A coworker who recently became interested in Xenogears linked me to the thread going on on NeoGaf about this, and a lot of people over there are very negative about it. The first I heard about Figureheads x Xenogears was from when Soraya Saga posted the trailer on her twitter, and an initial reaction by another friend of mine (who was sourcing something other than Soraya) had a markedly negative opinion about it directly because Monolith was not directly involved or named in the project publicly.
I don't think Xenogears has been so much ignored by SE as it has been resting peacefully out of respect. An 18 year wait from SE for anything Gears-related seems much more respectful of the property than what Namco continued doing with KOS-MOS after punting Monolith to the curb. Unless SE starts posting updated redesigns of existing characters by someone other than Kunihiko Tanaka, I don't see Figureheads as an affront to the original Xenogears.
Anyway, I'm anxious but optimistic. One of the people on NeoGaf pointed out that many of the people who worked on Xenogears in the past are free agents now, so they could very well be working with SE on this, and working on this willingly and with pride, but under NDA and unable to clarify anything. Also in front of some language and culture barriers. That possibility cancels out some of my apprehension about this. All in all, I'm excited, and if I had more time, a better computer, and a better grasp of Japanese, I'd be trying to see if I could get into the beta to see this for myself firsthand.
After fumbling around Figureheads' youtube channel, I found that someone named Taku Takahashi is working on music for Figureheads. https://youtu.be/dePkP7_NQZU
The wikipedia article doesn't state if he's a relation to Tetsuya Takahashi, though.
I will say that I don't like the way Weltall looks in this parts system, but the other mechs look all right? I know that there's a bunch of art limitations a game's infrastructure has, so I'm hoping the odd look to them is because of their pipeline, and that they look the best they can within Figurehead's current possible art set. What really excited me was the voices.
Taking a look at Figurehead's official site, it looks like they're working with very present-day, realistic-looking mechs, which are a far cry creatively from the sleek, Crystal Dragon Jesus machines in XG. This looks to be a little on the hard scifi genre side, which is really cool because robots in hard scifi needs more of a push, but this genre is very different from Xenogears.
Most of http://figureheads.jp looks to be made with images, so everything but the main page's footer wasn't translated when I tried to run it through Google Translate.
Sorry if that was very fragmented. Overall, I'm anxious to express my excitement about this because of the dubious state of "is Monolith involved?", but if people like Soraya Saga and Kunihiko Tanaka are posting about it on Twitter unprompted, I'm seeing that as a sign that it's okay to like and be interested in this.