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Xenoblade Chronicles X Will Have A Different Feel Than Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

US gaming publication GameSpot has published an interesting interview with Monolith Soft, Monster Games, and representatives from Nintendo SPD. There’s a wealth of new information contained within the question and answer sessions including why the developers decided to bring Xenoblade Chronicles to the New Nintendo 3DS rather than the Wii U. Here’s some key nuggets of information.

What is it that you think made Xenoblade Chronicles such a critical and commercial success here in the US?

Takahashi: I think it all comes down to “empathy.” As I wrote above, it may not be impossible for Japanese people to understand what people in the West feel and like, but it does take a fair amount of time. Empathy, however, is something we can all recognize. Those of us in Japan can be moved by, and can empathize with, things like Hollywood films, dramas and novels written by Western authors. I personally love the TV dramas I watched as a kid, like Star TrekMission: Impossible, and Starsky & Hutch; I looked forward to seeing them broadcast every week.

The things that we’re moved by, the points that we can empathize with, are the same. So we decided it’d be fine if we just made something we could honestly be moved by and find fun; there was no need to fiddle around too much thinking about what we would need to achieve success outside Japan. That was a philosophy we took pains not to stray from as we proceeded with development.

What drove the decision to bring Xenoblade Chronicles to 3DS instead of a remaster on Wii U (like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD)?

Nintendo SPD: Xenoblade Chronicles features a ton of depth and volume, something that earned it a lot of high praise from the people who played the Wii release. I think a lot of people began to take an interest in this game after hearing all of that praise, too. However, it’s not unheard of for this game to take around 100 hours just to complete it normally, so even if people take an interest, I think some of them would give up the idea of playing it, thinking to themselves: “No way do I have the free time to sit in front of a TV and play this game for 100 hours.”

Even if we remastered it for Wii U, my concern was that people like that would still avoid playing it. Remaking it for a portable system, however, will let them play it whenever they like, at home or outside, and we thought that would lead to more people trying it out. We considered making it for the original Nintendo 3DS at first, but if we wanted to achieve nearly the same quality as you saw on the original Wii version, the New Nintendo 3DS XL became all but required.

Would it have been possible to run this on the regular 3DS? If no, what did the New 3DS open up?

Monster Games: We initially tried to get the game to run on the regular Nintendo 3DS system. After months of work, we realized that the game was too big and would perform too slowly. At this point we learned about New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware and were excited to learn about the faster CPU and extra RAM. This immediately made the project seem possible, so we continued working on the conversion.

Even with the system’s extra capabilities, it was still a challenging project and we spent many months working on optimizations. Given how hard it was to convert the game for New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware, we can easily imagine that the port to the regular Nintendo 3DS hardware would have ended up far from the quality game play that the original Wii version had even if we had given it our all.

Were there any particular technological or UI hurdles to bringing the game to 3DS?

Monster Games: The biggest technical hurdle when porting between Wii and New Nintendo 3DS XL is that the two systems have very different capabilities. All these differences kept the project from being a simple port. Every part of the game had to be reworked to account for the capabilities of New Nintendo 3DS XL hardware. For example, New Nintendo 3DS XL has a different GPU architecture, so none of the art assets could be directly used. The team had to rebuild all the graphical assets while making sure it still looked as good as the original game. Each world was carefully optimized by the art staff and we needed to invent new techniques to render the large scenes where the player can see far into the distance. It wasn’t until late in the project that we finally were able to make sure the frame rate was good everywhere.

Regarding the UI design, our big challenge was to maintain the look and feel of the original game, while taking advantage of the dual screens. There are hundreds of screens in the game and the design had to work for many languages. The design team spent over a month mocking up various UI designs until we got one that seemed to work well. Once we converted the screens to run on New Nintendo 3DS XL, we brushed up the artwork to fit the small screens and fine-tuned the placement of the elements. Given the number of screens and languages, this process took a long time and we were working on improving and fine-tuning details all the way to the end of the project.

Without revealing any spoilers, what can fans of Xenoblade Chronicles look forward to when the franchise comes to Wii U? Will it feel familiar for returning fans, or will it be a departure from what was put together in Chronicles?

Takahashi: I think Xenoblade Chronicles X will have a different play feel from the first Xenoblade Chronicles game. Xenoblade Chronicles is a pretty linear game, but Xenoblade Chronicles X is non-linear, and I think a lot of the gameplay will depend on that.

Xenoblade Chronicles’ core thrust is centered around its story, but Xenoblade Chronicles X is shaping up to be a game with more focus placed on action elements that take advantage of the open world instead of the story aspects. However, both games will retain a common feel based on the core elements that serve as the foundation for the series. It may feel different to play, but it’ll provide a new way of having fun within the same Xenoblade series.

Thanks, Michelle


27 thoughts on “Xenoblade Chronicles X Will Have A Different Feel Than Xenoblade Chronicles 3D”

    1. The initial title was “Xenoblade devs on the New 3DS port, why it’s not on Wii U, Xenoblade Chronicles X “will have a different play feel”

      I don’t think it matters if you read the interview though, the title makes perfect sense then, either way. I could understand if they just left it at that, but they went into detail as to why they feel it plays differently.

  1. Not that I’m complaining, but he contradicts himself. The new Wii U game is said to be up t0 300+ hours of gameplay, yet XB3d was made because gamers don’t have enough time to sit on a couch and game?

    1. Well… he wasn’t applying the “gamers don’t have enough time to sit n a couch and game” logic to the new Xenoblade game. He was only applying it to th original Xenoblade…. okay, this is easier to understand cognitively than it is in words, so this will be a challenge, but bear with me on my explanation…

      Xenoblade Chronicles the original appeals to gamers with tons of time to sit in front of the television, but not to those who don’t have that kind of time. He is saying that he wanted to try and get the original game (specifically the original one) to appeal to people who may not have the time to sit down for hours at a time. That is why the remake was on the 3DS and not on the Wii U.

      However, at no point does he want to make a game that caters towards those who can’t sit down and play games for long periods of time. Monolith Soft still wants to develop huge games for dedicated home systems, which is why the new Xenoblades game will be on the Wii U and not New 3DS

      Basically with the option to remake the original Xenoblades he realized it was a great opportunity to capture a new audiences instead of the same audience they already captured. But, with the new Xenoblade game, because it is new, they can capture that original audience again.

      So, if the new Xenoblade game ever gets a remake, expect it to be on a Nintendo handheld.

  2. shows how good the wii was for its low power consumption

    main issue would be bandwidth and such and tev vs shaders

    wii had massive bandwidth in the gpu edram and a huge 1mb texture catch ten two polls of main ram one of witch was lightning fast

  3. Why not put out hardware that has the same architecture so you don’t have to put so much time into stuff like that.

  4. I hope this game is good. I keep getting an odd feeling regarding it. I fear it will be a niche title.

    1. Who knows. I’d like to say it wouldn’t be for sure, but given the success of past games that aren’t specifically made by Nintendo, it seems like a real toss up.

      Here’s to hoping it is very successful.

  5. I doubt this game is going to be a niche title from watching streams about it. also all the little teasers from the story look incredible as well(like the aliens approaching and attacking you). what i would fear is perhaps of TOO MUCH content. there seems to be so much. so many allies, dolls, various combat mechanics, side quests etc etc. i do think a game can have just too much content and it can hurt it.

  6. Nintendo Tetrarch Quadramus-NX

    >>>As usual one cattle identifies with another group of cattle for not being the same yet they all are, just make a game and let the individuals decide>>>

  7. Could this mean that depending on our actions and choices in Xenoblade X, the story will unfold in different ways? Could X have multiple endings like in Chrono Trigger?

  8. I don’t like the fact of XCX to be focused on maps, explorarion, placing the story on second place, Maybe it’s just me, but, I play RPGs for the story and gameplay… I have great hopes for this game

  9. I have to say that interview suddenly cool down my interest and enthusiam. The interesting thing with xenoblade chronicle was the story, the characters (personality and interaction) and the beautiful landscape. If the game is just an action rpg with a dull story then I would go for Final fantasy XIII. I really hope it was something like lost in translation. As for the port of the 1st Xenoblade on 3DS i understand the logic and business decision but I would have far prefer this game to be on Wii U. This would have made the price of the original a bit cheaper.

  10. oh please dont tell me that the “action focus instead of story focus” means that their conceding that the plot is actually shit

  11. THAT’S IT! I’m buying a “new” Nintendo 3DS XL tomorrow. I want this game so bad but it’s so fucking rare online and I don’t have the time to utilize my T.V. so the portable functionality will greatly help me out, especially between my breaks. The only downside I have to deal with is the low resolution but god-damn, I appreciated games that looked terrible in my eyes but loved it from beginning to end.

    1. Well, if you mean just in general, i have a fair bit below. If you mean similar to xenoblade all i can think of is bravely default, fire emblem and devil survivor. Maybe pokemon.

      Ive played the hell out of these, though:

      Kid icarus
      Link between worlds
      Donkey kong returns
      Mario 3d land &nsmb
      Starfox 64
      And Kirby triple deluxe

      If you like puzzle games, i strongly recommend Art of Balance.

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