Nintendo and developer Monolith Soft’s cult classic JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles returns to the Switch this month with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, boasting enough improvements, tweaks and additions to surprise even the most ardent of fans. The team even went as far as including a brand new epilogue aimed at answering some of the lingering questions that remain after the credits roll, teaming up main characters Shulk and Melia with some new faces and opening up a previously inaccessible location to explore.
Here’s everything you need to know about Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition.
The original Xenoblade Chronicles first released for the Wii in 2010, though it was only available in Japan until the following year. A spinoff of the larger Xeno metaseries, Xenoblade Chronicles takes place on the long-dormant corpses of two massive gods called the Bionis and Mechonis; their battle to the death eons ago left them frozen in time, and a variety of lifeforms have since colonized their planet-sized bodies.
The story follows Bionis-dweller Shulk as he comes into possession of a weapon called the Monado, which is capable of showing its wielder the future. A series of events involving a hostile race of machines from Mechonis lead to Shulk and his friends setting out on an adventure across the titans, where they meet new comrades along the way and work together to uncover the truth behind their world and its gods. Fans praised the sprawling open world, intriguing narrative, and unique MMO-inspired battle system that set Xenoblade Chronicles apart from other entries in the genre.
The game was met with universal acclaim upon release, receiving perfect scores from numerous outlets, who praised it as one of the best JRPGs of the generation. A European release was announced the following year with both English and Japanese voice tracks included, but the lack of a North American version prompted a massive fan campaign called Project Moonfall dedicated to getting the game released in the region. The campaign was a huge success and resulted in a North American launch of Xenoblade Chronicles in 2012, where the title quickly became a cult classic and one of the most difficult games to find in the Wii’s extensive library.
Monolith Soft followed this up with a 3DS port of the title in 2015, taking advantage of the New 3DS’s additional processing power to create a portable experience as faithful to the original as possible. A decade and two sequels later, along with protagonist Shulk’s appearance as a playable fighter in Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., the Xenoblade Chronicles series has established itself as a franchise with some serious staying power.
The upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition for the Switch is much more than just a higher resolution port of the first game. The developers at Monolith Soft have gone above and beyond what’s typically expected of a remastered game, to the point where it’d be more accurate to call it a remake instead. Besides the obvious graphical upgrade, Definitive Edition also includes a revamped art style to match the aesthetic of more recent entries in the series, a remixed soundtrack that can be swapped in and out on the fly, an improved control scheme and extensive UI improvements.
But regardless of all the visual and technical changes, what has people the most excited is a completely new epilogue called “Future Connected” that’s available to play the moment you boot up the game. “Future Connected” takes place a year after the end of the first game and opens up a previously mentioned but otherwise inaccessible section of the overworld called Bionis’ Shoulder, where Shulk and the High Entia princess Melia embark on a journey to find the lost imperial capital of Alcamoth.
This epilogue also introduces two new characters named Kino and Nene, members of the Nopon race who fight in battle beside Shulk and Melia as they battle this new story’s current unknown enemy. Along with some fresh faces and unfamiliar scenery, “Future Connected” also implements a new battle system that incorporates a group of Nopon called the “Nopongers,” who can assist the heroes with powerful cooperative attacks when summoned.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is really shaping up to be the ultimate version of one of the greatest JRPGs ever made. With beautiful high definition visuals, a host of quality of life improvements and a brand new epilogue, there will never be a better moment to jump in and experience this epic adventure for the first time.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition releases May 29.
Monolith Soft's remastered JRPG classic returns in glorious form later this month, boasting upgraded visuals, a remixed soundtrack and more.