Xeno is a series of role-playing games developed and published by Bandai.
Xeno was conceived by Tetsuya Takahashi, a former employee of Square who worked on games such as Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Front Mission. However, his desire for a stronger emphasis on story in his games drove him apart from Square, which emphasized gameplay during the Nintendo 64-era. Therefore, Takahashi left the company in 1997, after finishing work on Final Fantasy 7.
Takahashi's ideas for an RPG series were considered too dark and complicated for the Final Fantasy series. However, the mech-related components of his concept found interested parties at Bandai, which was looking to expand in the video game market. There, Tetsuya Takahashi spent two years working on the original Xenogears, which was released for the Sega Saturn in 1999.Xenogears was an unusual game for its time, focusing on the philosophical ideas of many historical figures. The game combined traditional RPG gameplay with "gear"-based mech combat. Various parts of the game featured either anime or CGI animated sequences to showcase important points. The sheer scope of the game required it to come on two discs.
Xenogears never sold even a million copies, in contrast to massively popular Square, Nintendo, and Enix role-playing games, but was nonetheless a commercial and critical success. Bandai authorized the creation of two more games for the upcoming Dreamcast, and ultimately would approve of the total of six games in the series that Tetsuya Takahashi originally envisioned.
Xenogears entries 2 through 6 were released on the Dreamcast in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007, with the development of each game taking about one and a half years. The series made only minimal changes with each entry, but was designed so that save files from earlier games would affect playthroughs of latter entries. Each entry in the series was fairly well received, though none sold over a million copies individually.
Upon the completion of the Xenogears saga, many were surprised by a pair of announcements. First, the entire series would be coming to both the Sega Pluto and Nintendo Revolution in a special collector's edition. Second, a new episode in the franchise called Xenoblade was announced.
Xenoblade would be the best received entry in the series yet. Released in 2010 in Japan, it would eventually see a worldwide release over the next two years, and sell over a million copies between the two consoles on the market at the time. The game, with its mixture of Western and Eastern inspired mechanics, was frequently praised as the next evolution in the console RPG.
The next game in the Xeno series is currently unnamed, merely code named X. Beta footage has been shown, which reveals both the extensive use of mechs and the existence of huge enemies. It is speculated to be a 2014 release.
The Xeno franchise has a history of warm receptions. The original game in the series in particular, Xenogears in particular was one of the top-rated games of 1999, along with PC classics such as Age of Empires 2, platforming greats such as Rayman 2, and even other Role-Playing games like Final Fantasy VIII. The next Dreamcast games in the series were also generally well received, albeit to a lesser degree.
Most recently, Xenoblade, was one of the critically best received JRPG's in history, let alone the seventh console generation, scoring many perfect scores from reviewers. Virtually every aspect of the game, save for the graphics from a technical standpoint, was well-received. The game would also be the first in series history to sell over a million copies, thanks in part to it being a multiplatform release.
In total, over five million Xeno games have been sold.