Classic JRPG ‘Xenogears’ Offers Religious Critique and Giant Robots on PlayStation NetworkBy Justin Massoud
The Official PlayStation Blog announced yesterday that classic RPG “Xenogears” would see a North American release on the PlayStation 3 via the console’s online network on Feb. 22nd. The title was previously exclusive to the original PlayStation before making the jump to the modern console in 2008 — albeit only in Japan. Now, U.S. players can revisit (or experience for the first time) a game which eschewed traditional RPG trappings for a complex story inspired by religion, philosophy and, yes, anime fetishism.
When “Xenogears” first appeared in 1998, America was embroiled in a passionate love affair with Japanese role-playing games; “Final Fantasy VII” had just been released a year prior. And though that game carried a vaunted namesake familiar to most old-school gamers, it also helped spark a newfound interest in the genre itself. In addition, the success of Sony’s virgin voyage into the game hardware manufacturing business (and its even more successful follow-up, the PS2) guaranteed the RPG genre would boom on home consoles for nearly 10 years.
Now, in 2011, Japanese RPGs struggle – at least in the U.S. – to maintain the same relevance.
Western-developed RPGs, which foster choice and consequence within a malleable story, are the exact opposite of their traditionally rigid Eastern counterparts. The ‘do anything, go anywhere’ mentality (love it or hate it) is a proven selling point.
JRPGs will likely always have a spot in the hearts of gamers, even as they shape their own experiences within huge worlds that feature the most minor details rendered exquisitely. Or so the re-release of “Xenogears” hopes.
Will you be downloading the game for the first time? Or are you a Xeno-vet excited to revisit the story? Let us know in the comments.