Monolith Soft's upcoming Wii U JRPG, tentatively called X, might not have a title just yet, but it's something we've been looking forward to ever since its announcement back in January 2013. New gameplay footage surfaced during February 2014's Nintendo Direct--and while there's still no word on any sort of release date, we do know that it's supposed to launch sometime this year.
So, what do we know about the unnamed game? Well, a decent amount, actually. There are controllable robots, giant monsters, a huge, seamless world--and it appears that there's some sort of multiplayer element, which could be pretty cool so long as it doesn't become a Monster Hunter clone. In any case, here's everything we know about the game so far.
Updated on February 13 with information on co-op play and equipment loadouts.
The protagonist isn't a returning character from a previous Xeno franchise
Here we get a from-the-back glimpse of the man we presume to be the game's main character. His noticeably black hair indicates that he is not Shulk, the protagonist of Xenoblade Chronicles. Unless, you know, Shulk decided to dye his hair.
And that's definitely no Monado strapped to his back--just your average 3,000-pound sword that he uses to slice through the hides of towering monsters. He doesn't resemble any of the other cast members from Chronicles either, so we can only assume he's an entirely new character.
The game is gorgeous
Seriously, take a look at that landscape. To the left, you can see the mist from waterfalls covering the lake, while a monster's chilling on the beach. Admittedly this scene is a tad on the brown side, but it's pretty nonetheless.
We really expect X to take full advantage of the Wii U's superior hardware (er, compared to the Wii anyway). Considering Xenoblade Chronicles had a vast world that you could explore, this will no doubt be significantly bigger and more detailed.
It seems to support online cooperative play
Here's where things get interesting. The box on the left side of the screen is a chat interface, suggesting this game supports some sort of cooperative play. You can see online handles of players within the chat box. Starting at the top of the chat box, the Japanese text translates to:
"Hello, nice to meet you."
monocap: "Nice to meet you, too!"
kojimaru: "Good evening."
moniburl: "What should we do today?"
monocap: "Ok, let's do it!"
Also notice the placeholders for Players 1-3, again suggesting you can form a party with other players online. As for the main character, our guess is you'll create a custom character from scratch. The Japanese text under "LV" in the top left corner translates to Anficoerias, which appears to be the name of the giant enemy.
It could be a Monster Hunter clone (plz no)
Okay, hopefully we're totally wrong here, but there's a possibility X is taking notes from Capcom's wildly successful (in Japan) Monster Hunter games. During the footage from a recent Nintendo Direct, we saw four players take on a huge, beast-like monster.
After fighting it for several minutes, they finally downed the thing. And then this screen popped up. Now, hopefully, you just get some sweet ass loot for taking on some of the tougher enemies throughout the story. But we'll be a bit bummed out if the entire game is just Monster Hunter with mechs. Hmm. On second thought, that might be pretty cool, but it's not exactly what we want from a game in the Xeno franchise.
You can pilot giant mechs called Dolls
Flyable mechs are something Xenoblade Chronicles was sorely missing. In X, however, you can not only pilot mechs (called Dolls) as a mode of transportation, but they'll also play a huge role in battle. Some monsters are absolutely gargantuan in size, and beefing up your attacks by wearing a humongous suit of armor is undoubtedly the best way to take them on.
Just know that you'll have to rely on fuel as a resource to move and attack (hardly a new thing with the Xeno series). There will also be some aerial battles, in which you'll be flying a Doll around a huge creature while blasting away at it with your weapons. We can't wait to see how much this affects the flow of battle, if at all.
Dolls are apparently Transformers
Not only does this slick cycle seem like a fast way to get around, it has a ginormous sword affixed to its anterior. That's... a good way to kill monsters, we guess? Whatever--it looks awesome.
But here's the best part: this is actually a Doll that has transformed into a ground vehicle. Need to start flying? It can quickly turn back into a full-blown mech at any time.
Combat is based on Xenoblade Chronicles' interactive battle system
As seen in any of the available game footage, combat looks almost exactly like that featured in Xenoblade Chronicles. Auto-attacks on enemies will occur so long as you're in range of their hit boxes, and you'll select an ability from the battle palette to amplify damage or inflict status effects upon your foes.
Take notice of the center ability icon: It's the chain attack icon from Xenoblade, and in that game allowed you to perform a simultaneous attack with your party members for huge damage.
Swapping between equipment is a seamless process
Recent footage of battles from X showcased characters quickly swapping from swords to guns and back again, with combat abilities changing depending on the equipped weapon. We'd imagine this will come in handy when a towering monster is rushing at you instead of a teammate and you need to dish out damage while retreating.
Even more exciting: you can quickly hop into your Doll (assuming it's nearby) and fight from within a mech. Doing so is perhaps a bit overkill when you're fighting regular monsters, but the option will no doubt be useful when facing some of the more powerful ones.
You might be able to target specific parts of an enemy's body
See that bulbous green thing sprouting from that giant bug's body? Hopefully it's not what we think it is, because it's about to get removed with a giant sword. After chopping it off, the main character proceeds to attack other sections of the humongous insect.
Now, if you can target certain parts of an enemy's body, that could allow for some really cool strategy elements, especially if you're playing with a group of friends.
Some legendary Japanese developers are working on the game.
Do you recognize the name? Kunihiko Tanaka is the man who designed the characters in 1998's Xenogears, as well as episode 1 of Xenosaga. He was noticeably absent from Episodes 2 and 3, as well as Xenoblade Chronicles, but has returned to work on X.
So, too, has Tetsuya Takahashi, the man who directed Xenogears, Xenosaga Episode 1, and Xenoblade Chronicles. He's got some credible past experience under his belt, and it's fitting he be the one to call the shots when it comes to this new game's design. Finally, Hiroyuki Sawano is composing the game's score. His background is primarily in anime and Japanese television, but what we've heard from the gameplay footage has us mega excited.
It might be a sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles
Near the end of X's reveal trailer, there's an image of Shulk, the protagonist from Xenoblade Chronicles. Perhaps this new game is a direct sequel with an online component? Or maybe the image of Shulk is shown simply as a graphics comparison, meant to highlight the leap from the Wii's visuals to the Wii U.
Regardless, the splashy 'X' symbol that comes at the end of the trailer all but confirms this is a new entry in the Xeno series. Whether it's a sequel to an existing Xeno franchise or the start of a whole new one remains to be seen.
What a bunch of jokas!
Did you have any info we seemingly missed? Do you think the new Xeno game will end up being a story-driven co-op RPG, or perhaps a Monster Hunter clone? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
And if you're looking for more, check out 9 frustrating levels that nearly made us break our controllers and 9 crazy overpowered RPG bosses that almost made us rage quit.