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On This Day in Video Game History: The End Of Xenosaga

The madly ambitious RPG tale came to a premature ending in July of 2006, but at least it enjoyed real closure.

News by Jeremy Parish, .

Whatever you think about Xeno- series mastermind Tetsuya Takahashi, there's no denying the man dreams big.

He made his mark with 1998's epic PlayStation RPG Xenogears, a game so big that he wasn't actually able to complete it. The second half of the adventure ended up being a rush job, a string of boss battles connected by hours of static narrative — which might be just as well, consider that even with its hasty finale the whole thing ended up being a roughly 80-hour experience.

Takahashi got a rare second chance at realizing his grand dream a few years later when Namco greenlit the Xenosaga hexology: A six-part RPG series that would rework the themes and beats of Xenogears into a properly fleshed-out form.

It seemed like a smart approach; Xenogears probably should have been broken into at least two parts as it was, and this would give Takahashi grand vision room to breathe. Unfortunately, the down side to the episodic approach soon became apparent when, after the debut of the deliberately paced Xenosaga Episode I in 2003, the series ended up being cut from six big-budget chapters to three more modest episodes.

Forced once again to cram his vision into a much smaller container and budget than originally planned, Takahashi nevertheless came through. Xenosaga may have ended up as a far more compact tale than intended, but Xenosaga Episode III — which debuted on this day nine years ago — nevertheless managed to wrap it all up. And this time, without the hero explaining the story while sitting in a chair for hours on end.

And over the weekend, This Day in Video Game History looked back at the advent of the Populous series:

As well as the American console debut of Donkey Kong 3, the weirdest Donkey Kong game... at least until Donkey Conga came along.

We'll be posting new episodes of This Day in Video Game History every weekday, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel or keep an eye on the July playlist for new episodes each morning at 10 a.m. ET (7 a.m. PT).

Thanks for watching!

We'll be back again tomorrow with another look back at the day in video game history.

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  • Avatar for sleepiest #1 sleepiest 3 years ago
    There's no yelling in these videos! How am I expected to watch them?
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #2 Vonlenska 3 years ago
    Xenosaga is one of the most fascinating development stories in games. Xenogears is still one of the longest games out there, despite being infamously unfinished. And instead of learning caution from that and reining things in for a more tightly crafted experience, Takahashi and Saga only got more absurdly ambitious with the follow up project. In Takahashi's own words (emphasis added): "So we [Monolith Soft] have decided to hit the reset button and start all over again with a science-fiction [story], which will be presented through a series of episodes encompassing the beginning to the end of the universe.”

    The series catches a lot of flak, but you have to admire its ambition if nothing else. The actual games are certainly flawed, but they're still a few cuts above average in most respects. We'll probably never see anything like them ever again.
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #3 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @sleepiest Oh, I'm very angry, like all YouTube video game personalities are required to be. But it's a quiet, seething rage.
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  • Avatar for Kadrom #4 Kadrom 3 years ago
    Enjoying the vids, continue to exercise your video editing chops. I'm curious how you're finding events to talk about? Is there the videogame equivalent of looking up a day on Wikipedia and seeing what is listed, with Moby Games or something?
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  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #5 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    @Kadrom I use a variety of sources, including both Wikipedia and Moby Games.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #6 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    One of my favorite RPG's ever. I remember the day this came out when I went to go grab it. I think I took the day off just so I could try and get in at least 8 hours and I was not disappointed and the soundtrack was really good as well.
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  • Avatar for Concession #7 Concession 3 years ago
    9 years?!

    I only beat it my first time this year (wanted to catch up on Xeno before the 3DS and Wii U games came out). Didn't realize I was sitting on it for that long. Jesus, I'm old.Edited July 2015 by Concession
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #8 SatelliteOfLove 3 years ago
    Ep. 1 still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but the Takahashis got better at things by getting leaner, and Yuki Kajiura saved thier series.Edited July 2015 by SatelliteOfLove
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  • Avatar for KakiOkami #9 KakiOkami 3 years ago
    The Xenosaga saga was such a mixed bag for me. I loved the first game from the moment I popped it into my PS2, but a few hours in I stopped playing for some reason. I really couldn't tell you why.

    Then the next game came out and I skipped it for something else at the time.

    And then Xenosaga Ep 3 came out and I snatched it up, and loved the soundtrack and the game from the beginning to the end. The graphics style of the first game was back, the soundtrack (sadly missing some of the absolutely best tracks of the game; thanks to gamerip torrents for being able to get the best stuff onto my iPod!) was once again just stunning (Fifth Jerusalem is by far my favorite city/town music now, not to mention a really cool sci-fi city!)

    Episode 3 is the only game of the three I've completed and I hope to get back to the first games and complete them as well someday. I'd love to see a HD remake for these games or some truly complete soundtracks made for them, some amazing tracks from Yuki and Yasunori!
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