A BRIEF OVERVIEW
NEW TO XENO?
WHY THIS STUDY GUIDE?
ARTICLES & ESSAYS
HISTORY OF XENO
Nicknamed 'Hashi by western fans, Tetsuya Takahashi is author and creator of the series. He directed both Xenogears and Xenosaga Episode I.
Tetsuya Takahashi founded Monolith Software (together with Hirohide Sugiura, the CEO) and is currently the
President of the company.
He was in charge of the script and direction for the series and is referred to as "a genius that has
the epic plot in his head" in the Xenosaga -Official Design Materials-. He created Xenogears
and Xenosaga, two series which full scope can't be seen as both are only partway completed with much
difficulty. They are currently incomplete works. He has a strong interest in the areas of ideology,
philosophy, religion, and in Xenogears and Xenosaga he indirectly cut deep via entertainment
aimed at problems facing individuals and society. He has since done the game "Xenoblade Chronicles"
aimed at a younger audience and as a JRPG experiment in open world creation. His hobbies include reading,
mainly science fiction, and cinema.
Born on November 18th, 1966 in Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan, little is known about his childhood and
adolescence other than that his family was always full of intense competitiveness, and he would avoid,
or try to escape from such social matters. Even to this day he finds himself becoming avoidant
sometimes without even realizing it. He developed an interest in religion after having vague doubts,
during a meeting with the chief priest of a Buddhist temple near his family's home as a child, on "What
"With religion there are many different denominations with many adherents. These people carry an
ideological bias. The status quo is to ignore this bias, but ever since I was a student I couldn't be
satisfied with that response."
- Tetsuya Takahashi (Xenosaga Official Design Materials)
Takahashi used to ski a lot but eventually lost interest in outdoor activities. He read a lot of Nietzsche
during university, and started in the game industry at Nihon Falcom, working mainly as a graphic artist.
After that he went over to Square and worked on their famous Final Fantasy-series. It was around
this time, during 1995, that he married his co-worker Kaori Tanaka, more commonly known by her pen name
Soraya Saga. Together they would submit a script idea for Final Fantasy VII that was too dark and
complicated for the series, but their boss was kind enough to give Takahashi a chance to launch a new
project using the idea.
Developing Xenogears was a day by day, person by person struggle that was all-engrossing, and
when Takahashi finally returned to the world in 1998 he felt like only one part in 3 was actually there.
From there he wanted to complete Xenogears by turning it into a series of games, but the executives
claimed they didn't have enough money to realize his ideas. Square had decided that a sequel to the game
would be made if it sold 1 million copies, but in the end it only reached just shy of 900,000, so the
plan was dropped. That's when Tetsuya Takahashi decided to make a bold move and leave his secure
employment at Square, taking several of his colleagues with him, and started his very own company Monolith
Software in October 1999 for the purpose of creating the Xenosaga series. The industry veteran
Hirohide Sugiura would become his patron, convincing the capitalists and Namco to invest in Tetsuya
Takahashi's RPG project.
However, after directing Xenosaga Episode I, it seems he felt he had dealt too long with the project,
feeling limited by company management and that Xenosaga was locked in a single state of being, so he
decided together with Sugiura that he would leave the front lines of development to a younger staff to bring
in some fresh blood. After stepping down from the heavy duty of being executive vice president and Director,
Takahashi embraced the position as supervisor and 'general director' for the series.
"If you want to make a single game, that basically means you need to spend two or three years of your life
completing it. However, with the world we're trying to display here, that's really nowhere near enough time.
With Episode I, we've only managed to show about 20 percent of the complete scene.... and, of course, I
always come up with new things I want to present in the middle of development, so it'd probably take me
decades to finish everything if it keeps going like this. That's why I'm in the position I am now---I can
work on presenting the world of Xenosaga in all sorts of different ways, unfettered by company management
or anything else that doesn't have to do with creation."
- Tetsuya Takahashi (Famitsu Episode II Interview, 2003)
The new Director wanted to 'refresh' the series, making it more mainstream and easier to follow,
which resulted in the series taking a turn for the worse as Takahashi's script was being altered and
replaced by MonolithSoft. With the sequel to Xenosaga being a "flop", and once more dividing the
fanbase, Takahashi decided to cancel Xenosaga with its third Episode, ending the series in 2006
(you can read a more in-depth history about the series in the "History of Xeno" section).
Beside expressing himself through games, he has stated a desire to write novels but so-far hasn't made
it a reality. Because of this he has often been criticized by a portion of the fanbase for not trying out
a different medium that is better suited to his ambitious story. Takahashi has acknowledged the problem
"With games as a form of media, no matter where you set it you have to make towns and all the little
accessories. With movies, for example, if it's based in present times you can just shoot on location.
You end up doing annoying work with games. That's why I don't think it's a good medium for telling stories.
I think it's better to call it a media for telling narrative things. Without a doubt, there are things you
can't get across in a game."
- Tetsuya Takahashi (Xenosaga Official Design Materials)
Originally, back in 2001, Takahashi said that he wanted to keep making games that toe the line between games
and movies or TV and hoped that as the more "game-like" styles of expression would "fall out of fashion," he
could direct in a way that doesn't have to accept compromises and isn't beholden to any particular game style.
However, in 2010, during the unveiling of Xenoblade, Takahashi said he felt that this type of story-driven
development had reached a "dead end."
At some point between 2007 and 2010 Takahashi reclaimed his position within the company, and is currently
serving as President of MonolithSoft. He was involved in the direction of Xenoblade. Takahashi's
ultimate desire is to re-create the world itself.
"I think it's valuable to always develop projects with such lofty goals in mind."
- Tetsuya Takahashi (NINTENDO POWER interview, March 2012)
According to Takahashi the 'parodies' of movies and Anime that you can see throughout Xenosaga was
mostly created by the other staff members.
Takahashi has said that many messages in Xenogears and Xenosaga are also reflections of his
own life. He mainly wrote what he wanted to say.
He doesn't really worry much about the hardware, but mostly just worry about which platform will get him
in touch with as many gamers as possible.
Takahashi is a big fan of cinema. He'll watch just about every movie that comes out, although he
jokingly says he has trouble remembering titles afterwards.
According to Soraya his room is filled with vintage Chogokin Toys, having been a fan of classic giant
robot anime. It was this enthusiasm of mecha that lead to robots being a part of his stories.
Many western fans call him "Hashi" while his wife's nickname for him is "T". Yasunori Mitsuda's nickname for
him is "Taka-san", while Takahashi's nickname for Mitsuda is "Mi-chan". In Japan, close friends sometimes add
"chan" to a part of their names, while adding "san" to a part of another person's name shows intimacy and
Before directing Xenogears, Takahashi served as Graphic Director on Final Fantasy VI and
Chrono Trigger. In the developers' room in Chrono Trigger, a Guardia Soldier named Tetsuya
Takahashi says "If you thought this was tough, you should get a load of Final Fantasy IV!" Takahashi's
first work at Square was Battle Graphics for Final Fantasy IV.
Regarding the relation between Xenogears and Xenosaga, Takahashi and MSI have said many
different things often using words like "it's difficult to say" and "it's more suitable to say" while
never being entirely clear on the matter. But the most precise thing Takahashi has said was that
"Xenogears was the fifth part of a conceived six-part epic, while Xenosaga is the first part of another,
different conceived six-part epic." It is "not directly attached" to Xenogears, but those who have played
Xenogears "will find many themes and symbols in Xenosaga more than hauntingly familiar."
On Internet Movie Database, Tetsuya Takahashi is incorrectly assumed to have the alternate name
"Tetsuya 'T2' Takahashi" when "T2" is, in fact, a completely different person. Both worked at Square,
but if you see a Tetsuya 'T2' Takahashi in the credits, it is not 'Hashi.
Xenoblade (2010): Concept, Executive Director, Scenario Writer
Soma Bringer (2008): Producer
Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra (2006): Author, Music Coordinator, Supervisor of Scenario and Database
Xenosaga I-II (2006): Scenario Writer
Xenosaga: Pied Piper (2004): Story Writer
Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse (2004): Original Author
Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht (2002): Director, Scenario Writer
Xenogears (1998): Director, Scenario Writer
Final Fantasy VII (1997): Concept Art
Secret of Mana 3 (1995): BG
Chrono Trigger (1995): Graphic Director
Front Mission (1995): Graphic Design
Final Fantasy VI ( 1994): Graphic Director
Secret of Mana (1993): Map Graphic Design
Final Fantasy V (1992): Field Graphics
Romancing SaGa (1992): Field Graphics
Final Fantasy IV (1991): Battle Graphics
Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes (1989): Art
Sharpening the 'Blade
Category: Interview, Xenoblade Chronicles, NINTENDO POWER
Iwata Asks: In Conversation with Takahashi & Sakaguchi
Category: Interview, Takahashi, Sakaguchi, Nintendo
Iwata Asks: Xenoblade Chronicles
Category: Interview, Takahashi, developers, Xenoblade Chronicles, Nintendo
Special interview, MSI vol 4 (New!)
Category: Interview, Takahashi, Xenoblade
All About Xenoblade
Category: Article, Interview, Xenoblade
Xenosaga I-II (DS) interview
Category: Interview, Xenosaga I-II (DS), Takahashi, Takeda
[2006.02.26 ~ 2006.03.09]
Xenosaga II Weekly interview
Category: Interview, Xenosaga Episode II, Pied Piper, Takahashi
A Word With the Xenosaga Developers
Category: Interview, Xenosaga Episode II, Takahashi, Sugiura
"Creator's Talk" interview on Sony's website
Category: Interview, Xenosaga, Xenogears, childhood, game industry
Xenosaga I Weekly interview
Category: Interview, Xenosaga Episode I, staff, Takahashi
Category: Interview, Xenosaga Episode I
Category: Interview, Xenosaga Episode I
Interview with GameSpot
Category: Interview, Xenosaga Episode I
Interview with Monolithsoft
Category: Interview, MonolithSoft, Takahashi, Sugiura, Honne, Xenogears
message of "xenogears" director
Category: Message, Takahashi, Xenogears
Interview with Xenogears staff
Category: Interview, Xenogears (incomplete)
|ARCHIVED DISCUSSION AND FORUM POSTS:
"You can't always tell someone something just by saying it. You have to think about how the other person
is feeling or else it won't come across."
"In Xenosaga the story and game sections are completely independent of each other. To put it in an extreme
way, I wanted a game that could be turned into a drama if you extracted all the story portions and put them
"The storyteller side of me wants the player to get through the game part as quickly as possible, because
he wants to see what happens next."
"My daily emotional life is pretty intense. If you look at it a certain way it's a burden to be going to
the office, working, and meeting with a lot of people. There's a part of me I have to suppress."
"I have this ideal of how carefree it would be to just ignore social matters and live like a child who
doesn't think too deeply about things."
"I know that in real life, if Tetsuya Takahashi spoke directly to a bunch of young people they would
never accept the message. So I use the story and the characters I've created to act as my spokespeople."
"Gamers are my number-one motivation and spiritual support; it's thanks to them that I was able to build
Monolith Soft, so at the very least I want to create something that won't disappoint. Xenosaga is a very
long story, so I don't know how successful I've been in bringing it to life, but I'm hoping that gamers
will be enjoying it for years to come."
"I'd love to try creating a novel or anime series. In my mind, there are still lots of Xenosaga characters
that nobody else in the company knows about. There really isn't enough time in the world to present all of
"To be honest, there are times when I think I've atrophied as a writer since the Xenogears era."
"I often find myself thinking, 'One of these days, I'd love to free myself from these sorts of restraints
and write whatever I truly want to write,' but I think for that to happen, I'd first need to make a game
that was a hit not just in Japan, but also in the West-and especially in the industry's largest market,
"My team didn't set out to make Xenoblade Chronicles into the company's magnum opus. It was made to be an
"My goal is to re-create the world itself."
"I know that this is a pretty radical idea, but I think the future of the genre is world creation that is
good enough to be the equivalent of reality."