So, new details about Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Boese decided to appear in the general public. What was not expected was to find unreleased news stories from previous updates lurking in the murky depths of our archives. I present, then, not one update's worth of Xenogoodness, but multiple! For your convenience, I have separated out the different chunks into sizable, readily digestible bites. As a warning, some of this may be considered spoiler-ish.
Shion Uzuki and KOS-MOS
Before the Elsa completes its decent onto Second Miltia, Jr. knocks Allen into Shion, causing her glasses to get knocked off her face and summarily stepped on; hence, Shion no longer wears glasses. Upon landing, Shion, KOS-MOS, and Allen head towards the Vector Industries center on Second Miltia. As originally planned, KOS-MOS is to receive more advanced weaponry; however, the motion to have the battle android transferred to the Second Research and Development division is swiftly knocked down by Shion. Shion also receives her own upgrades for the MWS she carries, making it lighter and more souped up.
During her visit to Vector, Shion is able to revisit the community she grew up in. You can visit the Moby Dick, a popular hang-out when Shion was in high school, for instance. Shion's brother, Jin, makes his appearance here. Additional tidbits about Shion's past or about KOS-MOS' nature still remain a mystery.
Ziggy and MOMO
Now that Ziggy's mission to return MOMO to Second Miltia has been completed, he seeks to replace more of his biological parts, including the erasure of his memories, with synthetic robotics, as promised by the Contact Subcommittee. The subcommittee has other uses for MOMO, however. After a brutally cold welcome by Dr. Juli Mizrahi, MOMO is escorted by Jr., Ziggy, and chaos to the U.M.N. administration center to have the coveted Y-Data extracted, left by the late Dr. Joachim Mizrahi two years prior. The Y-Data is supposed to contain all of Dr. Joachim Mizrahi's research notes, as well as access codes to the long-sealed Miltia.
In addition to this, Namco has revealed that the girl used as the model for MOMO, Dr. Mizrahi's daughter Sakura, will play some important role in the spiritual aspect of the grand scheme. Apparently (and most likely purposefully), in the spiritual world, Sakura Mizrahi is much like MOMO not only in appearance, but also in demeanor, though the former is decidedly less naive.
Jr. and chaos
As is typical of these two, not much is really known. However, it has been revealed that there will be very nice flash-backage for Jr., revealing more of his cloudy past. As for chaos, well... one could hope that we might learn a thing or three about him in this episode, seeing how little was revealed in Xenosaga Episode I.
Mech Units and a New Secret
The A.M.W.S. unit is a smaller high-power upgrade to that A.G.W.S. used to combat gnosis out in deep space. In addition to this, a very different and highly classified set of mechs, the E.S. series, has emerged from development. These mechs differ from A.G.W.S. and A.M.W.S. in that they are much smaller and are reputed to have "human-interface" weaponry. They are also extremely high-powered, and have super-secret special capabilities.
Certain E.S. units have been equipped with a feature Xenogears fans should clamor over - the Anima Relics. Discovered at the same time the original Zohar was uncovered, yet strangely missing from Episode I, these Relics work much like a brain for certain E.S., giving them much greater control and power. The original purpose for these mystical items is, of course, unknown, but that won't stop scientists - or the military - from using them.
The U-TIC Organization may seem to have suffered defeats at the hands of Shion, Jr. and company, but tenacity and a wealth of secret and somehow symbolic information continues to drive them. Pellegri, Margulis' right-hand ma-er, woman, resurfaces after being effectively dropped in Episode I. In fact, she returns heavily powered - she crafts an Anima Relic-powered E.S. unit. Clad in this, and with two assistants, Pellegri sets out to stop Jr., Ziggy, and chaos from delivering MOMO to the U.M.N. facilities, and to reclaim the realian for the U-TIC Organization.
Namco has also revealed a few more cards held by the U-TIC. These would include the U-TIC headquarters itself, a mazelike space fortress, and a mystery location featuring a church-like setting. In addition to this, the mystery man himself, Sellers, will be making a more pronounced mark in Episode II. The meaning behind all of this is, of course, yet to be discovered, if it is revealed at all.
Last Random Tidbits
Both KOS-MOS and MOMO will be able to operate E.S. units now. KOS-MOS' E.S. unit will be able to use her Hilbert Waves in new ways. Combination techs will be possible in battles. There's a room with a Zohar sitting in it somewhere, be it the Original or an Emulator. Oh, the possibilities.
The Final Straw
A definitive release date has not yet been set, though Namco and MonolithSoft are projecting a Japanese release in June. It is advisable not to hold one's breath.