Xenoblade Chronicles X
|Xenoblade Chronicles X|
North America cover art.
Nintendo Software Planning & Development
Xenoblade Chronicles X, known in Japan as XenobladeX (ゼノブレイドクロス Zenobureido Kurosu?, pronounced as "Xenoblade Cross"), is an action role-playing video game by developer Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo for the Wii U. The game is part of the Xeno series of video games, serving as a spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. It was released on April 29, 2015 in Japan, and is scheduled for release on December 4, 2015 for North America, Europe and Australia.
In a similar fashion to the original Xenoblade, the game plays as an open world role-playing video game, with an emphasis on exploration. Traveling can take place on foot, or in large humanoid robots, approximately four times the height of the average playable character, called "Skells" ("Dolls" in the Japanese version), that the player may opt to control. The Skells have the ability to fly, traverse water, and transform into vehicles such as motorcycles or tanks. Aerial battles will also take place in the game.
During the game, the player seeks out and recovers the stasis pods that were ejected from the White Whale's hull during its emergency landing, which land in various places across Mira. In order to search for places with stasis pods, the player must expand the "Frontier Net" information system by installing data probes at places called "Frontier Net Spots". By establishing data probes at various points on Mira, the Net obtains information on the related areas and expands its scope.
The game's battle system works similarly to the battle system found in the original game, with some improvements. The "arts palette" returns from the previous game. Each special attack from the palette, when used, enters a "cool down" period where the player must wait to use it again or let it re-charge twice, at which point its use will deal even more damage or induce extra effects. The past game's quest log will also return in an improved form. The Wii U GamePad is used as an "information terminal" for data the player gathers about native organisms, a map, a way to warp to previously-visited locations, and for Off TV Play.
The game begins in the year 2054, as two alien races engage in battle near Earth, causing significant collateral damage to the planet. With governments sensing Earth's obliteration, humanity is forced to evacuate in enormous interstellar ark ships. From there, the story follows the passengers of the American evacuee ship, the White Whale, as they crash land upon the planet Mira and attempt to establish their new home of "New Los Angeles", all while still being hunted by one of the alien races.
The game was first revealed in January 2013 in a Nintendo Direct video under the tentative name X. The game was further demonstrated in June 2013 at E3 2013, with Nintendo aiming for a 2014 release time frame. The game was shown again at E3 2014, revealing that the game had an official title, Xenoblade Chronicles X, but had its release timeframe delayed into some time in 2015. Despite the similarity in name, and the appearance of Shulk in the original 2013 trailer, the game is not a direct sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles, but rather a spiritual sequel. The game will still retain a similar battle system, quest log, and philosophical elements of Xenoblade, and will even contain similarities to other past games in the Xeno series.
The game is being executive directed by Monolith Soft president, co-founder, and Xeno series director Tetsuya Takahashi, with character designs by Kunihiko Tanaka, the artist behind the character concept artwork and design on Xenogears, directed by Koh Kojima, and music by Hiroyuki Sawano. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated that the game was developed with the goal of creating a large-scale open world with "seamless exploration", with the development team working on expanding on the knowledge they learned in developing, Xenoblade. Takahashi states he aims to create the biggest game world possible for the Wii U; at one point, the developers considered releasing the game on two discs due to its size. In addition to the freedom to explore the game, the player will be able to customize the appearance of the main playable character, including gender, shape, height, skin, color, voice, and facial tattoos. Some journalists have speculated the game will be a MMORPG or have online game elements, although Nintendo has not detailed such aspects to the game. The game will support online co-op play for up to four players. In an interview with Famitsu, executive director Tetsuya Takahashi revealed that due to the game's sheer scope and volume, implementing the online functions was a challenge when they originally used “very basic technology” for the functionality, opting it over "cutting edge technology" because, according to Takahashi in the interview, he said, "HD and online were new experiences for us and rushing has no use. It’s a bit similar to boxing: if you stand till the end, you will win. We faced the development with this in mind." Nintendo had to step in and assist with the online support, with Takahashi taking in what he learned from the development process to implement in a potential next project.
In November 2014, Monolith Soft announced that they had entered the final stages of development, morale within the team was high, and they aim to release the game in first half of 2015 in Japan, and the second half of 2015 in North America and Europe. The development team also revealed that they had decided to create their own website for the game, something they created without Nintendo's permission, but was given approval by the time it launched. The team blogs about the game's development on the website. They revealed that the game would have "online elements", but did not reveal any further details. Takahashi suggested that the game would feature a 'deep' and distinctive sci-fi story compared to its predecessor's 'basic' fantasy story, and stated that he asked Tanaka for his cooperation to bring out the "Xeno-ness" in the game's character designs. On December 4, Takahashi tweeted that after 15 years since the founding of Monolith Soft, he finally felt he had successfully created an RPG in which humans and robots could co-exist, something he stated as being a long held vision of his.
Initial reception of Xenoblade Chronicles X was largely positive. Following the trailer shown at E3 2013, Official Nintendo Magazine offered strong praise for its visuals and open world. In April 2014, Eurogamer featured Xenoblade Chronicles X in an article about their "Most Anticipated" games, stating that even non-Japanese role-playing game fans could find something to enjoy due to its "[mixing of] action, strategy and narrative into a delicious, idiosyncratic concoction with broad appeal." In January 2015, GameTrailers ranked Xenoblade Chronicles X as its ninth-most anticipated game of 2015, looking forward to piloting the mech through the skies and exploring the game's "massive" world.
Japanese gaming publication Dengeki gave the game a positive review, referring to it as a masterpiece; they praised the gameplay, detailed world, story direction, and music, and said it has a "very high degree of perfection". Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave Xenoblade Chronicles X a score of 34/40, with scores of 9, 9, 8 and 8 from the four reviewers; they praised the gameplay, plot, large open world, and sense of freedom, but two of the reviewers criticized it for having an abundance of cutscenes.
The game was the third best-selling game during its release week in Japan, selling around 85,000 copies. In addition to its physical copies, the game garnered nearly 23,000 digital copies during May 2015. It was the most downloaded title in Japan for the month of May, largely surpassing other titles such as Minecraft, Bravely Second: End Layer, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. As of June 2015, 110,000 physical copies had been sold.
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Everything in X seems lush and massive as if there's [sic] innumerable secrets tucked into its rolling hills and steep mountaintops [...] the thought of soaring through the game's glorious skies in a mech is enough to put it in our top ten.
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