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2/03/2014

Let's Play Xenogears, Part 1

Definitely one of the oddballs of Square's Playstation-era library.  It began as a pitch for a potential script for Final Fantasy VII and was later made into a separate project after being judged as "too dark and too complicated for a Final Fantasy game" by Square's higher-ups.  It is also Tetsuya Takahashi's debut as a director and writer, having previously worked on Chrono Trigger, Seiken Densetsu and several Final Fantasy titles as a graphic artist/director.  He was accompanied on the project by Soraya Saga and Masato Kato, so this game comprises about 3/4 of all the writing talent Square ever had in its employ...

Upon its release critics and fans alike were sharply divided, with some loving it for its dark storyline and game mechanics while others derided it for its slow pacing and uneven difficulty level.  I fell into the latter category at first, but after visiting a couple of Takahashi's later works (Xenosaga and Xenoblade, both of which are excellent) I decided to give it another chance.



Questions so far:

  • The relevance of the introductory sequence.  What was on-board that ship, and who was the woman from the wreckage?
  • What exactly happened that caused Fei to lose control and level Lahan village?
  • How much does Citan really know about what's happening?

Various factoids and symbolism

  • The opening quote is a recurring phrase in the Book of Revelation, referring to Christ or God.  The words "alpha" and "omega" also appear numerous times in the opening cinematic.
  • "Deus" is a Latin word meaning "God".  It pops up once or twice in the intro as well.
  • The quote that pops up onscreen during the opening cinematic reads "you shall be as gods".  This is a quote from Genesis 3:5 referring to the forbidden fruit. "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
  • Kislev is the name of a month on the Hebrew calendar.  
  • I'm not sure if Aveh means anything - possibly a corruption of the name "Yehovah" (YHVH)?
  • "Ethos" is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.
  • Gebler is likely a mistranslation of "Gevurah", the fifth sephirot of the Tree of Life.
  • Weltall's name is the German word for "Universe".
  • The surname "Uzuki" was later reused for Xenosaga's protagonist, Shion.  Her brother Jin also bears a strong resemblance to Citan...