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Monolith Soft discusses their unique approach to story in Xenoblade Chronicles 2

A portion of a GameSpot interview with president and co-founder of Monolith Soft, Tetsuya Takahashi...

GameSpot: During the Nintendo Treehouse presentation at E3, you mentioned the idea of the drama that exists in real life between people, and how that's the key focus for what you want to deliver in Chronicles 2. I'm curious if you could speak to that a little bit more.

TT: In terms of the drama between humans and previous games, this game has the name "Xeno." Like I mentioned, it's about differences or something out of the ordinary. Just take for example all of us in this room, we're all from different places, and we are different personalities, and the way we think is different. To gather all of those people into one place, I think there is both positive and negative that can come out of that...Looking at a bigger scale, it can be survival of the fittest or things on a country-based scale, like invasion, something like that.

In this game world that we're trying to create, there are these enormous beings called Titans that people live on and, that's their land. But their land, the Titans, are dying. Once they die, they sink into the cloud sea, so all these people are going to lose their land. They're not going to be able to survive, and I think when you look at it in the real world, I think something like that, something similar happens where there is a lot of competition for resources in the world we live in right now.

Relatively speaking, the United States or Japan are wealthy countries where people live comfortably, but on the other side there are countries that are very poor where people are struggling and suffering. Trying to think about what can we do for all of us to live together well and how can we do that is something that I think about when I'm trying to create games like this.

Then in terms of touching on the idea of religion a little bit, I think for us as Japanese people, we have a little bit of contradiction in terms of religion in that, in Japan, we celebrate Christmas, and then a few days later we go to the shrines to do New Year's Prayer, which is based on Shintoism. When someone passes away, we ask Buddha's monks to say our prayers. It's kind of all over the place, but at the same time there is this idea of having tolerance for all those religions. That is something that I kind of wanted to put into my game, so that the idea of tolerance is something that can be had between people as well. And when we're creating this world within the game, I kind of wanted to put that idea into the relationships that the characters have with each other and the relationship that the character has with his or her blade as well.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Twitter update for June 21st, 2017

- character was done by Saito Masatsugu
- he designed Rex and Pyra, the two main characters
- guest character designer Tetsuya Nomura
- he designed “Torna”, which is an organisation found in the game

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - game world, characters and in-game terms detailed

The following info comes from the official Japanese website...

‘Arst’, world concealed by an ocean of clouds

There are numerous creatures living within the cloud ocean, this especially enormous creature is called a “Titan”
(Ars).
Humans have created a settlement on top of Ars.

* Note: Nintendo Treehouse used the term “Titan” for the giant creatures in the game.

‘Blade’

A variant life-form born when a human touches a core crystal.

Blade are born along with a weapon, dedicating their existence to the human that created them and growing alongside them. They’re cleaving a path through the conflict.

‘Driver’

Chosen human capable of bringing Blades into existence. Drivers can synchronize with the Blade, granting them access to a great variety of powers.

Rex, VA: Shimono Hiro

An energetic young boy working as a Salvager.
He meets with Pyra, and becomes deeply embroiled in the fate of the world.

Pyra, VA: Shimoji Shino

The partner Blade to Rex.
Possesses the power of flame.
Is headed for Elysium along with Rex.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 being localized by Nintendo of Europe, devs talk localization process

Coming from a Kotaku interview with Monolith Soft's Tetsuya Takahashi...

On localization changes to Xenoblade Chronicles X

“In terms of Xenoblade Chronicles X, there’s been a few different changes that were made to the game, but my personality is such that I’m not a stickler for products that I’ve already made, so I don’t really mind what the final product turns out to be in that sense. I really didn’t mind much at all, actually.

As a developer, I do feel like it’d be ideal to be able to adjust the content so that it’s culturally acceptable, whether it’s in the US or in the EU. For example, there was a discussion about the breast slider. Jokingly, I said, ‘Well would it help if we had a crotch slider for the male?’ Obviously it was a joke, but they responded obviously it’s not gonna work out. I do realize there’s a cultural difference between what Japanese people think and what the rest of the world thinks.

I think what’s important is that we make sure that the end user who actually plays the game doesn’t have a bad experience. If that change is going to help alleviate that, then I think we should definitely make it.”

The following comes from director Genki Yokota...

“When we have costumes or clothes that we have a little concern with, we share it with NoE and NoA and they’ll say, ‘No, no, that’s fine’ or ‘You’re right, that’s an issue’. If it is an issue, we’ll go back and say we’ll say, ‘We adjusted it this way, what do you think?’ There’s a lot of back and forth in that sense. Rather than compromise, it’s like we’re all aiming for the same goal, of being able to provide a good experience for everybody in all regions. And we’re aiming to have a game that has very little difference between the regions.”

Coming from Reggie Fils-Aime...

“The creators are always involved in anything that happens in the localization process. In terms of what gets localized, there’s a simple collection of words that we use to define how we think about this: It’s ‘cultural relevance’ and ‘understanding of the ratings and ratings implications.’ (A more severe rating could make the game harder to sell) which clearly is not in the best interest of the developers or the business for that to happen.

(Treehouse devs travel to Japan roughly every two months to collaborate on localizations) It’s during those meetings that they discuss the localization process, what’s being evaluated. I am extremely comfortable with the process. And again if you look at our executives that are involved, Nate Bihldorff and members of this team, they have deep relationships with the developers and everything is being done with the best intentions of the content showing itself the best way it can.”

Coming from Yokota...

“We’re really building [the game] as we’re in discussion, Whereas for the past title, the Japanese version had already been pretty much close to completion when this [localization] discussion started.

For past titles, because the Japanese version was done, our challenge was then to figure out what it is we need to do to make sure this game is made available in overseas, as well as, we’re able to sell this product. In that sense, I was open to making any changes that were necessary to make sure everybody can enjoy this game.”

Finally, in the interview, it is confirmed that Nintendo Europe is going to handle localization duties for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Tetsuya Takahashi discusses his goals in creating Xenoblade Chronicles 2, says "ton of surprises" left

The following post comes from Monolith Soft's Tetsuya Takahashi...

"A young adult story with a taste of boy-meets-girl. Lately it feels like all I’ve been doing are games full of devastation, like where your hometown burns down at the start, or the spaceship you’re riding crashes(oh wait, that is all I ever do). Sometimes I just wanna try something different!

I want to make something that people can look back on fondly one day as something that really shaped their lives. Something like what I loved as a boy, like Oliver!(by Carol Reed) and Galaxy Express 999(by Rintaro).
-- That’s why I started working on this game.
I’ll leave the stories about the solemn old men and hot stylish guys to someone else(even though there’s way more demand for that stuff), and go ahead with this.

That’s what was on my mind around the end of 2014 through early 2015.
Yeah, we started while Xenoblade X was still in development.
We’re building a whole new ‘Xenoblade’ title using the foundation laid by X. That’s the core of the project.

Some people think exploration is what games should be all about, while some are like “no no, story is what’s best.” Well we’ve got something perfect for both of those kinds of people: Xenoblade 2.
And that’s what I wanted to tell you with my first announcement. Sound cool?

There are still a ton of surprises left, of course.
I’ll be revealing little bits of information and riling everyone up all the way until release.
And that was my June of 2017.
(Wait, will we even meet the release deadline?!)

Monolith Soft explains how Xenoblade Chronicles 2 relates to the first game

Coming from an IGN interview with Monolith Soft studio head Tetsuya Takahashi...

“It's a completely different world, with completely new characters. It's a different game (than the first). The way I see it, I feel as though Xenoblade 1 and 2 are connected and linked in the sense that they're linear and story-driven games, whereas Xenoblade Chronicles X was more focused on open world and exploration, and maybe an online aspect. I feel like I'd like to continue to create games separating those two aspects out.

Drivers are basically humans. Then there are these things called Core Crystals. Throughout the game, you'll collect many of them, and if a Driver touches that Core Crystal, a lifeform is created. That lifeform is what we call a Blade. The Blades endow the Driver that they're linked with power and a weapon. Each Blade has different roles that it can play, so the concept is that, by attaching different Blades, the player can decide what kind of role they want to play in the game.

At the very base level, conceptually, it hasn't changed. In previous iterations, you had to select the icon and then activate the Arts. It's just, this time, the depiction of the icons is directly related to how the buttons are laid out. So it's a lot more direct and intuitive.”

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