Hello everyone. Starting now, this blog will try to expose the multiple diferences between the universe presented in the game Xenogears, an RPG classic developed by SquareSoft for the Playstation 1, and in the Xenosaga series, a trilogy of Playstation 2 RPGs developed by Monolith Soft, who now are mainly known for their Xenoblade series. The Xenosaga trilogy was published by Namco.

The relationship between Xenogears and Xenosaga has been, as much as it can be for such a niche fandom, a strong point of contention between fans of one series or the other, or even fans of both. These games have, of course, strong connections from the get go, being the brainchildren of Takahashi Tetsuya and his wife Tanaka Kaori, also known by her pseudonym Soraya Saga. Monolith Soft was a splinter company of SquareSoft, and it was mostly made up by the people who worked on Xenogears. I, for one, won’t deny the connection between the two series. They are, definitely, deeply intertwined, and I feel taking both into account is completely indispensable to even begin to grasp “what could have been”.

I’ll stop being a vague ass and actually explain that: both Xenogears and Xenosaga were attempts by the Monolith Soft team at creating an epic sci-fi series, spanning from the beginning to the end of the universe in its timeline, made up of a total of no less than 6 EPISODES. None of the two actually succeeded, and were left as unfinished stories that will likely never be wrapped up. Xenogears was the starting title of this (planned) epic saga, being Episode V out of 6. The 6 episode timeline got first revealed in Xenogears: Perfect Works, a side guide for the universe of this fantastic game that not only gave us much needed info about Episode V itself, but also gave a not small teaser for Episode I, the next game they planned to release (Takahashi Tetsuya, main creator of the series, somewhat stated that Episodes II-IV wouldn’t have made it in game format, as they were mostly covered in flashbacks during Xenogears itself. The games that would need to be made were Episode I, where it all started, and Episode VI, the series’ end and the sequel to Xenogears). As Xenogears was about the Eldridge’s crash in an unknown planet, the weapon Deus’ attempt to resurrect itself by creating a new genesis on said planet and using humans as parts, and the Contact’s quest to free humans from the bonds of the System and ultimately, God Himself from the Zohar Engine, Xenogears Episode I would have been a game about original mankind, that became a spacefaring species after having abandoned Earth (now christened Lost Jerusalem) and ended up creating Deus.

This game didn’t become a reality, as Square denied the funds after Xenogears didn’t do as well as they demanded it to. This led to the Square-Monolith split, which lead to Xenosaga, a whole re-envisioning of the Xenogears 6 Episode series, but this time starting right away from Episode I. Further complications within Monolith itself led to the series being cut short. Instead of being a 6 game series, dedicating two full games to Episode I, Episode V and Episode VI respectively, the series became a trilogy that covered only Episode I and furthermore, left numerous story elements out of the main games, which were heavily rewritten from how the original creators had envisioned them. The series ended on a fucking painful cliffhanger that implied the continuation of the series into its second story arc, something that never came to pass, but still wrapped up the plot of Episode I, so as to look somewhat complete.

Now that the history lesson is over, lemme conclude this introduction. Xenogears and Xenosaga are two deeply connected series. I expect people to deny this, but they’d be obviating so much evidence it wouldn’t even be funny. Those denying any connection that would make us understand what remained unwritten for both series, I think, are just assblasted about the fact that Xenosaga didn’t turn out to be Xenogears Episode I, something which this series was never meant to become. The connection is basically that Xenosaga is a reboot of the Xenogears series, concretely, a reboot of the never released Xenogears Episode I. This way, we shall consider the PS1 classic to be a prototype, or “blueprint” if you may, for Xenosaga. Given only Episode V of the Xenogears series was released, it is common sense (and it is supported by overwhelming evidence) accepting that it would have been the prototype to the never released second story arc of Xenosaga, after the ending of Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra.

However, I believe that it is equally as foolish trying to state that both these series belong to the same continuity, or canon. It is the same as trying to say that Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: Into Darkness belong in the same continuity. There exist, as I’ll show in due time, numerous differences that make the series definitely not take place in the same continuity, despite the humongous number of similarities that also exist. Also, I’ll examine too some suspected differences and how, upon closer examination of both series, may not be differences after all, despite the consensus about them being so. So, I won’t entertain you with this big as fuck intro any longer, let’s begin!

Structure of the universe

In Xenogears, nearing the game’s ending, we get an exposition of the structure of the universe from Karellen, the game’s main antagonist, just prior to Fei’s confrontation with final boss Urobolus within the Path of Sephirot itself. Basically, there’s the Higher Dimension where the Wave Existence, “God”, resides. As an allusion to Gnostic Pleroma, the Higher Dimension is regarded by Karellen as being the same as the Wave Existence, given that travelling there, in his words, means “becoming one with God”:

From God’s leftover waves, the 4 dimensional universe Xenogears takes place in was born:

This is the structure of the cosmology pertaining to the Xenogears universe, in rough terms. There’s also the Path of Sephirot, which is basically the dimension that acts as the pathway from the 4 dimensional universe into the Higher Dimension. It doesn’t exist in Xenosaga, speculation aside.

Now let’s jump to Xenosaga, which takes a fairly more complex approach to its cosmology. The dual structure universe still exists, with the Higher Dimension being named Upper Domain, and the “4 dimensional universe” where the games take place being the Lower Domain.

The Upper Domain is basically the same as it was in Xenogears, being a higher dimension of waves where U-DO, a Wave Existence regarded to as “the God of this dimension” lives:

From the Xenosaga III Perfect Guide:

U-Do appears in the Lower Domain as Abel's Ark and the young boy Abel, speaks to people like Shion and Yuriev as a wave-type existence, releases an inexhaustible supply of energy into the Lower Domain through the Zohar, and causes matter shifts. What in the world is this "U-Do" who exists in the Upper Domain?

The Perfect Guide makes a point of revealing that, even though there’s only a single Upper Domain, it contains multiple Lower Domains, something which was never specified in Xenogears. If you were inclined to believe this same structure applies to the PS1 game’s cosmology, it is indeed possible, and could have been a fact reserved for the unreleased Episode I, as Xenosaga introduces this concept. This, however, won’t leave the realm of speculation. The concept of the Upper Domain being “one with God” has been abandoned as well, as it can be seen in the diagram below.

Xenosaga elaborates a hell lot more than its predecessor does in the structure of the known universe, that is, the Lower Domain, which follows a dual domain structure within itself: it is formed by the Real Number Domain, the world of substance and material existence, and the Imaginary Number Domain, the realm of the soul and concepts. Both of these domains overlap, and any existence that exists in one of them has a counterpart in the other. From the Perfect Guide:

In the lower domain where mankind exists, two mutually complementary domains coexist: the real number domain and imaginary number domain. A dual-layer structure similar to this also exists in the upper domain.

    However, the lower domain existence of mankind is unaware of what kind of state the dual-layer structure of the upper domain is in. This is because it is impossible to perceive and understand the structure of a higher-level domain from a lower-level one.

The Upper Domain is also said to possess this structure, but the details of it are unknown.

The lower domain is organized according to the imaginary and real number domains. The imaginary number domain can be described as the domain of consciousness, or the domain of concepts, or perhaps even the domain of the soul. And the real number domain is considered to be the domain of substance. These two domains exist as two sides of the same coin, and all things that exist in the real domain, the material domain, also exist in the imaginary domain, the spiritual domain. This would have been considered similar to the world of the soul spoken about by religions that existed in many numbers in the era of Lost Jerusalem.

All things that exist in the real number domain have an imaginary number domain existence.

    In other words, what exists in the real domain must always also exist in the imaginary domain.

    This is a law that does not change, whether it may be living or non-living, natural or artificial.

    There is no exception to this rule, even if, for example, it is something incorporeal like software.

In the Imaginary Number Domain, the Collective Unconscious holds everything together. All consciousness join in the Collective, and extremely individualistic, fearful of union to others consciousness, which eventually become Gnosis, eventually cause a phenomenon that will cause the dispersal of the Collective and, eventually, the collapse of all of existence. Such is the main threat in Xenosaga, which must be avoided at all costs. This extends to the Upper Domain itself. From the Truth of Xenosaga (there’s a mention of “dimensional universe”, which is a pretty Xenogears-like description):

The dimensional universe that has become the stage of Xenosaga is composed of two overlapping domains: the real-number domain-- the real-number universe that can be perceived (to know via a sense organ)--, and the imaginary-number domain-- the imaginary-number universe that cannot be perceived. Every single thing that's in the universe is something that exists, extending into these two domains. For example, in the case of humans, the "substance and flesh" that can be seen and touched are in the real-number domain, and the "consciousness and heart" that cannot be sensed are existing in the imaginary number domain.

All consciousness exist in the imaginary number domain, and there is no separation between consciousness. In other words, the consciousness of others are completely and directly sensed. The Swiss psychiatrist Jung called this co-ownership of consciousness the "Unus Mundus". The "UMN" in the story is something that uses the imaginary number domain -- the collective unconscious where no restrictions exist -- as a wide-area information network for performing space jumps and ultra-high-speed communication.

Also, according to Jung, there is a hierarchy in human consciousness, and the lowest depths of it is being connected to the consciousness of the entire universe. When it becomes this level, it is no longer necessary to explain to each other with words, but at the same time, it also has the side where emotions, such as malice, that are not wanted to be communicated to another, are easily communicated.

The consciousness that held fear towards the special characteristic that the collective unconscious is endowed with, in time would choose to "escape from the collective unconscious". And, following the increase of the rejecting, evasive consciousnesses, the entirety of the collective unconscious becomes exposed to the crisis of scattering and dispersal.

And from the Perfect Guide:

 Consciousnesses of rejection arise in the imaginary number domain of the lower domain. The direction of those consciousnesses is to disperse, refusing to integrate with the Collective Unconscious. Those consciousnesses turn into Gnosis within the imaginary domain.

    Up to a certain fixed amount, the consciousnesses of the imaginary domain are maintained by the cohesive power of the Collective Unconscious. However, when the pull of the rejecting consciousness exceeds a critical point, it surpasses the cohesive power of the consciousnesses in the imaginary domain, and becomes a power that fragments and disperses all consciousness. This is similar to a nuclear fission reaction. Right when a critical point is exceeded, a violent chain reaction is generated and it explodes with overwhelming destructive power. In other words, because the rejecting consciousnesses cross a threshold, the cohesion of consciousness in the imaginary domain shatters. It is the scattering of the Collective Unconscious, and as a result, the imaginary domain collapses. Because the lower domain exists with the imaginary and real number domains in a complementary relationship, the collapse of the imaginary domain also causes the collapse of the real domain.

    Furthermore, the entire universe isn't something that consists of only the lower domain; it is something that includes the upper and lower domains. And so, the collapse of one domain exerts an effect onto other domains. Which means: the collapse of the imaginary number domain in the lower domain causes the collapse of the real number domain in the lower domain, so that there is the possibility that the resulting collapse of the entire lower domain will also cause even the upper domain to collapse. That is the spread of the collapsing energy.

    This is the worse-case scenario of the "Collapse of the Universe". The collapse of the universe doesn't just mean only the spatial-universe {'outer space'} that can be recognized in the real domain; it also involves the upper domain. It means the destruction of all existence.

That’s, more or less, the cosmology of the Xenosaga series. Now, let us think about a certain matter. Is the dual domain structure exclusive to the reboot, or was it a thing in Xenogears as well? This won’t leave the realm of theory, mind you, but it is still worth giving it some thought. Because, actually, we can find stuff in Xenogears that could point out the existence of the Imaginary Number Domain, indicating this could be concept that would have been elaborated upon in Xenogears Episode I. Given the dual domain structure is integral to Xenosaga’s plot, there’s heavy indication of this.

First, Karellen randomly namedrops “the souls of humankind” as different entities from “humankind” itself. This not only confirms the existence of souls in Xenogears, which would be a huge indication already, but also addresses them in a way suggestive of them being complementary to mankind’s material form (but that’s a given):

Also, he addresses the fact that only Fei’s consciousness is actually within the Path of Sephirot. Consciousness is the most common word the Xenosaga series uses to refer to the soul:

The information for Xenogears Episode I in Xenogears: Perfect Works, which acted as a teaser for the unreleased game, portrays a very interesting event. That of a planet vanishing during an experiment with the Zohar:

4765 Due to an accident of an unknown nature, the planet hosting research on "Project Zohar" was instantly annihilated, leaving nothing behind but the MAM itself-later discovered and recovered within the disaster zone.

The fact that only the MAM, key component of the Zohar in Xenogears, was left (no debris), suggests that a certain event that happened in Xenosaga, requiring of the existence of the Imaginary Number Domain, took place. In Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht, the U-TIC organization (which covered up as an organization for the research of the Zohar) caused the planet Ariadne to vanish into Imaginary Space during a connection experiment with a Zohar Emulator, leaving it floating in space (no debris). This is called a Matter Shift, and caused the Gnosification of the entire planet, turning it into the Cathedral Ship. From the Perfect Guide:

When a link experiment that utilized a Zohar Emulator was performed by the U-TIC Organization, a running-out-of-control accident occurred, and a matter shift broke out. Perhaps because it was an Emulator, the range of the matter shift was limited, and it became a local matter shift. As a result, the planet Ariadne, where this link experiment was performed, shifted en masse to the imaginary number domain and turned into a gigantic Gnosis.

The Gnosified Ariadne was a mixture of parts that had remained in a real-domain-like state, and of course, parts that had Gnosis forms. Perhaps it can be said that even if things such as artificial objects, which have simple imaginary-domain-like structures, Gnosify, it doesn't necessarily mean they will have a completely Gnosis-like form.

Perfect Works goes on and on hinting about the existence of the soul, which could lead to a similar concept to the Imaginary Number Domain existing in Xenogears as well. Hell, its entry for the Urobolus Ring mentions the Collective Unconscious, albeit in a symbolic(?) way. Though this is an issue I wish to address another time. Maybe:

The "Urobolus" refers to the snake that devours its own tail. That image, of something feeding itself, psychologically indicates the state devoid of conflict before an Ego is established-- the Collective Unconscious. It is a state in early childhood where a person cannot yet discern things himself, where there is no conflicting difference between reality and his sense of self. Once the Ego forms, it produces a necessity to sever this circle in order to break away from the unconscious. This is the establishment of one's own conscious world. The basis on which to discern things is born, and there begins to be conflict towards reality that goes beyond that basis of discernment.

"Great Mother" is a name that symbolizes a mother who hinders her child's process of breaking away from this circle (from developing an Ego).

The Urobolus went on to be used as the symbol of the U.M.N. in Xenosaga. Yeah, that internet/hyperspace equivalent that turns out had its whole infrastructure upon the Collective Unconscious, as its name (Unus Mundus Network) suggests.

Then there’s the whole debacle with the Aeons (mistranslated as “Seraphs” in the game), the terminal weapons Deus right away incarnates from the numerous souls he’s absorbed. They are noted to be human souls:

And the After Word to Perfect Works notes that Deus can cause “spiritual union”, the fusion of souls:

Fei and the others destroyed “god”. Not only destroying the flesh of god, but the ability to cause spiritual union and the fate of humanity was freed in the fight against Deus when it was destroyed and “humanity” was reborn now free from those bonds.

This is pure speculation but again, I feel there’s very strong evidence for the dual domain structure to apply to Xenogears’ universe as well.

Here I end part 1 of this blog!