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The Xenoblade Series Plot, Quickly Summarized
Believe it or not, it’s been well past a decade since Xenoblade Chronicles first launched for the Nintendo Wii back in 2010. A lot has happened since then for studio Monolith Soft, and the series that once was too niche for a proper localization is now at the forefront of simultaneous worldwide releases for JRPGs.
The latest entry for the IP under Nintendo’s umbrella, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 features a familiar sprawling open world, a band of misfits out on an adventure, and just the right touch of British accents. But with a story that’s said to tie directly into the futures of both Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2, newcomers are understandably concerned.
With the game coming out in a month’s time, you may not have time to play through all the Xenoblade games since they’re a 100 hours apiece. Whether you’re new to the series or just in need of a refresher, we’re here to get you up to speed.
Since we’re recapping the numbered Xenoblade Chronicles titles on Nintendo Switch, there will be spoilers, so here’s your warning.
In the world of the first Xenoblade Chronicles, two races live in perpetual war with one another. The organic life of the Bionis constantly defend themselves against attacks from the machine-like Mechonis. These two nations are represented by giant hulking Titans, which the residents live on. Why Titans? Well, there’s no inherent reason other than it looks really cool.
Anyway, our hero Shulk is a humble Homs (that’s a human) living in a Bionis village known as Colony 9. Shulk’s peaceful life is turned upside down when mean, mechanized robots called Mechon attack Colony 9, inevitably also leading to the death of his childhood friend and budding lover, Fiora.
Shulk gets really mad about this, shouts his memed-to-death, “I’LL KILL YOU!” line, and then sets off on a quest for revenge.
He’s got a glowing red sword with him called the Monado that can hurt the robots. It also somehow lets him peer into the future, which helps out with some snags on his journey.
Some friends join up along the way, among which include other childhood friend Reyn, Fiora’s brother Dunban, gun medic Sharla, and a furball called Riki. There’s also Melia, who seems to have a big crush on Shulk. She’s a princess and has a pair of wings attached to her head. Apparently, those are real.
Big plot twists kind of get thrown left and right throughout Shulk’s journey, but don’t worry too much about them. Shulk eventually reaches the Mechonis Titan, where he fights a lot more robots than usual.
Fiora is apparently alive and was turned into a cyborg. Kind of grim to think about, but the fact that she can fire lasers now probably evens things out a bit. She’s also possessed by Mechonis’s god, Meyneth.
The gang and newly joined Fiora learn that the Mechonis’ residents, called the Machina, are peaceful people. Turns out that those invasions on the Bionis we’ve been seeing was all the work of one rogue Machina called Egil, who seeks revenge on the Bionis and its god, Zanza, for destroying his people.
The crew beat Egil, after which we hear some platitudes about how everyone should be striving for peace, but before the credits get to roll, Shulk is shot in the back by Dickson, a minor character who turns out to be yet another main antagonist!
But brace yourself for a third antagonist, because another one magically appears from Shulk himself. Turns out that Shulk has been a vessel for the god Zanza, who in turn reveals himself to be the true main villain. Zanza’s goal is to destroy all life and reshape them in his new image, but our party isn’t going to take this lying down.
Meyneth leaves Fiora to save the party, and as Zanza taps into the power of the Monado, the party escapes with an unconscious Shulk while Mechonis is destroyed. They take some time to lick their wounds only to later find out that Zanza has already begun the process that will wipe the world clean.
More tragedy ensues. In particular, Melia loses much of her people due to them being transformed into world-ending entities called Telethia. Shulk and his friends fight their way through various opponents and finally reach Zanza.
And I suppose you already know what happens next, right? The party kills god and saves the world – that’s a JRPG classic, all right. And with the destruction of Mechonis, the Machina joins the Homs on the Bionis, where they live together peacefully. Likewise, Shulk and his friends are shown happy as can be, with life back to normal even for Fiora, who is magically just normal flesh and blood now.
Quick note though: it’s revealed that Zanza and Meyneth used to be normal humans and, in a science experiment gone wrong, triggered a big bang of sorts that created the world of Xenoblade Chronicles as we know it. Also, the Monado was a part of Alvis, a supercomputer from the space station Zanza and Meyneth were on. Guess this was a science fiction story all along! Then again, this is written from the same guy who wanted to turn the original Xenogears into a 6-part game epic.
Xenoblade Chronicles Future Connected is an epilogue to the first Xenoblade Chronicles, but it’s also a new story made with the intention of leading into Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Our story begins one year after the events of XC1, with Shulk and Melia riding a flying ship toward the High Entia capital, Alcamoth. However, a giant laser from the capital strikes their ship, causing them to touch down on the Bionis Shoulder, which has remained suspended in the air even after the Bionis titan’s collapse.
The pair set out to Alcamoth on foot to find out what’s going on, and they’re conveniently joined by Riki’s two children, Kino and Nene, because… well… they happened to tag along on the ship in secret.
During their journey, they run into a sullen High Entia soldier who informs them that the capital has been abandoned and that a mysterious untouchable entity called the Fog King has taken up residence there.
There’s a bit of extra plot about Melia’s readiness to lead her people and how broken the High Entia people are after the events of XC1. Needless to say that much of the story’s emotions revolve around her, while Shulk and our furry friends are kinda just here for the ride.
Anyway, some time is spent reaching Alcamoth, after which they discover that, yes, the untouchable Fog King is indeed untouchable.
Melia and the gang fall back to figure out a way to beat the Fog King, but during this time, the rift it came from grows wider and wider, turning the living creatures on the Bionis Shoulder hostile.
Looks like the fate of the world is at risk again, but as Melia and Shulk are about to grab some important research to defeat the Fog King, a radical half-blooded High Entia named Gael’gar with a deep hatred for pure bloods destroys it. He’s kind of villain-of-the-week material, so don’t worry about it too much.
The party dispatches our villain and manages to salvage some information. After a short detour to upgrade Shulk’s sword, they’re now ready to take on the Fog King. After a good thrashing, the Fog King bites the dust, but not before waves of Telethia sacrifice themselves to control the rift. As Melia defeats the Fog King, the rift also disappears.
Shulk remarks that the future is now saved… but is it really? Well, that’s for another story (hint, hint).
In any case, Melia finally accepts her duty as Empress, and the story fittingly ends with her coronation. There isn’t much here that clearly ties the expansion to XC3, but the Fog King is vaguely reminiscent of a certain enemy that only appears in XC2, thus hinting at a link between the worlds of XC1 and XC2, as well as the merging of them in XC3.
If you’re wondering when exactly Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes place in the timeline, it’s in the same timeframe as XC1. So, rather than a sequel, it’s a sidequel. You don’t see that very often, do you?
Either way, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 starts like a brand new game with no immediate connection to Xenoblade Chronicles 1. Our protagonist Rex is a normal salvager in the world of Alrest who makes his living by fishing up random junk from the Cloud Sea below.
Rex is one day hired by a group of mysterious people called Torna for a big salvaging job. However, what he finds below is a legendary red-headed Blade called Pyra. In Xenoblade, Blades are artificial lifeforms that bind to a user, or Driver, granting them immense power. But before Rex can awaken her, he is stabbed in the heart by Torna’s leader, Jin.
In a dream, Rex makes a promise to Pyra to take her to a paradise called Elysium. In exchange, Pyra shares a part of her Core Crystal to revive Rex which, funny enough, involves, well, touching her chest.
Anyway, Torna soon has the pair on the run, because they want the Aegis for world-destroying stuff. Nia (an amusingly Welsh-speaking catgirl) defects from Torna to join up with our heroes alongside her Blade Dromarch. A furball called Tora and his hand-made Blade Poppi also tag along at some point.
While the adventure appears to go swimmingly for a while, Torna catches up to the group and tries to capture Pyra once again. Pyra transforms into a smoking hot blonde to fend Torna off, which, depending on how you look at things, might offset the loss of that one friend in the same dramatic scene.
We learn that Pyra is an offshoot personality created by the original Aegis, Mythra (that’s the blonde one). Mythra shut herself out from the world due to the regret of sinking the Torna Titan (hey, that’s a familiar name) and its inhabitants 500 years ago.
In any case, Rex and his two-for-one girlfriend continue their journey in search for Elysium, traveling across different Titans in their quest. The quirky Zeke and Pandoria, as well as Inquisitor Morag and Brighid also join up along the way.
It doesn’t take long before Torna ambushes the group once more, this time successfully spiriting Pyra and Mythra away.
We kinda get sidetracked here for a bit as Rex has to get over his sad feelings, but he does get around to rescuing them, we swear. As the group confronts Jin and Malos, Rex revives a hollow Pyra and Mythra to unleash the true power of the Aegis, Pneuma. Now you can also mark “green-haired girl” off your bingo card.
Also, Nia turns out to be a Blade and has a crush on Rex. We’re sensing a trend here.
The party finally gets around to climbing the World Tree in an attempt to reach Elysium, fighting many opponents in the process. Reaching the top, the party discovers that the real Elysium is gone and utterly devoid of life.
They meet the Architect Klaus, who’s missing half of his body in another dimension. Turns out that his other half is Zanza in the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 1, but this Klaus is less arrogant and just wants to make up for his mistakes.
We find out that the World Tree of Alrest is in actuality the spaceship that you saw in Xenoblade Chronicles 1, and while XC1 took place in a newly created dimension, XC2 happens on a destroyed planet Earth, with Klaus attempting to heal it through the creation of Blades and Titans.
Rex and the gang catch up to Malos, who is hellbent on using a giant mech from the old world to destroy all life. They ultimately come out top, but as Shulk defeats Zanza in the same timeframe, Klaus also dies, causing the entirety of Elysium to crumble.
Pneuma tricks Rex into leaving while staying behind to destroy Elysium before it can fall onto Alrest, thus sacrificing herself in the process.
Back on the surface, Titans begin to gather and form landmass, suggesting that Alrest was the true Elysium all along. It’s a bittersweet moment implying an unfulfilled promise, but Pyra and Mythra reappear before Rex once again, cementing a happy ending for our friends.
Unlike Future Connected, Torna The Golden Country is a story that expands on the history of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Most notably, it focuses on Jin and his Driver, Lora, about 500 years before the events of Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
In stark contrast to XC2, Jin is still a good guy here, and he’s even noted to be a person who doesn’t like fighting.
In their time, an awakened Aegis called Malos spreads destruction and chaos throughout Alrest. Jin and Lora live on the Torna titan, struggling to survive amidst the war-torn land. The pair set out to meet Lora’s other Blade, Haze, to learn the whereabouts of Lora’s long-lost mother. Traversing through razen villages, they eventually run into one of Malos’s machines, after which they are saved by the Aegis Mythra and her Driver, Addam.
Mythra’s cockier and less compassionate for humans than you remember in XC2, suggesting that she’s inexperienced about the world and how to deal with people, especially since she was specifically awakened only recently to stop Malos. She and Addam are accompanied by a small catboy named Milton.
The party heads to the Gormott titan, but Lora soon discovers that her mother has died amidst the razing and pillaging at the village of Torigoth. From here on, they are joined by Hugo and his Blades, Brighid and Aegaeon, who are also keen on stopping Malos.
After a brief scuffle against Gort, a Core Crystal thief who was acquainted with Lora’s mother, the party departs in search of the obvious bigger fish to fry.
For a while, we get to learn about Mythra’s cooking skills (or lack thereof), and eventually the party is joined by Minoth, whom you may or may not remember as a less handsome minor NPC in XC2.
More events ensue, this time involving Mythra’s sleepwalking. Regardless, the party eventually surmise that Malos is out to unleash Torna’s true and unchecked power by making away with its seal, which would throw Alrest into chaos.
Despite their best efforts, Malos succeeds in obtaining the seal and goads the party into a final showdown. To save Torna, the party battle Malos, and while they fight on the ground, Malos and Mythra’s mechas pepper the sky with carnage.
Noticing that Mythra is holding back in their battle, Malos decides to push her off the edge by unleashing his destruction on Torna’s city, killing Milton in the process. Mythra is traumatized by what she sees and loses control of herself, unconsciously tapping into her true power, which then leads to Torna’s utter destruction as well as Malos’s defeat.
After these these traumatic events, Mythra hides herself away by creating Pyra, a separate personality embodying the opposites to all her flaws and insecurities (yes, that includes the cooking). Under the assumption that Malos is gone for good, Addam then seals Pyra away in a ship that he buries into the Cloud Sea, thus paving the way for XC2.
As for how Jin became a bad guy in XC2… Well, it looks like in fear of the Aegis’s power, armies were sent to hunt down Mythra amongst Torna’s survivors, which kills Lora in the process. Afraid of forgetting his memories of her, Jin manages to outlive his Driver by eating her heart; that’s just how it works.
500 years later, the man becomes embittered towards the entire world, so much so that he wants to destroy it. After all, what’s a life if it can’t be with the one you swore to protect?
Answer: Not necessarily. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the proper sequel to both XC1 and XC2’s stories but also features new protagonists.
XC3’s world of Aionios consists of locations from both games that have mysteriously been merged together. Similarly, the inhabitants from the games’ two worlds are also at war with each other. From a lore perspective, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is more intertwined with past games than ever before. Certain characters that have proven to live long lifespans also make a return.
But there is a silver lining here in that the main cast of XC3 is completely new, so these characters will be learning about any major revelation just as you will. Still, it always helps to know the context behind the previous games, so hopefully this quick crash course helped easy any doubts.
Answer: The world of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 shares characters, races, and locations that you’ve seen in the other Xenoblade games. Some examples include the Homs, High Entia, and Machina from Xenoblade 1, as well as the Blades from Xenoblade 2. Characters with long lives such as Melia and Nia appear to return, as well as familiar locations such as the Mechonis Sword and Urayan titan.
However, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 also interestingly includes a desert area from Torna (Dannagh Desert), which somehow exists despite having been destroyed in the events of XC2. Which begs the question: what kind of metaphysical phenomenon brought about the existence of this world?