Xenogears is a game about a young man who has no memories of his past and is suddenly thrown into a conflict that will decide the fate of the entire world. The story is very detailed, with references to a history that spans thousands of years. See Xenogears terms for more about the story.
In terms of popular opinion, Xenogears is perceived to be one of the most divisive video games ever. Supporters of Xenogears believe its story is one of the best ever; detractors believe Xenogears has badly flawed game mechanics and overly pedestrian and linear gameplay.
The battle system is based on combinations that are executed using the buttons on the Playstation's controller; it was probably the model for the control in another Square RPG, called Chrono Cross.
The game's music was composed and arranged by Yasunori Mitsuda, who also composed and arranged the music of Chrono Trigger, Radical Dreamers, Gunhazard, Tobal No. 1, Mario Party, Bomberman 64 2, Chrono Cross, Shadow Hearts, and Legaia 2: Duel Saga. He was employed by Square from 1992-1998, after which he went freelance.
Xenogears' story has many religious references. There is a rumor that the game was almost not released in the United States because of this.
Xenogears is actually the fifth installment of a series of six, but no Xenogears games were made before this one. Square declined to ever develop a sequel/prequel. Some of the original developers, however, have left and created a company called Monolith Soft, where they are developing a prequel called Xenosaga: Episode I The Will to Power. This was released by Namco in Japan in February 2002 for the Playstation 2. Eventually, they hope to bring out the entire six part series of games.
See also: Xenogears terms