Creating a new IP is a lot of work. However, when certain developers are involved and a project leans on certain sorts of gameplay staples and inspirations, it can make it a welcoming property. This is basically what happened with Three Rings’ Trinity Trigger. It pulls ideas from older action-RPGs, like Legend of Mana, to tell a new story. To help learn more about Trinity Trigger and what went into it, as well as how its characters were developed and past games influenced it, Siliconera spoke with Director Takumi Isobe about the project.
Jenni Lada: When did development on Trinity Trigger begin?
Takumi Isobe: We first started planning Trinity Trigger around the start of 2019. From there, we contacted the key staff we wanted involved and got to work. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic wreaked havoc partway through our process, so development ended up taking longer than we initially planned.
Which 1990s RPGs most influenced the game and its development?
Isobe: I used Secret of Mana as a benchmark title during development, so you could call it a significant influence. Speaking personally, I think the Final Fantasy series is my biggest inspiration. I’ll never forget the surprise I felt when I first exited the Floating Continent in Final Fantasy III to find an even larger area
Both Yuki Nobuteru and Hiroki Kikuta previously worked on Secret of Mana. How is Trinity Trigger affected by that and what did they learn from it when building this new game’s world?
Isobe: I touched on this in my answer to the previous question, but we started this project with the intention of creating something Secret of Mana fans would enjoy. I myself replayed Secret of Mana for research while planning Trinity Trigger. Three key features made an impression on me: music, natural beauty, and cooperation. These features became our basis for creating a completely new world.
I believe music was the most iconic aspect of Secret of Mana, so I approached Hiroki Kikuta, the original composer, and shared my ideas for Trinity Trigger with him. He composed the soundtrack with his own unique and nostalgic touch, and naturally it turned out amazing.
Triggers can transform into weapons in Trinity Trigger. What led to that design decision and what kind of balancing went into making sure they all work well together?
Isobe: In my very first proposal, I conceptualized Triggers as entities that simply possessed weapons. I envisioned a system that would allow players to rotate through Triggers, giving weapons a variety of effects and spells to utilize in battle. As the world of Trinitia took shape, the thought occurred to us that it might be more endearing for the Triggers themselves to transform into weapons.
As for their designs, we started from the elements of fire, water, and wind. We ordered designs for each element, taking care to give each Trigger a unique silhouette. Specifically, we asked our artists to design each Trigger to be two-legged, four-legged, or flying so that they could be quickly differentiated from one other. We worked especially closely with Trigger designers Atsuko Nishida, Megumi Mizutani, and Tomohiro Kitakaze. In addition to electronic communications, we discussed designs together over dinner
Players step into the role of Warrior of Chaos throughout the game. How do you establish the distinction between chaos and order? How does the game establish areas of good and evil between them?
Isobe: First, order and chaos do not equate to good and evil. However, just like in the real world, there are many people in the world of Trinitia who hold that view. Of course, absolute order can be used for evil, while chaos is a good thing in moderation. It is important to keep everything in balance.
Within our setting, the greatest distinction is that “Order” represents rules and regulations, while “Chaos” represents freedom. Rigid concepts like time belong to Order, while things like nature belong to Chaos, since it freely blooms in disarray.
Only local co-op is mentioned in the initial trailer. What led to that multiplayer decision for Trinity Trigger? Was online multiplayer ever explored?
Isobe: Although the COVID pandemic has made it difficult to meet others in person today, that was not the case while planning Trinity Trigger. We wanted to bring back the excitement from the old days of local co-op
games, where you would play side-by-side with family and friends while looking at the same screen, yelling and helping each other, and sometimes even getting in each other’s way. With that in mind, we
never considered online multiplayer.
There are three playable characters in Trinity Trigger. How did you work to set them apart?
Isobe: I asked Raita Kazama to design three unique characters, each based on one of the primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. At the same time, I worked with Yura Kubota, the scenario writer, to determine each character’s personality and mannerisms.
On that note, each character’s name is another unique characteristic that I put a lot of thought behind.
Almost all the character and town names in the game were chosen by me. Since the main characters were based on colors, their names reflect that theming. Cyan’s name is self-explanatory, but people often ask us what Zantis’ name means. We searched far and wide for words related to yellow in various
languages before settling on the final name. “Zantis” is derived from the English pronunciation of the Greek word “Xanthos,” meaning yellow.
Which Trinity Trigger character took the most time to flesh out and develop?
Isobe: Cyan and Zantis took the most time. Cyan was the first character we designed, so it was difficult creating him from scratch. It took quite a while just to settle on the general direction of his character.
Zantis, on the other hand, proved a longstanding challenge. We struggled with him even as many of the main characters, such as Cyan, Elise, and Lime, were already being finalized. His design’s silhouette needed to stand on its own, while also matching Cyan and Elise, the tone of his interactions with Rai, and his carefree “big bro” personality.
Incidentally, we were able to finalize Violet’s design the quickest. She is exactly how I imagined she would be. As a result, I think she has become popular among fans. If we can make a sequel, I would like to feature Violet more. (laughs)
What do you most want people to know about Trinity Trigger?
Isobe: First and foremost, I want you to have fun! But I also hope you enjoy reading the instruction manual that comes with the physical edition. The smell and feel of a paper manual are a rare treat these days. A lot
of care went into its design, so please take time to appreciate the details. By the way, the base design of the manual was mostly created by me. (laughs)
After you’ve read the instruction manual, please enjoy defying the gods with Cyan and his friends in Trinity Trigger’s main story. What do you think will become of the chosen Warrior of Chaos? See for yourself!
Trinity Trigger is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.