The story of the Xenoblade Chronicles trilogy has ended with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and now fans are wondering what the developer Monolith Soft is up to next. Some fans eagerly await the coming DLC waves for Xenoblade 3, while others look to Monolith’s past with hopes for a port of a forgotten classic: Xenoblade Chronicles X.
Given its launch on the Wii U and the already niche status of the Xenoblade series around the time of release, it’s no surprise that Xenoblade Chronicles X was not a big seller. Estimates place the game at having sold half a million units in a series that sells an average of two million units per game. Despite this, it has garnered a reputation within the fanbase, and with the rising popularity of the Xenoblade franchise, a Switch port could earn it the successful release it deserves.
Xenoblade Chronicles X Is a Spinoff With a Simpler Story
Xenoblade Chronicles X acts as a spinoff entry, containing its own story. As the game is quite the departure, fans who have yet to play the main trilogy don’t need to worry about not understanding the story. Known traditionally for its blend of steampunk and fantasy aesthetics and stories that incorporate philosophical thinking, X leans into a much simpler plot that’s complemented by a heavy sci-fi aesthetic and majestic world.
Unlike its predecessor, Xenoblade Chronicles, X follows the destruction of Earth and the last remnants of humanity as they escape to a distant planet. A ship known as the White Whale is pursued by an alien coalition known as the Ganglion. Eventually, the White Whale crashes onto an alien planet, and the survivors are left to find the Lifehold that contains the rest of the ship’s occupants. The story ends on a cliffhanger that some fans believe is reason enough for a port and even a sequel.
While the cliffhanger may be gripping for some, others believe X‘s simple story is somewhat lacking, as many fans used to the heavy narratives of other Xenoblade games may be put off by the more absent narrative. But the game is more focused on showing how the remnants of humanity struggle to survive on an alien planet, and thus more emphasis is placed on side-quests that show relations between characters and how their new environment impacts their livelihood. While the execution is a far cry from anything the trilogy has done, the main focus should be on Mira, the world the story takes place.
Xenoblade X’s Immersive World Makes It Worth Playing
One of the largest worlds in gaming, topping The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Mira is reason enough to port the game. Coming in at nearly 155 square miles across five continents, Mira pushed the Wii U to its limits and demonstrated the technical prowess of Monolith Soft. Mira is, in the eyes of many, a character in itself due to its scale and density in content. With numerous landmarks and caverns to uncover, unique monsters to hunt, and quests to take on, all backed by a soundtrack composed by Hiroyuki Sawano of Attack on Titan fame, Mira is packed with content that more than makes up for the lacking story.
The game received good reviews as a result, sitting as the highest user-rated Xenoblade game on Metacritic and averaging a solid 84 with critic reviews. Critics cite the immersion as the game’s most significant selling point, a painstakingly crafted open world to explore and look at in awe. Other reviewers cite the magnificent combat system, which, though it may seem complicated at first, grants fans a wide array of player character customization options.
For many JRPG fans, Xenoblade X‘s combat is the main draw thanks to its diversity. With a whopping 16 classes that the player character can switch between and 18 party members available, with a max party being four characters, there are plenty of ways to tackle challenging encounters. This also disregards the skells, the giant pilotable mechs that the player unlocks through advancing the story. These can also be used in combat and come with unique skills depending on how the player equips them, and more importantly, they can be used outside of battle as a new way to navigate Mira.
During the game’s release period, the director and creator of the Xenoblade series, Tetsuya Takahashi, commented on the skells via Twitter. Translated by Siliconera, he proclaimed that he has finally “met the challenge [he] had within [him], of creating an RPG in which humans and robots can co-exist.” Unfortunately, Takahashi went on record in 2018, stating in an interview with USGamer that porting Xenoblade X would be difficult due to money. Knowing that his ambition is stuck on the Wii U is tragic. However, with how much the Switch has helped the series take off and the fact that the original Xenoblade Chronicles saw success as Switch ports, a Xenoblade X port could perform much better and prevent the game from being lost to time.