Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Everything you need to know

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Mio Noah Back To Back
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Mio Noah Back To Back (Image credit: Nintendo)

After being rumored for years, the third installment in the Xenoblade Chronicles series has been confirmed. Developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo, it is set to tie the first two games in the series together in some way. As you'd expect, there's an emphasis on enormous weapons, giant Titan lands, and intense combat.

What is Xenoblade Chronicles?

Xenoblade Chronicles (Image credit: Nintendo)

It's an action role-playing game series developed by Monolith Soft. These games stand out for their intricate world design, beautiful soundtrack, and engaging plots. Historically, battles are a combination of manual inputs and "auto-attacks." For instance, the player can choose specific attacks to be implemented and can control where the character goes, but the character and companions also attack on their own.

In the Xenoblade Chronicles world, the Bionis and Mechonis, two massive titans, battled a long time ago and influenced the creation of the world. Instead of living on the ground, all settlements and locations are located on the backs of similarly massive titans. Thus, there is a focus on location design and making the player feel small wherever they go.

These are honestly some of the best JRPGs ever made and you really ought to play through them if you haven't already.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 official trailer

The first official trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was released during the February 2022 Nintendo Direct.

Who are the main characters?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Sword (Image credit: Nintendo)

When the game begins, the player is first introduced to Noah and Mio. Noah is a young man with dark hair and a long ponytail while Mio is a Gormotti, a humanoid with cat ears. While not a lot is known about them, currently we do know that players will meet six main characters in total throughout the course of the story. Here are their names:

  • Noah
  • Mio
  • Lanz
  • Eunie
  • Taion
  • Sena

What is the story?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Giant Machine (Image credit: Nintendo)

Not much is known about the plot so far, but we do know the story takes place in the world of Aionios, where two nations are at war with each other: Keeves and Agnus. Sound bites from the first official trailer suggest that characters will need to choose sides and won't find themselves making the same decisions, which will cause some rifts and drama.

According to a press release from Nintendo, this installment will connect the futures of both Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It's not just a story that was tacked on later either. According to an introduction to Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Executive Director Tetsuya Takahashi says that at least parts of this third installment were conceived years ago:

"The key visual features a broken great sword of Mechonis and the body of the Urayan Titan with a gaping wound. I imagine everyone who saw the trailer was quite surprised by the final scene. What is this visual hinting at? I can't reveal that just yet. What I can tell you is that this visual was conceived quite some time ago. More precisely speaking, we came up with it sometime between the end of the development of Xenoblade Chronicles and the beginning of the development of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. So, it's not something we recently added to the series."

We do know that the events of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 took place at the same time but in parallel universes. It's unclear when or where Xenoblade Chronicles 3 story takes place and just how it will tie them together.

What's up with the flutes?

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Flutes (Image credit: Nintendo)

In the same introduction to Xenoblade Chronicles 3 that Nintendo released, Takahashi addresses the flutes shown in the trailer and alludes to them being a big part of the third game.

"The music in this game maintains the unique Xenoblade Chronicles touch while also taking on a new challenge, namely that of integrating a flute-based melody as its motif. The flute is actually one of the key themes in this game."

The specific mechanics and use for the flute have not been explained as of yet, but we'll keep our ears to the ground and will update when we learn more.

Party members, combat, and the new Interlink System

Players command Noah and can have up to six other characters on their team who each have their own weapons, attack styles, and classes. Upon approaching an enemy directly in the overworld, the player can control their party members and strategically use their distinct roles within the group to emerge victoriously.

A new mechanic known as the Interlink System is added to this latest Xenoblade Chronicles game. This basically means that members of your party are also in tag-team pairs and can combine themselves together when certain conditions are met to unleash far more powerful attacks while transformed into a giant being known as Ouroboros. These tag-team pairs are Noah and Mio, Lanz and Sena, and lastly Eunie and Taion.

Class changes

According to Nintendo, characters each have a starting class, but can eventually level up and change classes as the game progresses. The main character, Noah, is a Swordfighter who fights best at close range while Mio is a Zephyr who distracts while avoiding taking damage. You can see how you'll need to utilize each character's skills for the good of the entire team.

Are Xenoblade Chronicles characters in Smash?

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Pyra And Shulk (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Yes! You'll recognize the main characters from the first two games as playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Shulk from the first game was brought in as one of the original Smash fighters while Pyra and Mythra are DLC fighters from Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Special Edition

Nintendo has revealed that a Special Edition of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will be available via the My Nintendo Store. This version includes packaging artwork from Masatsugu Saito, who designed several characters within the Xenoblade Chronicles series. Additionally, it features a 250+ hardcover art book in full color, as well as a steel case. At the time of this writing, it wasn't available for preorder yet, but Nintendo will reveal more info in the future.

Release Date

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Paper Birds (Image credit: Nintendo (screenshot))

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was originally set to release sometime in September 2022, but now the launch has been moved up to July 29, 2022.

On the backs of Titans

We can expect great things from the third entry in the Xenoblade Chronicles series. In past games, the combat has always been complex but rewarding, the music has been phenomenal, and the story has definitely kept our attention. Hopefully the same will be the case for Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.