Recently, Japanese outlet 4Gamer held a lengthy interview with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 director Tetsuya Takahashi, talking about a variety of aspects related to the game and its production. They touched on several topics, ranging from conventions found in the game and what changed from previous entries to this one. Let’s break it down:

  • The game is titled as Xenoblade 2 rather than something like Xenoblade X due to its world design — XC2 follows the expansive yet limited level design of XC1, as opposed to XCX’s true open world. Takahashi also states that XC1 and XC2 share a “story-driven axis” as opposed to XCX’s “exploration-driven axis.”
  • The game’s Driver/Blade system came about after brainstorming how to change the control scheme of XC1 and XCX, as in those games it was difficult to select Arts while moving. While coming up with a new control scheme and fleshing out the characters, Takahashi cooked up the Driver/Blade concept.
  • Takahashi explains clearly the exact way the Driver and Blade relationship works, and states it was in part based off of the classic Japanese franchise Ultraman. This included initially making Blades 40 meters tall (before obvious technical and story limitations curtailed them to human size).
  • Despite this particular inspiration, Takahashi ultimately centered the story around themes of youth and “Boy Meets Girl,” as he feels many plots of late feature dour and desperate settings and he wanted a return to the more idyllic stories of his youth.
  • The number of active party members was reduced from XCX’s four back to three because of the Driver/Blade system, effectively meaning you actually have six party members on the field at once. Anymore would have been too much for the game’s processing power.
  • When asked about the Tiger! Tiger! minigame, Takahashi says there was no real fancy reason for it, and that they based it off the game’s already existing salvaging ideas.
  • In-universe, the Titans of Alrest orbit the World Tree, so the team didn’t include cardinal directions on maps due to potential confusion. While the concept for the Titans here was based in part off the Bionis and the Mechonis from the first Xenoblade, they had other sources of inspiration as well.
  • 4Gamer drew attention to the game’s large array of side quests, to which Takahashi stated it would be fine if players got distracted from the main story in their favor. Either way, the game is estimated to be around the same size of XC1, though Takahashi feels that this one has more replay value.
  • Players can absolutely reach the end of the game just with the Blades given to them during the plot, and fighting higher level enemies is easier than in XC1 due to tweaks in the hit formula. However, certain party compositions are required to be the toughest superbosses.
  • Developing for the Switch was a little easier than for the Wii U, as they only had to work on one screen instead of two — though UI had to be tweaked to be visible on handheld. Takahashi praised the console for its use in playing long RPGs, as you can grind and farm during your commute and then bear witness to the story on a TV.
  • The Expansion Pass’s story DLC already has its scenario done, but it will take a while to finish, hence the long time until release. That said players don’t need to finish the game to see the story (though it is recommended).
  • While he’s not against DLC outside of the Expansion Pass, Takahashi isn’t sure whether it’ll happen, as the team has its hands full with the EP as it is and they don’t want to look too far ahead.

This forms the brunt of the interview. Stay wired for more news on Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s Expansion Pass and other updates to the game.

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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.