|Genres||Role-playing video game|
|Platform of origin||PlayStation|
|Year of inception||1998|
|Latest release||Xenoblade Chronicles
The Xeno series is a metaseries of science fiction Japanese role-playing video games. The series is the brainchild of Tetsuya Takahashi and has been published by several companies, including Square, Namco, and Nintendo.
Initially envisioned as a six-part series started with the game Xenogears, the series could not be directly continued due to the developers leaving Square, who held the legal rights to the property. This led to an exodus of the development team to Namco, where the Xenosaga series was started, not as a direct sequel or prequel, but as a new series with thematic connections. This too was envisioned as a six-part series, but instead was cut short to only three parts, after the completion of Xenosaga Episode I, Episode II and Episode III. After the ending of the Xenosaga series, Monolith Soft was bought by Nintendo, and a new Xeno game, Xenoblade Chronicles was developed and released. In January 2013, Nintendo announced a new game by Monolith Soft, titled Xenoblade Chronicles X.
Xenogears is the first entry in the series, and the only one developed for the PlayStation video game console and published by Square. The origins of the game actually started as a potential script for Final Fantasy 7 written by Tetsuya Takahashi and Soraya Saga. While the script was deemed "too dark and complicated" for the vision for Final Fantasy, Square did allow them to start the project as a new property instead. Composer Yasunori Mitsuda, upon completing music for Chrono Trigger, would also jump aboard the project to provide music. While developed by the staff that would later consist of Monolith Soft, at this point in time the team only existed as a sub-team within Square.
Despite the name merely being labeled Xenogears, the game's end credits, and respective Perfect Works guide publication, state that the game was in fact "Episode 5 of 6". While rumors of a Xenogears 2 project starting at Square arose after the game's release, ultimately Square decided that it wanted to focus more its flagship Final Fantasy series, leading Takahashi to choose to leave the company, along with much of the Xenogears staff, to form what would be Monolith Soft. Because of this departure, and the legal rights of the game belonged to Square, later games in the series would not be the direct prequels or sequels suggested by the game's ending and Perfect Works guide, but rather more of a reboot that share thematic similarities.
Xenosaga's main story is in the form of a trilogy of PlayStation 2 video games. There have been three spin-off games and an anime adaptation. The Xenosaga series serves as a spiritual successor to the game Xenogears, which was released in 1998 for the PlayStation by Square. The creator of both Xenogears and Xenosaga is Tetsuya Takahashi, who left Square in 1998 along with Hirohide Sugiura. Using funds from Namco, they started MonolithSoft and the Xenosaga project.
Xenosaga Episode I
After breaking apart from Square and formally forming Monolith Soft, the company would form a partnership with Namco as their owning and publishing company. The team's original plan would be to start a new six-part series, called Xenosaga, which wouldn't be exactly the same games alluded to with Xenogears and it's Perfect Works guide, but rather be more like spiritual sequels with thematic similarities. (The initial plan was six games, although it would actually eventually be wrapped up in three parts instead, with Episode III.) Many key staff from Xenogears returned in prominent roles, including Takahashi and Saga as writers, Mitsuda as music composer, and around 20 staff members from Xenogears returning to be part of the larger 70 person staff of Xenosaga.
The game was released in February 2002 in Japan, and February 2003 in North America, for the PlayStation 2.
Xenosaga Episode II
Xenosaga II brought a number of changes to the series. Mitsuda did not return to provide music for the game, and Saga part way through the game's development, left the team. The game's focus on characters in the story shifted as well, which it focusing more on Jr. than Shion this time around. Several aspects of the game was changed due to feedback from Episode 1; complaints of tedium and slow pace led to Episode II have fasted paced gameplay and battles and shorter length cutscenes.
Xenosaga I•II was an alternate version of the first two Xenosaga games remade for the Nintendo DS. However, as the DS was far less powerful of a video game console compared to the PlayStation 2 that the games had originally been released on, so the game's graphics and gameplay mechanics were greatly simplified. The game retelling and combining of the original two games, loosely telling the same story, while making some changes, for instance, such as the fact that the game is played from the perspective of "Shion" for the events of both games, where as the events of the original version of Xenosaga II originally had shifted to the perspective of Jr. The game was only released in Japan, not in any other regions.
Xenosaga Episode III
Although originally intended to be a six-part series, Xenosaga III ended up being the third and final entry in the Xenosaga sub-series, and the final Xeno game with Monolith Soft working under Namco. The series was cut short due to lack of sales of the prior released titles.
Xenosaga Pied Piper
Released on cellular phones in Japan, Xenosaga: Pied Piper is set one hundred years prior to the start of Episode I. It explores the past of the cyborg character Ziggy when he was a human named Jan Sauer and working for the Galaxy Federation's counter-terrorism task force. The events take place on planet Abraxas a.k.a. Michtam. Notable characters include Dr. Sharon Rozas, who becomes Sauer's wife and Joaquin, Sauer's stepson. His team of subordinates consists of Melisse Ortus, who witnesses Jan Sauers's suicide and later founds Scientia Lactis, an early model Realian equipped with "Canaan", Erich Weber or as later discovered, Voyager, and Mikhail Ortmann, an experienced U.M.N. operator. The purpose of Xenosaga: Pied Piper is to develop the back stories of some of the most important yet rarely felt presences in the Xenosaga universe, including Ziggy, chaos, Wilhelm, Voyager and Dr. Dimitri Yuriev. The plot itself spans three chapters. It centers on Sauer and his team as they track a serial killer known only by the hacker alias "Voyager", who kills his victims using the U.M.N. network. The game was also Soraya Saga's final contribution to the Xenosaga project. A translation script can be found at 
Released in Japan on April 28, 2004, Xenosaga Freaks contained four separate parts: Xeno Komi, which plays like an illustrated, voiced text adventure, a word game called Xeno-pittan, an encyclopedia of Episode I terms, and a playable demo version of Episode II. The Xeno Komi scenario is credited to Yanesaka Norihiko and it was directed by Yuki Mitsuhiro. Though uncredited, some of the music scored by Yasunori Mitsuda for Episode I was used in the game. Set sometime during Episode I, Xeno Komi follows the usually humorous intertwining adventures of the six major characters from Episode I and Allen. The main plot involves the seemingly unexplained rampage of a cat-ear wearing KOS-MOS as she destroys significant portions of the Durandal and the Elsa while chasing an imaginary cat. After playing through the scenarios for the six major characters, Allen's scenario is unlocked. His story reveals the events that lead to KOS-MOS' going out of control. Professor and Assistant Scott cornered Allen and after dubbing him Assistant #2, convinced him to help them install a remote control device on KOS-MOS (who has been named Assistant #3). The program to accomplish this was called Schrödinger and the cat-ears that were installed on KOS-MOS were actually antennae.
Xenoblade (Xenoblade Chronicles in English speaking regions) would be the first Xeno game developed after being bought by Nintendo. Originally titled Monado: Beginning of the World, the game was retitled Xenoblade in January 2010 to honour Tetsuya Takahashi, and tie it into the rest of the Xeno series.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
On January 23, 2013, in a Nintendo Direct, a game simply announced as "a new game from Monolith Soft", was announced and shown in a brief trailer. While not specifically referred to as part of the Xeno series, similarities[clarification needed] between it and Xenoblade between its staff and game appearance has led to journalists speculating it may be part of the series. 
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