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Xenosaga Goes Polymorphic


Ed-E
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I've been out of the Xenosaga mega-fan loop for a while now so I decided to take a look over at the zenosaga.com forums and it seems that there's a lot about to happen in the Xeno universe.

Firstly, Xenosaga: Pied Piper (groan)

03.gif01.gif2-01.gifmerisu.gif

Pied Piper is a mobile phone game that appears to be set 100 years before Episode 1 and revolves around Ziggy's back-story (we know what happens at the end of his back-story from Episode 1 but I'm not going to spoil it here). It also appears to expand upon some of the elements are introduced in Episode 2 (namely, The Testaments).

More details (and the odd Episode 2 spoiler) can be found here, or you can go to the official site (with a load more screenshots) here.

I'm guessing that the reason they're doing this is to help tie-up some loose ends away from the main game series, after the fans' backlash over Episode 2 containing little more than the conclusion of the URTV side-story and little in the way of main-story elements. It's a great idea on the surface but the only concern is that Western Xenofannies are pretty unlikely to get it (unless it gets converted to GBA/DS/PSP). Considering that Xenosaga became a Greatest Hits game in the US, I'd be surprised if they didn't find some way of communicating the contents of the game to Western audiences.

Xenosaga: The Animation

Paste from 1-Up:

The long-promised Xenosaga animated TV series will begin airing in Japan this January, Monolith Soft and Toei Animation announced today. Based on the characters and story of Xenosaga Episode I, it'll run on Asahi TV on Wednesday nights.

Toei calls its series a "new century space opera," which sounds like a close match to the game it's based on. No images of the show have been released as yet, but you can see some sketches of lead characters Shion Uzuki and KOS-MOS at the Toei Animation page.

The production will be supervised by Shigeyasu Yamauchi (Hana Yori Dango), with direction by Gou Kouga (Kinnikuman, also known as Ultimate Muscle). Mechanical designs are by Hiroyuki Ogawara, who contributed some designs to Gundam Seed, while the series' new character designs are the work of Nobuteru Yuuki, famous for Escaflowne. Yuichiro Takeda, late of the fine recent sci-fi productions Banner of the Stars and Infinite Ryvius, is supervising the scenario design and screenwriting.

Not exactly a stellar line-up of talent working on it, but hey. Considering it's supposed to be airing in January, there's surprisingly little information about it. Pre-production images show Shion in her Episode 1 outfit, so whether it's a side-story or a retelling of Episode 1 is unknown.

Xenosaga Episode 2: Jenseits von Gut und Bose

Many people are throwing around a date of the 15th February for Episode 2's US release, although the official Namco website, which until recently said Q1 2005, now says Winter 2005, so nobody really knows what's going on. There is some sort of short English-language clip on IGN, apparently, which would add credence to the February date. Regardless, Namco have announced that for those who preorder, a bonus DVD will be included containing 4 hours of cinematics from Episode 1, cut down from the 7-and-a-half hours worth in the game. This is designed to get people up to speed with the story if they want to jump in at Episode 2.

Big thanks for everyone at Zenosaga.com for the info!

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I think Xenosaga 1 is one of the best RPGs to come out of Japan for years. It has a really, really decent combat system (albeit, in the standard turn-based form), and the story is sodding EPIC.

I'm still concerned by episode 2 though - by all the accounts, the music has been changed to something fucking terrible, and I'm still to be convinced that the new graphic style is any cop.

Still, we'll see in '05!

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I think Xenosaga 1 is one of the best RPGs to come out of Japan for years. It has a really, really decent combat system (albeit, in the standard turn-based form), and the story is sodding EPIC.

I'm still concerned by episode 2 though - by all the accounts, the music has been changed to something fucking terrible, and I'm still to be convinced that the new graphic style is any cop.

Still, we'll see in '05!

I think we can probably get used to the style over time, but the music is a major sticking point for me - although there seem to be a lot of people at the Zenosaga.com forums who really like Yuki Kajiura's work on it, and they can't all be deaf...

A while back I posted my impressions of the Episode 2 demo and I didn't think it was too bad. The worst thing was probably the load times going into battles, but then Xenosaga had it's loading times improved considerably before it's US release, so hopefully that won't be a concern.

I think if you go into it not expecting much progress in terms of the main story-thread then you'll be okay. From what I hear, the game mostly focuses on the URTV trio (Jr/Rubedo/Albedo)... apparently Jr. is the main character for most of the game, so HOPEFULLY they'll have a better voice actor, but I'm not counting on it.

The cutscenes are fucking spectacular, though...

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Dont't think so

Actually does anyone know where they sell the series (book form i mean)??

Book form? It's never been a manga. As far as I'm aware, the only Xenogears/Xenosaga books out (to my knowledge) are:

  • Xenogears Perfect Works ~The Real Thing~ (intensely detailed explanations of the Xenogears world, politics, human evolution, social structures, geology, a timeline of how the whole Xenosaga was originally planned to flow, Gear details and loads of artwork)
  • Xenogears: Thousands of Daggers (the script of Xenogears with over 1000 screenshots)
  • Xenosaga: Official Design Materials (I think it's basically a less detailed version of Perfect Works but for Xenosaga)
  • Some sort of Xenogears novel - I dunno much about this, as it's pretty fucking tough to find, but originally Episodes 2, 3 and 4 were intended to be novels, and I think one actually got written. It's definitely about something in the Xenogears timeline. I'd kill for it...

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pft.  Ep. 1, Ep. 2, and this show will pale in comparison to the scale of the original Playstation game.

That's the problem.

Xenogears was astounding because it managed to cram such an incredibly detailed world into a single game - 10,000 years of history. By deciding to make these 10,000 years and quite-a-bit-before as six seperate games, they're losing the scope. I think this is why they're deviating from their original plan so much - hell, if Episode 2 was to follow the plan as originally set out, it would start on the day the Eldridge crashed into the Xenogears planet. We're nowhere NEAR that.

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Xenogears is still utterly astounding, and the spritely graphics in combat mode are still utterly distinct, the music is still utterly sparse and unique, and cutscenes like the Red Gear's intervention in the desert are still utterly cinematic. The game somehow spans many lifetimes of its principle characters and makes you feel a part of an incredibly rich history more than any other game I can think of, including certain time-traveling RPGs. I hate that disc two is so unfinished and jagged, and I wait and wait for an extremely decent remake of this game and this game alone. When I play it, I want that remake so much that I start to think of doing it myself, just because as I go through the game, so many improvements occur to me. I don't think I care for the way the Xenoteam makes games anymore, starting with the second disc of Xenogears and going probably through Ep. 2 at least (from the looks of it). I guess the dream is probably dead; when they get all the way through Ep. 4 they will probably either skip or just botch Ep. 5 (Xenogears).

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I think we can probably get used to the style over time, but the music is a major sticking point for me - although there seem to be a lot of people at the Zenosaga.com forums who really like Yuki Kajiura's work on it, and they can't all be deaf...

A while back I posted my impressions of the Episode 2 demo and I didn't think it was too bad. The worst thing was probably the load times going into battles, but then Xenosaga had it's loading times improved considerably before it's US release, so hopefully that won't be a concern.

I think if you go into it not expecting much progress in terms of the main story-thread then you'll be okay. From what I hear, the game mostly focuses on the URTV trio (Jr/Rubedo/Albedo)... apparently Jr. is the main character for most of the game, so HOPEFULLY they'll have a better voice actor, but I'm not counting on it.

The cutscenes are fucking spectacular, though...

I quite like what I've seen of the new graphical style...although the loss of the epic soundtrack is a big shame. But hey I may like...

My love for the original is great enough to make me desire this plenty either way.

URTV trio? Rubedo and Jr are the same person right?

Anyway more Albedo can hardly be a bad thing.... ;)

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I'm still hoping some publisher actually realises rpgs do actually sell in Europe and gives the two games a pal release. I mean if Star Ocean Tales of Symphonia and Skies of Arcadia can get a PAL release, why not this?

Because without releasing the first game no-one would know whats going on...

This is a proper continuous story series....unlike Star Ocean or Final Fantasy...methinks Xeno 2 would sell very little if released on its own

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Because without releasing the first game no-one would know whats going on...

This is a proper continuous story series....unlike Star Ocean or Final Fantasy...methinks Xeno 2 would sell very little if released on its own

That’s why I said the two games, no reason at all why a publisher could not still give the first one a late pal release a la Animal Crossing, it's not as if it's on an obsolete format or anything.

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oops....missed that bit! :)

But then again Star Ocean and Skys have hardly been big sellers now have they?

Infact FF aside J RPGs seem to sell very badly in Europe....probably becuase all us obsessives import them on US release I suppose! :(

I was under the impression that they had done quite respectfully? obviously not by the sounds of things.

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Couple of reviews

http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/xenosaga-episode2/index.html

http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/xenosaga-episode2/index2.html

General opinion seems to be that Yuki Kajiura does wonderful cutscene music, but the game music done by Shinji Hosoe is a bit shit.

Mp3s can be found here

http://www.suteki-square.com/pages/media/mp3.php

Dunno if they all work mind, just downloaded one to test.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Because without releasing the first game no-one would know whats going on...

This is a proper continuous story series....unlike Star Ocean or Final Fantasy...methinks Xeno 2 would sell very little if released on its own

Yeah, it's pretty unlikely, even with this 4-hour bonus DVD thing that they're releasing with Episode 2. Nobody is going to want to sit and have to watch 4 hours worth of story before they even start, are they?

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Ed, any rumours about what XenoSaga DS is going to be? I expect it could just be a port of Pied Piper?

Nope, can't find anything.

I did catch some tasty morsels though:

  • Pied Piper will be in three "episodes" (probably due to the size limitations of mobile phone games).
  • There are to be two other "side-stories" in the Xenosaga universe, it would seem, named "Exceed" and "Frontier". The guys on the Zenosaga.com forums seem to know a little about them and I'm trying to dig it up.
  • Xenosaga Episode III's subtitle revealed - it is to be titled "Xenosaga Episode 3: Also Sprach Zarathustra", continuing the Nietzche theme.
  • Apparently, back when Monolith announced Xenosaga Episode II, they were working on Episode III and IV. Work on Episode III is probably quite far along, and if they follow their previous announcement pattern it should be properly unveiled this July.

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