One of the major differences those who have played the Wii or New 3DS versions of Xenoblade Chronicles might notice upon booting up Xenoblade Chronicles X is that there is a character creator. Whereas the first game revolved around Shulk and his companions, Monolith Soft decided to go with an open template character for their first high-definition open-world game.
There were very specific reasons for this choice, as outlined by senior producer Tetsuya Takahashi. According to Takahashi, his team wanted to focus on making sure the hack n’ slash combat within the game was engaging and fun, so some things were done differently compared to Xenoblade Chronicles.
In RPG development, the sections that cost the most are the cut scenes and events in the main story. Since this is Monolith Soft’s first high-definition open world title, we decided to focus less on these and instead shift our resources into improving the quality of the gameplay – which is most important – especially the “hack and slash” combat.
This is the reason that we decided to make the player’s character an avatar without a real personality. In exchange, we focused on designing lots of quests, and added a lot of supporting characters related to these. Many people in the development team were involved with these supporting characters, and I think we have been able to give them all strong, distinct personalities.
Of course, when asked about his company’s relationship with Nintendo and what kinds of games he’d like to make in the future, Takahashi was quick to acknowledge influences outside of Nintendo that went into making Xenoblade Chronicles X. He even mentioned that his team would like to create games that are outside the realm of Nintendo, so it will be doubly interesting to see what the studio does next, now that Xenoblade Chronicles X is released.
This is just my personal view, but I think that Monolith Soft should continue making the kind of games that can’t be made within Nintendo. As you know, before we were Monolith Soft we worked at Square Enix, so Xenoblade Chronicles is the result of those Square Enix influences combining with influences from Nintendo. Just as human civilisation has developed through the intermingling of different peoples and cultures, I hope that Monolith Soft can continue to develop further through having various opportunities to work with Nintendo.
Obviously the team will continue to work with Nintendo, but what sort of game would you like to see from Monolith Soft next? How are you enjoying Xenoblade Chronicles X?