Xenoblade Chronicles, known in Japan as Xenoblade (Japanese: ゼノブレイド Hepburn: Zenobureido?), is a Japanese action role-playing game developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo for the Wii home console. Initially released in Japan in 2010, it later released in Europe in 2011, and was eventually released in North America in 2012. A port to the New Nintendo 3DS was released worldwide in 2015. Xenoblade Chronicles forms part of the Xeno metaseries, although no direct narrative connections exist to previous Xeno games, and incorporates aesthetic and narrative elements from both fantasy and science fiction. The game features navigation through an open world, side-quests tied to party members’ affinity, and a real-time action-based battle system which incorporates the main character’s ability to see glimpses of the future.
Xenoblade Chronicles takes place on the frozen bodies of two warring gods, the Bionis and the Mechonis. The people of Bionis, including the human-like Homs, are in a perpetual war with the Machina machine race of Mechonis. Key to the Homs’ efforts in fighting the Machina’s Mechon army is the Monado, a sword said to have been wielded by the Bionis. In an attack on his colony, the main protagonist Shulk sees his childhood friend Fiora killed. Having discovered his ability to wield the Monado, he sets out on a quest for revenge.
The concept for Xenoblade Chronicles originated in June 2006 when Tetsuya Takahashi visualized and then constructed a model of two giant gods frozen in place with people living on their bodies. Development began that year under the title Monado: The Beginning of the World: it was eventually rebranded with its current title in honor of Takahashi’s previous work. The script was worked on by Takahashi, anime writer Yuichiro Takeda, and in-house Nintendo writer Yurie Hattori. The music was handled by six different composers, including first-timer Manami Kiyota and veteran Yoko Shimomura.
The game was announced in 2009 under its original title, and released in Japan the following year. Despite releasing in Europe, its North American released remained unconfirmed until December 2011, during which time a fan campaign called Operation Rainfall had drawn considerable attention to the game. Upon release, the game received critical acclaim as one of the best recent role-playing games, while its port was praised for successfully re-creating the game in portable form. It also met with commercial success in both Japan and the West. A spiritual successor by the same development team for the Wii U, Xenoblade Chronicles X, was released in 2015.