Namco Unveils Xenosaga
This past weekend, Namco held their long-waited official unveiling of Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht for the Playstation 2, at Ebisu Garden Hall in Japan. Among the footage shown, and more game details discussed, are the battle system, story elements, the score, packaging details - and a fourth character, among other bits of information.
One of the first things explained about Xenosaga was how the game has three parts - quest, battle and events. Quest mode is your usual RPG field map, where the player controls the main character. In this mode, players can see enemies on the field, much like Chrono Trigger, which makes battles usually avoidable. Though often, the enemy will pursue the player, and the positions in battle depend on how the enemy comes into contact with the party. As well, you can talk to others, destroy items in the field, discover chests, hidden enemies, even traps, which can be used against enemies.
Demonstrations with the battle system were shown with KOS-MOS, chaos, Shion, and a new character (a redhead named Momo, she is a 're-alien', which is a term for human clones), in various footage. The battle system and its interface is similar to Xenogears, with the exception of a small blue area on the bottom right corner which appears to be a map displaying characters and enemies' positions on the battlefield. Characters will have button-combination attacks, which will often require EP or AP; characters will also learn special attacks and spells as they progress. The ability to call on an A.G.W.S., (the mech) once per battle is also present. A.G.W.S. have eight customizable parts, and each has its own speciality and expertise, being anything from hand-to-hand to artillery.
Composer Yasunori Mitsuda also made a brief presentation, and after, talked about his work with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and how he has already completed about 40-50 tracks... and isn't finished yet. With the religious theme that seems to accompany this series, Mitsuda is making sure the music fits the game's atmosphere quite well - something he's definetely good at. Now, if there's anything to look forward to, it's a Mitsuda soundtrack.
Finally, a trailer, about 13 minutes long, was shown, showing parts of Xenosaga's opening movie, and other story scenes. As the opening movie shows, the story of Xenosaga begins on Earth, and looks to be Zohar's discovery on Earth. In the movie, set in 21st Century Kenya, an archaeologist discovers a mysterious plate at Lake Turukana, and as he tries to insert the disk into another object, he triggers an earthquake somewhat, as a huge island rises out of the lake... with a strangely familiar symbol, which shoots a bright light into the sky. At this, the scene shifts to TC (Transcend Christ) 4767, long after humans have left Earth. A spaceship in the mission of seeking out Zohar, falls under attack by the Gnosis. KOS-MOS appears and defends the ship against the Gnosis; what follows is a mix of scenes, involving chaos, KOS-MOS, Shion and Momo, and there also appears to be faces similar to those of Xenogears characters. The trailer finally ends with an unknown character saying, "That is...the Will to Power."
At the end of the event, producer Hirohide Sugiura announced that there will be a limited edition package upon the Japanese release of Xenosaga. Although the price is undecided, the package will include a 1/10 scale figure of a character from the game. As well, the 13 minute trailer may be available for sale on DVD sometime before the game's release - the idea is still under consideration.
Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht is still slated for a Japanese release of December 2001. There is still no word yet of a North American release, but don't rule out the possibility.
Pics courtesy of Impress GameWatch.