Xenoblade Chronicles X, known in Japan as XenobladeX (Japanese: ゼノブレイドクロス, Zenobureido Kurosu, literally Xenoblade Cross), is a role-playing video game developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo for the Wii U console. It was released on April 29, 2015 in Japan and on December 4, 2015 in North America and Europe.
The game was announced under the tentative title of "X" in a Nintendo Direct in January 2013. Prior to the 2014 E3 show, little was known about the game other than that it followed a similar style of Xenoblade Chronicles in its battle style and exploration themes. During E3 2014, a Nintendo Treehouse demo of the game included commentary which suggested that while it retains the name, it was more of a spiritual successor of Xenoblade Chronicles with no story ties to it. However, it still shares similar features to the original such as the Nopon race, the Telethia species, the overall gameplay system, and a focus on exploration.
According to Nintendo's E3 2014 Xenoblade Chronicles X page, gameplay features include:
- Customizing "everything about the main character's appearance, including gender, shapes, height, skin color, voice and tattoos."
- Multiple, chooseable character classes
- The ability to ride and control giant weaponised mechs, known as Skells.
- A massive open world, all of which is explorable.
Xenoblade Chronicles X has many similar gameplay mechanics to Xenoblade Chronicles, such as the freedom to explore the world, the ability to run to virtually anywhere seen in the distance, and the return of a Arts battle system which involves both auto-attacks and a cooldown timer for each Art. The game also introduces giant mechs under the title of Skells, a name given from the word exo-skelleton, which can both be used in combat and for travel/exploration. Skells have a limited amount of fuel that can be restored at a price, or slowly regenerated when the Skell is not in use.
Rather than following a preset group of characters such as in Xenoblade Chronicles, this successor introduces the ability to customize player's own character and name them at the beginning of the game. Collectables are scattered throughout the game world, some acting as quest items, and enemies drop armour and weapons that characters can equip. The character can jump over obstacles. It was shown that there is no fall damage in this game in the Nintendo Treehouse stream.
Battle involves real time combat in which guns for long range attacks can be switched for knives to attack up close, and this can be done immediately and as frequently as necessary. The character will attack automatically when in range, but Battle Arts, which have a cooldown time after being used and are more powerful attacks or have special abilities, are used. There is also a Soul Voice ability, similar to Xenoblade Chronicles Affinity boosts, grants characters bonuses such as a health boost if certainly requirements are met mid-battle. A TP system is also involved in which an art requires an amount of TP, which is gained from auto-attacks. If a character runs out of HP an ally can revive them within 30 seconds if enough TP is stored, or the player can choose to restart from a nearby checkpoint immediately. If the player is not able to be revived within those 30 seconds, the battle can still be won if the other team members are able to defeat the enemy before the 30 second are up.
A form of multiplayer was hinted at in early footage of the game, but E3 2014 was not to have revealed such confirmation of gameplay. The Monolith Soft Japanese Trailer released on February 6, 2015, revealed a four-player online game mode for some special quests, and up to 32 players for online communication (in-game chat), item trading and information sharing functionalities. These promises were upheld at the release of the game.
- Main article: Xenoblade Chronicles X (plot)
It is currently unknown when development began for the game. However, it is assumed that the game started development around 2010, after the release of Xenoblade Chronicles in Japan, and before January 2013, when the game was first revealed.
While the Xeno games, Xenogears and Xenosaga, are known for their heavy philosophical themes, in an interview with executive director Tetsuya Takahashi, he said that they purposefully distanced themselves from such ideas into the main story in order to focus on HD development. He stated that trying to balance that with an epic theme-laden story would pose difficulties.
- Koh Kojima as director and game designer
- Tetsuya Takahashi as executive director
- Hitoshi Yamagami as producer
- Shingo Kawabata as producer
- Kunihiko Tanaka as character designer
- Hiroyuki Sawano as soundtrack composer
- Yuichiro Takeda as plot writer
- Kazuho Hyodo as scriptwriter
- Kouichi Mugitani as designer
- Takayuki Yanase as Skell designer
- Yasushi Suzuki as enemy mech designer
- Raita Kazama as alien NPC and primitive lifeform designer
- Yoko Tsukamoto as artwork illustrator
- Takashi Kojo as enemy designer
- Fumihiro Katagai as mech designer
- RARE ENGINE as illustrator
- Hideyuki Matsumoto as weapon and New Los Angeles gadget designer
- Kusanagi Company as background designer
- Shojiro Nakaoka and Sound Racer as sound effect producers
For purchasers of the physical disc, load times can be improved by installing one or more optional data packs on the Wii U's internal memory or a USB drive, enabling the game to bypass the slower optical drive. These data packs do not add any new content, and do not provide any benefit for purchasers of the eShop edition of the game.
The data packs are available for free on the Wii U eShop, and can be downloaded after purchasing the game. Installing all four packs requires 10 GB of space. In recommended order of priority, they are:
- Basic pack (2.0 GB)
- Enemy pack (2.9 GB)
- Player pack (3.8 GB)
- Skell pack (1.6 GB)
- The eShop edition of the game requires 22.8 GB of storage.
- The game displays at a native resolution of 1280x720 (720p) capped at 30fps.
- The game does not have dynamic lighting. Instead, it has static shadows that simply fade out when night comes.
Several tie-in products have been or will be released. These include:
- The full XenobladeX Original Soundtrack has been released as a 4-CD set in Japan.
- A special Japanese Xenoblade Chronicles X Wii U bundle has been released, including:
- An artbook containing concept art and game illustrations.
- A world-map of the game.
- A 1,000 yens prepaid card in the image of the game.
- Two limited editions of the game have been released in Europe:
- The Xenoblade Chronicles X Wii U Premium Pack including an artbook and a world-map.
- The Xenoblade Chronicles X Limited Edition Pack including an artbook, a world-map, a double-sided poster, and a Steelbook(TM).
- A special edition has been also released in North America, including:
- An artbook containing larger illustrations than the artbook in Japan, as well as more illustrations.
- A digital soundtrack, stored on a USB with a special Lifehold design.
- A matted art card.
- A reversible game cover with art similar to those in the artbook and art card.
- The game will have a collectors edition Strategy Guide made by Prima games.
- There is a Formula Skell model available.
Pre-Release and Unused Content
- 2014-06, Nintendo's E3 2014 Xenoblade Chronicles X page. E3 Nintendo, accessed on 2017-05-21
- 2015-12-16, Interview with executive director Tetsuya Takahashi. Time, accessed on 2017-05-21
- Nintendo of America's official Xenoblade Chronicles X page
- Official Japanese website for Xenoblade Chronicles X
- Nintendo Treehouse: Live with Xenoblade Chronicles X 25 April 2015
- Iwata Asks: Xenoblade Chronicles X
- Xenoblade Chronicles X footage from Nintendo Direct, 5th November 2014
- E3 2014 trailer
- E3 2014 Nintendo Treehouse demo
- E3 2014 Xenoblade Chronicles X page
- Gameplay trailer from February 2014 Nintendo Direct
- E3 2013 trailer
- Comprehensive spreadsheet
- Xenoblade Chronicles X on FrontierNav mapping website.