Named after SquareSoft's Xenogears and Xenosaga in honor of producer Tetsuya Takahashi and his history and struggles in the industry, the franchise is itself a Spiritual Successor to the same series, borrowing its Gnosticism-inspired symbolism and its love for giant robots.
Xenoblade Chronicles is infamous for being one of the three games involved (the other two being Pandora's Tower and The Last Story) in a fan campaign called "Operation Rainfall" to push Nintendo into releasing and localizing the titles in North America. Out of the three, Xenoblade Chronicles is by far the most successful, spawning three sequels and featuring in Super Smash Bros. as one of Nintendo's most recognizable titles.
The series features a unique mix of Action RPG gameplay akin to Final Fantasy XII with MMO mechanics such as cooldowns for special abilities.
The series consists of:
- Xenoblade Chronicles (Nintendo Wii, 2010; New Nintendo 3DS, 2015): Two continent-sized gods called the Bionis and the Mechonis fought until only their lifeless corpses remained. Life arose on the surface of these titans, organic life on the Bionis and the Mechon on Mechonis. For as long as the human-like Homs can remember, the Mechon have been intent on wiping out all life upon Bionis. With the power of the legendary Monado, sword of the Bionis itself, Shulk and his friends embark on a journey to end this war once and for all.
- Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Nintendo Switch, 2020): Updated Re Release, includes Future Connected epilogue story. One year after the events of the game, Melia and Shulk go to investigate the Bionis' Shoulder. However, an unexpected attack leaves them stranded on a Floating Continent, forcing them to deal with a new threat.
- Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U, 2015): In 2054, a war between two alien factions devastates the Earth, and forces humanity to evacuate the planet. Two years later, one of the surviving Colony Ships — the American White Whale, holding the city of New Los Angeles — is caught and attacked by one alien faction. The White Whale survives long enough to break apart over a hospitable planet: Mira. Months later, your player-created character joins BLADE—NLA's defense force—as they attempt to claim Mira as their new home, all while dealing with a few small complications, most notably the gigantic and bloodthirsty Miran wildlife capable of turning NLA into a pile of rubble.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Nintendo Switch, 2017): In the world of Alrest, the last remnants of civilization live on the backs of colossal beasts called Titans, which swim on the surface of an endless ocean of clouds. However, the Titans are reaching the end of their lifespans, and with the increasing scarcity of livable land, the various nations of the Titans are growing uneasy and edging closer to war. One day, Rex, a young salvager, is hired to help retrieve one of the rarest Blades of them all: an "Aegis"-class Blade named Pyra. Rex ends up becoming bonded to Pyra, and together they embark on a world-spanning quest to reach her place of birth: Elysium, a mythical land of plenty said to exist at the top of the World Tree, with enough livable space for all.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country (Nintendo Switch, 2018): A Standalone Expansion Pack, set 500 years into the past of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 during the Aegis War and the fall of the once prosperous titan of Torna.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (Nintendo Switch, 2022; sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2): In the world of Aionios, two nations are locked in conflict: Keves, a technological-powerhouse brimming with combat vehicles and mobile weapons, and Agnus, a magic-based society specializing in ether technology and autonomous weapons. Amidst the turmoil from both hostile countries are Noah and Mio, the protagonists of the game, alongside others from Keves and Agnus who will be part of an adventure that will connect the futures of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
- Super Smash Bros.:
- Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, 2014): Shulk's inclusion in the fourth installment introduces Xenoblade Chronicles to Nintendo's premier crossover Platform Fighter.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo Switch, 2018): Along with Shulk, Pyra/Mythra make their debut as playable fighters in the fifth installment as part of Fighters Pass #2.
- Project X Zone 2: Brave New World (Nintendo 3DS, 2015): a Crossover title between SEGA, Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Nintendo that features Fiora from the first Xenoblade Chronicles.
Tropes common in the series:
- Action Commands: Every game has button prompts popping up in combat. They are tied to a Morale Mechanic, improving the party's perfomance if cleared successfully. In 2 action commands also raise damage dealt by Blade Specials and extend Chain Attacks.
- Back Stab: Arts with bonuses to damage when used from enemy's back or side are pretty common across all games in the series. In 2 they are less efficient, however, because the game doesn't allow auto-attacks while moving.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The series' Unique Monsters (Tyrants in X), which are larger, abnormally powerful versions of regular enemies found in their immediate area. Finding and defeating them gives the player a special reward.
- Damager, Healer, Tank: Played with. The games' MMORPG-like combat and clearly defined aggro system technically allows for such a system, but as the game goes on, this setup starts to quickly fall behind in efficiency, as dodge tanking and "crit heal" strategies become available. Still, in both numbered games the first party that the player receives adheres to this trope.
- Draw Aggro: "Tank" characters and classes often has abilities that heighten their aggro rating, or even force enemies to focus on them.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Whenever the player dies, the party will be transported to the last visited landmark.
- Humongous Mecha: Every game has them in some form. Mechon in 1, Skells in X, some Artifices and Sovereigns in 2.
- Injured Vulnerability: Some battle arts can inflict a Status Effect called Break (Stagger in X), that does nothing by itself, but allows certain other arts inflict Topple, that knocks enemy down, preventing them from attacking and dodging. In 1 and 2 Topple is followed by Daze and Launch/Smash respectively. Some arts also has additional effects when used on enemies afflicted with one of these effects.
- Legacy Boss Battle: The Territorial Rotbart and Immovable Gonzalez, a duo of giant apelike Unique Monsters who reside in an early area at lategame levels. Rotbart wanders aimlessly throughout a field, attacking the player's party on sight, while Gonzalez stays still and rests in a secluded area. Both apes have appeared in all "mainline" Xenoblade games thus far, with the former getting a Suspiciously Similar Substitute in X.
- NPC Scheduling: Some NPC, and, more importantly, enemies, are present only during specific periods of time.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Nopons are an entire race of them. They are egg-shaped, bird-like creatures with Black Bead Eyes. Deconstructed to an extent, as the Nopon are well aware of it and are not above exploiting it.