7. Chrono Resurrection
Status: Permanently Canceled via "Cease and Desist"
Possibly the greatest fan remake to get crushed under the huge shoe of a big-time developer, the Chrono Resurrection project was a mountain of a task for seven-man crew of intrepid programmers, artists, and animators. These guys literally had enough manpower to make their own original game -- and several of them were already working in the gaming industry to boot. "Seeking a challenge" that mere mortals didn't dream of taking on, the team actually tried to create a full-3D remake of Chrono Trigger from scratch. Apparently, the team's prerequisite for membership was having brass bass the size of boulders.
Of course, the emphasis is that they "tried" to finish the project. Shortly after their first trailer hit the Internet, Square Enix's legal department filed a "Cease-and-Desist" letter to Lazur and Co. before the year was out. Gamers wept bitterly, as this grand remake project went the way of the dinosaurs and the Jheri curl.
We reached out to Mathew Valente, the musician behind the enhancement music for Chrono Resurrection, and got his thoughts about his famous foray into the remake scene. "I really have to say that the music itself motivated me to want to work on Chrono Resurrection." Mathew wrote in an e-mail to GamePro. "I was in love with the soundtrack by Mr. Yasunori Mitsuda for years, ever since the game was originally released on the Super Nintendo platform. When we were working on the N64 version of the game back in 1999, my absolute goal was to get a soundtrack that retained the original feeling, while enhancing it for a more advanced platform."
"I look back at Chrono Resurrection and I'm still saddened by what had happened. I know so many people who love Chrono Trigger, and wish for Square Enix to do something with the franchise, other than a remake. Don't get me wrong, the DS remake was remarkable, much better done than the PlayStation version, but many people still wish for something great to happen to the series. I'm still one of them. I still hope for the unlikely day that Square Enix asks us to continue our work for the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console (I believe that would be the best platform for our work to be showcased)."
There's no telling what happened to the rest of the Chrono Trigger Resurrection crew, but Mathew's still mixing music after having moved to Toronto, "I want to try to get into a gaming studio to do sound design for games, but I don't want to limit myself to that medium. I am also looking to get into television, films, and music. Here's to hoping for the best, right?"
Chrono's Second Death
So far, the original archives for Chrono Trigger Resurrection are still kicking around the Internet, with most of the artwork and content still on the old site. Even some old bits of remixed Chrono Resurrection tracks are still intact on Valente's professional website. But, while there has been an official remake, of sorts, in the Nintendo DS library, it's still a far cry from the gutsy goals of CTR. At least for now, Chrono's dead again.
6. Sonic 2 HD
Status: Still in Production
See, Sega, this is what the fans actually wanted. No werewolf-hedgehog transformations, no cross-species romances with magical princesses, and no "Sonic in King Arthur's Court". No, all the fans really want from their Sonic games is simple: classic, speedy action. That's exactly what the team at the Sonic 2 HD project are after, as they've taken it upon themselves to remake Sega's classic hit, Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Speed's Their Game
Surprisingly, despite being featured on sites like Joystiq, UK: Resistance, and popular retro gaming site "Racket Boy", Sega hasn't done a thing towards stopping the project since the release of the first tech demo over a year ago. A cynical Sega fan might note that this could be because of the blue blur's shoddy treatment at the hands of the new Team Sonic, but regardless, the HD artwork has looked nothing short of fantastic. Let's hope this project sees the end of the tunnel in the future, as UK:R has cryptically noted that "no one will want to do all of Metropolis Zone in their spare time for free."
Tons more images and downloads can be seen at the Sonic Retro forums, where tons of HD illustration tips are currently dominating much of the conversation. Got drawing skills? These guys might be your new best friends.
5. Star Fox: Shadows of Lylat
Status: Still in Production
Shadows of Lylat has more team members than most baseball clubs, so it's no surprise that every trailer we've seen looks good enough to be called "Star Fox in HD". See that, Miyamoto? There's still plenty of us old school Nintendo fans out there that like Star Fox! We don't mind Star Fox Adventures much, really. We just pretend it never happened.
For a fan project, Shadows of Lylat is promising a lot of things that the official games never produced, like HD graphics, 3 different Arwings (a possible tip of the hat to the never-released Star Fox 2), and a multiple platform release code. "Huge multiplayer wars" will also be part of the package, and we're hoping for the same variety of spaceships we've seen in games like Star Fox Command. After a whopping six years of work, there's only been a few trailers released, but they look incredibly impressive.
All they need to do is leave Slippy out of the game, and we've got a blockbuster in the making.
Barrel Rolls in HD
Luckily, this project is alive and well, and you can even send the Shadows of Lylat team some feedback on the Game Warden forums. Hopefully, Nintendo doesn't bother sending these guys any legal letters. Heck, they should just hire the whole SoL crew to make a new StarFox game for the Nintendo Wii.