This is my first post here. I love Tetsuya's games sooo much. Including Xenoblade. Did you know he briefly worked on FFVII too?
This drives me crazy. There are soooo many similarities between FFVII and Xenoblade. To quickly list a few....
A protagonist who is confused about who he really is. Shulk who had Zanzas life force after his party died at Ose tower. Cloud who thinks he is Zack. When our heroes are confronted with the truth it paralyzes them. Cloud was a vegetable and Tifa had to take care of him. Shulk was floating in space wondering if everything he did was pointless.
An organic world that is having its life drained from it. We have the mako reactors in FFVII and Egil in Xenoblade who thinks he is hurting Zanza by draining the Bionis of energy,
In both game, this organic world which seems so frail in the beginning attacks back. You have the weapons in FFVII, Similarly, after Zanza awakens you have the super bosses in Xenoblade. The organic world in both games easily defends itself from the supposed menace of having its life drained. After we realize the organic world has no trouble defending itself its our heroes that are menaced by the organic world. The world they once sought to defend now attacks them.
There are other similarities but I'll stop here for now.
Welcome here, Grahf
Well, it's also that Xenogears was FF7's sister game (and you're right, Takahashi did work on FF7 as concept artist... he also worked on FF6 and 8 ), developed at the same time in the same studio.
One character from Xenogears was even proposed by Tetsuya Nomura (Citan Uzuki... so yeah Jin, Dunban and co... it all started because of Nomura). Plus, Xenogears' story was initially proposed for FF7. It was rejected for being too dark but FF7 seems to have borrowed a bit from Xenogears' initial idea (a story about a soldier of fortune with a fractured mind... which actually is still in Xenogears... only that Fei isn't exactly a soldier like Cloud).
Also, as you must have noticed, Cloud makes a Xenogears reference when he's comatose and there is a Tifa poster in Xenogears. And Xenogears had a writer who worked on FF7 (Kato was a guest writer and wrote the most popular Cloud/Tifa scenes *in Gears, he wrote the Shevat and Lahan part I think*, who also worked on Chrono Trigger *that's why Lucca is a cameo in Xenogears* and was Chrono Cross' main writer... he's also responsible for the Baten Kaitos series at Monolith).
In short, Takahashi, as an old Squaresoft employee, still use old tropes from those games. Xenoblade's story can actually be compared to not only FF7 but also Chrono Cross (one notable similitary is the origins of El Nido and Mechonis/Bionis) and of course, Xenogears itself (plus Xenosaga too... and Soma Bringer... well any game Takahashi worked on). Because some of the tropes are similar. Xenosaga also had a few FF7 parallels (and was filled with Xenogears callbacks).
Does this make Melia the Tifa of Xenoblade ? In a scenario where Aerith came back to life.
In fact Tifa's character seems to be reflected by both Melia and Sharla (Sharla for the fanservice, black hair and warm motherly side). And, Fiora = a blond Aerith who fights with knives (yeah, she also has the childhood friends trope attached to her... though, one has to remember that Tifa didn't exist before it was decided for Aerith to die... it's likely that Aerith originally had Tifa's role on top of the Cetra stuff).
Also, gems = materias.
That said, the parallels you can make with Xenogears are big as well, of course :
- Alvis = Wave Existence (they look the exact same at the end)
- Melia = a mix between Maria (cute looking girl living in the sky city and who first comes across as a bit cold... Maria could even be considered a princess since the Queen of Shevat seems to keep her close) and Elly (also lives in a sky city... one who has a bigoted view about the people living below them... and both Melia and Elly have something that sets them apart from their people... Elly's hair and Melia's small wings... both an issue that can cause discrimination)
- Alcamoth = a mix between Solaris and Shevat (+ the shevat dungeon reminds me of the High entia tomb)
- the Monado = Zohar (they both allow Shulk/Fei to influence events... though Fei doesn't get visions)
- well, I do not consider Shulk's identity crisis as strong and complex as how it was portrayed with Cloud and Fei. BUT, the whole Zanza living inside him can remind one of the whole Fei/Id stuff at the very least (it's still a bit different considering Zanza wasn't born from Shulk's fractured and traumatized mind or anything... it's more like Zanza himself revived a dead boy to live inside him *so Zanza functions more like Grahf, taking the hosts he wants*... which begs a certain question, I guess... Why does Klaus looks the same in the space station flashbacks in the end ? Or maybe he totally planned for a kid looking like him to be born and brought to Valak)
- Reyn/Shulk/Fiora trio = Timothy/Fei/Alice trio... also Xenoblade's beginning with Colony 9 is similar to the events of Lahan... save for the fact that Fei has a responsability in what happened and he lost both of his friends
- Fiora and Dunban also weirdly feels like Yui and Citan... visually, and the whole "Yui/Fiora is a good cook"... and the fact they are a family (not the same dynamic at all of course... but still a family... I guess the big brother raising his little sister was more a dynamic taken from Xenosaga *though Shion and Jin's relationship is pretty sad compared to Dunban and Fiora's*)
- nopons = chuchus (there is even one nopon who grows bigger... overall, I prefer nopons... especially Riki compared to Chu-Chu)
- people fusing with mechs (and Xenogears is more disturbing about it... not sure they can even get out of the mechs)
- human kidnapping and brainwashing by Solaris/Mechonis (Egil)
- one party member can't help pushing random buttons (Reyn and Bart) even if it's a dumb thing to do
- well, the whole "humanity>gods" theme
- Vanderkaum = mustache colonel guy in Xenoblade... Vangarre ? (this is a tradition... first, they wore dumb tatoos on their face, now they have impressive mustaches)
- there is a track in Xenoblade that weirdly sounds like Maria's theme
- music box track
- the concept of duality (Meyneth/Fiora and Elly/Miang... even if it's hard to compare those because Meyneth is benevolent while Miang isn't... KOS-MOS/Mary from Xenosaga is the same stuff... down with the blue eyes/red eyes switch).
- Egil/Krelian = well intentioned extremists (too bad Egil was the only strong villain of the cast... I was disappointed by the others... Mumkhar looked cool though)
- Bionis/Deus with the people morphing near the end of the story (happens too in Xenosaga with the Gnosis... so it goes Wels ---> Gnosis ---> Telethias)
- high entia tomb and fort jasper analyse their descendants (difference is that in Xenogears, the Fatima line needs to keep as close as possible to their bloodline to be able to access the fortress... in Xenoblade, while royal bloodline is also important, it is revealed that Melia not having 100% high entia blood is a good thing).
I think Xenoblade is like a mix of various old Square jRPGs when it comes to story and characters : Xenogears, FF7 and Chrono.