Originally unveiled at the Spring TGS, Monolith Soft and Namco's first collaboration has recently received a subtitle: Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille Zur Macht, which translates to Xenosaga Episode I: The Will For Power. This new installment is described by Xenogears director Tetsuya Takahashi as "going back to the [series'] true objective". The game should be released for the PS2 in Winter on a 2 DVD-ROM format.
Episode I is set in the future, several thousands of years from the present time. For "some reason", men began running out of resources, and have abandoned Earth to move out in space. Under the guidance of a management organization called the Suukiin ("important state matters institution"), the astronomics technology have progressed with the advance of inter-stellar travels and the various planets are now bound by an organization, the UMN (Unus Mundus Network). It's an era where 500,000 planets have formed a "Stars Commonwealth". A key element in this world is the "Phenomenon alteration engine Zohal".
After humanity has created the "Stars Commonwealth", an enemy has appeared, known as the Piligrimage Fleet Gnosis ("gnosis" is greek for "knowledge"). Catching trace of mankind from over several hundred thousands of lightyears, Gnosis starts a war with humanity. But the Stars Commonwealth have "Vector", UMN's force holding the army and communication networks.
General Wilhelm has been put at the lead of their troops to counter Gnosis, and a humanoid type of robot has been developed, namely A.G.W.S. (Anti Gnosis Weapon System), much similar to Xenogears' Gears.
In addition to this story info, the first characters bios have been unveiled (note that the names' spellings have yet to be officially confirmed): Shion Uzuki, the main character, a 22-year old glasses-wearing young girl who works at Vector's first development office. She is the main engineer in charge of the KOS-MOS project. She was sent out by Vector to investigate on a "certain project" that seemed related to a planet destruction incident, and to do some testing for the KOS-MOS project. Although she had to face the tragedy of losing her parents in the war and her first love in an accident, she tries to take life with a positive attitude. Chaos: A key character in Xenosaga, Chaos is a young man who never talks about his past, except about his name, and whose life and origin are surrounded by mystery. KOS-MOS: Another key character in the game, KOS-MOS is a female model battle android built by Vector. She lives to protect Shion, the person who built her. Even in an era where cyborg techniques involving mixed human and robot parts exist, she is entirely made of mechanic components.
The field is entirely in real-time 3D. The map is in full 3D with an enemy radar on a mini-map. The event scenes will use more detailed 3D models. The "events related to the main story will all be in 3D", which doesn't leave much hope to see more anime cutscenes. As previously stated, the battles will be triggered by the contact of enemies on the field, rather than random battles.
Along with all this new information, we've got 15 screen shots, 5 character renders and 5 background designs for Xenosaga. Enjoy!
Thanks to Moridin for the tip.