Xenoblade Chronicles is a series of fantasy and science fiction action role-playing video games developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo. It is a part of the Xeno meta series created by Tetsuya Takahashi, but was formed after Nintendo's acquisition of Monolith Soft. The series began with the original Xenoblade Chronicles game, published for the Nintendo Wii in 2010; it was a critical success and spawned sequels.
The series has been both commercially and critically successful. Xenoblade Chronicles was well-received for its world design, music, and stories. The series has been represented in other gaming franchises, including the Super Smash Bros. and Project X Zone series.
There are four main games under the Xenoblade Chronicles series. Each game features their own cast of characters, setting, and story.
- Xenoblade Chronicles
- Shulk and his friends embark on a quest to get revenge against the Mechon for the assault on their home. As they journey along the backs of the titans, they unravel the secrets of a powerful weapon known as the Monado. It was originally released on the Wii and later ported to the New Nintendo 3DS as Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, and remade as Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch.
- Xenoblade Chronicles X
- An interstellar war forces humanity to flee their home planet. After crashing on the uncharted planet Mira, Elma and her team race against time to retrieve the Lifehold, a structure that contains thousands of lives. It was released on the Nintendo Wii U.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- In a world of dying titans, Rex meets the living weapon Pyra and promises to bring her to the fabled paradise Elysium. It was released on the Nintendo Switch.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country
- Set 500 years before the events of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Lora and Jin fight against Malos and his army before the inevitable fall of their kingdom, Torna. It was released on the Nintendo Switch as both a standalone game and as an expansion for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
In October 2018, the 1st production division of Monolith Soft, led by series creator Tetsuya Takahashi, started hiring for a new role-playing game project in the style of previous Xenoblade Chronicles titles. Takahashi said that while a continuation to Xenoblade Chronicles X is possible, the next game may go in a different direction as he often gets bored with the last project. In addition to pursuing a new direction for the series, series producer Koh Kojima expressed an interest in making Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Xenoblade Chronicles X2.
The gameplay within the Xenoblade Chronicles series uses a real-time action-based battle system, where the player manually moves a character in real-time, and party members will "auto-attack" when enemies enter their attack radius. Manually input attacks, called "Arts", may also be performed, but in a limited fashion. Battle Arts are only available after a "cool down" period that occurs after every use, while character specific "Talent Arts" only become available after enough auto-attacks are executed. Both party members and enemies have a finite amount of health points, and attacks deplete this value. Combat is won when all enemies lose their HP, but the game is lost if the player's character loses all their HP and has no means of being revived. Health may be restored by the player by using healing Arts in battle, or the player may let characters' HP regenerate automatically outside of battle. Winning battles earns the player experience points, which allows the characters to grow stronger by leveling up and learning new Arts. Arts for each character must be set by the player on their respective set up, called a "Battle Palette", outside of battles.
Exploring large environments is a defining aspect of the series.
While the games within the entire Xenoblade series do not share any direct connections, it is heavily implied that the universes are somehow linked. The two colossal titans known as the Bionis and the Mechonis serve as the setting for Xenoblade Chronicles. Xenoblade Chronicles X takes place on an alien planet known as Mira. In Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country, the world of Alrest contains several titans which house many different nations.
A recurring element of the series is the concept of "blade". In Xenoblade Chronicles, it is represented in the form of a powerful sacred sword known as the Monado. The "blade" suffix in Xenoblade Chronicles X is represented by a private military organization known as BLADE. For the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, "Blades" are beings that grant their powers to their Drivers.
The series has several recurring character archetypes, including some originating from the Xeno metaseries. The most famous examples are Vangarre (Vandamme in Japanese) from Xenoblade Chronicles and Vandham in Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2; they are all loosely based on Vanderkam from Xenogears and the Xenosaga games. Despite the character names beginning with "Van-", they are not directly related as they each have their own personalities and appearances. Female leads with at least one alternate form are another character archetype—they are typically revealed alongside a major plot twist or an integral story moment.
A race of small furry creatures known as the Nopon have appeared in every title in the series. In contrast to their appearances, the Nopon race, in general, tend to be greedy and selfish by nature. In every game, the names of Nopon non-player characters have been carried over to the next installment as the main Nopon character: Satata (Tatsu in Japan) from Xenoblade Chronicles appears in Xenoblade Chronicles X. Coincidentally, the Xenoblade Chronicles X incarnation of Tatsu has a major rival known as Tora, who also appears in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as a playable Nopon character. Much like the "Van-" characters of the series, the Nopon characters do not share any similarities other than their names.
The staff at Monolith Soft was left in a state of low morale after the commercial failure of the Xenosaga series which ultimately led to its premature end. In July 2006, Tetsuya Takahashi was struck by the idea of people living on top of enormous titans, so he wrote the concept down and turned it into a 3D model. The project was initially called Monado: Beginning of the World, but was changed to Xenoblade in Japan to honor Tetsuya Takahashi's previous work on the Xeno series and for his hard work on the game. Nintendo of Europe announced that they were publishing the game, adding Chronicles to Xenoblade. Due to no plans to release the title in North America, the fans launched a fan-campaign known as Operation Rainfall to convince Nintendo to bring Xenoblade Chronicles to North America along with The Last Story and Pandora's Tower. After months of silence, Nintendo of America confirmed that the title was headed for North America in April 2012.
Monolith Soft began development of Xenoblade Chronicles, an action role-playing game for the Nintendo Wii that was released in Japan on June 10, 2010. The game was later localized by Nintendo of Europe and was released in Europe and Australia on August 19, 2011 and September 1, 2011 respectively. It was then brought over to North America as a GameStop exclusive on April 6, 2012. Some time after its initial reveal as Monado: The Beginning of the World, then-Nintendo president Satoru Iwata changed the title to Xenoblade to honor Tetsuya Takahashi's previous work on the Xeno series. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, a port handled by Monster Games, was released worldwide in April 2015 for the New Nintendo 3DS.
Xenoblade Chronicles sold nearly 200,000 units in Japan by the end of 2013. In a later interview, the game sold better in the west than it did in Japan. As of December 2015, Xenoblade Chronicles X sold roughly 377,000 units between Japan, France, and the United States. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 sold 1.42 million copies as of June 2018, which became the best-selling title ever developed by Monolith Soft. Its sales performance exceeded the company's expectations in western territories. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country was also noted for surpassing their sales expectations in Japan as well.