Xenoblade Chronicles X is a new game in development at MonolithSoft directed by Tetsuya Takahashi. The red "X" in the game's logo is of a similar style used in the title of the original Xeno title, Xenogears. The game was revealed in a Nintendo Direct on January 23, 2013 detailing future software for Wii U. Xenoblade Chronicles X is set for worldwide release in 2015.
In an interview translated by Siliconera, MonolithSoft stated they aim to make a game that gets players together and will be addicting, flashy and challenging. They expressed a desire to show that Japan can still keep up with western developers and they'd like to be as revered as Bethesda Softworks is for their titles.
The story of Xenoblade Chronicles X does not bear a direct connection to the events of Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii, but its themes and elements are said to contain references and callbacks to it as well as Xenogears and the Xenosaga series. The story begins with the space around Earth as the staging ground of a battle between two alien races. As Earth is caught in the middle and humanity is threatened with annihilation, humans escape Earth on colonization ships containing entire cities and fight their way through as their home planet is destroyed. As the human fleet is trying to get to safety away from the devastating space battle, some of the aliens chase after the ships and manage to shoot at least one of them down (the ark ship hailing from the United States, containing Neo Los Angeles), causing it to crash on an alien planet.
There, the surviving humans are left to fend for themselves on a completely unknown world with the warring aliens still coming after them and the local dinosaur-like wildlife proving a major threat as well. The human military forces, banded together under the name B.L.A.D.E. (Beyond the Logos Artficial Destiny Emancipator) and go out into the world to recover escape pods with more survivors that crashed far away from the ark ship.
The protagonist, a character created by the player, is one such refugee whose escape pod landed off course. About two months after the ship crashed on the planet, the player is found and awakened from cryo-stasis by a scout named Elma, and begins their journey in this new and dangerous alien world.
The game features a character creation system that allows the player to create their own custom protagonist. The creation system allows for setting a wide range of variables, including gender, hair style, hair, eye, and skin color, skin adornments such as tattoos, and voice.
The reveal trailer showcased a vast world with mechs the player can enter and use to fly around and fight in. Some of these mechs can also transform into ground vehicles such as bikes or tanks. Certain environments will only be accessible by mech.
The real-time battle is, according to Takahashi, an advanced version of the system introduced in the Wii title Xenoblade Chronicles. Battles take place in real time, without transition screens but they are menu based and enforce cooldowns on arts.
The battle menu is again based on special skills called arts. These are split into attacks, buff and debuff arts with a most likely character-specific special skill in the center. Players will be able to freely transition between on-foot and mech combat during battle. The available skills change when entering a mech and allow for different types of attack and even aerial combat.
Unlike Xenoblade Chronicles, all characters can now instantly switch between melee and long-range weapons--even mid-battle. Attacking builds up TP that can be used to, for example, revive a fallen character during battle. Melee attacks grant more TP as the risk of getting hit increases in close-up combat situations.
New to the arts palette is a risk/reward mechanic that directly ties into the cooldown. If the player lets an art cool down twice, it is basically charging up that art and applying additional enhancements to it when used again, such as extra damage or buffs/debuffs. This charge system is tied to the melee/ranged attack by only charging up arts in the palette that are associated with the current auto-attack type. For example, melee arts only charge up when the player is executing melee auto-attacks
In Xenoblade Chronicles X, players can now specialize their characters in various classes. These class specializations yield new arts for the player to mix and match in the arts palette. Players can switch between classes on-the-fly to get access to specific sets of arts. Both arts and classes are leveled up individually with the former requiring the player to spend battle points to level up an art
Positioning & Targeting
New this time is the attack-location indicator that shows where the player is currently aiming/attacking. This system was already present in Xenoblade Chronicles with increased backstab and flanking damage but in this game, there are now clear indicators in the menu showing exact targeting locations as well as a reticle on the enemy's body. This ties into a limb-targeting system which allows characters to chop off, for example, an enemy's tail. Additionally, the HUD informs the player of their elevation relative to the enemy they are targeting. This plays into certain arts that get added effects in certain conditions such as attacking an enemy from higher ground
Players now have greater control over their party members in Xenoblade Chronicles X. They can pull up a Battle Menu and issue live orders to their party members without pausing action.
The other party members might call out to the player for certain actions (currently referred to as Soul Voice) which, if executed successfully, build up the Soul Stage meter. The meter is separated into three stages and attaining a new Soul Stage is rewarded with extra buffs and other bonuses during battle. The battle conditions for when a Soul Voice prompt from a party member is triggered as well as their success rewards can be fully customized by the player outside of battle.
In this game, characters can only heal themselves. There is no designated healer on the character roster. Instead, health restoration of other party members happens automatically if the player successfully executes a time-sensitive button prompt during battle.
Time & Weather
The game also has a day-night cycle like Xenoblade as well as dynamic real-time weather with numerous different possible states (so far, seven different states have been observed in the teaser footage). Those will again result in the appearance of unique events/monsters being dependent on the right environmental circumstances. The player can manipulate the time of day at weather stations placed in the environment, unlike the original Xenoblade where it could be manipulated anywhere from the options menu.
Little is known about this part of the game but it is confirmed that a variation of the affinity system from the original Xenoblade Chronicles will return with character skills being unlocked by building up social relationships with NPCs and other characters in the game.
In the debut trailer, a text chat window and three other players could be seen, hinting at potential online co-op play. The UI suggests possibly up to five people playing together, represented by the green dots in the game's mini-map. However, this is not a confirmed feature and merely heavily implied by the early trailer footage.
At the end of the debut teaser, there is a close up shot of a character who looks almost exactly like a slightly older version of Shulk, the protagonist of the original Xenoblade Chronicles. It has not been confirmed if this character is in fact Shulk or a relation of his in any way.
The E3 2014 trailer closed with a nopon clumsily falling out of a box. That Nopon is named Tatsu, who was a character in the original Xenoblade (known as Satata in the English versions). However, the character from Xenoblade had a slightly different color and was also significantly older than the Tatsu from the trailer. It is yet another loose connection to the original Xenoblade that has yet to be explained.