Namco has announced key members of the development team behind its upcoming Nintendo DS RPG, Xenosaga I & II, as well as revealing information on the game's story and gameplay overhauls in this remake of Xenosaga Episode I and Episode II.
Rather than containing two separate games within one package, Xenosaga I & II incorporates the stories of both episodes into one single-narrative game. The company will be making changes to the story in order to make it fit within this new format. For instance, the game will play out entirely from Shion Uzuki's lead perspective, whereas Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Boese was played primarily through Jr.'s eyes. Some scenes which had little relation to the main story of the game will be changed, but many new story sequences will also be added, possibly to pave the way for Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra. Namco promises that the story will remain consistent with what's already been established, despite the modifications. One other change is how the story will be told. While the PlayStation 2 versions of the Xenosaga games were heavy on realistic cinematics, Xenosaga I & II will incorporate animated cutscenes instead.
The battle system of Xenosaga I & II will be based on that of the first installment in the series, with some adjustments. Characters' AP meters will max out at three rather than six, but to compensate, characters will have access to new skills exclusive to the DS remake. The battles will also feature a Personal Formation - or PF - System, though little was revealed as to what exactly that system will do.
The top screen of the DS will be used for the bulk of the game, with battle and field exploration both contained therein. The bottom screen will be used to accomplish quick saves outside of battle, and within battle, it will display touchable command menus. Xenosaga I & II will also introduce some stylus-controlled minigames for players who wish to take a break from the game's primary action.
Of note is the key role being played in the game by members of the team responsible for Xenosaga: The Animation. The game's story is being done by Yuichiro Takeda, who wrote the scenario and did script directing on the anime, while the music is being scored by Kousuke Yamashita, who handled the show's music. Keeping with the anime feel, the character designs for Xenosaga I & II will be done by Hiroshi Takeuchi, who worked as one of Cowboy Bebop's animation directors.
No Japanese or North American release dates have been announced yet for Xenosaga I & II. Special thanks go to RPGamer forum member AnimeGamer183 for alerting us to the story.