Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Everything We Learned In Today’s Nintendo Direct

Many new details about Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have been revealed as part of a special Nintendo Direct. From the core cast of six characters to their battle abilities and the world they live in, here’s everything we’ve learned today.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Main Characters

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is set in a world ravaged by conflict between two nations; Agnus and Keves. The six main characters are initially two parties from opposing sides of this conflict, but soon realize that they share a common destiny and must work together to defeat the real enemy.

The first party consists of: Noah, a brave off-seer; the brash and blunt Eunie; and Lanz, a burly brawler. Their initial opponents are the kind and compassionate Mio; the genius battle tactician, Taion; and Sena, a tiny person with great strength.

After joining together, the six fight as a whole party in their quest to reach Swordmarch, a land pierced by a huge stone sword.

Alongside these main characters are a roster of Heroes, who act as the seventh member of your party. While you can recruit a large number of heroes, only one can be in your party at any time. Quite a few were shown in the Direct, including Ashera, Valdi, Riku and Manana, Fiona, Alexandria, and Gray. Few details were offered on what they contribute, but Heroes do have their own specialisms. Valdi, for instance, is a War Medic, while Alexandria is a Raider who can inflict more critical hits.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Battle System and Classes

Characters in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 all fit into a classic RPG class trinity: Attackers, Defenders, and Healers. But within those broad categories are more specific classes. Examples offered by the Direct include the Swordfighter, which is a well-balanced attacker that leads the fight; the Zephyr, a defense specialist that can evade and counter enemy attacks; the Medic Gunner, who can restore allies and strengthen abilities at range; the Tactician, who disrupts enemies and supports allies with paper talismans; the Heavy Guard, which uses massive weapons to defend allies and draw aggro; and the Ogre, which can crush enemy defenses.

Each character can switch between classes, and its recommended for each character in the party to learn multiple classes to allow for a well-rounded team.

Classes allow characters to use Arts; special abilities that are mapped to the Switch’s face buttons. Stringing together Arts creates combos, and fits into a system in which you break and topple enemies before launching them into the air and then smashing them back down to the ground. Chaining attacks together is a surefire way to devastate enemies.

Fusion Arts take that system to the next level, allowing you to combine two different arts into one attack.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s battle system is real-time, and you can switch between party members freely at any time. So far, at least from the footage in the Direct, it looks a pretty slick and fun system.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Ouroboros Interlinking

By far the coolest reveal of the Direct is Interlinking; an ability that allows two party members to fuse together into an Evangelion-like mech/creature/thing called an Ouroboros. Specific pairs of characters are able to do this, and depending on which character is chosen to be the dominant mind in the pair, an Ouroboros’ abilities can change. As such, you’ll want to choose the right ‘pilot’ for the task. Interlinking is only a temporary deal, so you’ll need to make the most of your Ouroboros before the timer runs out, but they can join in with chain attacks to create hugely damaging combos.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Expansion Pass and Collector’s Edition

The Direct also announced an Expansion Pass, which will cost $29.99/£26.99. Included is a new story scenario, which will release by the end of 2023. At launch, the pass will add “helpful items” and outfit color variants. By the end of 2022, a new challenge battle, new Hero and quests, and new outfits will have been added, too. And by the end of April 2023, another new challenge battle, hero, quests, and outfits is also promised to have arrived.

When Xenoblade Chronicles 3 launches on July 29, a Collector’s Edition that comes with an art book and SteelBook case will be available. It’s exclusive to the My Nintendo Store, so keep an eye on the website for pre-orders.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was first announced earlier this year at the February 2022 Nintendo Direct. It’s the sequel to the well-loved Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and while it is set in the future of the world depicted in the previous games, it features a new cast and story.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.

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