The Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Nintendo Direct just finished airing up, and after a swathe of trailers, story details, combat, and lush visuals, and the surprise announcement of an Expansion Pass.

In the above trailer, we got some more context in a theatre-style presentation, featuring flashbacks, mechs, and secret organisations.

The Expansion Pass will be similar to the one offered with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 which added in new missions, sidequests, outfits, and a brand new story scenario — Torna: The Golden Country. The new story will drop before the end of 2023, but there's plenty more to dig into before then!

On launch day, which is 29th July, you'll gave access to Helpful Items and a few different outfit variations. Then, before the end of this year, Challenge Battles, new quests, and new outfits will be added.

The Pass will cost £26.99 / €29.99 / $29.99 and is available to pre-order now on the Nintendo eShop. Here are the exact release dates and included content for each of the four waves, as published on Nintendo's website:

DLC Wave 1
Release date: 7/29/2022
This wave of DLC contains the following content:
- A collection of helpful items
- Color variations for existing outfits

DLC Wave 2
Release date: by 12/31/2022
This wave of DLC contains the following content:
- Challenge Battle mode against difficult enemies
- A new hero character and accompanying quests
- New character outfits

DLC Wave 3
Release date: by 4/30/2023
This wave of DLC contains the following content:
- Challenge Battle mode against difficult enemies
- A new hero character and accompanying quests
- New character outfits

DLC Wave
Release date: by 12/31/2023
This wave of DLC contains the following content:
- New original story scenario

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Here are all of the other key details from today's Direct!

In Aionios, the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, there are two opposing nations, Keves and Agnus, whose soldiers fight every day with their lives on the line. Six soldiers hailing from both these warring nations are tasked to take part in a special mission. Can these characters, once filled with mutual hatred, find a path that lets them all live? In this spellbinding tale, you’ll get to journey with these fate-defying hopefuls to learn the truths of their world – a place where every victory in battle and each setback is another chance to change the course of history and triumph over an uncertain destiny. Here are just a few of the features and activities that can be experienced on your quest:

- Explore a Vast World: Aionios features breathtaking natural splendor that stands in contrast to the grim conflict waged between the two nations. Traversing Aionios, the locations you visit are saved as landmarks that you can quickly select and travel to, making traversing this giant world more manageable. Wander freely, or follow a trail to your next destination by enabling a navigation feature. As you explore, you’ll encounter a range of surreal landmarks and diverse wildlife. And just like the lands they inhabit, the lifeforms here range from docile to dangerous. Some creatures, like the notorious Demonic Krenolur, make no secret of their ferocious tendencies, so approach with caution!

- Learn the Arts of Battle: When you’re ready to enter a fight, you can harness powerful abilities, called Arts, to strive for victory. Some Arts can throw opponents off balance, some inflict more damage based on where you attack from and some even heal allies! You can link multiple Arts with stunning Chain Attacks to unleash havoc on your enemies. As you become more experienced in battle, you’ll be able to learn powerful Master Arts and Fusion Arts for even more devastating attacks.

- Find Rest and Quests at Colonies: Exploring Aionios, you’ll get to scale cliffs, ascend sandy slopes, zipline across ropes and sail the seas. While the stakes may be high, you can enjoy the world at your own pace, and discover colonies where you’ll shop, dine, get to know residents and take up quests. You can catch a glimpse of the lives of Noah and his friends at these colonies and rest spots. Use materials you collect to cook or craft gems to strengthen your abilities. It’s nice to relax and unwind before taking in the next slice of awe-inspiring scenery or felling your next outlandish foe.

- Master Character Classes: Each character in your party has a Class that influences how they battle. The Swordfighter leads the fight as a well-balanced attacker, but there are many other classes that specialize in healing, defense and powerful strikes, among other abilities. You can freely swap the character you’re controlling in battle, and your Class can also be changed to match that of your allies. Spend time learning multiple Classes for a well-rounded team!

- Recruit Heroes to Your Party: Your journey through Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will feature a party of six main characters, but brave residents of Aionios called Heroes can lend their arms and aptitude to your team as a seventh party member. Only one Hero at a time can assist on the battlefield, but you can swap them out as you see fit. And they bring their own special Classes to your team, like Guardian Commander, Incursor and War Medic. Your party members can even take on any of the Hero Classes as they become your allies. By recruiting more Heroes, you’ll grow the combination of Classes and Arts in your party, widening the breadth of your strategic options!

- Fuse Into Ouroboros: By joining together in battle through Interlinking, two characters in your party can fuse into a fiercely powerful form known as an Ouroboros. Earn points in battle to make the already-mighty Ouroboros even stronger. Ouroboros can also join Chain Attacks with the rest of the party. Clear out the battlefield by using mighty Ouroboros Arts!

- Expansion Pass Content: Broaden the world of the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 game with a paid expansion pass. The additional content that will be released in four waves* from the game’s launch through the end of 2023 will enhance your journey through Aionios. The content will include helpful items, new outfits and color variants, challenge battles, new quests, new Hero characters and even a new story scenario! The Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Expansion Pass will be available for pre-order in Nintendo eShop later today for $29.99.

- Use Any amiibo: Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is compatible with amiibo accessories. Tap any compatible amiibo to acquire helpful in-game items for your adventure. Tap the Shulk amiibo to change a character’s sword to appear as the Monado, the iconic weapon from the original Xenoblade Chronicles game, when using the Swordfighter class.

Further reading:

Let us know what you think of the Expansion Pass in the comments!