The Xevious universe (ゼビウス, Xevious) is a series of vertical shooters developed by Namco. In Xevious, the player controls a ship called the Solvalou, fighting against an alien army from the planet Xevious and their leader, a biocomputer known as GAMP.
After the critical and financial success of Konami's 1981 arcade game Scramble, competitor Namco wanted a game that could rival its success. The company assigned a small team led by Masanobu Endō to make such a game. Endō had no experience with programming and learned during development. The initial pitch was a vertical shooter name Cheyenne, which involved a Vietnam war era helicopter shooting at enemies both on the ground and in the air. After the project planner quit the company during development, the team was shuffled and Endō was promoted to head designer. The game was also reworked around this time to include more science-fiction elements inspired by Alien, Star Wars, UFO and Battlestar Galactica. The name was also changed to Zevious, then changed again to the final title Xevious to sound more exotic and mysterious. Story and world-building were high priorities, which included large, detailed sprites that would stand out among its competitors. To be as efficient with the hardware limitations as possible, most enemies contained several different shades of gray due to that colored be the largest selection on the arcade board graphics processor. Other innovations include one of the earliest examples of pre-rendered graphics with the backgrounds and boss fights.
The game was an unprecedented success in Japanese arcades when it released in 1983, breaking many sales records that had not been seen since Space Invaders in 1978. Sales were more modest internationally, likely due to the video game crash that occurred right when the game released, but it was still among the top selling arcade games of the year. The game was ported to the Famicom later that year and become the system seller for the console with 1.26 million copies sold in Japan, an impressive number to this day. The game was so popular that getting the high score became a status symbol, and competitions popped up all over Japan and other parts of the world over who can get the highest score. Guidebooks about the game's secrets and strategies to get the high score also appeared at this time, which was then a novel concept, and frequently sold out. Many games made later took direct inspiration from Xevious on how to make a vertical shooter, with game designers Fukio Mitsuji and Tetsuya Mizuguchi cite the game as a major influence over their careers and lives.
The game has been ported re-released numerous times to modern consoles over the decades, some having twists on the classic formula and bonus content. The game's soundtrack has also been distributed multiple times both on its own and in collections. Merchandise has consistently been best sellers, including tie-in novels, animated films, model kits, and pachinko machines.
The game itself has received several sequels and spin-offs. A pseudo-sequel titled Super Xevious released in 1984, with added content like new items and enemies. A spin-off featuring the Grobda enemy also debuted in 1984 as a multi-direction shooter. An official sequel released exclusively to the Famicom in 1986 as Super Xevious: GAMP no Nazo, but was later ported to arcades as part of the Nintendo VS. System series and titled Vs. Super Xevious. The game features a new story, new levels, and new items. Another sequel released exclusively to MSX2 in 1988 titled Xevious: Fardraut Saga, with an enhanced port for PC-Engine in 1990. Both sequels were received negatively by fans and were commercial failures. Xevious 3D/G released in 1996 with polygonal graphics and unique effects. A Plug'n Play game titled Xevious Scramble Mission released in 2006 and involves dodging obstacles and defeating a boss of a level under a time limit. The last new entry in the series was in 2009, titled Xevious Resurrections and included as part of Namco Museum Essentials. The game was a modern update to the original game with added features like introducing praised features found in other entries, multiplayer, and stamps that unlock features in PlayStation Home.
The Xevious universe's first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series is in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. It is one of the Namco franchises represented in the game, along with others such as Dig Dug, Galaxian, Mappy, Baraduke, Rally-X, and Pac-Man.
The Xevious universe in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate remained untouched from its previous appearance. Only Bacura was removed in the transition due to Smash Run not returning in this game.