News Article

Monolith Soft's X Combat is Shown Off, Based on Xenoblade Chronicles System

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Oh my...

While JRPG fans that adored Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii may have been hoping for a release date for Monolith Soft's latest in Nintendo's most recent Direct broadcast, we had to settle for some real-time in-game footage of the combat system. It was exciting to see, as it was the first time that a sustained period of gameplay had been shown without cinematic flair getting in the way.

Satoru Iwata explained that the combat in Monolith Soft's X is based on that of the popular Wii title, though naturally the development team are seeking to make improvements. As a result there's the team dynamic and real-time move selection, with the quick-time-event boosts and recharge periods for attacks also present and correct. In the two minutes of footage shown the lead character also jumps into a mech to finish off a small creature before engaging into a larger battle; we'd speculate that mechs can only be used for limited periods of time, as the player eventually exits for more hand-to-hand fighting.

For those that enjoyed the intense, real-time battles of Xenoblade Chronicles — which we certainly did — this looks enticing. Nintendo hasn't released this excerpt of the Nintendo Direct separately as yet, so check it out below thanks to DuskBit.

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What do you think? Does this raise your hype levels for Monolith Soft's project? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (105)



naut said:

I was hyped before and I'm super-hyped now. Looks phenomenal. I really ought to plop down the cash and grab myself a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles, though.



King47 said:

I bought my Wii U for this. I will not be able to play it before May/June. But I want it to be released asap.



Falchion said:

Idk, I will need to see more. It will probably be awesome but the combat looked kinda bland on the first watch. But it might be cuz I didnt understand what was happening. I look forward to more information.



Senario said:

My only gripe with the xenoblade battle system was that playing as a mage was plain difficult and not very good. You needed the monado in your party and with only three slots for members in addition to weak magic it just wasn't fun playing as melia. A shame because I liked her so much more than the main girl of that game. (Seriously, why?! Do not like her.)



moomoo said:

/licks lips.
@Jared1984 Seeing that the trailer had Japanese voices and had no release date at the end, it's looking unlikely that you'll see it this year.



Cia said:

Framerate seems to be really smooth, at least in this scene.



AJWolfTill said:

@Falchion Xenoblade's combat was definately my least favourite part of the game, I liked it but compared to the characters, world, exploration story and music it's not the thing I would have chosen to shout about. Nonetheless this looks great although I am worried about the constant shrieking and bellowing of all the characters... that could get old.



unrandomsam said:

There are not many RPG combat systems I never really get fed up of. (Tales of Phantasia's is one that I like though).



Falchion said:

@AJWolfTill I have never played Xenoblade, by the time I learned about it, it was a little too expensive. But ya those shrieking characters... I think it might be better when they speak in English and I can understand them.



BigH88 said:

I'm so happy they showed gameplay!!! But I have a feeling this won't come til early 2015 cause of the text being in Japanese.



TwilightV said:

The characters are at one point labeled Tester, Player 2, Player 3 and Player 4. Multiplayer confirmed?! o.o



Everly said:

This is a game that I've been looking for since launch. I find it sad that we not only don't have a release date....we don't even have the NAME!!!!
If Nintendo is serious about wanting to keep the Wii U afloat, it needs to do something other than show new footage of games that we have known about and have been waiting for since the end of 2012.



tabris95 said:

@Senario Melia is a great character but her AI was terrible. If you want to have her in your team and be useful, you'll have to play as her but I promise she is a powerful character in the right hands.



TheLilK98 said:

@NintendoNaut @moomoo Well, Most of the text aside from monster names was in english, and I doubt voice acting is going to take a year. Seeing as localization is taking place alongside development, it wouldn't be too farfetched to say that they probably just decided to use the same footage worldwide. Until they say it's been delayed, I think 2014 is still a safe bet.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

This stuff is only early footage, but it looks so damn AWESOME I can hardly stop myself from rewatching it the entire time! X is the very reason I got my WiiU, and X is the one game that determines whether I keep it or sell it!

@Senario Melia a bit hard to play, but possibly one of the hardest hitters due to most enemies lacking ether defense (which is also why Shulk's Monado attacks deal big damage). The only problem is that she's squishy (like all mages) and has a lacking AI, but if you play her as support/range-attack, she'll wipe the floor with corpses (also Star Kick for insta-dizzy).

@TwilightV Most likely placeholders to prevent spoilers or possible connections to Xenoblade, but the second trailer also had internet-based popups hinting at multiplayer (and the main character was seen twice in the same place).



Zaphod_Beeblebrox said:

I loved Xenoblade Chronicles. It was astounding what they managed to do with the Wii console. I can't wait to see what they can do with a Wii U. I'm glad they are taking their time to make a great game.



WiiLovePeace said:

Xenoblade Chronicles is my #1 favourite game of all time, such a beautiful & wide open world & amazing story with numerous twists. Took me ~192 hours to beat on my first playthrough & I didn't even get everything! I just couldn't get enough of the world so I took my sweet time exploring it, rarely using the warp system, it was so fun!

Hence I'm excited for this game, the battles do look epic but there was wayyyy too much gun fire imo. I couldn't really tell but can the mech doll even do melee attacks or just ranged attacks? I can appreciate the strategy in what they did in the battle though. Although the characters talked wayyyy too much imo too, they just wouldn't give it a rest! I really don't remember them talking so much in Xenoblade though I never used the Japanese voice over in that game & I loved their lines ("IT'S REYN TIME!!!" ). So perhaps when I understand what they're saying I'll enjoy it more. I just hope the game has the humour of the last one & it's not too serious.



BulbasaurusRex said:

C'mon, just confirm whether or not this is a Xenoblade sequel! The odds are highly in favor of it, but I'd really appreciate some confirmation.



Gold_Ranger said:

Must be something wrong with me...
I was super excited for this game, then I saw today's ND Trailer and It looks boring... The Combat looks terrible and not like there any "weight " to any of the characters in the games, including the Mech and Monster.
I'll wait for a Demo to give a final judgment.



Gerbwmu said:

This was my favorite part of what I thought was a great direct other then my hope of a Wii U game being announced for late March/April. But this game looks amazing and as much as I have enjoyed Xenoblade.....I just can't wait



Ic3pick039 said:

I'm very stoked for this game, I have xenoblade chronicles just have not played it yet I need to grab a wii pro controller



Tony_342 said:

@Kaine_Morrison I don't think there's anything wrong with you, I completely agree. Granted, I wasn't very interested in this game to begin with, but what little interest I may have had left me completely when I saw the gameplay footage. It looks really awful.



MrGuinea said:

Still have yet to finish Xenoblade Chronicles, such a long great game though! Can't wait to get this one as well! Will definitely preorder just as I did for Xenoblade!



rjejr said:

For anybody waiting on this - look how long it took "Monado: Beginning of the World" from E3 2009 to show up in the US. This won't be out in 2014. Maybe Japan. And I'm sure the Gamestop only sales of XC arent going to help get this localized any faster. They'll probably wait until MK8 and SSB are out so the Wii U has a decent install base before releasing this. And Bayonetta 2 probably has to come out first, and that doesnt have a date yet either.

As for the trailer, there was a time when I would have been dieing for this, it reminds me of FFXII (12, not 13) which was many years ago. Also 13 but that sucked. I think I'll need to see a combo CG story and gameplay trailer to see if it's for me. I dont play Monster Hunter b/c its better online and I like playing solo.



Senario said:

@tabris95 I tried. I did say I played as her right? ): I just felt that in the later game you absolutely needed a tank like Reyn or Evasion Dunban. You needed Shulk because monado, and karla (sharla in english) for healing. Leaving very little for melia. And honestly, I felt the damage over time playing as shulk's outdid the damage over time done by playing melia. Thanks back slash and other moves! Oh, I hated Fiora a lot. I really don't like her character archaetype in Jrpgs of innocent and annoying. Most of my favorite female characters in jrpgs are different. Like tear/natalia from tales of the abyss, FE:A Tharja, Milla from Tales of Xillia, Sheena from symphonia, Mitsuru from Persona 3, and so on. Including some chars from non Jrpgs like Franciska von karma.



JayceJa said:

combat in xenoblade was horrible i found, like a singleplayer MMO, and MMO combat is horrible singleplayer



ChessboardMan said:

Hmmm, I thought they got out of the Mech in the video to demonstrate that yes, you Could fight the oversized enemies on foot, if you so wished to…

I mean, they were basically showing off the possibilities…



Bolt_Strike said:

Probably the only Wii U game that I'm remotely excited for, it was nice to see some gameplay finally. The mechs look really awesome, and will probably be a neat gameplay mechanic.



WaveBoy said:

lol I've got zero interest in X. But how could somebody not be looking forward to SSB. U, Yoshi's Yarn, NES Remix. Volume 2, Donkey Kong Counry: Tropical Freeze, Shovel Knight, Mario Kart 8 and even Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U? There's just too much awesome sauce set in stone for 2014, plus the top secret goodies that await us at E3.



CaviarMeths said:

It's a good thing that this and the new DKCTF trailer was shown, because the first 30 minutes of that Direct was pretty darn sleep-inducing.



Henmii said:

Looks pretty great huh? Oh, those hours I will put in!! I am more then 100 hours into Xenoblade, and I have still yet to finish it!!

Looking forward to it!



banacheck said:

It's looking good but even if it comes out this year that'll for Japan, so your looking at 2015 either way.



kurtasbestos said:

YAYAYAY!!!! I'm super excited for this game! Since I'm in Japan, I won't have to wait as long as the rest of you people. Though... I suppose I should probably finish Xenoblade Chronicles first (I'm "only" 150 or so hours into it). Also somehow convince my wife that we need to buy a WiiU, which will easily be the biggest challenge.



michaelshellman said:

loving what im seeing i noticed the day turn into dawn i love that, the big robots are awesome i love that too, i also saw that big old dinosaur in the back round, i cant wait that fight that thing im hyped



Spanjard said:

I'm missing some colours though. Xenoblade was always a fresh experience just by the beautifull art/colors. I'm not getting that vibe with this one, hope I'm wrong.



Peach64 said:

Really excited about this one. I think the gap between Japan and the West might not be a big as people expect, but it's probably not even hitting Japan til next year.



andreoni79 said:

X and a WiiU version of Monster Hunter 4 with this graphic would make 2015 just wonderful...



HarryK said:

It looks amazing. I just hope they have all the circles on the gamepad now so we don't have to jump left and right and up and down in the middle with the d-pad anymore. That was one of the only flaws the system had.

I can understand that this looks pretty boring if you don't know Xenoblade Chronicles, though. I hope everyone gets the chance to find out that it's definitely NOT.

@Senario IIRC I fought some of the toughest battles with Melia / Riki / Shulk or Melia / Riki / Sharla. I'm sure it depends on the enemy/boss, but sometimes it felt like I could go on forever with these parties.



GunstarHero234 said:

Nice game but I'm disappointed about the combat system and physics which i'm no fan of MMO lite style of gameplay sadly and also not to burn bridges just a form of my opinion i'm no fan of Monster Hunter series either.



GunstarHero234 said:

@Kaine_Morrison Agreed man now you talking my language after seeing FFXV gameplay vs X sigh sad to say though this site is probably going to burn me FFXV combat and presentation just look way better than what I saw yesterday from the Direct. The only thing I have to give X over XV is the open world setting but like you say though I'm going to give them more of a chance to iron out everything before I give my final opinion as well.



elstif said:

@WiiLovePeace I´m 100% with you, it look like a fast pace action shooter more than the exploring/adventure game that I hoped for.
I grew a bit tired of the voices during combat after so many hours of gameplay but I will never forget the first time I entered Bionis´s leg and attacked a high level beast. Reyn said: "Are you maaad?" (with British accent) LMAO, and of course I died instantly



uximal said:

I will buy a WiiU specifically for this Game, super hyped


I think it is Multi-player, Just check on youtube for some of the earlier gamplay clips.



TruenoGT said:

Multiplayer would be so much fun with Xenoblade's combat system, planning and linking moves together with actual players would be such a good fit. I finally finished the original last month and I was instantly ready for more. Can't wait for this, but we'll definitely be waiting a long while yet.



element187 said:

@NintendoNaut @moomoo @BigH88

I see no reason why Nintendo can't get this localized fairly quickly. The Nintendo treehouse is one of the largest localize teams in gaming. And there is no reason why it can't happen in parallel with the development of the game.

It looks like most of the big pieces of the title is finished. Fall 2014 doesn't seem implausible.



sugarshack said:

as I pointed out a few weeks ago, on the top games of 2014 news article, this game will not be released this year, and I got back lash from fanboys. A release date has a guaranteed month and day. It does not include speculation. Battle system has potential..



element187 said:

@WiiLovePeace let's try not to lose our heads... The talking got on my nerves after 2 hours. I switched the voices to Japanese and read subtitles from that point forward. Made the experience so much more enjoyable.



ejamer said:

Combat in Xenoblade was good, and managed to stay engaging for the entire (long) experience - so this is good news. But what excites me more is the world they build for X. Exploration, discovering secrets and side-quests, helping to build towns... those are the memories that made Xenoblade one of my favorite games every. Hopefully these features are retained for the sequel.



element187 said:

@rjejr its hard to say when development on this started... If it started just after Xenoblade's release in Japan that's a quite a lot of development already put into it.

But just from how much of the game is built (assets, logic/programming/engine/sound/music) I'd say all of the resource hog and time consuming components are completed. We saw earlier posts of monolith soft putting out job applications for multiple positions, so it seems its in crunch time. Including a senior network programmer with experience in programming online games.

My guess is its going to be a fall release along side Bayo2. With Smash their big holiday game



Spoony_Tech said:

I'm also not a hugh fan of the combat system. It was way too much wash rinse repeat for my liking. However like was said above the rest of the game greatly outweighed the combat system. Game looks gorgeous and will be day one for me!



JaxonH said:


Whaaat? X is definitely one of my most hyped games, but by no means is it the only good game on Wii U this year. DKC Tropical Freeze is gonna be like, one of the best games of this generation, easy. Same for Mario Kart 8- I gotta be honest, I haven't felt this way about a Mario Kart game since the N64 days as a teenager. Smash Bros 4 looks like a ton of fun, and Bayonetta 2, well, Idk how anyone could not be excited to play that one. Plus Watch Dogs and Fast Racing Neo (that's gonna be BOSS for us F-Zero fans).



SphericalCrusher said:

My jaw dropped watching that in the Nintendo Direct yesterday.. I must find time to rewatch it again, a few times. This is my most anticipated game of the year.



triforcepower73 said:

I was too amazed to comment yesterday. So now I just have to say... FINALLY something!!! The combat looks quite a bit more fluid and varied than Xenoblade's. And we got to see a freakin mech fighting!!! THANK YOU NINTENDO!!!!! This is what I've been waiting for since E3!



Mask0Gears said:

All of that looked great! I'm glad the fans have something to hype on now. Also... I may pick this up when It comes out... oh, who am I kidding? I WILL.



JaxonH said:


It's an aquired taste. Battle systems come in many forms, whether real time or turn based. Many feel that Xenoblade nailed the battle system (myself included). But I didn't feel that way at first. It took time to learn it's ins and outs before I began to truly appreciate it for what it was. But we've known X was using Xenoblade's battle system for over a year now, ever since they showed footage using it in the January 2013 Direct.

That FF15 looks good too. Not sure which game I'm more excited for- they both look great. Although I try not to get excited for FF15 because it seems like it's never going to release. But hey, maybe X in 2014 and FF15 in 2015, that's what I'm thinking.

I gotta be honest here, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is one of the best video games I've ever played. Most people who aren't into the series have either never tried it (because they convince themselves they won't like it before trying it) or they never make it past the tutorial phase, and lose interest. I actually fell into the second category. Game just didn't catch my interest. Until my buddy bought a Wii U and wouldn't stop talking about how he was dying to play MH. We hunting a few monsters together online, and wham. I was hooked. The rest is 600 hours of past history...



Nintend0ro said:

Would not surprise me if this game takes forever to complete. Watching video i realized it'll take an entire hour to kill a bloody beast



Action51 said:

@Senario - I was able to play Xenoblade Chronicles with pretty much any combination of three characters at almost any time throughout the enormous adventure.

Even Melia/Riki/Sharla combo...just be sure to invest in healing and damage reduction buffs as well as aggro and DPS skills.

Yes...there were a few plot related instances where you need Shulk and the Monado in the party, but those disappear later in the game, and I think you also have to take into account that Shulk is the main character, and the Monado is pretty important to the story.



Action51 said:


I explained to you in the chat that Xenoblade Chronicles is not MMO style, but you seem to have your mind made up and really want to not like this also seem overly excited for Final Fantasy 15, with even less information to go on.



yuwarite said:

Lol. We knew it was based on Xenoblade's combat when it was first shown I look forward to watching the new X GameXplain video for the analysis though.



TheRealThanos said:

@Unca_Lz I am never debunked: I am the debunker, NOT the debunkee...
Sorry, just had to do that...
But seriously: I saw I forgot to add something to my original statement, so please allow me to enter that comment as it was supposed be in the first place:
"According to me the whole point of this Nintendo Direct was to show Nintendo's first and second party titles that will be coming out in 2014, NOT in 2015 so there's your answer."
Now it is correct, seeing as Monolith Soft is a first party developer since it is completely owned by Nintendo since 2007: and Monster Hunter (as we all know) is from Capcom, so that coming in early 2015 has no impact on the original intent of this latest Nintendo Direct. Hell, they even called it out at the beginning. "titles that will be released in 2014". Monster Hunter was just a bonus and a teaser for things to come. X will be released in 2014. Probably in Q3 or Q4, but still in 2014 either way.



Action51 said:


On top of that, we got brief Q&A and footage from Renegade Kid's two games, Yacht Club Games "Shovel Knight", and "Child of Light" from Ubisoft.

As a nice bonus.



Trask said:

I'm thankful they finally shown some actual footage. Unfortunately, the game looks as uninteresting as Xenoblade.

There are plenty of other MMO-ish games I've still yet to beat and, unless they reveal some totally revolutionary gameplay elements, I'm more than likely skipping this one.



mudmask said:

Did anyone notice that fourth character running around at about 23 seconds? There are a lot of comments here, so maybe someone has already pointed that out..



Senario said:

@Action51 How odd...I felt that I needed a tank, dps monado, and karla. Maybe it is because it was my first xeno game ever. I just felt that without a tank your dps guys would die so fast. And without a healer your tank would die fast. My setup felt like it was necessary but made the game frustratingly difficult. When x comes out I'll try to understand the battle system more. Honestly it was a bit confusing at times and knowing what is good isn't that straightforward.



Dpullam said:

I'm honestly not that interested in seeing a new gameplay video of this game though the graphics do like nice. I'd much rather have a story teaser trailer since that is what draws me into RPG games first and foremost, but I can understand if the story isn't quite ready to be shown yet. I don't need massive spoilers or anything like that. I just need to know that the characters are going to have some general interest for me. After all, even though I did find the gameplay to be fun in Xenoblade Chronicles, I wouldn't of found the game anywhere near as good if it weren't for the original characters and story that draws you in from the very beginning. This game is looking promising, but it is a shame that I probably won't be able to play it anytime soon since I don't own a Wii U.



GunstarHero234 said:

@Action51 Also It seem you won't let me have my opinion I see the stale mechanics so what it suppose to be then because it isn't no Turn Based system nor a action RPG either so elaborate me what combat is this then besides being a "real time system" also I seen way more info from FFXV than I ever see from this game.



GunstarHero234 said:

@JaxonH Actually I bought Monster Hunter with my Wii U just the game was meh sadly same as the rest of the titles that play like X/Xenoblade (White Knight Chronicles and FFXII) but I respect your opinion for the game man and I hope you enjoy it.

I wish MonolithSoft would develop a another Xenogears based title which is one of my best freaking PSX JRPG ever.



Subie98 said:

My most anticipated game for wii u easily. I doubt anything for the life of the wii u will top this. Dont get me wrong ive got mk8 preordered and watch dogs and will for smash bros when they start taking them. But this will be the game of the wii u generation I will love most. Im an rpg/jrpg freak. However I dislike monster hunter. Weird I know.



tabris95 said:

@Senario lol you just named some of my favorite characters. Love Tear, Natalia, and Franziska. I used a weird team where I main healed as Melia while doing some serious magic nuking. Maxed healing gift worked surprisingly well. Reyn tanked and Shulk dealt damage and back up healed. Also if you're interested, YouTuber RydiaMist uses his favorite characters Melia, Shulk, and Fiora (whoops spoilers) and destroys the hardest endgame bosses with that team.



theblackdragon said:

oh my god waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant.

seriously. want this game so hard. combat based off Xenoblade's setup is music to my ears, I love love loved how combat worked in that game. took forever for me to get the hang of it, but once you've got it down, it's incredible.



Sceptic said:

Please tell me you can turn those overlay HP sprites off. Why do they deface such an obviously fantastic looking game like that? Seems to be a japanese thing. They make a beautiful game, then clutter the screen with overlays to the point where you can barely see it.

Other than that, this looks very promising.



rjejr said:

@element187 - "My guess is its going to be a fall release along side Bayo2. With Smash their big holiday game"

B2 sounds good in the fall - would have sounded better in March or April, especially if Nintendo needs it as a fill-in for when W_D gets released on every other system except the Wii U - and SSB should be holiday (well it's initial release date will be holiday, will have to wait and see when it gets delayed to) but I stil cant imagine X in the west until 2015, seems like a game w/ a lot of translation. It's taking them 5 months to translate Kirby on the 3DS.

Of course Nintendo is so stingy w/ news we're all just guessing aren't we



Bender said:

What were you guys expecting out of the combat system? It's a sequel to Xenonblade, so why wouldn't the combat be similar?



Traxx said:

The MMO-like combat-gameplay in a single-player game made XBC so refreshing as ironic as this might be. Reasons: There was the full aggro management; you could play any specific role and form your team according to it. Boring always playing Shulk? Go full healer with Sharla, its not that boring as it sounds, especially in the long run of the game when trying out all characters and testing all team combinations. At higher levels e.g. Reyn becomes such an impenetrable tank, there is no more need for massive healing, so less healing skills are sufficient, freeing up space for more damage, be it Sharla using more damage skills or swapping her out completely. You really could make this game your very own game. That's what I liked about it.

The real things I didn't like about XBC where the MMO-like quests.



Eric_Breaux said:

@TheRealThanos Any studio that was not actually founded by Nintendo, and the games thereof (Monolith, HAL, Rare, Retro, Game Freak etc.) are by default not 1st party. Nintendo only earns a share of their profits and/or owns them through contracts. Nintendo can't be credited for games that they only published, but were actually the idea's and creations of another studio any more than Disney can be credited with the creations of Marvel or Lucas Film by simply owning them.



TheRealThanos said:

@Eric_Breaux Well my friend, talk about being late to the game.
But seriously: I had to re-read some of the comments that I responded to as well as my own to get a quick reminder of what it was all about.
And I'm afraid it's not as black and white as you suggest. Monolith Soft IS very much so a first party, so there's no option for debate there, I'm sorry.
Admittedly, maybe Wikipedia wasn't the best choice for a link to support my claim, but the information is readily available for all to find, so anyone with even moderate search engine skills should be able to find what I already know.
And in this case it happens to be more or less the same across the several sources that I looked up myself:

"As of May 6, 2007, Nintendo owned controlling interest in the company after Bandai Namco Holdings sold 80% of its 96% stake in Monolith Soft to Nintendo. This went into effect May 1, 2007. Later Namco sold the remaining 16%, making Monolith Soft a first-party developer for Nintendo."

Says it all, methinks...

As stated in the first part of that quote, Monolith was a second party, because although it was tied to Nintendo and it's console (part of the definition of being a second party) it wasn't completely OWNED by Nintendo (partial ownership and/or contract agreements being the other part of the definition of being second party). Now that they are 100% owned by Nintendo they ARE first party, since they operate as a division of Nintendo and are not allowed to make games for other systems, let alone be completely autonomous in what they do. Nintendo directs them, so they work in collaboration with the internal studios. The only free reigns they have are in the creation of the idea and the deployment/building of the final product once it is approved by the internal overseers of Nintendo. So all is strictly monitored by them. Same goes for most of the other companies you mentioned, even though I only made my original point based on Monolith Soft.
Some more info for your perusal:

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