Here's how Tales of Symphonia 2 should have been if they wanted it to be a good video game with any resemblance to the thematic or story content in the original whatsoever:
[spoiler= very very very long and spoilers]Main cast on the United World:
- Lloyd. The character who is also the player's avatar to a certain extent and who has another journey he's dedicated to, alongside a trusted friend.
- Noishe. Noishe is a protozoan who has finally evolved into his ultimate humanoid form as a being who fights evil (this was explicitly stated as canon in ToS). He has gained human consciousness and becomes a full-fledged member of the party, having vowed to overcome his fear of monsters and aid Lloyd now that his friend of millennia - Kratos - is gone.
- Choose 1 party member from ToS. The narrative will assume that this is the person whose ending you did in ToS vanilla, which means they are the person who promised to accompany Lloyd on his journey post-game.
- 1 other returning party member, decided based on who you chose. Genis and Raine are always paired together resulting in a narrative focus on half-elves, Zelos and Sheena are always paired together resulting in a narrative focus on Tethe'alla's new political state, and Regal and Presea are always paired together resulting in a narrative focus on the victims of exspheres.
- Colette joins you no matter what, rounding it out to 5 party members. If you chose her ending the focus is on her and the transformations caused by Cruxis Crystals, and the game automatically chooses Genis and Raine to finish out the party.
- Note: if at the beginning when you pick whose route you want to go for, you choose a secret option (either "none of the above" or a silhouette or an unlockable or Noishe or smth) the game assumes you are following Kratos's ending from the last game instead. He obviously can't join your party, but this changes your party designation to Colette/Genis/Raine, like Colette's route, but resulting in different interactions that involve Lloyd reminiscing with Noishe about Kratos. Also Zelos is dead RIP. This is kind of Noishe's route for the purposes of this game.
- Kratos. He is the remaining leader of Cruxis trying to rebuild and heal with the surviving Desians who escaped with him on Derris-Kharlan.
- Yuan. Rather, there is a form of long-distance communication (first developed on Derris-Kharlan) that allows Cruxis Crystal users to transmit their consciousness through a magitechnology system and observe/ communicate on the other end. Yuan feels it his duty to remain in the United World as a Renegade but also to aid Kratos as a Seraph, so he uses it at first just to speak with Kratos, but when the need arises he transmits himself into a droid body on Derris-Kharlan prepared by the system and effectively joins the party
- CATHERINE, a humanoid doll manufactured by Cruxis to accept Martel's soul; the prototype to TABATHA. She was scrapped because her movement was deemed by Mithos too machinelike/inelegant to host his sister, but Altessa managed to save her from being torn apart and repurposed by claiming he would re-use parts for TABATHA; instead he hid her away in a storage room in the Dwarves' work chambers where Mithos would never bother to go in person. She ended up mistakenly transported to Derris-Kharlan along with a shipment from the dwarves, and stowed away hidden on Derris-Kharlan for decades before being rediscovered during Kratos's rebuilding of a New World there. (Yuan has a difficult time interacting with her due to her physical resemblance to Martel.)
- Low-ranking previous Desian very disillusioned due to the deaths of their allies and collapse of their plans. Worked under Forcystus on Sylvarant. Still holds deep resentment toward humans and elves, initially representing a Desian rebellion against Kratos's new leadership for betraying Mithos and his ideals. Duels Kratos one-on-one and, once defeated, is offered a position by Kratos's side to help him lead this new world specifically for the remnants of Desians and Cruxis. Begrudgingly accepts because there is nothing they can do with their strength to fight Kratos, but vows to never forget what they endured as half-elves in the world they left behind.
Lloyd goes on a journey to collect exspheres around the world. Colette acts as a religious ambassador calming the panic ensuing from the fall of Cruxis and the church and spreading faith in the goddess and the tree she bestowed on the world, Yggdrasill. Genis/Raine work to repair human-half-elf relations and have significant plot events in Exire and Heimdall; Zelos/Sheena work to address political unrest between Sylvarant / Tethe'alla and have significant plot events in Mizuho and Meltokio; Regal/Presea work to aid people whose lives were ruined by exspheres and have significant plot events in Sybak and Palmacosta.
Meanwhile, Kratos attempts to rebuild what little remains of Cruxis on the decaying crypt that was once a thriving civilization on Derris-Kharlan and lead them in a truer sense than the brainwashing methods of Cruxis. Works with Yuan who is able to act alongside him using magitechnology to remotely pilot a humanoid battle vessel, an abandoned doll as a rejected body for Martel, and a previously lowly Desian-now-leader of rebellion who refuses to give up Mithos's ideals until they're defeated by Kratos and offered mercy and an opportunity for their voice to be heard.
On the United World, people are reluctant to give up exspheres because they feel half-elves have whisked away all of their magitechnology and stolen it to themselves in a final act of anti-human hatred. Human-half-elf tensions are not easily appeased. Many half-elves find themselves wishing they were on the far-off haven with Cruxis' remnants, even if it is on a sad, lonely, ancient comet somewhere far off in the sky. Human society is in a crisis attempting to organize itself in a new world. Everyone, human to half elf, feels robbed of opportunity of choice in the matter of this new world and curses the false deity they had worshipped.
On the New World, what remains of the Desians and Cruxis do not easily bow to a man who led them for millennia only to betray their leader at the last second and reveal his status as a lowly human. They feel trapped and exiled. Rebellions form... Kratos and Yuan easily crush them, but refuse to kill anyone because enough blood has already been shed.
Over the course of the game, communication between the United and New Worlds is established via the Renegades such that Lloyd and Kratos are able to reconnect. A solution emerges: a dual-society, one established by Half-Elves on the homeland of their blood, one established by Humans on their homeland, between which people can move freely and - most importantly - by their own choice.
Humans are scared; reconnecting Cruxis, who attempted to enslave humanity, to the United world? Cruxis is also frightened; fearing that with their loss of power they will be executed by the humans for their crimes. The New Church of Martel arises thanks to Colette, as representative of a pact with Martel, protector of the Yggdrasill tree, that promises the connection between these worlds will be guaranteed for as long as there is good will between them, and it shall sever just as assuredly - and with finality - if these relations ever turn hostile.
Narratively that all works out but gotta have gameplay right??? I'm sure there would be antagonist characters from "opposing" groups, and the final boss could even be Martel herself testing the will of those who would seek such a powerful pact, versus a party you choose out of fighters from both worlds united on this cause.[/spoiler]