Xenogears, also known as Xenogears Episode V, is a role-playing game released on the Sony PlayStation by Squaresoft (now known as Square Enix) in February 1998 in Japan and October 1998 in North America.
It is also available on the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita as a PlayStation Classic emulated title in North America and Japan regions.
Xenogears follows protagonist Fei Fong Wong as he is exiled from his destroyed village. Forced to deal with a chaotic world as well as the chaos inside himself, he gains several allies and finds the means to face his destiny, as well as uncover the truths behind mysterious forces operating in his world.
Taking place on an unnamed planet, Xenogears features a world ranging from mountain villages, desert cities, to technologically advanced empires. Mankind has taken to digging and excavating to find artifacts from past civilizations, including giant robots known as Gears. Since their appearance twenty years ago, Gears have been used by countries to wage war, provide entertainment via gladiatorial combat, as well as for mundane tasks, such as construction and further excavation.
About 10,000 years ago prior to the events of Xenogears in the year T.C. 4767, a malicious entity suddenly begins hacking into the systems of the Eldridge, a gigantic interplanetary emigrant spacecraft. As the crew exhausts all methods to keep complete control from falling into the enemy's hands, a message began to scroll across their screens: "Ye shall be as gods". Seeing this, the captain declares for all passengers and crew to evacuate.
As the passengers flee, the spacecraft's own laser cannons turn and shoot them down. As the captain watches the survivors' ships be destroyed, he looks down at his watch of his family, then activates the ship's self-destruct mechanism. In a flash of light, the spacecraft is destroyed, leaving the debris to fall to a nearby planet.
In the fallen wreckage, a naked woman with violet hair slowly rises, her dark eyes reflecting the dawn's breaking light: the day that 'humanity' fell to the planet.
Fei's story begins
9999 years later, on the continent of Ignas, the nations of Aveh and Kislev have been waging a centuries long war. Ethos, a church-like organization dedicated to preserving the world's culture, has recently excavated giant fighting robots called Gears. Although Kislev previously the upper hand in the war, a mysterious army known as Gebler started providing assistance to Aveh, allowing them to not only recover their losses, but begin making their way into Kislev's territory.
The game itself begins in the small town of Lahan Village, which is near the border of Kislev. Fei Fong Wong, an amnesic eighteen-year-old young man, had been mysteriously brought to Lahan by a "Masked Man" three years prior. Since then, Fei led a pleasant life, and was awaiting the marriage of his two best friends, Alice and Timothy.
One night, while visiting the local doctor, Citan Uzuki, in his nearby mountain home, Fei finds a group of Gears flying towards Lahan. By the time Fei makes it back, the town is burning as the Gears storm their way through the village. Fei finds a mysterious Gear and, despite Citan's protests, gets aboard.
Initially, Fei has some success fending off the attackers, but when he sees his friend Timothy shot and killed, something awakens in Fei, causing the Gear to go berserk. The village and many of the fleeing villagers are engulfed in a bright light and are instantly disintegrated.
After the destruction of Lahan Village, a distraught Fei is exiled by the surviving villagers. Wanting to avoid possible enemy reinforcements, Fei decides to flee to Aveh alone.
Upon entering the Blackmoon Forest, Fei encounters a strange female Gebler soldier named Elehayym "Elly" Van Houten, whom he feels a strange connection towards. As he reconnects with Citan, he is forced to use the same Gear that destroyed Lahan in order to save Elly. As they rest, Citan privately asks Elly to leave, revealing that he knows more about the situation than he let on.
Fei eventually meets Grahf in a desert, who claims to know about Fei's past. Fei uses Weltall again against some summoned enemies, leaving him unable to fight back when he is captured.
Eventually, Fei and Citan are picked up by Bartholomew "Bart" Fatima, a desert pirate and heir to the throne of Aveh. After enrolling into a fighting tournament to give Bart and his allies time to rescue Marguerite "Margie" Fatima, Fei is matched with Dan, Alice's little brother, as well as Wiseman, another mysterious masked man who claims to know about Fei's past.
As Bart's party tries to escape with Margie, they are intercepted by Kahran Ramsus and his assistant, Myyah Hawwa. When Fei joins in to help his friends against the two, Kahran finds his fighting style familiar.
The party next sets out on an attempt to take back the throne. Fei is placed in charge of a second group composed of Bart's allies. After his party has an initial success against Vanderkam's Dora, Grahf arrives and grants Vanderkam the power to overwhelm and destroy Fei's team. Like in Lahan, Fei's powerlessness overwhelms him, and he blacks out.
Soon afterward, Ramsus intercepts the Yggdrasil, ordering their surrender. When they refuse to surrender, he attacks. At this point, a powerful red Gear appears and attacks Bart and Citan. Ramsus identifies it as the Gear of the "Demon of Elru" and immediately moves to engage it in his Gear, Wyvern. He is easily demolished, prompting Myyah to rescue Ramsus and retreat.
Fei wakes up in a Kislev prison in Nortune. With the help of Citan, who is posing as the prison doctor, and Hammer, a demihuman merchant, Fei rises through the prison's ranking system to become the new 'Champion', earning his freedom. As Fei is summoned to meet Kaiser Sigmund, the former Champion and demihuman Rico Banderas infiltrates the sector, taking advantage of the lightened security in order to assassinate Sigmund. Upon being discovered, Rico hides in the Kaiser's wife's room, which causes him to realize that he is the Kaiser's son. Rico is then captured, and Fei and Citan go to rescue him, just as Solaris begins raining bombs from above.
As Solaris begins their 'Purge' on Nortune, Fei forces Elly to confront Gebler and Solaris's heinous actions. Leaving a distraught Elly, Fei joins Rico to fight against Dominia Yizkor, who is piloting the bomb ship Hecht. After the battle, the Hecht falls towards the city center's nuclear reaction, threatening to destroy the entire region. Fei and Rico attempt to use their Gears to steer the massive ship off course, but find themselves unable to move the ship on their own. Elly arrives in her Gear and joins the effort. As it falls instead towards the residential district, Fei's and Rico's Gears begin to overheat, and they are forced to withdraw. Elly resolves to push the ship by herself, an act she nearly pays for with her life, if not for the sudden interference of a mysterious winged Gear.
Now fugitives for helping Rico, in order to escape the Kislev Empire, Fei's group decides to steal the airplane "Goliath" in the Goliath Factory. As they do so, they are intercepted by Grahf. As Fei, Rico, and Elly battle Grahf, Citan and Hammer manage to use the airplane's defenses against him, repelling him away. As the crew, save Fei, celebrates, the Goliath is accidentally shot down by Bart's ship into the sea, separating Fei and Elly from the rest of the party.
They are rescued by the Thames, a movable floating city ship. After learning Elly's whereabouts, Gebler attacks Thames to kidnap Elly and Myyah Hawwa, a Gebler officer, unsuccessfully brainwashes her. Kahran Ramsus, who holds a vendetta against Fei, attacks Thames, searching for him. Elly returns to the party and Fei is left in critical condition. Billy Lee Black, an Ethos worker on board Thames, allows Fei to use the Ethos' advanced medical technology. Bishop Isaac Stone, Ethos' leader, reveals to the party Ethos's true purpose of controlling the land dwellers, or "Lambs", for Solaris.
The group follows Stone to the ruins of Zeboim, an excavation site. They discover a young girl composed of nanomachines named Emeralda. Stone, acting under the orders of a man named Karellen, takes Emeralda while the party fights the Elements Tolone and Seraphita.
After defeating the Elements, the party catches up to Stone on a skywalk overlooking Zeboim. This is when, Id, the mysterious red Gear's pilot, intervenes, also attempting to take Emeralda. Wiseman arrives to hold Id back, commanding the group to go after Stone, who is eventually defeated.
The group regroups, and finds Fei awake and standing at his Gear with a case of amnesia. Fei and his friends decide to ally themselves with the floating city of Shevat, the only remaining city capable of resisting Solaris. They climb the Babel Tower to reach Shevat, where they meet Maria Balthasar and rest of the Chu-Chus.
Back on the surface, the group defeats Shakhan, the corrupt ruler of Aveh. Bart becomes the rightful king of Aveh and stops the war with Kislev.
The group defeats gates on the surface to unlock the way to Solaris. At the final gate, Sargasso Point, the group encounters Emeralda once again, now as their opponent. She attacks at first, but recognizes Fei, referring to him as "Kim", much to Fei's confusion. The group successfully infiltrates Solaris via Maria's Gear, Seibzehn.
In Solaris, the group discovers that Solaris is actually a futuristic dystopia in the sky, using organizations like the Ethos to funnel resources from the surface, including slaves. Citan soon reveals himself to be Hyuga Ricdeau, a spy who has been working for Emperor Cain, the leader of Solaris. The party also learns that the Gazel Ministry seeks to revive Deus and achieve eternal life, while Karellen seeks to obtain Elly, as she is needed to resurrect Deus. However, Citan secretly releases Fei and his friends as Cain was actually against the Ministry's plans.
Medena Van Houten, Elly's mother, is imprisoned with her husband, Erich Van Houten, when the Imperial Guard comes looking for Elly on Karellen's orders. She is eventually rescued by Hammer, who turns on the group in order to take Elly to Karellen. Medena steps in between Elly and Hammer, prompting him to shoot her in the head when she refuses to move. Erich tries to cover for the party as they escape, and is killed by the Executioner. Overwhelmed, Fei becomes Id and completely destroys Solaris.
Back at Shevat, Citan informs his friends that Id is actually Fei's split personality. Meanwhile, Fei and Elly are chased by Ramsus and are struck down. Mortally wounded, they are rescued by Taura Melchior.
After a period of three weeks, Fei and Elly are healed by Taura and his nanotechnology. Everyone regroups and Elly and Emeralda go to the Mass Driver Facility to release the Limiters of everyone on the planet. At the same time, Karellen releases a virus, coincidentally mutating many people into Wels right after their Limiters were removed.
Those who were mutated felt innately compelled to gather at the various Soylent System facilities located around the surface. There, the Wels, deeming themselves the 'have nots', would devour the ones less mutated. The Wels that remained were a crucial part of the Gazel Ministry's 'M Plan', which wanted to gather the best genetic material for Deus's revival.
Once this plan was discovered by Fei and his allies, the group went from place to place, destroying all the Soylent System facilities located on the surface of the earth and freeing the people held at each location. All the people that had been mutated were taken in by Nisan, where they received treatment.
Fei and his allies then decide to collect Anima Relics before Solaris's remaining forces do, as they can transform Gears into Omnigears. After exploring Anima Dungeon One and Anima Dungeon Two, Hammer appears as a monstrous Wel-Gear hybrid, having been transformed by Karellen. After Hammer is defeated and falls to his death, Elly feels powerless at being unable to help him. As Fei watches Elly cry, he resolves that he could no longer risk her heart being broken again.
Ramsus assassinates Emperor Cain after being manipulated into doing so by Myyah and Karellen at the behest of the Gazel Ministry. The Ministry then use the Gaetia Key, an artifact that manipulates the DNA of humans around the world, turning a majority into mutant Wels, in order to collect the parts necessary to reconstruct Deus, the very same entity that crash-landed on the planet ten thousand years ago. Mahanon, where Deus is located, is resurrected from the sea.
Fei, knowing that Elly would be facing the transformed people of Solaris and that this was a battle they may not come back from, asks her to stay behind. The two argue, and Fei lashes out verbally, telling Elly that she'd be in the way if she insisted on coming with. Elly cuts the conversation short by running off. Fei's friends chide him for not expressing his true feelings, and encourage him to tell Elly how he feels, before it was too late.
Fei and Elly meet and reconcile, realizing the full extent of their journey together, how they both had grown, and how much they mean to each other. The two kiss, and make love.
During this time, Elly and Fei remember their time as their previous reincarnations Sophia and Lacan. Lacan was a painter while Sophia was the Holy Mother of Nisan around the time of the war between Shevat and Solaris five-hundred years earlier. Lacan, blaming himself for Sophia's death, became Grahf and sought to destroy the world in revenge. Although defeated, Grahf has transmigrated his mind into other humans since.
As Fei and his allies depart for Mahanon, Elly stays behind and assists Nisan for her own safety.
In Mahanon, which turns out to be part of the Eldridge, Fei and his allies defeat Deus's larval form. Grahf, in Alpha Weltall, appears and defeats the group. Grahf almost kills Fei, but is stopped by Karellen. Instead, the party, sans Elly, is crucified at a mountain called Golgoda.
In Nisan, Elly senses that Fei is in danger, which is confirmed when Karellen sends a message, saying that if she wants to save them, she must go to Golgoda. Elly does so and defeats Mugwort and Rattan, but is kidnapped by Karellen. Karellen lets Fei and his allies go, knowing they will come back to rescue her. As the final parts of the plan come into place, Karellen disposes of the Gazel Ministry, as they are no longer necessary.
The party returns in their Omnigears to Merkava to rescue Elly, only to face a crazed Ramsus, who reveals his origin. Fourteen years ago, Ramsus was created to be the prototype for an artificial 'Contact', but his destiny was discarded when Myyah discovered her new incarnation's son, Fei, was the true Contact.
After defeating Ramsus, the party finds Karellen and Myyah waiting for them, as well as an unconscious Elly, bound on a cross in front of Deus's massive form. Karellan explains that Elly, as the Mother, must be sacrificed in order to revive Deus.
Ramsus then appears, questioning his purpose in life, and is taunted by Myyah and Karellen. Ramsus, realizing he had been used, kills her and Karellen. As she collapses, Myyah remarks that, as she couldn't kill herself, this was the only way she could die. Meanwhile, due to Karellen's body being mostly composed of nanomachines, he quickly revives.
As Fei frees Elly, he is suddenly shot by her. The party realizes that Elly had turned the next and final incarnation of Myyah. After revealing the truth about Deus's nature and its coming plans for humanity, the 'Last Myyah' leaves with Karellen and is reabsorbed into Deus. The party is forced to retreat as Merkava raises into the sky, firing a red beam of destruction on the land below.
Fei, as Id, attempts to make contact with the Zohar, located in the Land of Bethlehem. Wiseman, who reveals himself to be Fei's father Khan Wong, stops him, giving peace to Fei's other personalities. At this time, Fei makes contact with the Wave Existence, an extra-dimensional being who is trapped inside the Zohar. Fei learns that he must destroy Deus to free humanity. Upon making a successful contact,F ei's Gear transforms into the Xenogears.
Grahf appears, revealing that he had been inside Fei's father's body. After trying to merge with Fei, Grahf reveals how Elly and Myyah are interconnected. In order to free Elly, Myyah, and all the women bound with them, Grahf explains, Fei must "cut the binds on mankind". He sacrifices himself to temporarily stop the Zohar.
Fei discovers that he is a reincarnation of Abel, made contact with the Wave Existence through the Zohar, Deus' power source. It gave him the power to one day destroy Deus and the Zohar in order to free itself. The Wave Existence also sensed Abel's longing for his mother and used the biological computer Kadomony to create the first Elehayym. After Deus went out of control and was sealed, Abel was one of the many passengers on board the Eldridge, which was being used to transport Deus.
When Deus gained full control over the Eldridge, the captain decided to initiate the self-destruct sequence in an attempt to destroy it. Deus and the Zohar survived the explosion and landed on a nearby planet. Elehayym, who had been transformed into the first Myyah to serve as the Mother of humanity, created the first humans. After this, she had created two copies of herself, who became two different beings with different tasks: Myyah, with the task of gathering the components for Deus's revival, and Elly, who inherited the "mother's will".
Myyah, along with Cain and the Gazel Ministry, began watching over the first human civilizations on the planet, preparing for the day when they would be turned into Wels and absorbed into Deus to recover its strength. Elly, meanwhile, found Abel and lived with him.
When the now-adult Abel and Elly discovered this, they openly challenged Cain and the Gazel Ministry but were killed. However, through the power of the Wave Existence, they are able to be reincarnated in later eras. One of these incarnations lived during an ancient technologically advanced era in Zeboim, where he went by the name Kim Kasim. As he and his wife, Elly, could not have a child, they created Emeralda. However, as Emeralda was about to be reclaimed by government soldiers, Kim and Elly sealed Emeralda away and died.
Eventually Fei's party manages to destroy Merkava, but Deus's completed form emerges from it. After a long battle in Deus's core, Fei's party defeats Deus.
Searching for signs of Elly, the party discovers a slight energy response within the core, which started to strengthen. The Wave Existence, which was used to power the very biological computers that led to Myyah and Elehaym, was finally freed from its "cage of fleshly existence" from within Zohar. It meant to travel to the higher dimensional it originally came from, which, as Citan revealed would create enough energy to destroy the planet. Elly, now free of Deus's control and in its body, is trying move it beyond the atmosphere, intending to sacrifice herself one last time.
Inside, Karellen confronts Fei, asking why he is so attached to all the imperfections of human existence that he would prefer it over reverting everything back to when it all began, when all was one in the realm of God. Because humans live in an imperfect state that is filled with sadness, Karellen wants to revert everything to the perfect, unified state of waves, filled with the love of god instead of the false love that humans experience.
Fei rejects Karellen's ideology, stating that humanity's imperfections meant they had to help each other in order to live, which led to mutual understanding. Perfection is not needed for love to exist, and Fei understands this through Elly and her actions. He argues that Elly is trying to heal Karellen's heart, and that Karellen doesn't need to "become one with god" in order to understand her love.
Karellen challenges Fei, telling him to prove this love that could make him independent of God, and calls forth Urobolus, a gigantic serpent-like being, bearing the last visage of Myyah. Xenogears appears, and Fei phases into it, using it to defeat Urobolus.
After Fei defeats Urobolus, Elly appears. Elly reveals that Karellen released her, and tells Fei that Karellen was deeply saddened by Sophia's death and loved humanity greatly, and so he tried to make it so that no one would experience loss again.
Karellen appears again after Fei almost sacrifices himself to save Elly in the dimensional rift. Karellen says that now that there is no more god, this is now their planet. He then reveals that won't he be returning, as he can no longer live as an ordinary human after everything he has done. Fei begs for Karellen to reconsider, but Karellen solemnly replies that he has chosen to "walk with god" by following the Wave Existence back to its higher dimension, via the Path of Sephirot. Two glowing wings bloom on his shoulders and he says, "Actually, I envy you two," as he disappears.
Fei and Elly then return to their planet along with Xenogears and reunite with the rest of the party. At the very end of the game, Kadomony is seen on the cliff and a glowing feather falls from the sky. "XENOGEARS Episode V" appears on the screen, indicating that the game is actually Episode V.
Backstory and expansion
The plot and backstory of Xenogears is detailed in the book Perfect Works. This book details the history of the Xenogears universe from the discovery of the Zohar to the start of the game. The book also alluded locations from the novel Xenogears: Kami Hofuru Monogatari.
According to the Perfect Works schematic, Xenogears is only the fifth episode in a series of six, with the first four providing the backstory for the events that took place in Xenogears and the sixth future events:
- Episode I: An interplanetary war 15000 years before Episode V. The Deus system was developed in this era.
- Episode II: The time of the genesis 10000 years ago. Abel lived in this period.
- Episode III: The Zeboim era 4000 years ago, the period of wars that Kim lived.
- Episode IV: The Solaris war 500 years ago, the period Lacan and Sophia lived.
- Episode VI: The end of the storyline.
Xenogears was intended to be episode 5 of a 6 part series, with each part's story told through different media. At the end of the game, it is revealed that the game's full title is Xenogears Episode V. However, many elements and motifs of Xenogears are referenced or featured in future Xeno- games.
Themes and topics
- Main article: Themes and topics of Xenogears
Xenogears contains many allusions to a variety of subjects, such as Gnosticism, Jewish mysticism, Jungian psychology, humanism and Biblical symbolism, as well as questions about the nature of existence, humanity, culture, faith and religion.
Gameplay is very traditional, utilizing 2D sprites in 3D backgrounds, as well as two different battle systems, one which uses the actual characters in combo-based physical combat, while the latter takes place in turn-based 'Gear' battles.
Battling is a variant of the ATB2 active time battle system found in Chrono Trigger and various Final Fantasy games. Once a battle starts the screen quickly changes to a combat scenario. Characters fight with martial combat and ether attacks along with special Deathblow moves that are learned through combinations of strong, moderate, and weak hits. Attacks use Action points (AP) and cost, 3, 2, 1 points respectively.
The player begins with 3 AP per turn (which is not enough to execute a Deathblow) and as the player progresses in level, they will eventually have 6 AP per turn. When the story is progressed to a certain level, an additional AP (7 AP per turn) will be acquired, and the player will also be able to learn Elemental Deathblows which can be unlocked quicker at higher levels. AP may be saved and used as Attack Points for combo attacks. A total of 28 AP may be accumulated for combo attacks, powerful sequences using multiple Deathblows to inflict massive damage. For example, Elly's Deathblows include:
- Screamer: - 4 AP
- Cyclone Kick: - 5 AP
- Breakthrough: - 5 AP
- Double Shock: - 6 AP
- Sky Attack: - 6 AP
- Bright Spark: - 6 AP
- Sting Kick: - 6 AP
- Anemo Zap: - Wind Elemental, 7 AP
- Terra Charge: - Earth Elemental, 7 AP
- Thermo Thump: - Fire Elemental, 7 AP
- Aqua Frost: - Water Elemental, 7 AP
Characters can also use "magical" abilities that either aid the party or damage enemies. These abilities are limited by the number of ether points (EP) that are available. Unlike AP, EP do not replenish between attack rounds. For most characters, these abilities are called 'Ether,' although some characters' abilities have a different name, implying differences in their origins. For example, Fei's magic is called "Chi" and Citan's is "Arcane". Unlike the main characters of most RPGs whom specialize in either physical or magical strength exclusively, the main characters in Xenogears generally are competent in both areas, although few characters have more than one or two direct damage spells. While in Gears (mechanized fighting machines) 'Ether' abilities are amplified, although some change or become unavailable.
In addition to the small-scale, hand-to-hand combat, the characters sometimes fight from within their respective combat robots, called 'Gears'. These fighting machines are often similar in fighting style and some bear an aesthetic resemblance to the characters that pilot them.
For these particular battles, the combination style is reduced to a selection of strong, medium, or weak attacks that build up the attack level of the Gear with each turn until it can unleash a special, more powerful attack. While in Gears the limiting factor of AP is replaced with a fuel gauge, with each attack consuming an amount relative to its power. There are three levels of normal special Gear attacks (respectively levels 1, 2, and 3) and one additional 'infinite' level of special Gear attacks. These moves are acquired in correspondence to a character's learned Deathblow skills.
Infinite level differs from the other three levels in several ways. When it is reached the Gear will go into a special mode known as 'infinity mode'. Infinity mode lasts three turns, and while in this mode, fuel can be recharged in a larger amount or the Gear can use Infinity attacks. Infinity mode cannot be reached until elemental deathblows are learned (with the exception of Maria Balthasar, who has them automatically, and Chu-Chu, who cannot perform special Gear attacks). To reach infinity mode a character has to stay at attack level 3 while performing any other action. With each turn, there is a chance that infinity mode will be reached (this ratio is displayed on screen along with the Gear's status). Infinity level uses special attacks that use very little fuel and are much more powerful.
Gears can regain fuel by 'charging'. The amount of fuel gained differs depending on the engine the player has equipped and what attack level the character is currently at. Most engines have a base charge level of 30 fuel. Attack levels add 10 fuel per level with infinite level multiplying the charge rate by ten (charge levels are not cumulative). When equipped with certain items the gain rate of fuel may be increased.
The Gears can also activate 'Boosters', which enables them to act faster but consume more fuel. It also unlocks the 'Special Option' command, which include healing abilities and special attacks. When a Gear has no Fuel left, it can no longer execute attacks, use special options, or use boosters. They can however charge (regain fuel) and use ether abilities. The main characters can purchase Gear fuel, parts and upgrades in shops or from certain individuals.
- Main article: Xenogears Original Soundtrack
Xenogears Original Soundtrack was arranged and composed by Yasunori Mitsuda.
Aside from the original soundtrack, there is also Creid, an arrange album produced by Mitsuda and Millenial Fair.
Myth: The Xenogears Orchestral Album is another arranged soundtrack. The album contains 14 tracks, including an orchestral version of Small Two of Pieces.
Xenogears maintains a 90% ratio on GameRankings, and within the top 20 best reviewed games on the PlayStation. Despite the limitations the developers had to work with, Xenogears is often praised for its ambitious story, music and gameplay.
Xenogears was originally submitted as a script idea for Final Fantasy VII by Tetsuya Takahashi and Soraya Saga. It was rejected because it was "too dark and complicated for a fantasy." It was also considered to be Chrono Trigger 2, but this idea was also dropped. The idea was instead spun off into its own project.
Squaresoft originally intended to call the game Project Noah (in reference to Karellen's mission Project Noah to revive Deus) when they first started production of the game and released information to the press. Later, the name was changed to Xenogears.
The style of the second disc received criticism from some fans due to its montage-y nature. In an interview, Tetsuya Takahashi revealed that the main issue was time deadlines, since many of the developers were new to the PlayStation technology and that created delays. Square suggested that the developers just end the game after the first disc when Fei and his team escape from Solaris, but Takahashi wanted to tell a complete story, hence why disc two was rushed in order to meet deadlines and not compromise the story.
Graphically, Xenogears combines 2D sprite characters with 3D environments. The environments and Gears are principally all created within the 3D engine, but the characters are created using low resolution 2D sprites. In addition to these things, Xenogears also utilizes both traditional Japanese cel-animated scenes and pre-rendered CGI movie clips during emotive or important plot points by Production I.G. — a trait that was common in Squaresoft RPGs during this era.
Mistranslations and localization errors
- Main article: Xenogears Japanese-English gloss
Only one member, named Richard Honeywood, was hired to translate the entire game from Japanese into English.
Richard Honeywood described on a podcast(-57.00) that Xenogears as the "project from hell" because of the amount of text to translate and references. Some changes were done to avoid religious controversy, such as changing the "Yahweh" interplanetary system into the "Yabeh" interplanetary invasion system. He also said the themes of sexual abuse by Ethos priests had to be toned down, but it is still implied in the game by Verlaine.
The English localization has mistranslations, possibly a mixture of both accidental and intentional, from the original Japanese script, as well as a few typos and grammatical errors. For example, the name of Fei's father is "Khan", but at one point, it is listed as "Kahn". Another is "Your looking at the real thing" instead of "You're looking at the real thing".
In addition, many words and terms tend to have a hyphen surrounding them. For example, Karellen says, "Show me this -love-" instead of "Show me this love".
In an interview with Weekly Famitsu, Monolift Soft founder and president Sugiura Hirohide revealed that there were plans for a sequel to Xenogears, but with Squaresoft focusing on investing in their film division, they were unable to proceed any further.
Ultimately, this led to Monolith Soft being founded in 1999, as a means to make a sequel possible in a different way.
Connections to Xenosaga
While Xenogears has never had an official sequel or prequel, it has been theorized that the Xenosaga trilogy is a re-imagined prequel or version of Xenogears Episode I.
Soraya Saga was the scenario writer for both Xenogears and Xenosaga, and said this of the connection, "I think all Xeno works are, so to speak, like rivers and lakes that once sprung from our mind, eventually became independent. They sure are kin, but not lineal."
Official interviews are vague on the matter, though Tetsuya Takahashi has stated that "It's probably more suitable to say that it follows the direction and style of Xenogears", as well as "Now that we are under a different company, we figured we should start everything from scratch all over again. Though there are familiar faces that serve as important characters in Xenosaga, others are more like self-parodies, so we don't really want Xenogears fans to overreact. Like movies, sometimes you have the director of the movie or friend of the leading actor appearing as cameos, so it's similar to that."
A demo for the game was included with Parasite Eve, titled SquareSoft on PlayStation 1998 Collector's CD Vol.1. It includes the destruction of Lahan Village, along with some more scenes.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud mentions Xenogears and the song Small Two of Pieces.
- Rene Fatima and Roni Fatima are Final Fantasy VI references. Sigurd Harcourt shares a surname with Duncan and Vargas Harcourt from the same game.
- KRELIAN: How can you be so sure? Humans will never come to understand each other. You said that she is the person you love. But can you say that you even truly understand each other? All humans do is place themselves at a comfortable distance from each other and call that 'mutual understanding', 'spiritual unity', or 'true love'... but it is all lies! Man cannot associate with others without first deceiving themselves. That is the way that they were created. FEI: But one being's ego can't determine everyone's fate! People have the right to choose their own destiny! That is why humans have free will! KRELIAN: And what if that 'will' itself was predetermined? What then? Oh, what folly!? Humans are just primitive life forms that have no such things as free will... Mankind has merely been allowed to live in an imperfect state... "as is", "as will be"... It is for this very reason... because humans have this wretched 'will' or whatnot... that humans must experience sadness and loss. For someone to gain something means another must lose it... It is impossible to make humankind share limited "things" and "affections"... So I came to the conclusion that everything must be reverted back to where it all began. To go back to when all was one... waves, and nothing else... It is not my -Human's- ego... It is the will of the 'Waves'... the will of -god-...
- ELLY: "Fei... It was Krelian... Krelian released me..." FEI: "Krelian...?" ELLY: "Yes. I came to understand after becoming one with Krelian... His heart was so full of sadness. That is why he desired for he and I to become one with god... Because that would be the return to the beginning of everything... He told me... "You should be with him..." That is what he said... You see... He already knew! Yes, he already knew... how I felt, how you felt... But there was nothing we or he could do... He had no choice but to go forward... even if it meant he lost all feelings, lost everything that was human! For all humankind's sake... There was no going back... Even looking back held too many memories... And he would have... just wanted to go back... Even though he couldn't... So please forgive him... Krelian loved people more than anyone else..." FEI: "I... I, somehow... knew it all along... I just knew he was really that kind of person..."
- Interview with Soraya Saga
- Schreier, Jason. "The Real Story Behind Xenogears' 'Unfinished' Disc 2", Kotaku, 15 June 2017. Retrieved on 5 January 2019.
- 8-4 Play, 22 Apr. 2011, http://8-4.jp/blog/?p=381&lang=en.
- Xenogears 2 Didn’t Happen Because of FF: Spirits Within – Monolith Soft President Sugiura. (2020, May 29). Frontline Gaming Japan. https://www.frontlinejp.net/2020/05/28/xenogears-2-didnt-happen-because-of-ff-spirits-within-monolith-soft-president-sugiura/
- Interview with Soraya Saga
- Interview with Tetsuya Takahashi
- Xenogears Wiki (Spanish)
- Xenogears on PlayStation Store (for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita)
- Xenogears: God and Mind fansite
- Xenogears: The Nisan Sanctuary Fansite
- Guardian Angels
- Xenogears and Xenosaga Study Guide