Bring me that horizon

There's been plenty of hype and excitement surrounding Xenoblade Chronicles X. Its predecessor, Xenoblade Chronicles, was critically acclaimed as an excellent RPG on Wii, also bringing new ideas to the JRPG genre. The sequel has a lot to live up to, but as more information emerges it becomes clear that it may just live up to the Xenoblade name.

Popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu's next issue includes a ten page spread about the Xenoblade series - including an interview with Tetsuya Takahashi, the series' director - and is due out tomorrow; it brings to light some details previously unknown about Xenoblade Chronicles X (known simply as Xenoblade X in Japan). For starters, the map will be five times the size of the original Xenoblade Chronicles equivalent; keep in mind that the original map was roughly the same size (in relative gaming terms) as the entirety of the Japanese archipelago. The story will be about surviving on the wild planet, Mira - unlike Xenoblade Chronicles' largely linear storytelling, the story will unfold in numerous directions, opening up the possibility of multiple endings. Not far into the story players will choose to become part of one of eight unions, though union affiliation can be switched later. The unions are as follows (via Gematsu):

  • Pathfinder: Oversee data probe installation
  • Interceptor: Oversee exterminating protists
  • Avalanche: Oversee hunting down dangerous creatures
  • Testament: Oversee recovery of wreckage from the ship as well as dropped items in the battlefield
  • Corepedian: Oversee investigating new areas and collecting materials
  • Land Bank: Oversee securing resources and collecting minerals
  • Arms: Assist the Arms Company in building and arming Dolls (Dolls are what the mechs are called)
  • Companion: Jack of all trades, from breaking up fights to finding stray cats

Additionally, the online aspect is aiming to have players loosely connected, giving a sense of 'solidarity' without a constant awareness of other players. The map will be on the GamePad, unsurprisingly, and will be interactive, with players able to set waypoints and fast travel to locations. Battle speed is also set to be increased, allowing players to switch between long and short range attacks freely; in addition there'll be no healers. These will be replaced by a new system called “Soul Voice", which will be activated - with properly timed button presses - between party members (of which there are four) who string attacks together, providing the opportunity to heal while still attacking.

Meanwhile, Dolls (mechs) will be powerful but unwieldy, and some fights will necessitate the player disembarking a Doll in order to attack a specific part of a monster. Playtime could exceed three hundred hours, with some parts effectively continuing endlessly, and the 90 song+ soundtrack will be worked on by Hiroyuki Sawano

Xenoblade Chronicles X is shaping up to be a sizeable adventure, and could certainly deliver on the expectations surrounding it. Does any of this new information have you hyped? What are you most looking forward to in this game?

[source, via]