I’m a huge fan of Xenoblade Chronicles X. So much so, that the very sight of Monolith Soft’s logo during the Nintendo Switch presentation sent me into a frenzy. Considering how X ended, I and other fans were hoping for a Xenoblade Chronicles X2 or something along those lines to help clear up some unresolved plot points, but considering that X is only a year old, I was in doubt. Sure enough, what we got instead was Xenoblade Chronicles 2 which is seemingly a sequel to the original Xenoblade Chronicles.
I say seemingly because this short trailer sends a lot of conflicting signs. On one hand, the wide open grassy fields, larger than life monsters and Nopon characters mark this as a true Xenoblade game. But If it’s really a sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles, then where are the environments and characters from that game? There is no sign of Shulk or any of his companions, the main character’s sword looks quite different to Shulk’s ‘Monado’, and since we have only heard the Japanese voices, we don’t even know if the distinct British accents of Xenoblade Chronicle’s characters will be returning. Even the art style is noticeably different from Xenoblade Chronicles. So, while it is called Xenoblade Chronicles 2, as of yet we don’t know how or if it will connect to Xenoblade Chronicles in any way besides name and aesthetic.
The two female characters we see in the trailer are wearing armour reminiscent of Kos-Mos from Xenosaga (the spiritual predecessor to Xenoblade Chronicles), as well as a few special armour sets from X, so this game will most likely be featuring inspiration from more than just one of the past Xeno games. The main character, however, seems to be dressed quite differently from anything we have seen from the Xeno games as of yet. Music-wise, we’ve been told that some of the composers who worked on the original Xenoblade Chronicles will be handling this title as well. While I personally prefer Hiroyuki Sawano’s work in Xenoblade Chronicles X, many fans will no doubt be itching to hear whatever new scores Ace+ have to offer. Hopefully, Yoko Shimomura will also be contributing a few tracks.
Whatever its connections to the previous Xenoblade games, this title still looks amazing. It certainly looks better than Xenoblade Chronicles X did on the WiiU. That may be due to the Switch’s better specs, but it may also be a result of the art style being more pleasing to the eye. The character models aren’t as odd to look at, the colours are even more vibrant, and some of the monsters look even larger than what we saw in X. Considering that X has monsters big enough to significantly dwarf the game’s Skells, this tells us a lot about not only the scale of the game but the power of the Nintendo Switch’s hardware compared to the WiiU. We also saw a brief segment of the main character riding some kind of wolf-like creature. This could possibly be a variation on the Skell system in X, but with wild beasts instead.
There is still a lot we don’t know about this title. We don’t know what the battle system is like, we don’t know anything about the story, and we barely even know the new characters. As new news gets released by Monolith, I’ll be watching for as many details as I can possibly gather. Hopefully, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 can live up to the reputation the previous two Xenoblade Chronicles games have created.