On the heels of Monolith's hit title Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht, the game developer has announced the second episode of six is currently in the works. The first installment in the series, which released earlier this year, set this franchise apart from other RPGs with its unique premise, which told the story through lengthy cutscenes that gave the game a movie like feel. The story itself also introduced some new and somewhat controversial elements, such as cloning, the importance of life from a quantifiable perspective, and the religious implications, all set thousands of years in the future when mankind no longer called earth home. The second episode is set to follow the original game's story, expanding on the mysteries of the Zohar, a mysterious artifact that may hold the key to existence.
Episode II will focus once again on Shion Uzuki, head of Vector R&D and creator of the anti-Gnosis android KOS-MOS. However, other characters that appeared in the first game will be focused on a bit more than they were in the initial episode. While Shion is still the main character, the second episode will also focus heavily on returning characters such as Jr., MOMO, Gaignun and Albedo. Of particular interest is the report that the upcoming game will deal heavily with Jr., his relationship with MOMO and his feelings for her. Gaignun and Albedo will also be prominently featured, though to what extent it is not known at this time. Other characters from the first game will also make a return, though no official list of playable/returning characters has been released as of yet.
Another returning element from the first game is the inclusion of the Anti-Gnosis-Weapons-System (AGWS). These mech-like machines are extremely powerful and only available for use in certain battles, and in this second installment it is said that the inclusion of these machines will be reworked to provide a better challenge for players while using them. In addition to the revamped AGWS system, there is also going to be a new feature called "conflict of buttons", though exactly what this is and how it will work into the gameplay has not been disclosed by Monolith at this time.
The first installment in the Xenosaga franchise was not without its drawbacks, such as extremely long loading times and even longer cutscenes. While the drawn-out scenes certainly added a new dynamic to the RPG genre, many gamers felt they could have used a little more gameplay and a little less movie, and in Episode II, Monolith is supposedly addressing this and other complaints from the first game. This could mean anything from shortened scenes to added gameplay, but either way we're being told that there will be much more balance to Episode II, which should come as relief to many fans of the first game.
At this time, not much else is known about Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose. Monolith still has not settled on a release date for the second installment in the series, and the only other information available on the series at this time is the confirmation that episodes III and IV are already underway and confirmed for a future release. Not surprisingly, nothing about those titles is known at this time.
We'll have more information on the Xenosaga series as it becomes available.
9/30/2003 Ryan Hartmann