Xenogears is a 1998 RPG Squaresoft developed for the PlayStation before it merged with Enix and became Square Enix. Popular descriptors for Xenogears' story and characters include "odd," "weirdly deep," and "A never-ending episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion." Xenogears' oddities might be what's kept fans interested in idea of a sequel for 20 years. Turns out that sequel was strongly considered, but ultimately canned because Squaresoft was busy with its movie, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
The June 4 issue of Weekly Famitsu contains an interview with Monolith Soft's co-founder and executive producer, Hirohide Sugiura. Frontline Gaming Japan translated and summarized the interview, which reveals plans were made for Xenogears 2, but nothing was brought to fruition because Squaresoft was funneling most of its resources into The Spirits Within.
Sugiura wasn't part of the original Xenogears team, but he "fell in love" with the game upon playing it. He broke away from Squaresoft and joined Monolith Soft, an independent development studio founded by Xenogears creator, Takahashi Tetsuya. They hoped to make Xenogears 2 happen in some capacity.
The Xenosaga series was born of this wish, and it set the tone for a lot of Monolith Soft's games: Ambitious, wildly imaginative, and flawed. Nintendo bought Monolith Soft in 2007, and the studio's since released the beloved (and also flawed) Xenoblade games. The latest entry, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is a strong update of the first Xenoblade game, which hit the Wii in 2010.
If by chance you've been looking for someone to blame for not receiving a direct follow-up to Xenogears—well, there you go. Blame Squaresoft and its box office disaster, The Spirits Within. It brought in $85.1 million on a budget of $137 million, and its failure was a big disaster for Squaresoft. A merger with Enix followed in 2003.
USgamer Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey and I recently wondered aloud if the original Xenogears deserves a remake. The verdict: Yes. Will it happen, though? Hey, it's 2020. Anything can happen.