The February 2022 Nintendo Direct capped off with the surprising announcement of a third game in the Xenoblade Chronicles series. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was introduced to the world with a foreboding cinematic trailer that features plenty of elements from the first two games in the series. It may not be one of Nintendo's most well-known franchises, but its announcement is sure to please fans of the cult classic franchise.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 follows Noah and Mio, two warriors who live in a land torn by the ongoing hostilities between the two warring nations of Keves and Agnus. As the fighters from each nation cross paths, they become unlikely allies and embark on an adventure in search of a "real enemy" that lurks behind the scenes of these nations' conflicts. This new title seeks to connect the first two Xenoblade Chronicles games more explicitly than they have been in the past.
What is 'Xenoblade Chronicles' about?
Before Xenoblade Chronicles 3, there were two other mainline Xenoblade Chronicles games. The first Xenoblade Chronicles was released in 2010 on the Nintendo Wii. It later became available on the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Switch. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was released exclusively for the Switch in 2017. Both games had their own DLC stories that further expanded their individual lore.
As an aside, a game called Xenoblade Chronicles X was released in 2015 on the Wii U. Though the game bears the same title as the other entries, the story is only loosely connected to the numbered games.
The main entries in the Xenoblade Chronicles series are 1, 2, and 3. But despite their status as sequential sequels, the first two games have largely independent stories. The games are related by name and have something of a shared universe, but XC2 doesn't necessarily take place after XC1.
The first Xenoblade Chronicles follows Shulk, a young man who grows up in a world embroiled in a conflict between humans and machines. After his colony is attacked by the Mechon army and a friend is seemingly killed in the destruction, Shulk discovers his ability to wield a mysterious sword known as the Monado. He then sets out on a quest for revenge against the Mechon army while trying to learn the truth of his newfound powers.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes place in a universe parallel to the first game. In the sequel, a boy named Rex encounters a human-like Blade named Pyra. After learning how to wield her as a weapon, Rex sets off on a journey in both vast open sky and wide unknown land to guide Pyra to a mysterious paradise known as Elysium.
The stories of the first two games are mostly separate, but they do take place in universes that are parallel to each other, making them part of the same multiverse. A DLC episode for XC2 even features Rex and his friends crossing over into the universe from the first game, where they fight alongside Shulk and his own allies.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 seeks to further bridge the gap between the first two games in a new story. The game is set to release for the Switch in September 2022.