Xenoblade Chronicles has made Monolith Soft more successful than ever, so it might be time to bring the series’ spiritual precursor to the Switch.
Xenosaga was the first major project from developer Monolith Soft, a three-part sci-fi role-playing series that explored identity, transhumanism, and cosmic horror. As a great series in its own right, and as a spiritual precursor to the popular Xenoblade Chronicles franchise, is an important part of game history worth preserving on Nintendo Switch.
As with many of the great RPGs of the 2000s, Xenosaga it struggled to find an audience when it was first released. Despite some initial success, the series as a whole underperformed in JRPG’s saturated PlayStation 2 market. However, given the success of the company’s newer games on Nintendo consoles, it is quite possible that a Switch port could give Xenosaga a more successful second home.
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The story of Xenosaga it is closely related to that of its developer. Founded by former Squaresoft employee Tetusya Takahashi, who left the company due to a lack of creative freedom, Monolith Soft was to be a place where he and his team could explore bold new ideas on his own terms. Your first project, Xenosaga, was conceived as a six-part spiritual successor to the unfortunate Xenogears; an RPG created during his time at Squaresoft that was denied valuable resources due to the company’s prioritization of Final Fantasy.
Where Xenosaga it differed from its predecessor in its tone. Weather Xenogears combined a martial arts drama with super robot stories, Xenosaga it was more of a space opera. It took place in the distant future, in an era when Earth was lost and humanity was in conflict with an alien force called Gnosis. Throughout the story, protagonist Shion Uzuki and her gynoid partner KOS-MOS worked together and with other allies to confront attackers, unravel ancient conspiracies, and learn the secrets of humanity’s lost homeworld.
In addition to its daring space environment, XenosagaThe story incorporated cosmic horror and was inspired by European philosophy. Each game in the main series took its subtitle from the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, whose existentialist ideas deeply influenced the writing of the game. This conveyed the strength of humanity as it embarked on the exploration of an endless universe, but it also reinforced its thoroughness in the face of a universe far beyond its comprehension.
Despite this influence from one of the most outspoken atheists in history, however, Xenosaga he avoided the slaughter of gods that was fast becoming the most tired trope of its kind. Instead, games were more concerned with exploring identity. The subject of personality was discussed through a series of artificial or transhumanistic characters, especially the mechanical mascot KOS-MOS. As the series progressed, other ideals and philosophies were examined, giving the story a distinctly introspective narrative style that few games in the genre can match.
Unfortunately, the ambition he set Xenosaga apart it was also his undoing. Many critics found it difficult to relate to its cosmic reach and philosophical ambitions, and being on the PS2 meant the series had to fight an overcrowded JRPG market. The project was shortened from six games to three, and development issues resulted in an uneven ratio between scenes and games. To make matters worse, the series was not universally available. Many titles were exclusive to Japan, and while the United States was able to experience the main trilogy, only the second part made it to Europe. This left his potential audience without context or resolution to the story.
Monolith Soft would eventually achieve general success with another spiritual successor, Xenoblade Chronicles. As a result, interest in the Xenon brand is at an all-time high, as evidenced by Xenoblade Chronicles 2 having sold more than two million copies. Unfortunately, this success has not yet paved the way for a Xenosaga remastering. Tweeting in 2019Katsuhiro Harada, game director and chief producer at Bandai Namco, explained that such a project was considered but “failed in a profitable market analysis.”
It is a pity that the success of Xenoblade Chronicles has not yet translated into interest in Xenosaga. The popularity of the Switch has breathed new life into many older games, and the success that modern Monolith Soft titles enjoy makes it the perfect system to port your old catalog. Sadly, a remastering is unlikely to occur without the approval of Bandai Namco. That’s not to say it’s pointless, but fans will need to make their voice louder than ever before to convince the company of Xenosagaviability. With the days of PS2 over and access to the trilogy limited, this series about looking into the abyss is in increasing danger of being lost.
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