New Xenosaga Episode III Details Announced
05.20.06 - 1:11 PM

Editor's Note: Remember, Xenosaga: Episode III is a direct sequel. Story information for the third game may spoil the first two. -John

Bandai Namco Games today announced some new bits of information regarding its upcoming PlayStation 2 RPG Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus spoke Zarathustra). The game's robot battles have undergone massive changes. Once the player chooses to attack with a particular mecha (E.S. unit), the respective unit's energy gauge will decrease depending on the equipped weapon. If there is enough energy left, players will be able to attack more than once during one turn as well. However, since energy consumption differs from weapon to weapon, it will be important to keep on eye on the gauge. The battle system will furthermore allow for chain attacks.

During mech battles, players will have the following five commands on their disposal: attack, anima awakening, item, charge and escape. Every time one of your party's mechs is being hit by an enemy, its anima gauge will fill up. Once its completely filled up, players will be able to use the anima awakening command. Once the anima has been activated, the respective mech's energy consumption will drop and it will be immune to status attacks. This status will also effect the number of turns and allow players to use certain death blows. Enemies however will also be able to resort to this system.

Customization of your E.S. units also makes a return from Episode I, as Episode III will allow players to upgrade five different parts of the unit (weapons, armor frame, generator, CPU and disk). Of particular interest are CPUs and disks. The latter will for instance determine how much HP a E.S. unit can recover while charging or increase the amount of experience points players do receive after battle. A high-priced CPU will allow the player to use more disks, thereby enhancing the functions of their mech.
As far as the game's story is concerned, this newest update focuses on Shion's brother Jin Uzuki, U-TIC commander Margulis and his aide-de-camp Pelligri. Xenosaga Episode III will finally shed some light on the past of Margulis and Pelligri who were originally members of the Federation army. Jin and Margulis used to be colleagues, practicing fencing together. Jin quickly realized the betrayal of Margulis which led to their bitter feud. Jin was also aware of the trauma the young Shion suffered, by witnessing the Miltian conflict unfold in front of her eyes. Shion will apparently only understand that during Episode III, though. Originally a colonel in the Federation's army, Margulis thought of working together with Ormus from the very beginning. In the game flashbacks will show the shared past of Jin and Margulis 15 years before the events of Episode III. Pelligri apparently also used to have a certain relationship with Jin.

With the planet Miktam, the developing team at Monolith Soft also revealed a new location. A deserted planet, no humans live on Miktam anymore, following a certain incident in the past.

Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra will be available in Japan on July 6th for 6,980 yen ($62.99 USD). A US version will follow this fall.

Chris Winkler