:52 PM)
- Finishing it can certainly do me no harm (aside from the cost of time, which admittedly is a costly commodity), and in the midst of doing so, I will be able to keep in contact with Square-Enix via regular written updates and the ultimate goal of obtaining a face-to-face meeting with their team. (7/27/09 main page)
- My experience in business tells me that the best way to get something done (particularly if it goes beyond general policy) is to get as far to the direct decision-makers as possible. So, my goal is to speak with an executive of Square-Enix about the matter. (Forum 12/07/03 5:52 PM)
- I appreciate constructive criticism as much as anyone. And, also no offense, but, if you've read so little of my work, do you really think you're qualified to say how good the authorship is? (Forum 07/30/09 9:14 PM)
- Anyway, I'm willing to accept that my writing isn't perfect or even the best, but it doesn't sound like you've placed yourself in the appropriate position to make that call just yet. (Forum 07/30/09 9:14 PM)
- If you have read all of the Demo Chapters and still hold that opinion, then perhaps it's also a problem of my own doing for choosing these particular chapters as demos. (Forum 07/30/09 9:14 PM)
- Writing is only a hobby of mine, and I never felt that majoring or minoring in English would greatly improve my skills in that area. (Novelist Personal Info. Page)
- The marketing approach I would take would be to appeal to those who read action/fantasy books like Lord of the Rings or Redwall. (Forum 05/31/05 9:30 PM)
- It had always been in the back of my mind to make this novel at least as enjoyable as Brian Jacques's Redwall series books and A.C. Crispin's Han Solo trilogy. It is most likely that my writing style blends that of these two great authors, although a lot of my fighting scenes are inspired by scenes in movies like Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean. (History of the Novel Page)
- Remember, this cause isn't just for Chrono Trigger, but for a whole new possibility of bringing the worlds of literature and gaming together in a fun and enjoyable way. (Forum 02/17/07 4:31 PM)
- This novel isn't just about putting a video game in text. It's about a new principle: merging the worlds of RPGs with that of literature, and doing so in a way that is enjoyable to everyone…It's about expanding the dimensions of gaming and bringing that together with true creative writing, spawning a new and refined perspective of entertainment that's not only good for enjoyment, but also for the mind. (Forum 12/08/05 1:09 AM)
- To broaden the scope of RPG stories into the literary world increases the richness of the stories, allows the stories to be shared and compared with other published greats, makes parents happy by encouraging their children to read as a supplement to gaming, and opens and links both industries into something new, lucrative, and very potentially successful. (About the CTNP Page)
- I've considered many possibilities, which included everything from simply finishing the CT Novel to converting it into an independent story to writing something completely original, and any combination of these items is still on the table. (7/27/09 main page)
- A conversion of the CT novel into a new story isn't out of the question, either, should the worst truly become reality. (Forum 07/22/09 12:03 AM)
- There simply have been too much intellectual and personal "sweat and blood" poured into this to stop what I'm doing. Whether published in true Chrono form or otherwise, I will press on. (Forum 08/25/10 12:15 AM)
- A completed novel at least gives me something to hopefully work with down the road, whether that be the desired publication as the Chrono Trigger novel or modified to be something different. (7/27/09 main page)
- All those who have followed this project and read the available Demo Chapters should know that this novel stands on its own, with countless unique story elements, dialogue, occurrences, and scenes (even entire chapters) that are ultimately my intellectual property. Just know for now that this concept is not lost on my mind, and I do not intend to let the efforts of this project go to waste, no matter how many years it may take to finally culminate and find its completed product in the hands of the general public. (12/6/10 main page)
- I have found a generic contact for certain product inquiries and have more recently discovered contact information for a specific individual within the company's USA headquarters. I'm hopeful that an avenue to success can be achieved by methodically following this business process and remain confident that Square will see this as a worthwhile undertaking. (1/13/13 main page)
- Projected number of Chapters: 21 in Book 1 and another projected 24 for Book 2 (About the CTNP Page)
- A Few Highlights: * Bonus Chapter 1 preceding the events of the game * Expanded dialogue for all characters * New characters (limited use and generally of non-active characters; see Demo Chapter 4 as an example) * Currency designation of "gil" instead of just "G" * Written using third person omniscient writing style * Crono talks * New scenes (meant to correlate with the existing storyline) * Prologue, epilogue, and glossary planned in addition to actual story * Deeper back story for the Kingdom of Zeal and the ancient legend, including mention of an Ancient Language (About the CTNP Page)