Xenoblade (universe)

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Xenoblade (universe)
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Developer(s) Monolith Soft
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Tetsuya Takahashi
Genre(s) Role-playing
Console/platform of origin Wii
First installment Xenoblade Chronicles (2010)
Latest installment Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country (2018)
Article on wikipedia Xenoblade (universe)

The Xenoblade universe (ゼノブレイド, Xenoblade) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters and other properties hailing from Nintendo and Monolith Soft's series of action RPGs. Xenoblade is the newest sub-series of the Xeno franchise, which has spanned several systems and developers. The series is represented by the protagonist of Xenoblade Chronicles, Shulk.

Franchise description[edit]

While deciding potential scripts for what would eventually become Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation, developer SquareSoft (now Square Enix) decided against a script written by employee Tetsuya Takahashi on the basis of it being "too dark and complicated" for the company's vision of Final Fantasy; however, Square allowed him to start the project as a new property instead. Takahashi, working with a subteam within Square, became the director of what was released in the Americas as Xenogears for the PlayStation in late 1998. The game, a science fiction JRPG featuring traditional combat that sometimes involves humanoid combat robots called "gears" - in accordance with various recurrent concepts in mecha genres - was a critical and commercial success in both Japan and the Americas, and received recognition for its ambitious approach to incorporating major themes into its storytelling and characterization, examining both the principles put forth by reputed philosophers and the theological concepts and devotional practices of several real-world religions.

Though Xenogears was conceived as the fifth episode of a series of six, Square decided against devoting resources to further works related to Xenogears in favor of focusing on their flagship Final Fantasy series, which prompted Takahashi and much of the Xenogears staff to leave the company and form what would become Monolith Soft with the financial backing of Namco. Due to the legal rights of Xenogears remaining with Square, Takahashi could not create games that were direct extensions of the Xenogears continuity (despite what the end credits originally indicated), so he proceeded on a project that could more accurately be described as a reboot that shared thematic similarities: the Xenosaga trilogy (which was originally intended to be six games), published by Bandai Namco from 2002 to 2006 on the PlayStation 2. Set millennia in the future where Earth is no longer the primary homeworld of a space-faring humanity, the games feature different combat systems between each installment, all of which are mechanically separate from their spiritual PlayStation predecessor. The series' reception was generally favorable, though review outlets tended to express more mixed opinions when comparing them with Xenogears, finding fault with elements such as a much more lopsided cutscene-to-gameplay ratio and the removal of some of the acclaimed philosophical elements.

In May 2007, Namco sold its stake in Monolith Soft to Nintendo, and Monolith Soft soon became a first-party developer for the company. Takahashi began work on a different IP for the Wii, which over the course of four years of development was unveiled at E3 2009 under the title Monado: Beginning of the World. It would later be renamed Xenoblade Chronicles, by then-president Satoru Iwata, once again following the convention of including Xeno- in the title to honor the director's previous, though otherwise unconnected, work. Involving himself in every aspect of the game's development, Takahashi worked to separate it from its forerunners in both gameplay style and theme, with the relationship between humans and machines as one of the carryovers. The original concept of the game came from the idea of giant godlike titans serving as the basis for the world and story, with the gameplay coming later. Once the concept was presented to the team, morale was bolstered and development kicked off. The game would eventually be released in Japan on June 10, 2010, and then in PAL regions on August 19, 2011; however, the game's American release would only take place on April 6, 2012, which led to an interim period where concerned gamers took part in a fan campaign called "Operation Rainfall" to persuade Nintendo of America to localize the game and two other Japan-exclusive Wii RPGs, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower.

Xenoblade Chronicles received overwhelming critical acclaim across the board. It was lauded for revitalizing and reinventing the otherwise stagnant Japanese role-playing genre and bringing it into the twenty-first century, with a sense of freedom instilled by a massive open world that has been compared to the size of the real-world Japanese archipelago. The gameplay style of the combat closely resembles that of Final Fantasy XII, but with an emphasis on chained group attacks and allowing some characters to strategically divert enemy attention away from other party members. Closely tied in with the game's theme is a "Visions" system where the lead character can see glimpses of critical or even fatal enemy attacks, which can allow the player to either avoid or prevent an incoming attack. Especially praised were the characters, both for their writing and voice performances and for the integration of their relationships into core aspects of the gameplay both inside and outside of battle. The game sold over 800,000 units globally and, as a first-party Nintendo property, its main character Shulk was included in the roster of Super Smash Bros. 4 in 2014, being a mainstay of the Super Smash Bros. series ever since.

Shulk on Bionis' Leg, with the Mechonis in the far distance, as depicted in Shulk's SSB4 reveal trailer. The two titans form the world of Xenoblade Chronicles.

As a series of science-fiction fantasy action RPGs, the Xenoblade Chronicles games introduce a combat system reminiscent of those in modern MMOs, with party members automatically attacking enemies when in range with weak strikes. The bulk of combat is handled with character techniques called Arts, which are governed by a cooldown system that does away with the traditional magic points. Battles are not turn-based and instead take place in real-time, with enemies roaming about the overworld, able to be engaged at the player's discretion. Enemies can direct their attention, or "aggro", to certain party members, and it is actively encouraged for particular techniques. Certain creatures are also "uniquely named" and act as overworld mini-bosses; it is not uncommon to find a unique monster roaming about in an otherwise tame landscape. The series actively encourages exploration of these sprawling landscapes as the party earns experience points for discovering new locations and Landmarks, and the player can freely fast-travel to and from these Landmarks upon discovery. The time of day can also be changed at any point from the start of the game to the player's convenience, adding to the quality-of-life improvements the series brings to the genre. In terms of character progression, there are usually hundreds of side quests that can be engaged at the same time and rewards come in the form of experience, equipment, and currency. And finally, bonds can be forged in towns and between party members to boost their affinity and effectiveness in battle in the latter's case, typically in the form of personalized conversations called Heart-to-Hearts which require certain prerequisites for the necessary characters. The following synopses lay out the premises for each installment of the Xenoblade Chronicles series:

  • Xenoblade Chronicles: The first game is set on a world of endless ocean, with the world's terra firma being the standing towering corpses of Bionis and Mechonis, two colossal gods who dueled long ago and have remained locked in their positions from the battle. Eons later, new life arose out of their bodies and formed civilizations and societies, such as the humanoid Homs and other organic lifeforms on the Bionis, and mechanical beings like the predatory Mechon on the Mechonis. When a Homs colony on Bionis is attacked by the Mechon, a young Homs named Shulk obtains a mystical sword called the Monado, which is capable of damaging the Mechon and gives its chosen wielder the gift of foresight. Shulk and his friends initially set out for a Mechon stronghold to exact revenge, but over the course of a journey filled with twists and turns, they are provided a deeper examination of the conflict between the two sides, and eventually, of the true workings of the world itself. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, a port of the original Wii title, was developed by Monster Games and released for the New Nintendo 3DS on April 2, 2015 in Japan, Europe, and Australia, and on April 10, 2015 in the Americas. The handheld port was lauded for preserving the scale and frame rate of the original game while also including additional side content such as a jukebox and character model viewer, but skepticism was cited for the port's considerably downgraded visuals. The original Wii version was made available for digital download much later on the Wii U eShop in Europe on August 5, 2015 and in the Americas on April 28, 2016. A fully remastered version of the game, titled Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, will release on the Nintendo Switch in 2020.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: A spiritual successor to the original game was initially teased as "X" by Monolith Soft as their next project in early 2013. The successor's title was finalized during E3 2014 and released for Wii U in Japan on April 29th, 2015 and on December 4th, 2015 overseas. Xenoblade Chronicles X is set on the planet Mira, an alien-populated world where humans have established their home after the Earth was undesirably destroyed in a war between two opposing alien factions. Players can customize their main character's appearance and voice with a wide array of options. The game features battle mechanics similar to the original Xenoblade Chronicles, with emphasis on its Arts system and interactions with party members. Characters can use both melee and ranged weapons and can pilot humanoid mechs called Skells to fight and traverse the game's enormous world, complete with smaller supplementary tools to aid in exploration and discovery. Xenoblade Chronicles X is the largest first-party game on the Wii U, weighing in at over 23 gigabytes digitally and at one point almost needing a second disc to fit in all of its content. The game was generally well-received by critics for its freedom and wider tools for exploration, but fans were more divided at the drastic shift from a focus on story as well as its soundtrack and user interface.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: The third entry in the series was revealed during the Nintendo Switch presentation in January 2017. Tetsuya Takahashi understood the criticisms that fans had about the previous entry on Wii U regarding the shift away from a rich story, among other complaints, and thus strove to address them in this title. The game features heavily anime-inspired character designs as opposed to the more realistic styles in Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Similarly to the former, the game takes place on the backs of gargantuan beings called Titans in a new world called Alrest. The story follows a young hot-blooded salvager named Rex as he sets out to take his new friend Pyra home to Elysium, a paradise where humans lived in harmony with their divine father, the Architect, at the genesis of the world. The gameplay features a new party dynamic where party members are either Drivers or Blades. Blades imbue Drivers with powers and weapons, while Drivers deploy said powers and weapons. Players can conjure new Blades by finding and touching Core Crystals, each with its own elemental and weapon typings. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was globally released for the Nintendo Switch on December 1, 2017. The game was lauded for bringing the focus back to a pure fantasy setting, a complex story filled with twists and turns, a return to the music score of the original game, a diverse voice cast, and a party of likable original characters along with the quality-of-life gameplay improvements to personalize the experience. To commemorate the game’s launch, Rex's Salvager Armor Set was also release as free equipment for Link in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. An Expansion Pass would be developed and release its contents throughout 2018, including additional side quests, more options to customize the difficultly, familiar Xeno series characters as recruitable Blades, and an entire prequel campaign known as Torna ~ The Golden Country.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

The Xenoblade franchise makes its official debut in Smash 4, with one fighter, one Assist Trophy, one stage, a handful of music tracks, a Mii Fighter costume, plenty of trophies, and a boss character representing it. All representation is strictly from the original Xenoblade Chronicles, as that was the only entry in the series to have been released by that point.

Character[edit]

  • ShulkIcon(SSB4-U).png
    Shulk: The protagonist of Xenoblade Chronicles debuts as a starter character and wields the Monado in battle. In battle, Shulk utilizes various Monado Arts that alter his attributes, such as jumping height or damage output, and the Monado's beam blade grants him the single longest-reaching sword in the game. Despite all of this, though, Shulk is currently ranked 35th on the Super Smash Bros. 4 tier list, labeling him as a mid-tier character. This is in large part due to his Monado Arts’ drawbacks and his notoriously sluggish frame data, though a dedicated playerbase has been studying his Arts and continuously uncovering new advanced techniques with them.

Stage Hazard[edit]

  • Metal Face: Shulk's nemesis for the first part of Xenoblade Chronicles. Metal Face appears as the stage boss of Gaur Plain on the Wii U version when the stage transitions to nighttime. While on the stage, he will attack fighters and destory parts of the stage, but he can also be attacked and KO'd. If left alone, he will taunt fighters and spout some unique lines if Shulk is in the battle. When dawn breaks, he flies away, but may unleash a surprise dash attack before disappearing.

Assist Trophy[edit]

  • Riki: One of Shulk's comrades and party members, Riki uses Arts like Happy Happy, Freezinate, Yoink!, Bedtime, You Can Do It, and Roly Poly. He also appears in Shulk's Final Smash.

Mii Costumes[edit]

Costume[edit]

  • MiiSwordfighterHeadSSB4-U.png Dunban's Outfit (DLC): Based off of Dunban, one of Shulk's closest friends and party members. Includes a Dunban outfit for Mii Swordfighters and a Dunban Wig. Dunban himself also appears alongside Riki as part of Shulk's Final Smash.

Hat[edit]

Stage[edit]

  • GaurPlainIconSSB4-U.png
    Gaur Plain: An expansive stretch of wilderness located on the Bionis' Leg. The lifeless body of Mechonis can be seen in the background of the stage. Many platforms, some of them being walk-offs, are strewn about haphazardly. Gaur Plain appears in both versions of SSB4, although it is larger in the Wii U version, with more platforms and two usable springs. The stage in both versions features a day-night cycle starting in the daytime and when nightfall comes, Metal Face may arrive and attack any nearby fighters while verbally taunting them.

Music[edit]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles Medley: The only Xenoblade Chronicles remix on the soundtrack, this track is a medley of "Gaur Plain (Day)", "Mechanical Rhythm", "You Will Know Our Names", and "Engage the Enemy".
  • Engage the Enemy: This music plays during special story events in Xenoblade Chronicles and is featured on Disc 2 of A Smashing Soundtrack.
  • Gaur Plain: This is the music that plays in Xenoblade Chronicles on the Bionis' Leg during the day. It is featured on Disc 1 of A Smashing Soundtrack.
  • Gaur Plain (Night): This is the music that plays in Xenoblade Chronicles on the Bionis' Leg during the night.
  • Time to Fight!: This is the music that plays in Xenoblade Chronicles during regular battles on Bionis.
  • An Obstacle in Our Path: This track plays during most boss battles, usually against Faced Mechon.
  • Mechanical Rhythm: This is the music that plays in Xenoblade Chronicles during the regular battles on Mechonis.
  • You Will Know Our Names: This is the music that plays in Xenoblade Chronicles when the party confronts a uniquely named monster. It is featured on Disc 1 of A Smashing Soundtrack.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

The series has received a notable boost in representation, now incorporating elements from the other two Xenoblade titles in the form of Mii Fighter costumes, music tracks, and Spirits. Otherwise, all of the previous representation has been maintained in the transition. One of the Mii Fighter costumes is even featured as a bonus for purchasing the Fighters Pass.

Character[edit]

  • 57.
    ShulkIcon(SSBU).png
    Shulk: Returns as an unlockable fighter after being a starter in Smash 4. One fundamental change to his moveset is how Monado Arts are selected; in addition to pressing the special button repeatedly to choose the desired Art, the player can now also quick-select Arts instantly by holding the special button and tilting the control stick. Besides this, he has been substantially buffed regarding his frame data and landing lag, even though some of his advanced techniques have been removed and his Monado Arts now provide more extreme benefits and drawbacks. Mecha-Fiora now joins him, Dunban, and Riki for his Final Smash, Chain Attack.

Assist Trophy[edit]

  • Riki: The happy, childish Heropon returns as an Assist Trophy. He still performs four random Arts of his own before vanishing. Cannot be attacked or KO’d.

Stage[edit]

Mii Costumes[edit]

Costumes[edit]

Hats[edit]

Music[edit]

There were no new Xenoblade remixes added in Ultimate.

Returning Track[edit]

Arrangement returning from a previous Smash game.

  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U"Xenoblade Chronicles Medley": A medley of various tracks from Xenoblade Chronicles, including "Gaur Plain", "Mechanical Rhythm", and "You Will Know Our Names". Returns from Smash for Wii U.

Source Tracks[edit]

Tracks sourced directly from the Xenoblade games.

  • "Engage The Enemy": A theme that plays in various cutscenes, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • "Time To Fight! - Xenoblade Chronicles": The theme of normal battles on Bionis, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • "Gaur Plain": The daytime theme of the Bionis' Leg region, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles. Heard in Shulk's character trailer.
  • "Gaur Plain (Night)": The nighttime theme of the Bionis' Leg region, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • "An Obstacle in Our Path - Xenoblade Chronicles": The theme of several boss fights, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • "You Will Know Our Names": The battle theme of Unique Monsters, as well as some boss fights, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • "Mechanical Rhythm": The normal battle theme on the Fallen Arm and the Mechonis, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • "Battle!! - Xenoblade Chronicles 2": The music that plays during regular battles on most on Alrest, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
  • "Those Who Stand Against Our Path - Xenoblade Chronicles 2": The music that plays when the party confronts a uniquely named monster, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
  • "Still, Move Forward!!": The music that plays during regular battles on the Cliffs of Morytha up to the World Tree, sourced from Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Victory Fanfares[edit]

  • "Victory! Shulk": Taken from the second half of the riff of "You Will Know Our Names" from Xenoblade Chronicles. The Ultimate version is slightly sped up.

Spirits[edit]

The kanji aruji "" denotes a Master Spirit.

951. Shulk
952. Fiora
953. Mecha-Fiora
954. Reyn
955. Sharla
956. Dunban
957. Melia
958. Riki
959. Mumkhar
960. Metal Face
961. Elma
962. Lin

963. Lao
964. Tatsu
965. Formula
966. Rex
967. Pyra
968. Mythra
969. Nia
970. Tora
971. Poppi α
972. Zeke
973. Mòrag

Trivia[edit]

  • The Xenoblade, Wii Fit, and R.O.B. universes are the only playable first-party universes introduced after Melee to not have been represented in any way in previous Super Smash Bros. games prior to their playable characters' debuts in the Super Smash Bros. series. In Xenoblade's case, this is due to the series debuting after Brawl's release.
  • Xenoblade is the only playable universe not created by Nintendo whose company, Monolith Soft, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nintendo.
  • Xenoblade and Sonic The Hedgehog are the only primary universes to have only one song remixed out of all the Smash games.
  • For unknown reasons, all Xenoblade Chronicles 2 soundtracks available in Ultimate play at a lower volume than all other tracks.
  • It, Kid Icarus, and Fire Emblem are the only universes to have a weapon feature in its icon.

External links[edit]