Everything We Know About Xenoblade Chronicles 2
After Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii (later brought to the New 3DS) and Xenoblade Chronicles X for the Wii U, Monolith Soft announced Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for the Nintendo Switch. Despite the name, knowledge of the original Xenoblade Chronicles is not necessary, as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 stands on its own.
Here is everything we know so far about Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: December 1, 2017 (worldwide)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 features a real-time combat system similar to its predecessors, but there are some notable changes that set it apart. This helpful graphic from the official website will help us break down how battles work.
1 – At the top of the screen, you’ll see the Party Gauge. As you battle, the Party Gauge will slowly fill up. You can expend one of its three bars to revive a fallen party member, or use all three bars to trigger a Chain Attack, where each party member attacks in succession.
2 – These are your party members, known as Drivers. You can have three Drivers in your party at a time. Each character will attack automatically, but these basic auto-attacks are only a small part of the combat system. Every Driver can be linked to living weapons known as Blades.
3 – These are the Blades currently linked to the character controlled by the player. Blades appear on the field, but they are not playable characters. As you can see here, you can have three Blades ready at a time, each mapped to a button on the controller or the left Joy-Con. By pressing one of these buttons, you can switch which Blade is currently active.
4 – Your active Blade determines which Arts will appear on the right side of the screen, with each one mapped to a button on the controller or the right Joy-Con. Arts become available to activate as you use auto-attacks.
5 – This indicates Special Art Effects that have been inflicted upon the targeted enemy. Using other Special Arts at this time can lead to Blade Combos.
6 – And this shows the Special Arts you can use to continue the Blade Combo chain.
7 – This shows the basic information about the targeted enemy. Like the previous games in the series, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will feature a wide variety of enemies that you can find in its vast world.
8 – Here, you can see that another party member is using an elemental Blade that could continue the Blade Combo. A button prompt will appear here when the Elemental Attack is ready to use.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is set in a world called Alrest. Alrest features a sea of clouds and civilizations on the backs of massive creatures called Titans. There are several Titans, each with its own towns, weather, and unique features. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 includes a day/night system, as well as changing weather and other features that will make its vast world dynamic.
Leftherian Archipelago – This series of island Titans, connected by bridges and tunnels, is where the main character Rex grew up.
Empire of Mor Ardain – The Titan that is home to the Empire is barren, with little plant life. As a result, the Empire has been expanding its reach to other Titans. Its name is a reference to one of the seven deadly sins, Pride.
Imperial Province of Gormott – A forested Titan that is under the control of the Empire. Its name is a reference to one of the seven deadly sins, Gluttony
Kingdom of Uraya – This cave-like Titan is home to bio-luminescent plants and a civilization that lives inside it. Its name is a reference to one of the seven deadly sins, Envy.
Argentum Trade Guild – This small Titan is a trading hub, home only to a single city. Its name is a reference to one of the seven deadly sins, Greed.
Indoline Praetorium – Home to many refugees, the majestic city of Indol on this Titan keeps track of the world’s Blades. Its name is a reference to one of the seven deadly sins, Sloth.
Kingdom of Tantal – This is a snowy, isolationist Titan about which very little is known. Its name is a reference to one of the seven deadly sins, Lust.
Temperantia – A sinister-looking area intended as a demilitarized zone between Uraya and Mor Ardain. Garrisons from both countries can be found there. Its name may be a reference to one of the four cardinal virtues, Temperance.
There is also a Titan named Azurda, upon whom Rex lives and travels. His name comes from the Azure Dragon, the Chinese Dragon God that represents the east and spring.
The main character is a young man named Rex. Other party members revealed so far are Nia and Zeke. There is also a Nopon party member named Tora who, although not a Driver, fights with an artificial Blade named Poppi α.
There are many Blades you can obtain, including some special Blades who will play a role in the plot as characters. Special Blades revealed so far are Pyra (linked to Rex), Mythra (a transformation of Pyra, which allows Rex to have 4 Blades at a time instead of 3), Dromarch (linked to Nia), and Pandoria (linked to Zeke). Dromarch is a reference to the White Tiger, the Chinses symbol of the west and autumn.
We have also seen an antagonist organization known as Torna. The organization’s name is a reference to one of the seven deadly sins, Wrath. Three members of Torna have been revealed so far: Jin, Malos, and Arkhos.
Another potentially antagonistic character shown is Mòrag, a Special Inquisitor from the Empire, who has a Blade named Brighid.
Plot and Themes
The world of Alrest is slowly dying as its Titans march toward death. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 begins with Rex and Pyra beginning a journey to find the fabled paradise of Elysium at the top of the World Tree.
Executive director Tetsuya Takahashi said he was thinking about a “boy-meets-girl” story, which led many fans to believe it would be a much lighter story than previous “Xeno” games. However, we can already see the hints of other themes at work. The seven deadly sins are represented through the names of six locations and the organization, in both their Japanese and English names.
We also have one cardinal virtue represented so far and three of the Four Symbols from Chinese mythology – in addition to the ones already mentioned, the name of Tantal’s Titan is Genbu, which represents the north and winter. Religious themes would not be unusual for these games, so it will be interesting to see if these names are coincidental or if they have a deeper meaning.
DLC has been announced for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. First, the Japanese audio track will be available to download for free on day-one. Second, there will be an Expansion Pass for $29.99 that includes 5 pieces of DLC:
- Support Items (December 2017)
- New Quests (January 2018)
- New Rare Blade (Spring 2018)
- Battle Mode (Summer 2018)
- Brand-New Story and Adventure (Fall 2018)
These DLC packs will not be available separately, only as part of the Expansion Pass.
If you’re ready to buy Xenoblade Chronicles 2, don’t forget to consider the Special Edition. In addition to the game, the $99.99 Special Edition includes:
- a special metal case
- a 220-page art book
- a CD featuring several tracks from the game’s soundtrack
A Xenoblade-themed Pro Controller will be available separately for $74.99.
There are many things we still don’t know about Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but there’s also plenty of information for JRPG fans to get excited about. Are you looking forward to Xenoblade Chronicles 2?