The physical release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s standalone prequel expansion Torna ~ The Golden Country (try typing that three times fast) releases today, and game/Xeno series director Tetsuya Takahashi has offered words of thanks for fan support alongside a batch of production notes on the DLC. Here’s a brief rundown:
- The expansion utilizes a new rendering engine, as Monolith Soft looks forward to other projects. You can see the effects in the Kingdom of Torna, whose grass looks a little nicer compared to Gormott — though Takahashi notes that it doesn’t really have to do with gameplay, so it “might not matter that much.”
- The team improved UI and tutorials this time around. You can switch between characters with one button outside of combat, and they’re organized into teams to make the process efficient. The items you collect on the field are split into categories, making collecting easier to track. And you can review tutorials on the tips screen.
- The battle system was tweaked to be more strategic — you now can control all nine characters (instead of just the Drivers), and they’re set up in teams consisting of a Vanguard and a Rear Guard. Even when not fighting the Rear Guard supports and attacks, and switching who’s in the lead inflicts Break/Topple/Launch/Smash on the enemy (depending on who’s being swapped.)
- The game’s “Community” side quest system was based on the Affinity Chart from Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X. With it, there’s more of an emphasis on how NPCs relate to the main cast.
- Camping is another feature intended to combine crafting, inns, and Heart-to-Hearts from the main game in one streamlined place. The items characters can craft reflect their personalities.
- The Torna DLC was originally going to take place between chapters seven and eight of the main story, but since it’s its own scenario now they were able to expand upon its plot and scope a lot.
- The DLC has 11 new songs in it, including a new ending theme sung by Jen Bird. They have “a real jazzy and acoustic sound” this time around.
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