The 4 June 2020 of Weekly Famitsu features an interview with Monolith Soft founder and president Sugiura Hirohide, in which he discusses the roots of the company.
When asked about his motive for going independent, he says that when he was still with Square, though he was attached to a different title, he still played Xenogears and fell in love with it. But though they originally had plans for Xenogears 2, they were put in a situation where they could not go through with it due to Square at the time putting massive investments into film business.
Sugiura thus founded Monolith Soft in 1999 as a way to make Xenogears 2 happen in some way. Takahashi Tetsuya and other staff like Honne Yasuyuki joined, and Namco founder Nakamura Masaya helped them in establishing the company.
(Square’s attempt to penetrate the film industry culminated in the CG movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which premiered in 2001 and resulted in a catastrophic failure with losses estimated at over $94M USD)
In the end, the first game that Monolith Soft worked on was Xenosaga Episode I, but Sugiura says that because they ran into problems with managing income and expenditure with Episode I, they had to make “difficult decisions” with Episode II.
In regards to Xenoblade Chronicles, Sugiura describes it as a “prototype” for the achievement of their goal, that only has a small part of Takahashi’s universe, time and world in it, that could be called part of his life’s work.
Monolith Soft’s latest game, also the latest game in the Xeno series, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, releases on 29th May 2020 for the Nintendo Switch
(This article was edited on 5/29 for clarity in regards to the timeline of events)
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