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Author Topic: Xenogears: A Bajillionth Playthrough/Screenplay/Strategy Guide (Rated T)  (Read 336 times)

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Offline Lionheart

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A/N: As many of you should know, XG is my favorite game storywise. Gameplay is... we'll get to it in the script proper, but any 90's gamer should know the flaws. There are others too, major flaws that will be addressed in the intro. A long time ago, I did something similar with the LOTR movies, adding a few jokes and lines here and there. Kinda felt like doing something like that for a while.

Intro: "Screw You, Squaresoft!" A Dramatized Retelling of how the Game got the Shaft

Friday, January 13th, 1995, Kyoto Japan, Nintendo Headquarters


It’s the mid-1990's. They 16-bit era was drawing to a close; things like the Bit Wars were about to become history. Nintendo is the top dog in the video game industry, dominating its competitors with memorable franchises such as Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda. You have other companies like Rareware giving us three Donkey Country Kong games, Konami giving us Castlevania and Contra, you have Enix giving us Dragon Warrior and Star Ocean (at least in Japan). Hell, you even have Enix's archenemy, Squaresoft gracing Nintendo with the Final Fantasy games (including VI, which I consider to be the best of all) and Chrono Trigger, goddamn Chrono Trigger, one of the best games ever made!

Sega Genesis? Psh, forget that noise. Yes, they have a nice library of games. Sonic was the shit, but Sega took a major ass raping from the Super Nintendo. They were losing the over a decade-long Console Wars to their nemesis, Nintendo. Why mention Sega at all, dear readers? Well, during this time, other companies tried to utilize the new CD technology. Atari even made a desperate attempt to crawl out of the grave with its Jaguar. "Sorry, bitches, you've had your run," said gamers worldwide. Sega made an add-on called the Sega CD.

Needless to say, it flopped on its ass. Finally, an electronics company called Sony wanted to get into the game by releasing a CD-based console called the PlayStation (sic). That is where the story of Xenogears begins. By that, I mean the history of the game, not the plot of the game.

It’s a relatively overcast afternoon in Kyoto, Japan where Nintendo has its headquarters. Genius creator of the Mario and Zelda franchises, Shigeru Miyamoto sits in his office. The office is not your run of the mill, immaculately clean and orderly study one would expect out of a Japanese entrepreneur, but every nerd's dream room minus a bed.

The room is filled with posters of animes and games on the walls. There’s literally no wall visible with all the posters that hung on them. Shelves were lined with Nintendo games, mangas, and game-related magazines that would make said nerds orgasm. The man himself sits at his desk playing with plushies of Nintendo characters and pretending to be engaged in a fight.

SM: "Here a-we go!"

The Mario plushie "punches" the Link plushie in the chin.

SM: "It's hammer time, baka!"

Miyamoto has the Link doll pick up a plastic hammer and clobbers the Mario doll on the head while humming the Hammer Theme from what would become Super Smash Bros.

SM: “Mama mia!”

SM: "You know, I think I'm gonna make a game like this. Have all Nintendo characters fight each other! I think I'll even get the Pokemon in there."

*Knock, knock*

Miyamoto hastily hides the dolls in his drawers and smiles.

SM: "Come in."

In walks Final Fantasy executive producer and CEO of Squaresoft, Hironobu Sakaguchi, dressed in his most expensive Italian-made suit, tie, and highly polished shoes. He's a can of beans, in case you don't know that.

HS: "Miyamoto-san! Miyamoto-san!"

SM: "What're you so excited about?"

HS: "I've got a totally tubular idea!"

Hey, it was the '90's, and unfortunately, you had adults trying to sound hip by using slang that never really caught on.

SM: "Gnarly, Sakaguchi-san! What's your idea?"

See what I mean?

HS: "Sega's pretty much three ways from screwed now. I mean, really, the 32X? What we need to worry about is Sony with their PlayStation. Well, Yoshinori Kitase and his team are working on Final Fantasy VII, and he says it will be the best game ever made!"

Miyamoto chuckleds good-naturedly.

SM: "Oh, I think you and your boys will have a very hard time outdoing VI. I mean, VI made me cry."

HS: "Ha, well, Kitase-san is convinced, so I trust him. He also wants to up the graphics. I say we ditch this cartridge thing and go with CD's! We need to really suck the gamers in, especially the gullible ones AKA Americans!"

Miyamoto is not too pleased and frowns at Sakaguchi.

SM: "In this business, we go for quality over quantity. No, my friend, we are staying with cartridges for the Nintendo 64. Maybe in the next console."

HS: "But cartridges are so dated! They'll make the games look like shit! This is a major game that will kick off the new generation with a big bang!"

SM: "No CD's, I said. I'm sorry, but that is my final word."

Sakaguchi frowns.

HS: "I think that's a mistake, sir."

Miyamoto's eyes start to twitch.

SM: "I don't make mistakes, pal!"

Sakaguchi snorts loudly.

HS: "Right, except for allowing LJN to release games for the NES."

SM: *facepalm* "Okay, fine, one mistake, sheesh."

HS: "Then there was the Virtual Boy."

SM: "Okay, now that's just hitting below the belt, buddy."

Sakaguchi trollfaces poor Miyamoto, who is really starting to get pissed.

HS: "Then you had the Zelda CDI games and the Super Mario Bros. mov-"

Miyamoto springs from his chair and brandishes a gun, looking quite batshit.

SM: "Don't. You. Goddamn. Dare. Speak. Of. That. Abomination. In. My. Presence."

Sakaguchi stops laughing and is now completely serious.

HS: "If you insist on keeping it to cartridges, then I have no choice, Miyamoto-san."

SM: "Y-You're leaving Nintendo?"

HS: "Yes, my apologies, but I have no other choice."

SM: "Fine, go, but I warn you, you're committing business suicide by siding with Sega."

Sakaguchi has to do a double-take to make sure he's heard correctly.

HS: "Oh no, Miyamoto-san, Squaresoft is gonna be working with Sony."

SM: "Fine! Go, you graphics whore! I will make millions with my new Mario, Star Fox, and Zelda games!

HS: "Have fun spending the rest of your working life releasing the same games over and over again. There's only so many times Mario can save Peach from Bowser or Link can protect the Triforce."

SM: "GET OUT OF MY SIGHT! SCRAM!"

Sakaguchi starts to leave and is halfway out the door before...

HS: "Have fun playing with your Nintendo dolls."

He laughs hard and closes the door, leaving a seething Miyamoto behind.

SM: "I'll show you! I'll show you, you sonofabitch! I let Sega bleed to death slowly, but YOU, I WILL KILL YOU TEN TIMES BEFORE YOU HIT THE GROUND!"

Miyamoto suddenly realizes what just happened.

SM: “I just lost Nintendo the Final Fantasy games and the rights to…” *tears up* “Chrono Trigger? AAAARRRGGGHHHHHHH!” *trashes his office* “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

In defeat, Miyamoto begins playing with his plushies and gets more ideas for Super Smash Bros.

___


Afternoon, early 1997, Tokyo Japan, Squaresoft Headquarters

Background Music: Shinra Company

Squaresoft is releasing its titles solely to Sony. The PlayStation and Nintendo 64 are in bitter competition, and as predicted, nobody gives two shits about the Sega Saturn. Nintendo still has the advantage in the handheld market, seeing as Sony has yet to make one, but Mr. Sakaguchi over at Square doesn't care.

Final Fantasy VII is now considered by many to be the greatest game ever made. Hell, it even says so on the box. The sales went through the roof and so too had Sakaguchi's ego. We see him sitting in his office smiling like a bond villain as he looks at the bank account while sipping the most expensive French wine money could buy. Why, he even has a cat to stroke since it's Japan and I like being racially insensitive.

HS: "Oh, you poor dumb bastard, Miyamoto. What you could have had. Sadness... *Vincent Price laugh*

*knock, knock*

HS: "Enter." *folds his hands*

Nervously, a young FF graphics designer named Tetsuya Takahashi makes his way to his boss along with CT co-composer, Yasunori Mitsuda. The three men exchange bows.

HS: "Ah, Takahashi-san, I do commend you for your work in FFVII. And Mitsuda-san, I can't stop humming the CT theme. *turns to Takahashi* I want to give you a promotion to main art guy. Tetsuya Nomura seems to have these… questionable fetishes. I mean, FFVII was great, but can you explain the clothes and Tifa's tit size?"

TT: "I learned to stop questioning Nomura-san years ago, sir. Uh, boss?"

HS: "Yes?"

TT: "I have this awesome idea for a new game and would like to take point on that instead of getting the promotion."

Sakaguchi chuckles evilly and pours both men wine.

HS: "I like awesome, I like new, and I like ideas. If it's good, you can do it and Nomura can continue living his obsession with belts, zippers, and Meg Ryan."

TT: "Well, sir, it's not just a game. I plan to make it a series. Me and my friends at Monolith are very proud of it."

HS: *nods and grins* "I like the sound of 'series'."

YM: "And I get to do the music and sound, boss!"

HS: "Hironobu Sakaguchi like. Do you by chance have something written for your dear boss?"

TT: "As a matter of fact, yes, Sakaguchi-san." *hands him a copy of what will become known as Perfect Works*

HS: "Xenogears?" *frowns* "Does this, by chance, have anything to do with the random babbling of Cloud when he's on a mako high and talks about ‘Ze-no-gias’?"

Takahashi nods exitedly and smiles.

TT: "Oh, yes, yes. A bunch of the guys who worked on FFVII liked my idea so much, they put in the plug! Please, read it, Sakaguchi-san!"

Sakaguchi opened the manuscript.

HS: "Holy shit! Giant fighting robots? Religious symbolism? Innovative battle system? Platforming? Anime influen- wait, the style looks a bit like Evangelion."

TT: "Oh yeah, I'm working with some of those guys too."

HS: *nerdgasm* "Yes, yes, Green light, green light, Takahashi-san! Go forth and make this gem! JustimagineallthemoneyIwillmakefromthesales!"

TT: "Come again?"

HS: "Oh." *laughs nervously* "I said just imagine how the gamers will be immersed in the engaging story. I am confident about FFVIII, but I'm not sure it will be as good as VII. I mean, who are we, Nintendo? We don't just rely on one franchise. Go, start now, boys!"

Takahashi and Mitsuda leaves while chattering excitedly about how awesome Xenogears will be. Sakaguchi pours himself another glass of wine and toasts.

HS: “Oh, I can’t wait to see the horrified look on Miyamoto’s face when he sees this…” *Vincent Price laugh*


Later in 1997

The game is just a bit past halfway through development.

Developer 1: “This is going to be awesome, Takahashi-san!”

TT: “Oh, I know, I know. Eat your heart out, Final Fantasy. There’s a new kid in town and he's kicking ass and taking numbers.”

Developer 2: “The platforming could use some tweaking, boss.”

TT: “Details, details, we'll get to fixing the bugs.” *waves it off*

A secretary suddenly barges looking terrified.

TT: “… I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” (C) George Lucas

Secretary: “Guys, it’s Sakaguchi-san! He’s… he’s…”

TT: “Spit it out!”

Secretary: “HE’S BEING ACCOMPANIED BY THE BUDGET PEOPLE!”

Takahashi’s blood starts to run cold.

TT: “Get a hold of yourself, Tetsuya…” *breathes* “Okay, I’ll see him.”

Sakaguchi’s Financing Minions: *chant* “Oh, we blow. We blow. Oh, we blow. We blow.

Sakaguchi himself steps up to Takahashi with his trademark evil sneer.

HS: “Ah, how goes it, my friend?”

He pats Takahashi on the shoulder, but Takahashi knows something is wrong.

TT: “We’re very busy here, Sakaguchi-san. Why are the budget people here with you?”

HS: “I’m afraid we have some bad news.” *cracks knuckles* “Bad news for you, I mean.”

TT: “What?”

He sits on Takahashi’s desk.

HS: “See, I’ve been talking to the Board of Directors. The customers know Square for the Final Fantasy games and see, that development team is running out of money for their awesome CGI. So, my friend, I am afraid I will have to slash your budget by a significant amount so our main franchise can have better CGI.”

Takahashi is too outraged to even speak. If looks could kill, Takahashi would turn Godzilla himself into a stain on the sidewalk.

HS: “See, Nintendo is bragging about a new Zelda game to come out next year and they’re bragging about the graphics. Screw that, right? Our characters will have realistic hair!”

TT: “You’re cutting my budget just to spite Nintendo with FFVIII?”*

Sakaguchi laughs like a Bond villain.

HS: “That’s right.”

Sakaguchi and his minions turn to leave.

YM: “Sir, what do we do?”

TT: “XENOGEARS WILL BE RELEASED EVEN IF I HAVE TO ONLY MAKE ONE GAME AND CUT SOME THINGS OUT OF IT!”

Developer 1: “Takahashi-san!”

TT: “YOU HEARD ME! WE’LL SHOW THAT ASSHOLE! WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?”

Takahashi storm back to his office and breaks down crying like it’s a Korean soap opera.

TT: “My project! My beautiful project! DAMN YOU, SAKAGUCHI!”

Time passes and Xenogears as we know it is released in Japan and later in the United States. Many people praise it was having one of the best stories ever, the second disc had to be mostly narrated thanks to the budget cut. This made gamers worldwide very angry.

_____


Very late at night, late-1998, Tokyo, Japan

Background Music: Jaws of Ice

A violent storm rages outside Squaresoft HQ. Lightning flashes ominously above the building.

Tetsuya Takahashi is pacing back and forth in his office, seething with rage. Sure, he had great reviews for Xenogears along with some bad ones (including one from Christian fringe groups), but the fact remains that he had to release an incomplete game into the market. Not only that, but he has seen what the money was going into with FFVIII. Takahashi grabs his teacup and smashes it in his hand before storming out of his office into the elevator.

TT: “I’ll teach him! Thinks he can slash my budget? Who does he think he is?”

Meanwhile, Hironobu Sakaguchi is once again sipping wine and stroking his cat while he goes through his bank account. He begins thinking about the money FFVIII will make when suddenly, the door bursts open and Takahashi stands there in a blind rage.

HS: “You! What’re you still doing here?”

TT: “You have done me and the whole world of gaming a great injustice, Sakaguchi-san and now you're going to answer for what you did to my Xenogears Project.”

Sakaguchi pushes a red button on his desk.

HS: “SECURITY!”

Takahashi shakes his head with and evil grin and now looks more deranged than ever.

TT: “I disconnected it. Nobody can hear us. No, no, no, it’s just you and me tonight, Sakaguchi-san.” *cracks his knuckles*

HS: “What do you want? A lot of people loved your game!”

TT: “Oh? Did they now? Just imagine how much more the world would’ve loved it if you allowed me to actually finish not just Xenogears, but all the games I had planned! Just imagine if we were allowed to release it in Europe! This could have been the new CHrono Trigger!”

Sakaguchi starts to laugh.

HS: “You poor simpleton. Final Fantasy is at an all-time high now! That is where the money is going to go, not to some ideals of a second rate game developer. Do you think I’m in the business of making quality games for the sake of telling a good story? No, my friend, it’s about the money. It’s about appealing to the wider demographic. Americans will buy anything as long as it has the words ‘Final Fantasy’ on it. Look at Mystic Quest.”

TT: “This is ridiculous! I joined up with you because I thought you had a real passion for making good video games, but now your true colors are showing, Sakaguchi-san! I am severing ties with Squaresoft and remaking Xenogears as I had originally planned! Namco will be very happy to have me and my development team!”

HS: “I don’t think so, buddy. Squaresoft now owns the copyright to Xenogears and all the contents therein. You leave now, you will never receive royalties from the money it makes.”

Takahashi is no longer angry, but just as speechless as he was when Sakaguchi cut his budget.

TT: “You’re out of your goddamn mind! You need to be stopped! You’re as bad as Nintendo!”

The music goes silent.

Sakaguchi tenses at this statement and removes his suit jacket.

HS: “I tried to reason with you, Takahashi-san, but you clearly have your mind set.”

Takahashi removes his jacket too.

TT: "You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this.”

Background Music: Ken’s Stage from Street fighter 2

The two executives circle each other like two wolves about to rip one another to shreds. The two executives brawl for a bit with a lot of Hadukens, Shoryukens, Kamehamehas, fists swelling to comically huge sizes upon contact, and turning in robots. All the good stuff you’d expect out of a video game brawl. Ultimately, Sakaguchi gets the upper hand.

Shao Khan: “Finish him!”

Sakaguchi punches Takahashi out the window.

TT: *Wilhelm scream*

He somehow survives the fall without too much injury. Hey, it is Japan; work with me here.

HS: *Vincent Price laugh*

_____

1999


XG Fans: *beat FFVIII* “SCREW YOU, SQUARESOFT!”


And that, dear readers, is the story of the game’s development and subsequent budget cuts. See you next time on the USS Exposition, uh, I mean the Eldrige.

* No, I don't hate FFVIII. I like it for what it is, but there was a time I did resent it for the XG budget cuts.
Set by Waterlady


 

       
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