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Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Ending Explained: What Does the Future Hold?

Rewriting the future again.

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Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Ending Explained

After exiting the world of Aionios, you probably have quite a few questions rushing through your head right now. The story of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is complex, but is the ending truly as cryptic as fans think, or is the third entry in the series just cleverly articulated when it comes to connecting details from earlier in the plot? From the end of Aionios to the future of the main cast and the fates of veteran fan-favorite heroes, this is a complete breakdown of the ending of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 with your main questions (mostly) answered.

The Third World of Aionios: Origin and Z

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Ending Explained

To recap for everyone what happened in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, during the game’s final chapter, players learn about who Z truly is and how Origin came to be. After the death of Zanza and the Architect in the first two Xenoblade Chronicles games, the two worlds holding Bionis and Alrest were bound to merge in the distant future. Through the power of light, Queen Melia Antiqua and Queen Nia were able to communicate with one another to build a fail-safe that could save life itself in case the awaited intersection destroyed both worlds. After years of development, Melia and Nia were able to each create half of a machine in their respective worlds they called Origin.

Origin was a device capable of accumulating and digitizing the literal souls of every inhabitant on Bionis and Alrest in case they were all wiped out by the intersection of the worlds. The purpose of Origin was to bring all life into the new world even if it meant everyone was bound to be reborn. As to be expected from such a scary and unfathomable concept, fear spread throughout Bionis and Alrest as the inhabitants yearned for an endless sense of safety and security. Both worlds wanted the “now” to be forever. The fear of what could occur from the intersection is what created a conscious inside of Origin itself called Z–later on this manifestation learned to take an anthropomorphic form similar to the human-like species Origin held.

The people’s desires corrupted Origin, and when the time came for the worlds to intersect the conscious intercepted fate. To prevent the merging from ever happening, Z was able to create a third world between Bionis and Alrest called Aionios. Aionios is the “endless now” the inhabitants of Bionis and Alrest all desired; a world where time could progress, but the fabric of reality for the real worlds would be forever frozen. Over time, what Z created to protect Aionios from ever being destroyed was Moebius, beings that could potentially live forever with the right sustainment and ensure Origin would never be reactivated for its initial purpose. Meanwhile, many of the people of Bionis and Alrest would continue to slip into a cycle of reincarnation. The purpose of being reborn over and over again was to fuel Moebius, who would help keep the inhabitants’ idea of an endless existence alive forever.

The heroes of Xenoblade Chronicles and its sequel failed to prevent Z and Moebius from gaining a strong grasp over Aionios, however, Melia and Nia were able to create a long-term plan during their lifespans to unfreeze time and allow the worlds to return to normal. While everything on Aionios is destined to disappear, its existence is still as real as Bionis and Alrest–the time individuals spent there did happen and had its impact on Noah and Mio even if everyone would one day return to their former homes with no memory of such a period ever happening.

Setting Reality Back on The Right Path — The Reset

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Ending Explained

In order to live in a world free from Moebius, Noah, Mio, and the rest of the crew came to accept that Aionios would potentially disappear forever. Once again, Melia and Nia were fully aware that the third world Z had created was not guaranteed any future if they wanted life to return to normal. Despite Z’s warnings, Noah, Mio, and the party remained dedicated to sacrificing their coexistence to ensure that no one would ever have to live through a ten-year life span without any freedom ever again. Only by killing Z and permanently ending Moebius, Noah and his friends were able to create the future they desired; a world where every person can live through the lives they witnessed and yearned for in the City.

After destroying Z with the help of Keves and Agnus forces, the two sides finally found peace and were free from Moebius. However, even after finding neutral ground, their coexistence was set to end. During the final cutscene of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, the party shares one last goodbye just before their worlds can return to the way they were intended to evolve and proceed. Noah and Mio get their chance to show love, Lanz and Sena have a heart-to-heart, and Eunie makes one last quip to Taion–and, of course, Riku and Manana cry it out. The game ends with Aionios being split back into the two worlds of Bionis and Alrest as Keves and Agnus sides wave goodbye to one another while Noah shouts to Mio that he promises he will see her again. 

So yes, at the end of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Aionios disappears forever along with the many connections the world’s friends and enemies made along their journey–or perhaps we should say this iteration of Aionios disappears forever, and some connections were maintained. As Zanza once said in Xenoblade Chronicles, “as all that exists is interconnected, time can only flow towards the inevitable.” Melia and Nia did note that the creation of Aionios is bound to happen again. This time though, they will have a second chance to make changes to Origin (assuming the intersection does not proceed without reaping catastrophe as there is a possibility the worlds will safely merge).

How Does the Reset Actually Work?

Fans of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are going to have to wait until Monolith Soft’s staff provides some answers as to how the reset actually works if they want the concrete details. There is no clear explanation as to how Aionios will phase out, but either way, time for Bionis and Alrest was set to resume before the intersection occurred. We can infer this is the case based on the ending and post-credits scene, even if we do not have the exact details on how the universe was pieced back together.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a science-fiction universe mixed with all sorts of fantasy elements. We would like to imagine that as Aionios faded for both Keves and Agnus time just sort of clicked back into place shortly afterward. Any reasonable explanation can work as long as players understand that Bionis and Alrest returned back to the moment before the intersection occurred. There are times when we have to give these types of stories a break as not everything needs a massive explanation–it’s fiction!

Although we wouldn’t be surprised at all if Monolith Soft came up with something to explain what happened down the line…

Noah and Mio Meet Again — The Post-Credits Scene Explained

Based on the game’s ending and themes, it was clear that Noah and Mio would eventually meet again in some way as their relationship transcendents above what we believe to be reality. The Xenoblade Chronicles games have always ended on a rather uplifting note. Despite what many fans might be saying online, the post-credits scene confirms that Noah and Mio were guaranteed to reunite as the two succeed in meeting each other again after their worlds had reset–only this time they are both at a young age and free to live full lives.

Taking place during Noah’s childhood before Origin’s failure–the moment in which the intersection was supposed to occur–the post-credits scene depicts a continuation of the world of Bionis after time unfreezes. The whole post-credits sequence is a direct continuation of Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s opening cutscene. Since the intersection’s date was postponed, Noah continues to live life as usual. In contrast to the opening, the frozen moment where Noah claims he “zoned out” does not showcase Alrest about to crash into Bionis.

To further confirm that Noah is back on Bionis, we also figured it was worth mentioning that players can also see several elderly people around him who were also present during the opening cutscene–there are certainly no ten-year lifespans here if this is believed to be the location adjacent to the Keves Castle!

When Lanz, Eunie, and Joran happily call for Noah to come and join them in watching the fireworks show above Alcamoth, Noah becomes distracted as he hears the tune of Mio’s flute. Upon hearing the familiar melody, Noah walks in the direction of the sound rather than his friends. For players who pay close attention—and this is a blink and you miss it moment so it is likely most players will not notice—Noah disappears as soon as the birds pass the camera indicating that he is somehow able to travel between the two worlds of Bionis and Alrest.

To further back this theory up, the last time Noah and Mio touched a strange aura resonated from their separation. Visually and audibly this can be seen during the game’s final cutscene as their departure causes a ringing bell sound along with a wave. Perhaps the interlinking power of Ouroboros created a special connection between the two that allows them to hop between worlds despite the fact that Aionios and their memories ceased to exist? Considering the game’s theme of interlinking and desire, this seems like the most plausible answer. Once again, Noah and Mio’s relationship transcended beyond their boundaries. The two decided their destinies were to be together, and their work for such a future evidently paid off.

So What About Those Born In The World of Aionios? Are They Gone?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Ending Explained

There is no guarantee as to whether those born in Aionios will eventually be rebirthed in Bionis, Alrest, or when the inevitable merge of a new world occurs. Based on Ghondor’s acceptance of “having the chance to be born in the world” the team would create after setting Bionis and Alrest back on their proper paths, it definitely seems as if Monica and the rest of the Lost Numbers believe that they will repopulate Aionios when its return occurs. No matter where they show up though, the City’s fighting force was willing to sacrifice their futures for the sake of everyone who come before and after them.

While it is definitely heartbreaking knowing that Monica and Ghondor are not guaranteed any future, a world free from Moebius and their ringleader is what they fought for alongside the Lost Numbers and Ouroboros their whole lives. Even if they cease to exist or are not guaranteed a future in the new world, at the very least the life-long mission of the groups was accomplished. Moebius and Z were destroyed once and for all.

Yes, the inhabitants of the City did start to feel indifferent about the matters taking place outside the fortress’ walls, but the will of the original founders and Orouboros was ultimately being fulfilled and time was being fixed.

Were Shulk and Rex Once Living in Aionios Together? What Happened to Them and When Does Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Take Place?

The fates of Shulk, Rex, and the rest of their friends are by far some of the most interesting narrative points Xenoblade Chronicles 3 barely tackles–at least for those who want to know their histories on Aionios. Since Aionios will be gone after the reset and time will move forward, the whole cast certainly is alive and kicking again during the post-credits scene. This is verified during the game’s final cutscene just before the credits, and it is further confirmed the deeper we dive into the game’s lore.

Tackling the future first, when Nia says “soon we will meet again” while looking at a photo of Rex and their future family, the context of the conversation is not directed at Melia despite how the final cutscene plays out. Nia is referring to the fact that after Aionios disappears, time will resume and she will be able to see her love again. Meanwhile, Melia’s “thank you, everyone” as she looks upon Shulk’s Monado Replica EX+ from the Future Connected epilogue of Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition implies that not only is she thankful for the efforts of Noah and Mio as she can see her friend again, but she was also able to continue his goal; to create a world where anyone can choose their future

For those wanting to know more about Shulk and Rex’s lives outside of a happy ending, based on the details we are able to gather from Melia and Nia’s stories (both the main campaign and their individual Hero Quests) along with the history of the founders, the first two Xenoblade Chronicles protagonists and their crews lived and died together on Aionios not long after its creation. What players do not know is how long ago they came to Aionios and whether or not they were thrown into the ten-year life cycles under the flame clocks after their deaths.

In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, players can recruit both Melia and Nia in the post-game by playing through their individual Hero Quests. Those who play Melia’s story will find that she refers to her adventures with Shulk as being “a long time ago” while Nia refers to Guernica Vandam’s ancestor, Vandham, as being “ancient history” when approaching Ghondor about her lineage.

Considering that Melia and Nia were trapped in a deep slumber for over two centuries and they also are characters with extensively long lifespans–at least looking at Melia, as Nia is practically immortal–it is difficult to lay out a proper timeline of when Aionios was created. Melia’s race, the High Entia, can live upwards of over 400 years and the only way Nia can die is if her core crystal is destroyed. Because of such, none of their stories or dialogue will help players make proper conclusions about how long ago Shulk and Rex’s days of teaming up were.

According to the City’s statutes dedicated to the first Ouroboros, Shulk and Rex were seemingly mentors to the six City founders who gained the special powers from Queen Nia. For players who explore Memorial Hall after the party recognizes the statues that look similar to Noah and Mio, the player can actually read each figure’s description and learn more about the characters being depicted in the room. It is a mystery as to who each statue is–with the seventh member literally being represented by the Central Plinth and being called a secret–but the figures depicting the mentors of House Reid and House of Cassini are presumably Shulk and Rex retrospectively.

This could imply that Aionios has existed for hundreds of years, but there is no direct confirmation of this–we don’t even know how many Ouroboros there have been. Even if Shulk and Rex died training the first Ouroboros on Aionios centuries ago (or passed from old age), the campaign’s ending ensures that the two will get to live out their futures and have families of their own in peace after the reset. Those who are desperately curious as to what played out during Shulk and Rex’s lost adventures may soon find more information though. It is likely that the Expansion Pass DLC will explore Aionios’s origins if Monolith Soft is making another prequel game.

What’s Next for Xenoblade Chronicles 3? Will The Expansion Pass Feature Shulk and Rex?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has a lot to explore in regards to both its future and past. Even if there are no concrete details as to what the Expansion Pass will explore during its major fourth-wave story right now, the artwork of the DLC may give some clues.

As can be seen below, the artwork of the Expansion Pass depicts the blades of Shulk, Noah, and Rex all next to each other. Out of the three, Shulk’s Monado is the same iteration Melia had on her wall during Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s final cutscene.

Image: Nintendo

According to Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s senior director Tetsuya Takahashi, the third entry will mark “a stopping point” for the interconnected story Monolith Soft established since the first game. Even if fans may not get to see every story beat play out in their full glory, they can rest knowing that the casts they spent hours with ended their adventures all on a peaceful note.

Creative writer, NXpress Host, and Games Editor. I have always held a high interest in the fields of professional writing and communications. You can find me with my head deep in the espionage genre or in a kayak upstream. I’ll always be first in line for the next Hideo Kojima or Masahiro Sakurai game.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Skywater

    August 16, 2022 at 2:21 am

    You kinda ate with this article luv. Great job.

  2. Skywater

    August 16, 2022 at 2:25 am

    There were definitely details I missed about the ending. Thank you for pointing those out.

  3. Ray

    August 24, 2022 at 1:47 am

    I’m a big fan of all three games, and I also played X, and this definitely could have been explained A LOT better than it was in game.

    Thanks for this!

  4. Xenohead

    September 2, 2022 at 1:32 am

    Great article

  5. id

    September 4, 2022 at 7:59 am

    I’ll add that Teach Hero quest confirms that Aionios existed for at least 1000 years. This also agrees with Nia and Melia saying their stories happened “a long time ago” and “in ancient lost times”

    The lore Xenoblade 3 adds is barely scratchet at this point

  6. Knight wind

    October 3, 2022 at 11:49 pm

    Thank you so much for this article, it helped clear most things up after finishing this masterpiece of a game. I really hope the DLC is an epilogue, so we can get some closure like they did on future connected. Thanks again.

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