Xenoblade Chronicles, known in Japan as Xenoblade (ゼノブレイド, Zenobureido), is a role-playing video game published by Nintendo and developed by Monolith Soft for the Wii console. The game was announced during E3 2009, when a trailer was released to media. The trailer shows a futuristic sword-wielding character battling giant robots and creatures as well as third-person exploration gameplay. In January 2010, the game was renamed from Monado: Beginning of the World to Xenoblade to honor Tetsuya Takahashi, "who poured his soul into making this and who has been working on the Xeno series". The game was released on June 10, 2010 in Japan, and released on August 19, 2011 in PAL regions. The game also released in North America on April 6, 2012.
The game conveys the feeling of freedom to the player through large, open environments, and is not as focused on cutscenes and story as its sibling games Xenogears and Xenosaga. Xenoblade Chronicles has an action-based battle system where normal attacks will happen automatically at intervals, similar to the set up in Final Fantasy XII. However, everything else is done manually, including movement of the character the player is using, which plays an integral role into Shulk's special attacks. Special attacks recharge separately when used and are set by the player on a "battle palette" at the bottom of the screen. The game also has the "Visions" system, where the player can see glimpses of the future, and try to react or prevent it from happening.
The game has a number of features labeled as "Time Saving Support Features". For instance, while the game has a day and night time cycle, players can "wind the clock" to the time they want to go to, rather than just letting time elapse. Additionally, while the game is about exploration, many warp points have been added to aid in traversing the land. The game also sports a "save anywhere" feature, a feature relatively rare among the console RPG genre.
Another of the game's systems is the "affinity system," in which characters can partake in many optional sidequests with non-player characters. Completing such quests can alter perception of the character in the towns, and open up additional story sequences.
The game has extensive customization, such as being able to change the character's outfits, and having those changes be seen in battle, field, and even event scenes.
- Shulk is the main protagonist of the game. Early details show that he is able to wield the legendary Monado. His first act upon acquiring the "destined weapon" is to hunt the army of Mechon that attacked Colony 9.
- Reyn is Shulk's best friend. Although he is a member of Colony 9's Defense Force, he can often be seen at Shulk and Fiora's side. He uses a shield-gunlance, which can switch from shield mode into gun or lance mode.
- Fiora is another of Shulk's childhood friends and the younger sister of Dunban. She nursed her brother back to health after his injury and return from the war. Seems to have romantic feelings for Shulk.
- Dunban was thought to be the only one in Colony 9 who could wield and control the Monado's power. This made him the only one able to effectively battle the Mechon army. However, he could not tame the sword completely, and he lost the use of his right arm in the Battle of Sword Valley. After recovering, he starts using a katana in his left hand instead. He is 30 years old.
- Sharla is a medic of Colony 6's Defense Force. Uses a rifle in battle, and her specialty is healing.
- Melia is a powerful mage and member of the ancient High Entia race that lives at Eryth Sea on the Bionis' Head. She is 88 years old.
- Riki is a member of the mercantile Nopon race. He looks and acts like a child, but he is actually 40 years old and has at least six children. A natural story-teller, he will go on at length about how he is actually a legendary hero spoken of in Nopon prophecy.
Famitsu awarded the game 9/9/9/9 in its review, totaling 36/40. Xenoblade Chronicles debuted at #1 in its week of release in Japan, selling 83,000 copies. It was also voted the third most interesting game released in Japan during the first half of 2010 in a survey conducted by Dengeki.
- IGN - 2012 Best Wii U / Wii Game
- IGN - 2012 People's Choice Best Wii U / Wii Game
- Nintendo Life - Staff Award for Wii Retail Game of 2012
- Nintendo Life - Community Award for Wii Retail Game of 2012
- TechTudo (Brazlian website) - Best Wii-exclusive game of 2012 (in Portuguese).
- Gamespot UK - Editor's Choice Best Wii Game of 2011
- MMGN - 2011 Best RPG
Several tie-in products were released in Japan and Europe. These include:
- A Promotional Soundtrack which was available as a free download in Europe for anyone who registered a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles within a certain period of time after its release.
- The full Xenoblade Original Soundtrack was released as a 4 CD set in Japan.
- Xenoblade: The Secret File is a book released in Japan. It contains concept art, background information on the game, and a short story.