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Monolith Soft is a Japanese video game studio founded by Tetsuya Takahashi and Hirohide Sugiura best known for their Eastern RPGs, particularly the "Xeno" metaseries.

During the 1990s, Takahashi and Sugiura worked at Square Co. on various RPGs, most notably Final Fantasy. When a proposal for Final Fantasy VII created by Takahashi and his wife Kaori Tanaka (now known under her Pen Name, Soraya Saga) fell through for being "too dark", they were allowed to develop it into its own original game that became known as Xenogears. However, the various issues encountered in the game's development and Square's lack of interest in supporting any new properties resulted in Takahashi and a good chunk of the Xenogears team, which also included many who worked on Chrono Cross, deciding to leave the company to form their own video game studio. Namco would be the ones to fund their new operations, and thus Monolith Soft was born as a subsidiary of Namco in 1999.

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Due to his departure from Square, Takahashi could not acquire the rights to Xenogears, which he had planned to build into a large series. Undaunted, he decided to create a Spiritual Successor in Xenosaga, a planned hexalogy. Xenosaga would see more success than its predecessor with its first entry, but ultimately fall prey to its own production issues — as well as incredibly poor sales of the second entry — and be cancelled after Episode 3. The Xenosaga series wouldn't be Monolith Soft's only project during this time period, however, as they also ended up producing the Cult Classic Nintendo GameCube RPG Baten Kaitos and its prequel.

Following a change in executives at Namco, Monolith Soft found themselves starting to relive the same creative restrictions its older members faced at Square, which only worsened after the Bandai Namco merger. At the same time, the studio found themselves in a positive relationship with executives over at Nintendo, who vocalized support of their innovative ideas whenever the topic arose. As a result, Monolith would seek to become a subsidiary of Nintendo towards the beginning of the seventh generation. Bandai Namco Entertainment would sell 80% of its shares in Monolith to Nintendo in 2007, turning Monolith Soft into a first-party developer for the gaming giant, though it would retain a 16% stake in the studio.note  Now under Nintendo, they are known for both their Xenoblade Chronicles series and for lending developmental assistance to various other Nintendo franchises such as The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing.

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In regards to all their Xeno projects, they're connected to a larger, overarching narrative that Takahashi refers to as "Perfect Works". Xenogears and Xenosaga were intended to be parts of this, but the failure of those productions forced him to scrap the entire idea. The concept was reborn when Satoru Iwata convinced him to attach the "Xeno" moniker to a new project "Monado: Beginning of the World", in honor of his past struggles with seeing those past passion projects to fruition. The success of Xenoblade, plus its smooth production under Nintendo that allowed him to finally implement his vision with barely any concessions, inspired him to revive "Perfect Works" by adding elements from these past franchises into Xenoblade sequels. Those past attempts also led to a changed writing approach wherein each entry functions as a more self-contained story within a shared universe rather than explicit pieces in a larger narrative, with the new version of the "Perfect Works" plotline now being wildly different from his original script.

Monolith Soft has a very noticeable Creator Thumbprint: After the End settings with a long dead, super advanced civilization, heavy Gnostic and Christian references with usually at least one character undergoing a Crisis of Faith, Humongous Mecha, cute mascots that can sometimes be comically powerful. Oh, and their most famous habit of creating super weapons in the form of a young woman in either Robot Girl or Artificial Human varieties, all wrapped up in a Kudzu Plot that doesn't make much sense until the last 30 minutes of the story, revealing a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot where (most of) the pieces fall neatly into place. Also, expect TONS of long-term mysteries and plot twists along the way to keep you on your toes.


Games developed by Monolith Soft:

    As a subsidiary of Namco/Bandai Namco (1999-2006) 

    As a subsidiary of Nintendo (2007-present) 

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