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Xenoblade Chronicles, known in Japan as Xenoblade (Japanese: ゼノブレイド, Zenobureido), is a role-playing video game published by Nintendo and developed by Monolith Soft for the Wii console. The game was announced during E3 2009, when a trailer was released to media. The trailer shows a futuristic sword-wielding character battling giant robots and creatures as well as third-person exploration gameplay. In January 2010, the game was renamed from Monado: Beginning of the World to Xenoblade to honor Tetsuya Takahashi, "who poured his soul into making this and who has been working on the Xeno series". The game was released on June 10, 2010 in Japan, and released on August 19, 2011 in PAL regions. The game was released in North America on April 6, 2012.
The game conveys the feeling of freedom to the player through large, open environments, and is not as focused on cutscenes and story as its sibling games Xenogears and Xenosaga. Xenoblade Chronicles has an action-based battle system where normal attacks will happen automatically at intervals, similar to the set up in Final Fantasy XII. However, everything else is done manually, including movement of the character the player is using, which plays an integral role into Shulk's special attacks. Special attacks recharge separately when used and are set by the player on a "battle palette" at the bottom of the screen. The game also has the "Visions" system, where the player can see glimpses of the future, and try to react or prevent it from happening.
The game has a number of features labeled as "Time Saving Support Features". For instance, while the game has a day and night time cycle, players can "wind the clock" to the time they want to go to, rather than just letting time elapse. Additionally, while the game is about exploration, many warp points have been added to aid in traversing the land. The game also sports a "save anywhere" feature, a feature relatively rare among the console RPG genre.
Another of the game's systems is the "affinity system," in which characters can partake in many optional sidequests with non-player characters. Completing such quests can alter perception of the character in the towns, and open up additional story sequences.
The game has extensive customization, such as being able to change the character's outfits, and having those changes be seen in battle, field, and even event scenes.
- Main article: Xenoblade Chronicles (plot)
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
A New 3DS port of this game, titled Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, was released worldwide in April 2015. This port was co-developed by Monster Games, an independent company, since Monolith Soft was working on the upcoming Xenoblade title at the time. It is not compatible with previous Nintendo 3DS models.
The development was originally intended for the regular Nintendo 3DS, but due to hardware limitations, it lacked the power and memory to run the game efficiently. Unbeknownst that the Wii's processing capabilities were greater than the 3DS, Monster Games requested that the 3DS needed an upgraded version with a more power CPU and more memory to run the port properly. As such, Nintendo announced about the New 3DS that was more powerful than the previous counterpart, and its increased power made it possible to run the port properly. With the inclusion of the ZL and ZR buttons as well as the C-Stick, meant that the original Wii Classic Controller button layout could be used without adjustment. As part of the alterations made to the port, much of the on-screen information was moved down to the bottom touch screen to avert clutter to the top screen, while the layout was carefully arranged so as to maintain the feel of the original as much as possible.
To maintain frame rate and the seamless transitions between environments, unspecified "technical tricks" were used. They also worked hard to include 3D capacity despite the resultant technical difficulties. The most difficult part of the development was getting the game's scale to function within the new hardware. This entailed the creation of a new graphics engine with a custom visibility culling and complex level of detail systems. All of the environments were rebuilt and optimized for the new system while keeping the original aesthetic intact. The reason given for porting the game to the New 3DS rather than the Wii U home console was that the length of the game could be intimidating, especially for modern-day gamers, even if it was becoming more used to on-the-go, quick gaming sessions.
The game is displayed on both screens. A new feature consists of using the bottom screen as a map, as well as displaying party member information such as the Level, the HP, the character's portrait with the reflected Tension change and the inflicted Status Effect.
The new Collection Mode is another new feature allowing the ability to view the game's 3D models from any angle in the Model Viewer, and listen to the musical score in the Jukebox via a token based lottery. The Shulk amiibo can be scanned daily to unlock twenty-one tokens each week (three tokens per day).
In Japan the first print run included the 1-CD Special Soundtrack.
Xenoblade Chronicles Wii U eShop
The downloadable Wii version of Xenoblade Chronicles was released on the Wii U eShop on August 5, 2015 in PAL territories, on April 28, 2016 in Americas, and on July 27, 2016 in Japan. The downloadable digital distribution takes up 6588.0 MB of hard disk space. The game is fully playable on either the Gamepad using off-TV play, or on the TV, and does not require a Wii Remote.
By buying the game on the eShop, Nintendo of Europe offered €10/£9 off Xenoblade Chronicles X bought on the eShop during the two weeks following its release in December 2015.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
At the end of the September 4, 2019 Nintendo Direct, a high-definition remaster port, titled Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Japanese: ゼノブレイド ディフィニティブ・エディション), was announced to be released on May 29th 2020 for the Nintendo Switch.
This version redefines graphics in high-definition quality and redesigns key characters. Most music tracks are remastered with new recordings, and the user interface and the menu screen are also improved and adjusted to be easy to play. The Definitive Edition does not include the features of the 3DS version, i.e. Collection Mode and amiibo compatibility, and is first Xenoblade Chronicles series release with new language options such as Korean.
A new epilogue story, called Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected, revolves around Shulk and Melia on Bionis' Shoulder accompanied by two unfamiliar Nopon. This additional story is accessible from the beginning, it is not needed to clear the main storyline.
Time Attack is a new feature added to the main storyline, during which enemies must be defeated in the shortest possible time. It is similar to the Challenge Battle Mode of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The "Time Attack" can be reached from a red light on the right of the Gem Man at his Stall landmark. A Nopon is waiting and will propose two types of challenges: "Free" challenges where the party is freely chosen, and "Limited" challenges happening under certain conditions. A selected task starts a time attack, enemies appear one after another and must be battled. Once they are all defeated, depending on the evaluation (cleared task time, battle success), "Nopon Crystals" are earned and can be exchanged for equipment and gems, in particular new amour sets that are not obtainable in normal game.
The new "Events Theater" feature, similar to the one in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, stores all game's events, and allows to see again and modify them with parameters to select (equipment, time, weather).
Famitsu awarded the game 9/9/9/9 in its review, totaling 36/40. Xenoblade Chronicles debuted at #1 in its week of release in Japan, selling 83,000 copies. It was also voted the third most interesting game released in Japan during the first half of 2010 in a survey conducted by Dengeki.
- IGN - 2012 Best Wii U / Wii Game
- IGN - 2012 People's Choice Best Wii U / Wii Game
- Nintendo Life - Staff Award for Wii Retail Game of 2012
- Nintendo Life - Community Award for Wii Retail Game of 2012
- TechTudo (Brazlian website) - Best Wii-exclusive game of 2012 (in Portuguese).
- Gamespot UK - Editor's Choice Best Wii Game of 2011
- MMGN - 2011 Best RPG
Several tie-in products have been released. These include:
- A Xenoblade Chronicles Special Soundtrack which was available as a free download in Europe for anyone who registered a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles within a certain period of time after its release. It was also included as a physical CD in Japan with the first print run of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D.
- The full Xenoblade Original Soundtrack was released as a 4-CD set in Japan.
- Xenoblade: The Secret File is a book released in Japan. It contains concept art, background information on the game, and a short story. A French version was released later in France with a very limited number of pre-orders of the game (only 1000 copies).
- Xenoblade: The Complete Guide is a book released in Japan. It is a strategy guide that contains maps, enemy drops, and other information useful for players of the game.
- A special bundle containing the Xenoblade Chronicles game copy with a red Wii Classic Controller was released in Europe.
- A Xenoblade Chronicles Steelbook was offered in Europe for a limited time as a pre-order bundle of the game.
- A trilogy promotion and commemorative coin collection was offered in Europe for a very limited registration of the three Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower game copies on the Nintendo Club website (Games trilogy know as Operation Rainfall trilogy in North America). This tie-in consist of a special black case containing the three gold-coloured coins bearing their respective game's logo on one side and a symbol on the reverse.
- A 40-piece Xenoblade Chronicles puzzle was released worldwide for the Puzzle Swap game on Nintendo 3DS in June and July of 2013, with the exact release date varying by region.
- An amiibo of Shulk was released worldwide in January and February of 2015 as part of a line of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U amiibo, with the exact release date varying by region. In the US, the amiibo is exclusive to Gamestop.
- Two Xenoblade Chronicles themes were created for the New Nintendo 3DS:
- Xenoblade Chronicles 3D official website
- Definitive Edition official US website
- Iwata Asks: Xenoblade Chronicles
- Iwata Asks: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
- Comprehensive spreadsheet
- Japanese Comprehensive Encyclopedia (JCE), a Japanese Xenoblade database.
- Xenoblade Chronicles on FrontierNav, a mapping website.