This article contains spoilers for Chrono Trigger. Proceed at your own risk.
Chrono Trigger is widely considered one of the greatest games of all time, and when a game is that well-liked, it usually follows that fans would come up with theories surrounding unexplained aspects of its story, characters and lore. They will delve deep to find any clues that may help prove their precious headcanon, sometimes going so far as to make up total nonsense.
Seeing as Chrono Trigger was recently remade (2008 counts as recently, right?) and with all the fuss surrounding “localization” these days, I figured I may discuss a difference between the original and new localizations of the game. One thing about the DS remake is that it has a more accurate translation, but I feel it doesn’t have the charm of the original. For all the liberties Ted Woolsey took with the script while localizing the SNES game, his translation had character, and a lot of that was lost in the remake. While, in general, a better translation helps with understanding the story, there was one little nuance that was remove that actually bothered me: Frog’s speech pattern.
In the SNES version of the game, Frog spoke Shakespearean English, you know, the typical “Thee, thou, thy” that you see in many fake medieval settings. A lot of people disliked it and were glad to see it gone in the DS version. But, I posit this to you, readers: this was no mere localization quirk, our dear Frog spoke that way on purpose.
What could possibly make me think this? Well, let’s review the evidence. No one else in the Middle Ages speaks that way. Not any of the civilians or the soldiers at the front lines. The royal family certainly didn’t, nor any of the knights in the castle. Frog’s mentor and friend, Cyrus, spoke normally, and you wouldn’t find that dialect among the Mystics either. And here’s the kicker, Glenn himself spoke standard English prior to being transformed into Frog by Magus’ spell. No one in the entire game other than Frog uses “Ye Olde English.”
Here comes the next question: why? My theory on this is that it is some kind of coping mechanism Glenn has used to deal with becoming an anthropomorphized frog. It helps him stand out in a way that doesn’t draw attention to him no longer being human. Imagine a scenario where Frog walks into an inn and tries to book a room. If he speaks normally, everyone’s first reaction to him will be shock (and maybe fright) at seeing a giant talking frog. However, by speaking in that archaic format, their reactions to him would be closer to: why are you talking like that? They may very well just think he’s an all-around weirdo, instead of some monster to be afraid of. In fact, one of the residents of Porre remarks about how weird Frog seemed.
All this adds another layer to the tragedy of Frog’s personal story. While this is just a theory about a minor part of the game, it’s the little things like this that make Chrono Trigger so great.