Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is due to be one of the best titles to launch on the Nintendo Switch this year. In yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, much was revealed about the upcoming RPG. Still, there was more to be said about the game.
In an interview with GameInformer, Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s Executive Director, Tetsuya Takahashi and Producer, Koh Kojima, to talk about a variety of things in the game.
In the interview, Takahashi said that after making Xenoblade Chronicles X, the developers wanted to return to a more story-driven gameplay, which ultimately resulted in the Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s story heavy game.
“Xenoblade Chronicles X was a game really focused on exploring and [having an] open world and [defeating] monsters,” explains executive director Tetsuya Takahashi. “When we thought about starting to develop the next game, I wanted to go back to a more story-driven design. And so in that sense, this focus on a story-driven game is kind of the legacy of Xenoblade Chronicles 1, so we decided to kind of make it the next iteration of that.”
“We [wanted] to make it into kind of a young man’s adventure,” Takahashi says. “It’s kind of lighthearted – there’s a lot of discoveries to be made, so we made it almost like an anime you would watch. But you know the kind of person that I am; the story does get a little bit heavier, a little bit darker. If you expect the same kind of evolution from the story that you would expect from a Xenoblade game, you’re probably on the right track.”
One thing that set Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from previous Xenoblade games is also the art style. The art style took a mix of the more realistic art style of the previous games and a more Japanese anime style.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 boasts a more youthful art style, looking closer to anime. It was a change Monolith felt would help make their characters come alive better. “We felt that in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and X, the facial expressions [were] kind of a little bit hard, a little bit stiff,” says executive director Tetsuya Takahashi. “We really wanted to put a little bit more focus on creating facial expressions and for the characters to be more expressive, and so that’s why we went with the direction we did, which I guess you could say is a little bit leaning toward something like Japanese animation.”
The development team also talked about the new challenges of developing on the Switch, such as making the game portable friendly as well.
“In terms of the UI, this game is on a new console, and so we wanted to make sure it matches that hardware,” Takahashi says. “We felt that the way we have it now, it makes it a lot more instinctual – it’s very natural. And the Switch is also portable, and since you can take it anywhere you want, we made sure the UI is very easy to see, even when you’re carrying it around with you.”
Game’s Land Size
When talking about if Xenoblade 2 will be bigger than its predecessor, Takahashi explained that the game’s land mass will be smaller than Xenoblade X but will be denser in terms of things to do.
Monolith dialed back from Xenoblade X in terms of surface area, but that doesn’t mean there’s not much to do. “Because this game is story-driven, I don’t think that an open world is necessarily appropriate,” Takahashi explains. “And I feel that we were able to make a game [with a world] that’s really appropriate and really supports the story-driven aspect of this game. For example, if you compare it to Xenoblade 1, there’s plenty of places [and worlds] to explore; but when you look at simple surface area, it might be a little bit smaller than Xenoblade Chronicles X. Like I mentioned, I don’t think that such a vast space is necessary, so instead of focusing on increasing the raw surface area, we thought it was more important to increase the density and pack in as much variety in design [as possible], and for people to be able to enjoy the changing landscape as they traverse and explore this world.”
More Numbered Xenoblade Games
Takahashi also mentioned that they would like to work on more numbered Xenoblade games and that the developers are actively looking into developing the franchise more.
“Moving forward, if we do another story-driven Xenoblade game, I was thinking I’d like to keep the numbering going,” Takahashi says. “Now that we’ve gone through the process of development, we’re in a spot now where I’m beginning to think about what we want to do next,” Kojima adds. “We’ll really be keeping our ears to the ground to see what fans are wanting, what they’re looking forward to. We’ve enjoyed this collaboration with Nintendo so far. We really are thinking about where to go next, and that’s where I’m at right now.”
The full interview contains much more information on the game, including a hands-on impression by GameInformer. You can read the full interview here.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 launches for the Nintendo Switch on 1 December 2017.