The Xenoblade franchise saw recent success with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which was released in late 2017. There’s still a lot of praise for the game four years after its release, and for good reason. Not only does it feature a lovable cast, it also provides a complex story that intertwines with its predecessor, Xenoblade Chronicles. So it’s no wonder that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 became Nintendo’s best selling game of all time. According to Gaming Bolt, “this counts not only the other Xenoblade games, but also all the Xenosaga games”. And with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition reviving the first game, the franchise has been performing exceptionally.
This should all be good news, right? Well, for fans of the franchise, there’s one huge piece missing. In between Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade 2, Nintendo released another game in the series. This game is Xenoblade Chronicles X, and it’s sold exclusively on the Wii U. While the game has a dedicated fanbase, it’s far less popular than the other two main titles. Why did it fail when the other two largely succeeded? Let’s talk about its shortcomings and the reason Xenoblade Chronicles X deserves a second chance on a new platform.
Xenoblade Chronicles X on The Wii U
Xenoblade Chronicles X was released on the Wii U three years after the system’s introduction. Since the Wii U was discontinued in 2017, that only gave Xenoblade X a measly two years in the spotlight. And with the Nintendo Switch launching in early 2017, the Wii U became obsolete. On top of pre-existing problems, the system was essentially disgraced and cast out of Nintendo’s lineup. That spelled bad news for Xenoblade X.
The game is also quite different in terms of style and content. While Xenoblade 1 and 2 have a more cartoonish style, Xenoblade X is more realistic. Xenoblade X is more rooted in the futuristic sci-fi genre, and Xenoblade 1 and 2 adhere to more sci-fi fantasy archetypes. There’s also an open world element to Xenoblade X, and it provides tons of content after the main story’s conclusion. It also features a multiplayer aspect where you can scout other players for a short time or take on global missions together. There’s a lot for players to enjoy, but in comparison to the more successful Xenoblade games, it’s understandable why it didn’t do as well.
The multiplayer aspect, while fun and original, met an early demise. While multiplayer still functions today, the end of Wii U’s Miiverse system marked a turning point for this feature. Before, players could easily locate friends across Miiverse and befriend them in-game. Now that poses a difficult challenge. It’s also quite difficult to share screenshots from the game, since Miiverse was the Wii U’s primary image-hosting platform. The Nintendo Switch makes image sharing easy and can do so across multiple sites, so sharing experiences from Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition and Xenoblade 2 are much easier.
Why Xenoblade Chronicles X Deserves A Second Chance
Put simply, Xenoblade Chronicles X is a beautiful game. You get to explore five unique continents on the alien planet Mira, all with their own secrets and special quests. Unlike Xenoblade 1 and 2, you get to create and customize your player character with a variety of different weapons and armor. Though you cannot affect the main story’s outcome, some side quests directly affect the world, leaving life or death situations in your hands. Through affinity missions, you also get to connect with the wide cast of party members available to you. There’s nineteen playable characters, including the character you make at the start of the game. That’s the largest playable cast in any Xenoblade game! Also, you can fight in giant mechs. That’s easily the coolest part of the game, hands down. And did I mention the amazing soundtrack? Seriously, there’s a lot to love about this game.
Since the game was exclusive to the Wii U, giving Xenoblade X a port would give it a second chance. Xenoblade X certainly has a dedicated fanbase, but it’s not quite as large as the other two Xenoblade games. Its vast, open world and ensemble of unique characters deserve another chance in the spotlight. Combining the main story and side quests, there’s over two hundred hours of gameplay, so there’s no shortage of new things to discover. And above all else, giving Xenoblade X a Switch port would open the door for players interested in the franchise, much like how Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition did last year.
If a direct port isn’t possible, then Xenoblade X is also a prime candidate for a sequel. Without delving into spoilers, the game ended on a cliffhanger. There’s several possibilities that have yet to be explored. What better way to do that than by continuing the story on the Nintendo Switch? Personally, I’d prefer a port of the original game. It would give people who missed out on the Wii U a chance to complete the series. It would also mean that every main Xenoblade game would be available on the Switch. Yay for accessibility!
Admittedly, a port would be difficult. Due to the massive scope of the game and financial concerns, it’d be a challenge at best and impossible at worst. Tetsuya Takahashi of Monolith Soft even admitted in an interview that “‘re-creating it would be really difficult'” for those same reasons. But he also said he’d love for a port to become a reality. This interview was conducted in 2018, so maybe things have changed since then. Here’s to hoping Xenoblade X can finally receive the recognition it deserves in some capacity.
Have you played Xenoblade Chronicles X? Do you think it deserves a Nintendo Switch port? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!