An introduction to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from director Tetsuya Takahashi


05/12/2017

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is out now on Nintendo Switch – and if you're already knee-deep in this gigantic adventure, you might be curious to find out more about the game's development! Happily, director Tetsuya Takahashi is on hand to explain the ideas and concept behind the next big adventure on Nintendo Switch.

Take it away, Mr Takahashi!

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Young adult fiction & boy meets girl

The basic story of this game revolves around a feeling similar to a novel told in first-person. While many countries and factions appear in the game, information such as scheming between countries or political sagas have been omitted from the narrative as much as possible because this information is not directly available to the protagonist, Rex. We wanted to create a story that follows his perspective.

Once this axis has been determined, we next worked on what direction the story would take. While we considered a story with many actors that involves a lot of interpersonal conflict, in which you can't even trust your allies, we thought that now and then it would also be nice to have a story where you can trust your allies to watch your back without any reservations. This is the direction we took for this story.

Even so, an old guy like me born in the Showa era can't possibly write a modern story, and it'd come across as awkward if I tried. So I gave up and decided to just accept the challenge with my outdated Showa sensibilities. I felt that, even if the tone is Showa and the plot points that players feel are sympathetic or moving may differ between cultures, the core of human emotion should not differ that much between regions and time periods. Because we're all Homo sapiens. And in that sense, I can say that the story direction is the same as that for Xenoblade Chronicles.

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For those who are already playing the game, you might have noticed that Rex's catchphrase is "Let's go!" As these words suggest, he will always keep moving forward. And he won't turn back to the past. His characterisation is probably due to the fact that I was born and raised in the Showa era. This is just the reminiscence of an old man, but I felt that it was a good thing that we always looked forward in the past. Even if there were individual differences in how well your life turned out, we had the hope of achieving a bright future so long as we worked hard for it. Of course the world around us was still gloomy, but society flourished because we could avoid looking at it. That is why we all worked hard and kept looking forward.

The world feels more constrained now, even with all this information flying about. We're forced to observe the dismal world around us regardless of whether we want to or not. Corny old words like "hope" aren't popular in the current times. But I thought, wouldn't it be better to have a character like Rex precisely because we live in such an era?

Rex is a salvager. While he has some physical prowess due to his occupation, he's not a hero's son or the prince of a major country. He's just a normal kid that you might find anywhere. Of course, he's not in the military either, so he won't be leading armies or fighting courageously against legions. His reasons for fighting are very personal, and it’s because he’s fighting for a single girl (and their friends). There are limits to what one boy can do even if he acquires supernatural abilities. But if a boy were to race to his limits for the sake of a single girl, what kind of future would await them? And even if I can fight for myself (to some degree), can I fight for someone else?

These thoughts are collected within Rex, and this is what I mean by the themes of young-adult fiction and boy-meets-girl. This is the basic concept behind the game, and the root theme throughout the story. While most people probably expect many buried hints and hidden information from the Xeno series, the story for this instalment is a lot simpler and straightforward, and covers more well-worn territory. And that’s because this is Rex's story.

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The climbing down game

The Titans offer a wide variety of scenery. While map design and the level design for those maps is something that Monolith Soft excels at, we have changed some of the designs for this instalment compared to our previous games. While players found enjoyment in climbing up mountains in Xenoblade Chronicles X, the gameplay for this instalment can be summarised as climbing down them. There are sort-of pathways that lead downward at many locations. Even if it first appears that you can't climb down a certain location, there may be routes where you can walk across girders or fences, or hop across boulders to get to a new location.

However, in this instalment, it’s dangerous if you fall from a high place, so make sure to think carefully about whether you can make it before you resolve yourself to make jumps. In the locations you descend to, you might find some adventure waiting for you, such as landmarks or Secret Areas, super strong unique monsters, unexpected rare items or quest objectives.

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Rare Blades

While there are a fair number of Rare Blades, encountering them is completely random. Although it's interesting to wonder who you will encounter, some players may also become anxious about whether they will actually meet one. I will make a firm statement. You will definitely (probably...if you're lucky?) always encounter every single Rare Blade. (I found the last Rare Blade at 220 hours of playtime. There are still many things to do in the game at this point.)

While there are initially few opportunities to get Core Crystals, you'll get more of them than you'd ever want later on (laughs). Although there are three types of Core Crystals: Common, Rare, and Legendary. Common and Rare Core Crystals can be maxed out by just playing the game normally. Even the valuable Legendary Core Crystals will be dropped in abundance if you Launch a unique monster of level 100 or greater and then Smash them down.

In addition, while most of the common Blades that you can get with Legendary Core Crystals are ★4, the combination of stats and skills is completely random, so you might find a Blade that is even stronger than a Rare Blade. Therefore, we encourage you to use resonance as much as possible.

The Driver stats are also low in the beginning, so it's enough to just resonate with Common Core Crystals instead of forcing your characters to use Rare or Legendary Core Crystals. In addition, the "Unnamed Core Crystal" that Gramps gives you at the start will always contain a Wind-element Blade with Knuckle Claws, so note that there's no point in trying to reroll this item.

Thank you, Mr Takahashi!

You can also learn about the music of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from Music/Sound Producer Yasunori Mitsuda (PROCYON STUDIO), or the scenario from scriptwriter Yuichiro Takeda, or the main characters from Masatsugu Saito.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is now available in shops and as a downloadable version from Nintendo eShop, only on Nintendo Switch. Also out now, Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Collector’s Edition* and Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Edition are available.

*Please check with your local retailer for information on current availability.