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Futures Connected note 

"Two colossal martial nations, locked in war: Keves and Agnus. What is it they need to stay alive? Water? Food? Certainly. But what we need most... is life itself. Taking each other's lives, with the taken flames becoming your own in turn, while the other, the one whose essence is stolen, leaves only a husk. Fighting in order to live. And living to fight. That's the way of our world, Aionios. Cruel irony that it should mean 'eternity'. Because slowly but surely, our world is now dying. Even though we have yet to realize that fact."
Noah in the opening narration

Xenoblade Chronicles 3note  is an Eastern RPG sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the third numbered installment in the Xenoblade Chronicles series, and the fourth Xenoblade Chronicles game overall. It is developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch, and was released on July 29, 2022.

In the world of Aionios, two nations are locked in a Forever War: Keves, a technological powerhouse brimming with combat vehicles and mobile weapons, and Agnus, a magic-based society specializing in ether technology and autonomous weapons. Both nations' human populations consist solely of Designer Babies, "born" at the equivalent of age 10, raised to do nothing except fight the opposite side. Those slain in battle (provided they are killed by a Blade weapon) get their remaining Life Energy drained into the enemy colony's "Flame Clock," which sustains the lives of its troops. The few lucky enough to live for ten years — the end of their lifespan — get the honor of getting a proper send-off by the queen of their respective nations.

In the midst of this cycle of endless carnage and death, six elite soldiers — three from Keves (Noah, Eunie, and Lanz), and three from Agnus (Mio, Taion, and Sena) — are forced to band together when a mission leads to an encounter with a mysterious third party — and a monstrous creature that brands them enemies of the world. Now fugitives from both nations, these heroes must learn to trust each other, confront the true terrible enemy manipulating both sides and put an end to the bloodshed for good.

...Even if doing so means the destruction of Aionios itself.

A number of key staff members return for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, from series executive director Tetsuya Takahashi to Yasunori Mitsuda, ACE, Kenji Hiramatsu, Manami Kiyota and Mariam Abounnasr as composers, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2's character designer Masatsugu Saito (of Cyborg 009: Call of Justice and Expelled from Paradise fame).

A story expansion, Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed, released April 25, 2023, as part of the fourth wave of DLC from the Expansion Pass, and was first shown via a teaser in the 2/8/2022 Nintendo Direct.

amiibo figures of the two leads, Noah and Mio, are in the works, and are slated for release on January 19, 2024.

Trailers: Announcement Trailer, Release Date Revealed, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Direct, Direct Teaser Trailer, Overview Trailer, Story Expansion Teaser, "Future Redeemed" Release Date Trailer.


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  • Ability Mixing: Fusion Arts add the effects of a Master Art to a Class Art. Using them will gradually increase the character's Interlink Level, which makes it easier to charge the Talent Art in Ouroboros form and grants some Ouroboros Arts additional effects if the Interlink Level is 3.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Noah wields the traditional red Laser Blade required of a hero in this series, but his laser sword is actually the sheath. The outer blade can disassemble into a gauntlet for his left arm and reveal Lucky Seven, a masterwork katana so sharp that it can bisect the otherwise indestructible Flame Clocks with a single slice. Noah normally keeps Lucky Seven contained inside his usual sword because it's far too deadly for his liking. His Evil Counterpart has a similar sword, but isn't shy about using the katana as his main weapon. It is the Sword of the End, forged of metal from Origin. It can cut through anything because, in essence, it is made of the only real material in the world.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Remarked on with Gray and his wife Rozana, who have a thirty year gap between them. Their marriage is portrayed as stable and loving, with nobody really remarking on the difference as noteworthy.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • Downplayed with the playable cast. Noah is the only character who has a completely mundane Western-style name. Eunie is a fairly uncommon Greek name that Eunice happens to be derived from. Lanz is a slightly more fantastical variation of the mundane name Lance. Meanwhile Mio, Sena, and Taion all have names derived from Japanese, as is typical of Blade/Agnian naming conventions (some of which was Lost in Translation due to Dub Name Change). Mio and Sena are fairly mundane Japanese names for women, but Taion is a minor Japanese goddess.
    • Played straight with the non-playable Heroes; Riku & Manana, Valdi, Zeon, & Juniper.
    • See also the Vandham family, with Monica being sandwiched between Guernica and Ghondor.
  • After the End: It's revealed late in the game that Aionios is actually the remnants of the worlds of Bionis and Alrest being dragged back into the same universe and colliding with each other, destroying both worlds save for a "light" that would be left behind. Nia and Melia pooled all their knowledge and resources into building Origin, a device to reincarnate the worlds and everyone in them using the light as the new basis of their existence, but that failed due to mankind's desire for things to not change keeping them fused together. Letting the interrupted process happen is the end goal of the game, basically letting the world end in order to save it.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: When the Auto-Levs in Colony Lambda are reactivated, they end up attacking people indiscriminately. It's believed that reactivating them ended up resetting who they considered enemies, and after reprogramming they function properly again.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: The air vents for the Prison are incredibly spacious, roughly twice the height of the characters. The grates that allow entry from the outside are also colored brightly for ease of locating (though the ease of getting into the vents can be justified by the great strength the characters possess).
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Downplayed and played with. As is a recurring theme in the Xenoblade games, Nopon are once again implied to not be a native part of either 1 or 2's universes. They do not have iris technology in their eyes, nor do they summon Blade weapons, nor are they bound to Flame Clocks and they live far beyond 10 years. And several Nopon in this game remark on how they make efforts to keep some distance from humans (though in practice many Nopon don't abide by this). In one mysterious interaction, Moebius X remarks in response to Riku keeping her from riling up the rest of the party further that she believed Nopon were "not supposed to interfere," and questions if this information is a mistake.
  • Always Identical Twins: Number Seven (Segiri) and Number Thirteen are clearly identical twins. The interesting part is that due to everyone being born from Uterine Replicators, no one knows what siblings are, much less twins. Segiri mentions that no one in the colony ever understood why they looked identical, or their strange connection. Funnily enough, the Uterine Replicators also justify the "always" part of this trope; for all we know we see plenty of other twins and siblings, but no one notices because they don't look identical.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Zig-zagged, oddly enough. The final battle takes place on a relatively normal platform floating in the sky, but the Final Boss spews so many swirling lights and special effects, its mere presence makes the scene look like your party is standing inside a vortex of pure energy.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Even more so than usual for a Xenoblade game, the strange nature of Aionios confuses things significantly:
    • As usual, the Nopon are a giant question mark. It's implied they know quite a bit more about the nature of Aionios than the Kevesi and Agnians, but they never speak of it. They are exempt from the Flame Clock system, and have some kind of vague truce agreement with Z, but it remains unclear as to why. Not to mention that at least one is immortal, and it's unclear if that extends to all Nopon, all people brought in directly from outside Aionios, or some other reason.
    • Almost every Agnian has a visible Core Crystal; most appear to be standard Blades, others are clearly Blade Eaters, and at least one seems to be a Flesh Eater. However, the fact that they all age at a normal human rate despite the fact that all three types are supposed to be semi-immortal leads to questions. The standard theory is that they're all descended from Blade/human pairings; we know at least three are, and they all inherited their appearances from their Blade parents. Likewise on the Kevesi side, all the Machina and High Entia age at the same rate as the Homs, despite living for hundreds of years minimum, leaving open the question of whether some of the Machina soldiers have shorter lifespans due to being part-Homs or whether Machina and Homs can even have children together. The most ecumenical possibility is just that the nature of Aionios makes everyone age at the same rate even if they were born immortal in their own world, but nothing concrete is ever stated in this vein.
    • The nature of the "Endless Now" means that it's unclear exactly how long Aionios has existed, or when it was created after the events of the previous two games. We know that Homecomings began to involve Off-Seers a thousand years ago, and the second City was founded around the same time. Other than that, everything is up in the air. In Future Redeemed, this leads to further confusion because of Rex and Shulk. It's left ambiguous whether they've been around since the very beginning of Aionios and share the same kind of vague immortality that Melia, Nia, and Riku do, or were only incarnated some time shortly before Alpha started making trouble, ten years before Future Redeemed.
  • Androcles' Lion: Downplayed. Whichever side you take during a monster fight, the one you side with (assuming you won) won't attack you. This includes creatures without sapience such as animals.
  • Animation Bump: All characters' lip movements are properly synced to all voiced dialogue in both English and Japanese, unlike previous games. This includes a Tirkin character, whereas they had no mouth movement for speech in previous games.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification:
    • Discussed. Noah tells N that he and M became regret itself, while Noah and the rest of Ouroboros represent hope.
    • Z is the personification of humanity's fear of the unknown future and the wish for the "Endless Now," for everything to stay the same. Mixed with the Origin system that was rebooting both worlds, this created something like an intelligent piece of malware in Origin that was able to physically manifest.
  • Anti-Climax: Played with during the boss fights against Moebius X and Moebius Y in Origin. Although they're plot relevant and are introduced with a cutscene, winning does not have a corresponding death cutscene unlike every other plot-relevant boss in the game, instead ending as if it was just a normal battle in the world.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Silver and Gold Nopon Coins can be traded in for a number of things, from class levels, to Collectopedia requests, to meals and gems, greatly relieving a lot of the grinding and fetch questing that previous entries in the series had required.
    • After defeating a Unique Monster, the Named Gravestone that gets left behind also becomes a Quick Travel point, making it much easier to return for rematches.
    • The player can engage enemies and do battle without any restrictions even in deep water.
    • When traversing damaging terrain, AI-controlled party members will always have at least 1 HP remaining. Only the party lead controlled by the player has to worry about getting back to safety. A field skill unlocked near the end of the game completely negates terrain damage.
    • When fighting an enemy at the side of a cliff, using Arts that throw the character forward will not cause them to fall over the edge.
    • Items will never be lost over the sides of cliffs; those emitted by chests next to them will always bounce inwards, and enemy drops that fall into bottomless pits will be added to the inventory automatically.
    • Crafted gems can be used on multiple characters, and only need to be forged once. In addition, later tiers can be forged without having to complete the previous tier.
    • The random Keves and Agnus squads found throughout Aionios are scaled to a level depending on the player's warning levels with those nations (and later, with Moebius as a whole), which increase as more colonies are liberated from the Flame Clocks. It's a means to fight enemies on the player's own level for the sake of making progress with unlocking hero classes and reaping CP.
    • All six protagonists share the same access to the same arts across all classes, with the only difference being how fast each character can level through each class. This prevents the serious cases of inequality for characters with certain weapons and increases the versatility of different character-class combinations immensely. With the advent of learning master arts to create fusion arts, any class can potentially be customized to one's specific likings without risking drawbacks.
    • Positional Arts during Chain Attacks can trigger their effects from any direction, removing the necessity to micromanage your team before activating it.
    • Speaking of positional Arts, the Battle Palette now includes an arrow that directly displays what side of the targeted enemy the player-controlled character is currently facing. This makes it way easier to trigger the positional effects of Arts. This is even an improvement on Xenoblade Chronicles X, which displays the same information with text instead of an arrow shape.
    • Two Nopon NPCs in the Aetia and Cadensia regions can call upon rain on demand, which can help with some side quests and even finding some Unique Monsters in Cadensia which only appear when it's raining.
    • Although it's somewhat hidden, you can view the unlock conditions for each Hero's Ascension Quest by selecting them in the Hero Roster, averting Guide Dang It!. This is especially helpful for the more obscure unlocks, such as Triton's requiring you to cook Manana's Battle Soup while he's in the party.
    • The Nopon traders at the Namba Mound Camp unlocked by doing Ino's Hero Quest (part of the game's DLC) sell monster materials that are used in Manana's various cooking dishes.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • A Class X scenario occurred in Aionios' distant past when the worlds of Bionis and Alrest were dragged back into the same universe and collided with each other, completely destroying both worlds (except for a "light" that would remain in the aftermath and be used to rebirth all that was lost). Or rather, this is what was supposed to happen, but due to Z's machination the world was frozen in this fused state, constantly recycling life within it to maintain the stasis (though even then the stasis is not perfect, as Annihilation Events periodically erase chunks of the fused world).
    • Z attempts to perform an Original Negation (Class Z-3) using the power of Origin, as he figures that if nobody is willing to conform to remaining the same for all eternity, then he may as well erase all of existence in order to prevent an unknown future from ever arriving. He almost manages to pull it off, until N and M perform a Heroic Sacrifice and end up taking Z with them.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted. Unlike the previous games, where the combat party was limited to 3 or 4 of the main cast while the rest only appeared in cutscenes unless swapped in, this game's combat party features all 6 known members of the main party fighting at once, and later an optional seventh party member also on field — or seventh and eighth, if you pick Riku and Manana as Heroes. However, this still applies with regards to the Heroes themselves, as you can only travel with one (or one pair, in the case of Riku and Manana) at a time, and Riku and Manana will only fight with you if selected despite always traveling with the party.
  • Arc Number: The number seven plays a major role in the story:
    • There are a maximum of seven party members at a time (six Ouroboros plus a Hero).
    • The final obtainable Hero in the main game is No.7 Segiri.
    • The Sword of Plot Advancement of this game is named Lucky Seven because it was forged by seven Legendary Noponsmiths using seven types of metals and folded seven times. Officially, anyway.
    • There are seven chapters in the game.
    • There were seven Founders of the City.
    • There are seven regions where you can encounter enemies.
  • Arc Words: The "eternal / endless now", which refers to the desire for things to remain in the status quo. It is especially said by, among, or about Moebius and its members. This includes the Big Bad's motivation, as Aionios itself is a world trapped in an "endless now", frozen at the Intersection between Shulk's world and the world of Alrest, due to humanity fearing the consequences of using Origin to keep the two worlds separate.
  • The Ark: At the end of Chapter 6 it is revealed that Aionios is a byproduct of Origin, a grand metal ark that was built by Melia and Nia to store the souls and memories of the inhabitants of Bionis and Alrest in the wake of the collision of their universes that risked annihilating them all.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Sometimes, your party members will either not stand in the Area of Effect buffs, or walk right out of them.
    • Your party frequently groups up, which means they easily get pushed around. This can sometimes make it difficult for them to focus fire, since they often get in each other's way.
    • If you're fighting an enemy near Grimy Water, your allies — and you, if you have auto-battle enabled, may wander into the Grimy Water, even unnecessarily, costing HP and sometimes even the battle.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Several prerelease screenshots of the game's Green Hill Zone Millick Meadows, a visual fusion of past Green Hill Zones Gaur Plains and Gormott, place the infamous Territorial Rotbart (or at least a similar Unique enemy with the same recycled model, named Jingoistic Gigantus, making it technically a subversion to fans' amusement) front and center. The fandom considered it as a rite of passage for new players to be annihilated by Rotbart when starting out.
    • One of Eunie's Chain Attack quotes is "You're done!", showing that someone at Nintendo or Monolith did not forget the Ardainian Soldiers.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Daedal Isle in the Erythia Sea is home to much larger, gargantuan versions of existing monsters, towering over the heroes by a lot.
  • Award-Bait Song: Similar to Xenoblade 2, this game has two songs that count: "A Step Away" played during the utterly painful Prison scene where the party tries futiley to escape as the days wind down to Mio's homecoming and Where We Belong, played during the ending before the credits where Aionios separates back into the Bionis and Alrest after the defeat of Z, both sung by Sarah Weeda.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Soulhacker class is powered by acquiring Skills and Arts from every Unique Monster that has been killed while the Soul Hack skill has been equipped, and thus has the potential to be one of the most powerful classes in the game. Good luck figuring which Unique Monsters give the best abilities without a detailed guide, though, especially when some of them are very high-leveled. And if you defeated the Unique Monsters before acquiring the class, you have to kill them all over again, meaning its utility is best saved for completionists.
    • An in-universe example is the Ether Channel Discoverer, a device Riku mentions during one of the discussion topics. With a mere five ether cylinders to power it the user can locate an ether channel without fail. However, since the ether the device uses up is always greater than the amount one can find, the end result is a loss of ether energy and thus nobody uses it.
  • Babies Ever After: The ending reveals that after the events of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Rex had babies with Mythra, Pyra, and Nia.
  • Background Music Override: Having Melia or Nia in the party will change the battle music. Melia will change it a jazzy remix of "Time to Fight! (Bionis Shoulder)" from Future Connected, while Nia will change it to an instrumental remix of Drifting Soul from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. And during Ino's Ascension Quest, the battle music changes to the one from XC2 during the last phase of a boss fight.
  • Bad Vibrations: Some large enemies will cause the controller to vibrate if they walk near you. It doesn't help that these enemies are usually much stronger than everything else in the area.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Chapter 1 introduces the Flame Clock mechanic halfway through, which fills as the party kills enemies and raises their stats when it's full, or lowers them when it's empty. Not only is the player extremely unlikely to actually fill it even if they kill everything that crosses their path, or to drain it out without deliberately trying to do so, but the mechanic disappears forever within about an hour or two of gameplay. It serves purely to demonstrate how the characters are being pushed to be constantly focused on killing.
  • Batman Gambit: When Ouroboros fight Moebius D&J at Keves Castle, Eunie and Taion are able to destroy the Annihilator by knowing that D would be too caught up with terrorising Eunie to notice Taion setting up an explosion with his Mondo.
  • Bat Signal: After his first fight with the party, D projects the Moebius sigil into the sky to signal the coming of Ouroboros to the other Consuls, and making them Public Enemy #1 to both Keves and Agnus.
  • Big Bad: The Queen of Keves and the Queen of Agnus are the leaders of their respective sides of the Forever War that Aionios is locked in. However, the two of them are actually Evil Doppelgängers of Melia and Nia respectively created by Moebius/The Counsuls, the real group pulling the strings behind the Game's Crapsack World. And loosely leading them is Z, an entity created from humanity's obsession with maintaining the status quo.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Plambus are massive beetles the size of tanks that can be seen flying in the air in Daedal Isle and Low Maktha Woods.
  • Bird People: In addition to the series staple Tirkin, this game introduces a variant in the Cadensia region called the Gulkin.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Z is finally defeated, the world is free from his tyranny, and Noah and Mio finally acknowledge their feelings for one another. Sadly, Aionios must split again into the Bionis remnants and Alrest, which means the group must go back to the original world that they belong to. This in turn means the end of the current incarnations of Noah, the party, and everyone else in Aionios. Even so, the group promised that their original selves will see each other again. The after-credits then hint that the worlds are still connected and the characters will meet again.
  • Black Blood: When Guernica Vandham is attacked in Chapter 1 his injury leaves a black bloodstain. Likewise, Joran's death in a flashback shows his corpse leaving a pool of black blood. The only actual red blood to appear in the game comes from Noah hitting the Despair Event Horizon and wrecking his own knuckles trying to punch a prison door.
  • Bleak Level: At the end of chapter 5, the protagonists are thrashed by N before being captured and imprisoned. The player, as Noah, is unable to do anything to escape the cell except pound uselessly on the bars. What follows is a lengthy series of cutscenes that details the party's month-long stint in prison, awaiting Mio's Homecoming, gradually losing all hope of escape or rescue as the days drift by. Worse still, Mio is being kept in the cell next to the rest of the party, and seems strangely distant and at peace with her coming death. The chapter ends with Noah and the others being Forced to Watch as Mio dies right before their eyes. Chapter 6 only continues the Trauma Conga Line, as Noah is treated to the memories of his past lives - including the man who would eventually become N, who fought fruitlessly against Moebius to save the world before running away with his Mio and even starting a family with her before she inevitably died. Then we watch as N dies in turn, leaving his child orphaned and alone, and is corrupted by Z into becoming Moebius. Fortunately, when we snap back to the present, we discover that Mio survived and all is well.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Characters may hack and slash each other with swords and guns and whatnot, but blood is generally not shown. It's particularly notable at the end of Chapter 6 when Nia is shot through the heart and presumed dead; Eunie describes the scene as bloody, but not a drop is shown.
  • Bookends:
    • The opening scene shows a young Noah attending the Queen's Anniversary, before a strange cataclysm occurs. The game then cuts to the setting of Aionios and the nature of the Forever War between Keves and Agnus is explained. The Stinger loops back to the festival, but instead of witnessing a cataclysm, Noah just sees the festival carry on as normal before Lanz and Eunie call out to him. However, the off-seer melody begins to play in the background, signifying that the events of the game were not just some dream, and Noah starts to run toward it, and as a bird flies in front of the camera, he vanishes when it passes, suggesting that he may have been sent to the other world to reunite with Mio.
    • The story begins and ends with a member of House Vandham crashing their ship somewhere close to Ouroboros.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Steady Striker Gem, which shortens the auto-attack interval and thus directly results in faster recharge times of Auto-Attack Recharging arts. Most of the default class builds use it.
    • The Troubadour, Royal Summoner, and Lifesage classes each have a very strong passive party-wide buff as a Skill, which would guarantee them a spot on the team even if the classes themselves weren't good. (at Class lv. 20, the Troubadour grants +20% accuracy and evasion, Royal Summoner grants +30% damage and reduces enemy Block Rate by 15%, and Lifesage grants +15% damage reduction and HP recovery).
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • This is the first numbered entry where the setting isn't entirely made up of landmasses on colossal living creatures (titans). Instead, the world is made up of the mixed-up corpses of those same creatures (not counting the Maktha Wildwood, as parts of that are made up of the old Earth city of Morytha).
    • Neither Riku or Manana have an affectionate nickname for one of the party members; Mimi for Mio comes from the human Sena.
    • The Nopon lack their signature Cat Smile, being replaced with a more generic mouth shape, although some of them will still do a Cat Smile as part of their situational expressions.
    • The destruction of the Earth is not shown in this game, though given that Aionios is the worlds of the Bionis/Mechonis and Alrest spliced together, the fate of the Earth is a foregone conclusion. As part of her Ascension quest, however, Nia gives the party a vague retelling of it.
    • This is the first mainline Xeno game to not have a singular Citan Uzuki Expy, with the character/archetype's traits given the Decomposite Character treatment and divided among multiple characters instead of just one or two:
      • Although it's tempered by Noah predominantly being a Fei Expy, he inherits the archetype's trademark katana as well as Citan's Technical Pacifist nature. Said katana also doubles as a sign of his being an Expy to Lacan/Grahf, by way of N and 2's Jin, who is also sometimes regarded as an honorary Citan Expy based off of Jin Uzukinote .
      • While Taion lacks Citan's katana and mentorly side, he displays the archetype's characteristic erudition and East Asian traditionalism, as well as its predilection for being the token party member to have nature-based attack names spelled in kanji instead of katakana. Like the original Citan, he was also a former army tactician before joining the heroes, and like Citan's Expies, he is the target of one-sided hatred from an Evil Former Friend based off Kahran Ramsus, although this ultimately turns out to be a subversion. Corespondingly, his Nostalgia costume and its alternate palette are derived from 2's Jin.
      • As has been the standard for the archetype in the past, Ethel is a direct Expy of Mòrag and thus the latest in a chain of Expies that extends back to Citan himself. Dunban, the character whom Mòrag is an Expy of, also has his own Expy in Ashera. However, neither are directly controllable party members, and Ashera is completely optional, while Ethel leaves the party soon after joining before being killed off midway through the story, though it's possible to optional to recruit a clone of her near the end of the game.
      • The optional Hero Teach is a wizened mentor whose moveset is a combination of kungfu and support/healing abilities, but his kindly demeanor is implied to be a cover for a past as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, similar to Disc 1 Citan. Said backstory as All-Slayer Oleg is reminiscent to Dunban's old alias as the Beast and especially Citan's true identity of Hyuga Rikudo, one of the most feared generals in the past until he experienced a change of heart and reinvented himself under a new alias implied to have been provided by Consul G, just as Citan received his name from Gaspar Uzuki.
      • Riku is a Big Brother Mentor figure to Noah who suspiciously seems to know more about Noah than he does about himself, and serves as the team's Mr. Fixit and technology expert, just as Citan did in Lahan. He is revealed towards the end to be a Trickster Mentor who knows far more about the truth of the world than he is willing to let on, and is secretly monitoring the heroes on behalf of Queen Melia, just as Citan did on behalf of Emperor Cain, and as Zeke (originally planned to have been the Citan Expy of 2 in early drafts, before being repurposed into a Bart Expy in the final game) did on behalf of Amalthus.
    • The story is almost entirely devoid of the religious symbolism typically associated with the series and no god, Deity of Human Origin or otherwise, appears. While the Queens of Keves and Agnus have trappings of an Unwanted False Faith, and various characters have Religious and Mythological Theme Naming, religion itself is still an alien concept to the people of Aionios. Z, the main antagonist, is a personification of negative human emotions rather than a deity, and while he's responsible for the state of Aionios he's never considered its creator god.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Riku and Manana's Hero Quest is between Eunie discovering her own husk and a Wham Episode where Joran is alive, but is also a Moebius. In contrast, the Hero Quest focuses on Manana charging into battle and Riku hunting for gemstones.
    • Most of the main party's Ascension Quests involve the party entering dangerous environments, confronting a heinous and/or familiar Consul, and having a dramatic, bittersweet conclusion. Taion's Ascension Quest, on the other hand, has him wholeheartedly reunite with another incarnation of Nimue, and his strategy to save her Colony goes exactly as planned, with Consul V, who happens to be a gullible simpleton, falling for his trick, hook, line and sinker.
    • The Ascension Quests for the Heroes, much like with the main party's, frequently involve dangerous and/or emotional events tied to the tragic pasts and presents of the characters. But there are also a few lighthearted storylines, like those for Zeon (helping Colony 9 start a potato farm), Isurd (guiding him to a remote hot spring to help him relax), Riku & Manana (convincing a legendary Nopon chef to mentor Manana), and Miyabi (a cooking competition).
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • In a purely in-universe example, Nopon Coins can be exchanged in place of virtually any other resource. Silver Coins can be used in place of Collectopaedia Card requirements, materials for cooking food, or to instantly gain class ranks, while Gold Coins can be used to instantly raise any Gem to its maximum level. However, there's a limited number of Nopon Coins available throughout the game without fighting rare Metal Slime enemies or scanning Amiibo, and there's nothing that Nopon Coins can buy which isn't available by some other means.
    • In a straight example, scanning any Amiibo that isn't Shulk will provide either collectible items, Nopon Coins, or CP. There’s a limit of scanning three per day, however.
  • Brutal Bonus Level:
    • The Malevolent Hollow is filled with enemies around level 99, meaning it's impossible to avoid them by out-leveling them, and the Ouroboros forms can't be used there, which means Ouroboros Orders can't be used during Chain Attacks either. It's also home to a pair of Unique Monsters that are level 102.
    • The Cavity area can only be explored after Chapter 6, is filled with numerous high level enemies around level 90+ including Heavenrazor Egreet and is home to the strongest enemy in the game in Seraphic Ceratinia. Unlike The Malevolent Hollow however, you can use Ouroboros forms.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Riku is in charge of overseeing Gem Crafting, a mechanic returning from the first game.
    • Dragons, absent from the second game, return, now properly known as "Dragues" — one of them, Umber Drague, is a story boss. Another one, Dreadwyrm Nizoont, is a superboss.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Mechonis' sword and the Urayan titan appear on the game's box art, who each appeared on the first two games' box arts. Though in the latter's case, there's a massive chunk missing from its midsection.
    • The home bases of each respective nation's armies are referred to as Colonies, the same term used for the Homs settlements in the first game. The trio of Noah, Lanz, and Eunie are in-fact from Colony 9, the same name as the home of Shulk, Reyn, Dunban, and Fiora.
    • The Erythia Sea is heavily based on the similar Eryth Sea of the first game (though combined with remnants of the Leftherian Archipelago). You can even find the ruins of Alcamoth's warp pad as a Landmark. So it's fitting that not only there's a flying castle above it, the main plot events there center around a prison island. If a way more literal one than the original Prison Island.
    • The Castles of Keves and Agnus are exactly in the places you'd expect them to be... except they switched places, with the Agnus Castle floating above the Erythia Sea and the Keves Castle standing roughly where Alba Cavanich used to be.
    • In addition to the souls of all its life forms, Origin is stated to have stored the collective knowledge and information of basically both Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2 in its entirety (or close enough) for the sake of recreating and resurrecting everything. How this was done is not explicitly said, but upon arriving in the depths of Origin an observant player will note that the dozens of cubes floating inside it are clearly gigantic Core Crystals, the miracle technology from 2 that could basically store anything and everything as data and even create organic bodies from the data.
    • At the beginning of Chapter 6, Mio (in M's body) tells N that M never wanted "forever" with him, rather just wanting to be with him - mirroring Jin's quote at the end of Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country about Lora.
      Mio: By leaving this world behind, she wanted to tell you - she didn't want "forever"...she wanted to be there with you!
      Jin: No...I don’t wish for 'forever'. Even just for one moment...it's enough if it’s with her.
    • At the lowest point of the Maktha Wildwood, hidden behind poison swamps, a whole area of level 90+ enemies, and one of the game's Superbosses, you'll find a small monument (and possibly Weapon Tombstone) dedicated to Riki. You can even take the "Legendary Biter" from it to continue the legend of the great Heropon, though this time it's an equippable accessory and not a weapon or weapon skin.
    • Nia's speech in the ending mirrors Alvis' last words to Shulk about the future: a world where all walks of life will walk hand-in-hand.
    • Ouroboros joining together and venturing out onto Millick Meadows after emerging from a cave brings to mind Shulk and Reyn emerging Tephra Cave and onto the vast Gaur Plain. Both vistas even have the Mechonis Sword visible far off in the distance. There's even a Lv 80 Gogol that will destroy unsuspecting players: the Jingoistic Gigantus, Aionios's equivalent to Territorial Rotbart.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Both Kevesi and Agnians will always refer to dead people as "husks" as opposed to corpses.
  • The Cameo: With the exception of truly returning characters, there are also a few minor appearances that tie the game to its predecessors. Beware of spoilers!
    • Melia has Shulk's Monado Replica EX stored away in her personal chambers.
    • Poppi α is alive and kicking, cheerfully running up to Nia. Looks like Mythra didn't have to follow through on that "stop me if I go bad" promise after all.
    • Nia mentions the involvement of "a certain Nopon engineer" in the construction of Origin and the Cloudkeep. Given that Poppi was integrated into the latter, it's safe to assume she's naming Tora.
    • In the same scene as above, the two look over a photo of the whole main cast of their home game — only now Rex is visibly older and manlier and Pyra, Mythra and Nia are holding a child each. Maybe the Clueless Chick-Magnet finally got the memo?
    • Manana calls Melia "Melly", Riki's nickname for her from the first game. Melia even lampshades how it's been a very long time since someone had called her that.
    • The entire main party of the first Xenoblade Chronicles as well as Kino and Nene from Future Connected appear briefly in a flashback scene during Melia's postgame Hero Quest. Shulk and Fiora also have a short spoken line (via recycled voice work from the first game and Fiora's Guest-Star Party Member appearance in Xenoblade Chronicles 2), fulfilling the series quota of having their voice actors in each game.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: Not only do a lot of character moments happen at a campfire, each character has unique animations that give insight to their personality.
  • Central Theme:
    • Life, death, and dealing with those you've lost. In a war where people die in a mere ten years if they do not die beforehand in a pointless war, the characters define themselves by what they do while they are alive and how they deal with those they've lost.
    • The "endless now", and the desire to maintain the status quo in response to fear of an uncertain future. In fact, the very reason that Aionios exists and is stuck in an endless cycle is due to Z being the manifestation of humanity's fear of change. He keeps Bionis and Alrest in a stagnant, fused state that is slowly tearing itself apart. The heroes aim to stop him and complete Origin's original purpose in spite of the possible risks, because moving forward to an unknown future is better than nothing changing.
  • Character Class System: All of the main party members and Heroes have their own unique class tied to them, with the main party members being able to switch between each of them that changes their weapon and available battle arts and can use certain skills from other classes that have been leveled high enough. Notably, when a new class is available, only one party member will have access to it immediately, while the other members will have to fight alongside the class user to unlock it after some time. The starting classes are:
    • Noah's base class, Swordfighter, is a balanced attacker class that focuses on attacking from the back.
    • Sena's base class, Ogre, is more of a burst attacker. It deals more damage when attacking from the side.
    • Mio's base class, Zephyr, is a dodge tank, that counters enemy attacks.
    • Lanz's base class, Heavy Guard, is a traditional tank that forces aggro on the character.
    • Eunie's base class, Medic Gunner, can heal allies in a wide area.
    • Taion's base class, Tactician, focuses on buffs and debuffs, and can put enemies to sleep.
  • Chaste Hero: Everyone who is part of Agnus or Keves. It appears that part of the Flame Clocks' influence is a complete negation of the characters' sex drives, which the game hints at with the co-ed bathing scene early in the game. The party do begin to feel such desires after being freed of their Flame Clocks, but they have no understanding of it beyond how strange it makes them feel or act. Once the Ouroboros get to the City, they need explanations not only for how babies are made, but also for what romance even is.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Maktha Wildwood, Noah and Mio exchange their flutes during a heart to heart conversation. From then on, Noah uses Mio's white flute while Mio uses Noah's black flute. To prove that Mio and M swapped bodies before Mio's Homecoming, Mio gives Noah her white flute instead of the black one Noah dropped.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Late in the game, one sidequest tasks you with gathering seven Nopon Ultimate Blacksmiths, recognizable by their one-of-a-kind hammer. Of the seven, five are random sidequest givers you've already met before (including Samon himself, who asked for the meet-up in the first place); the sixth is Valdi's often mentioned mentor Fixifixi; and the seventh... is Riku himself, who left the hammer in Colony 9 because he didn't need it and nobody asked.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them:
    • Somewhat deconstructed. The Commanders and Special Forces of Kevesi and Agnian colonies, and consequently, Ouroboros, are all, for all practical purposes, older teenagers at most (with less than ten years of actual life experience plus whatever knowledge they are programmed with in their growth modules). They are able to get the job done (and some could easily be mistaken for older and more experienced soldiers), but their relative lack of maturity is notable, and in Gray's Ascension Quest, commented on.
    • Played straight with Commanders Fiona and Valdi, however, who definitely act a lot more like young children due to them being on their third term.
  • Child Soldiers: The Direct trailer shows the typical ten-year lifespan of a soldier, showing them undergoing intense training regimens as mere children, and either dying in battle or reaching the natural end of their lifespan.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: P and O's unveiling of the first Moebius Interlink does make them legitimately stronger, but their actions up to that point meant the party was too supremely pissed off to care. The fight opens with an unarmed Mio punching them into a rock and it does not get any better for them from there, as even the cutscenes show them completely unable to gain the Advantage Ball. It doesn't help that they go beyond the Interlink's Hour of Power in an attempt to reverse the situation, meaning that the fight ends with them self-destructing.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Keves soldiers wear black uniforms and paint their mechs black with glowing blue Tron Lines, while the Agnus soldiers wear white uniforms and paint their mechs white with glowing green parts. The City's forces, meanwhile, usually come in drab green and grey.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Flame Clocks function differently depending on what color they are.
    • Blue Flame Clocks absorb Life Energy from Agnus troops while yellow Flame Clocks absorb the same from Keves troops. This is meant to discourage people from killing their own allies, since each Flame Clock can only absorb life force from the enemy side.
    • The green Flame Clocks used by Consul H can absorb life energy from both sides, appropriately enough, since blue mixed with yellow creates green. This causes Garvel to actively encourage Ouroboros to kill his allies so his Flame Clock will be filled.
    • The purple Flame Clock in the special Ferronises used by Ethel and Cammuravi are directly connected to the user's life force while they're controlling them. The purple Clocks in the Ferrons used by Colony 0 are similar, but have the ability to burn through the user's life to increase the user's power.
  • Combining Mecha: The Cloudkeep is actually the Pilder that enables the Agnus Castle's transformation into a Ferronis.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The world of Aionios is a combination of the cultures from Bionis/Mechonis and Alrest, so many designs harken back to Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2:
      • Keves consists of Homs, Machina, and High Entia from the Bionis and Mechonis, while Agnus consists of Blades and Humans from Alrest (as well as Flesh Eater and Blade Eater variations).
      • The Kevesi soldiers dress similarly to Homs soldiers in Xenoblade Chronicles, wearing circular belt buckles called Power Frames like the ones on Shulk's modernized outfit in Future Connected. They also wield Blades that glow with the same shade of blue as Shulk's artificial Monado. Meanwhile, Agnus soldiers are dressed similar to Tornan fashion with their samurai masks and kimono-like designs, and fight with Blades that glow green like Mythra's sword.
      • The mechanical Levnises each army relies on have visual elements from both Mechon and Sovereigns and Artifices in their designs depending on which faction they belong to.
      • Similarly, City Levnises look a lot like modernized versions of Homs machinery, particularly larger, manned Levnises which look very similar to the mobile artillery from Xenoblade Chronicles and have the same machine guns.
    • An early shot from the start of the game is almost a re-enactment of the Battle of Sword Valley, with hundreds of Homs soldiers charging forward while wielding a mix of ranged and melee weapons. Except this time the Homs are much more technologically advanced, and the Mechon are on their side in the form of Levnises.
    • Colony Gamma, Mio, Sena, and Taion's assigned home, is located at Melnath's Shoulder, which was part of Gormott in 2.
    • Nia mentions that some of Origin's earliest designs were drawn by a certain Nopon engineer, hinting at Tora having had a hand in its construction, especially with the presence of Poppi α in Cloudkeep. Tora himself is even seen among the other experts in a image of Nia being consulted on Origin's construction.
    • If you climb high enough in the Swordmarch and look up, you'll be able to see the long-ruined Galahad Fortress. Unlike most returning landmarks, this one is completely inaccessible and is just here as a cute nod for those who recognize the architecture.
    • Two of the soldiers accompanying Guernica Vandham in the first chapter are named Yew and Zuo. The Vandham of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 also had two lieutenants with those names.
    • Segiri's designation of "No. 7" and her cyborg nature call back to Mechon Fiora from the first Xenoblade, who was also basically turned into a cyborg, is the seventh party member to join, and fans even referred to Mechon Fiora as "Seven" as a way to talk about her without spoiling her existence.
    • The start of Romero and Joulietta's quest has Romero offering to jump off from a high height to prove his devotion to her, which he supposedly learned from a Nopon, in a reference to one of the sidequests from the first game.
    • On Lavi Sandbar in Cadensia, the player can find the "Place of Heroes Past", which are the ruins of the Vault of Heroes from Xenoblade 2 where Addam sealed Pneuma's sword. The player can also find one of the Legacy of the Seven rings where the sword was.
    • The Keves-aligned Riku is responsible for Gem Crafting]], while the Agnus-aligned Manana is responsible for Cooking, harkening back to the respective games that the mechanics were derived from.
    • Looking carefully at the in-game model of Origin shows that it has a face on its base. Said face is split in two down the middle and features the faces of Amalthus and Bionis-Zanza.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Viciously applied to all story bosses and most high-level unique monsters, with the unfortunate effect that the two classes designed to capitalize on debuffs, Tactician and Machine Assassin, are rendered ineffectual in the late game. The Break > Topple > etc. combo survives, however, thanks to the Ogre class' Fury Smash ability and Break Brooch accessory, which can help inflict reactions at a higher rate than normal.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Just to start the Trauma Conga Line moving that is Chapter 5, the game kindly allows you to rattle the doors of the prison cell that the entire party are trapped in except Mio who is in the cell next door so they can't even see her three times before the cutscene takes over and to start letting the Darkest Hour truly sink in.
  • Cooking Duel: A friendly variant serves as a Breather Episode in Miyabi's Ascension Quest. The hero competes against Manana, Monica, and Nissick to be crowned the best chef in the City and have their dish eaten by its inhabitants.
  • Cooking Mechanics: Food can be bought at canteens or cooked at certain Resting Spots to provide various bonuses like an Experience Booster, a Money Multiplier, and a Random Drop Booster. New recipes can be obtained by eating at a canteen or completing certain quests.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • Scanning a Shulk amiibo or completing the game for the first time unlocks a Monado skin for the Swordfighter class. In the future, scanning the Pyra and Mythra amiibos will unlock their respective Aegis blades for the Swordfighter class.
    • Reaching Rank 10 in a class will unlock its clothing, which characters can wear at any time.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: While the official job of the Survey Branch is reconnaissance of new areas, it also doubles as Agnus's spy network throughout Aionios, which is why Taion (a former member) knows so much about the Commanders of different colonies.
  • Crapsack World: Aionios is almost the textbook definition. The entire world is divided between two factions whose sole purpose is to prosecute a Forever War against each other. To carry this out, both sides mass produce vat grown children with ten year lifespans and send them directly to the frontlines. And you are expected to fight the full ten years. And if you survive ten years? You still die, but you get to do so in the presence of your respective Queen. Later, it's revealed the state of the world is even worse. Aionios only exists as a method for Moebius to harvest life energy they need for sustenance and keep the worlds merged and frozen in time, as well as a playground for them to do as they please to alleviate their boredom. Plus, even with all this war and lifeforce harvesting, the world is still on the slow decline to a permanent end as the Annihilation Events obliterate Aionios piece-by-piece.
  • Cuteness Overload: Once the party reaches The City and is taken to the Maternity Ward. Being a bunch of people grown in a tube and coming out at 10 or so, they have no understanding of babies, and all of them, particularly the Agnians and especially Taion, utterly melt at meeting their first one. It helps that the baby quickly decides it likes them and enjoys their attention.
  • Cycle of Revenge: No one can remember what the original reason for the war is because there isn't really one but at this point it's pretty much entirely self-perpetuating. Whenever a character is asked why they fight the other side, the answer is almost always some variant of "because they've killed many of our friends". Unfortunately, that means that even after getting freed from the Flame Clock system, quite a few people are very much on board with keeping the war going, both out of sheer hatred and refusal to admit that the status quo they've always known and fought for was built on lies.
  • Damager, Healer, Tank: The game's class system divides all classes into these three categories, known in-game (and In-Universe) as Attackers, Healers, and Defenders. The Keves trio's official Twitter bios describe them in such terms, highlighting Noah's physical strength, Eunie's ability to heal, and Lanz's shield and protecting of his friends in battle. Indeed, their classes fall squarely into these roles. Agnus' trio has a little bit of nuance, as Sena is a burst attacker, Taion mostly applies buffs and debuffs, and Mio is of a dodge tank variety.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: For the first time in the series, you can fight while swimming! It takes a long while to get acclimated to not having to take your characters accidentally falling into the water into account while fighting fish and the like.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the first two games weren't exactly "light", the announcement trailer for the game puts lots of emphasis on the two factions being at war with each other, with the implication that each one is descended from the populations of the first two games. Later trailers only emphasize the sheer devastation the warring nations inflict upon each other constantly, with the world of Aionios seemingly trapped in a never-ending war for survival involving heavy use of Child Soldiers. Adding to all this is that the majority of the cast are Reincarnating Soldiers with a standard lifespan of 10 years.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of Chapter 5. N utterly thrashes Ouroboros. X seals their powers away to make them completely helpess as Moebius imprisons them until Mio's Homecoming. For the next month, the party tries desperately to find some way to escape to no avail. No help is coming to save them either. The day of Mio's Homecoming arrives and the party is Forced to Watch as Mio passes away, utterly shattering their drive and hope, as N executes Noah. End of chapter. Thankfully, the next chapter turns the tide, as Noah learns of N's true nature, resolves to change the world, M is revealed to have swapped bodies with Mio during their confrontation and died in her place, and Ouroboros finally manage to overcome a distraught N with Noah unleashing the Sword of Origin.
  • Deader than Dead:
    • N reveals that people who manage to live the full 10 years of their life and die via a Homecoming ceremony are completely removed from Aionios' cycle of rebirth, meaning their essence cannot be reborn into a new body.
    • It is later revealed that if people who become Moebius (their death itself being a catalyst for joining) die again, they cannot be reborn.
  • Death World: Even without being a Crapsack World, Aionios as a world is destroying itself thanks to a series of Annihilation Events that can happen at random and vaporize large chunks of the terrain. This is because Aionios is actually a result of the worlds of the first two games literally interesecting with each other and being frozen in time at the point they were supposed to erase each other.
  • Death's Hourglass: The tatto-like marks sported by Kevesi and Agnians loosely show how much time they have left until their Homecoming.
  • Decomposite Character: A decomposite game mechanic: The Break > Topple combo makes its signature return, with both Daze and Launch > Smash returning from Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, respectively. The Daze path is given an extra step in "Burst" to more closely mirror its Alrest counterpart. The Burst effect removes the enraged status from an enemy for a period of time and yields that enemy's materials, as Smash loses this particular effect and focuses solely on damage.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Of the standard FPS Team Deathmatch mode. In-Universe, skirmishes are centered around two giant mecha with kill counters known as 'Flame Clocks', absorbing the essence of dead enemies. Eventually, the protagonists realize how ridiculous and heartless the system is, especially after watching a Moebius agent devour essence directly from the source, and resolve to destroy the Flame Clocks. It eventually turns out that the very existence of Aionios is unnaturally stuck in the endless cycle of deathmatches, to the point where destroying the world is an unambiguously good thing, as it finally allows something else to happen.
    • The Flame Clocks also are this for the concept of Level Grinding. In-Universe, the Flame Clocks encourage Colonies to continue to fight and rack up kills so it can increase. Increasing it shows the Colony is strong enough to advance in rank and get better supplies and resources. The deconstruction comes from the fact that since this system encourages soldiers to win more battles, many battles become bloodbaths where almost entire armies are wiped out to fill up the Flame Clock, effectively keeping them stuck in a loop of needing more battles to get resources, but needing more resources to continue battling. Essentially, the Level Grinding aspect of Flame Clocks does nothing but continue war and send people to their death. Destroying the Flame Clocks frees the Colonies from this loop at the cost of needing to find new ways of getting resources, which all admit is better than forced into endless fighting just to "rank up". It takes an even darker turn with the reveal that "ranking up" is not a good thing, because it's revealed through Consul X that higher ranked Colonies get harvested for their life force exactly because they've done so well on the battlefield. In other words, all that "level grinding" is just for soldiers to get preyed upon by an even greater enemy.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • One Colony 30 quest has a Nopon wishing to give his off-seer friend a proper sending. It's possible for the party to find and send said friend before accepting the quest. If that's the case, the dialogue in the quest reflects the situation.
    • Later, an almost identical quest can be accepted near Colony Tau in which Juniper asks the party to send off the previous commander and the other soldiers who died alongside him, but it is possible that the party already did.
    • It's possible to fight (and defeat) Alexandria before disabling her four sub-units around the desert. If fought ahead of time, she will comment on Ouroborous being willing to challenge "insurmountable odds."
    • A later quest makes you deal with the sole Kevesian soldier to know what art is, and he asks you to bring him a model. His description obviously points to Fiona, but he actually has quite a few things to say about the other Heroes you can bring him.
    • If you complete the mock battle against Colony Mu without interlinking, Ayase will comment on the party's strength, noting that they didn't even need to use their Ouroboros powers to defeat them.
    • Winding down the Flame Clock at the beginning of the game is possible, and it slowly loses charge each time the party is KO'ed. If the party takes the time to drop the Flame Clock all the way to empty, the party gets hit with a major debuff to every stat until they can farm some low-level enemies to charge it up again.
    • When confronting Consul X in Eunie's side story, the dialogue will change depending on whether you have completed Chapter 5 beforehand due to X's contribution to that chapter's plot. The same goes for her story encounter in Chapter 5 depending on whether you did Eunie's side story before that point.
    • In Millick Meadows, Ouroboros can stumble upon a piece of Origin Metal, which starts Gray's Hero Quest. If you do the quest long before reaching the City or doing the Origin Metal quest, then the party won't know what it is and Lanz wonders if it's a piece of junk. If you start it after that however, they'll actually know what it is and react accordingly.
  • Diegetic Interface: The game's class system is a thing that Ouroboros can perceive among one another, first noticed by Noah when he sees a strange icon over Mio's head while looking through his Iris. By accessing the icon, his Blade and clothes change to meet hers in-universe. Everyone else is a bit freaked out by this, of course.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Keves Castle looks the part. It's a giant floating castle with mysterious black fog surrounding it, fitting an Evil Overlord like the Queen of Keves. However, it's only visited halfway through the story, and Ouroboros continue on with their trek to Swordmarch, while they involve themselves with the Lost Numbers and learn the truth about the real queens.
  • Disappears into Light: If someone who isn't bound by a Flame Clock dies, their bodies disappear into motes of light while their clothes remain behind. This also happens to people who reach their Homecoming.
  • Distant Sequel: The game is explicitly set in the future of the first two games, with Shinya Takahashi stating that "the story of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 ties together the futures of the worlds depicted in Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2." Played with later. While it has indeed been hundreds if not thousands of years, that's only in the "Endless Now" of Aionios. It's unclear when exactly the worlds merged together, with some plot points implying it was only a few decades after 1 and 2. Once the worlds are separated again at the end of the game, they are able to continue with barely a hiccup, and it's unclear what impact Aionios had on the two worlds.
  • The Dividual: The party sidebar indicates that when party members fuse, they are counted as one entity. Nopon Heroes Riku and Manana are a traditional example, as they are treated as a singular party member who occupy one slot despite being two separate people.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In some of the side quests with liberated colonies, particularly Colony 9 and Colony Mu, the Commanders and Lieutenants struggling to build a new life without the Consuls and the Flame Clocks are reminiscent of kids or very young adults having to step up to the plate and take charge of their younger siblings after their parents have gone (either temporarily or permanently).
    • N, X, Y, and Z commenting on Noah and Mio talking about the lifespan of Armus is framed similarly to people in real life watching the development of video games, movies, etc, with N being the person who sees what comes next and expects the obvious,note  Y being the person who appreciates the moment as it's happening,note  X being the person who complains about all the work having to be put into developing it, note  and Z being the person who's already accustomed to said developments and just goes with the flow regardless of how the end product turns out, but also anticipating a plot twist or no change at all.note 
    • During the 3rd Consul/Moebius cutscene after J/Joran's boss fight, X mentioning that M not having shown herself or actively avoiding them is invocative of an abusive husband's wife avoiding his coworkers/friends.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Exaggerated; the power over death, Ouroboros, is actually the good power, while Moebius, the power of life, is evil.
  • Downloadable Content: Like 2, the game has a downloadable Expansion Pass, which includes new heroes, outfits, and a new original story scenario.
  • Dub Name Change: The two main factions of the game have an aesthetic that can roughly be interpreted as East vs West, with the Keves representing the West and the Agnus the East. A lot of this gets lost though because many of the names of the very Wutaiesque Agnus have been changed while confusingly many more have not. For example Shido, Nami, Isurugi and Nina become Teach, Nimue, Isurd and Alexandria. This is made more confusing as the subtitles, which would be used more in conjunction with the included Japanese audio are just transcribed from the English dub.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The first of three boss fights late in Chapter 1 is a battle between the player-controlled Kevesi party members and the soon-to-be Agnian party members. They even have the same Damager, Healer, Tank lineup, though with different variations on the roles.
  • Dying Dream: Inverted, D tells the party in his final battle that the dreams they have of themselves dying violently are actually the last moments of their previous incarnations that still linger even after revival.
  • Early Game Hell: The first two chapters are far and away the hardest part of the game since you spend Chapter 1 fighting with half your party, you don't get many sidequests to boost your experience ahead of the power curve, and there are no Heroes to join you. Once you reach Chapter 3, the difficulty tapers off as you start to get resources that make your quest far easier.
  • Egg MacGuffin: The Ouroboros Stones are egg-shaped and the reason the main characters have Ouroboros powers. Guernica intended on protecting it until he realised activating it was the world's best hope against Moebius.
  • Eldritch Location: Origin, a sprawling metal ball dead-center of Aionios. Origin is an arc designed to hold the souls and knowledge of humanity when the Intersection destroys both Bionis and Alrest and to reboot both worlds afterward. However, it was hijacked by Z, a manifestation of humanity's anxieties about Origin's success, who used it to freeze time at the point of intersection, creating Aionios. Due to this nature, metal from Origin as well as the powers gained from it are the only things Z cannot control; as a result, the Sword of the End can cut anything and the Ouroboros Stones can make people Ouroboros and immune to Moebius' mind control.
  • Electronic Eyes: Everyone except the Nopon has one called an Iris. Kevesian soldiers have them in their right eyes, Agnian soldiers in their left. Nopon are noted early on to be incapable of using Irises, and have to use more traditional electronics instead. They can be used to make calls, access the internet, view holograms such as enemy base schematics, and essentially anything else one might expect a cell phone to do. Unfortunately they can also be used by the Consuls to inflict mind control, which can only be escaped by becoming an Ouroboros or tearing your own eye out, if you can muster the willpower for it. Destroying the specific Flame Clock a person is connected to also makes them immune to Consul control, while allowing them to continue to access the other features of the Iris safely.
  • Elite Mooks: In addition to the traditional Unique Monsters, 3 introduces two types of lesser rare enemies: Elite monsters are denoted by blue wings around their HP gauge, and are stronger versions of existing species with greatly multiplied rewards. A sparkling HP gauge, in contrast, denote a Metal Slime who isn't any stronger than a normal enemy of its type but still drops better rewards.
  • Emasculated Cuckold: Moebius N, in a roundabout sense, feels this way after M pulls off her Heroic Sacrifice to save Mio, her "true self". Because Mio happens to have major Ship Tease with N's own true self, Noah, he immediately starts screaming in denial that "his woman" would abandon him for someone else. Given how N is a Yandere who was the one who nearly killed Mio himself to break the will of Noah, absolutely nobody sympathizes, with Mio using the copy of M's memories she inherited with her body to chew him out for his entitled behavior.
  • Endgame+: Beating the game and loading up your clear data spawns you right outside the door to the Final Boss with the ability to double back and check out some Post Endgame Content.
  • Enemy Civil War: Enemies can fight each other in the overworld, which include beasts fighting eachother or even small skirmishes between Agnus and Keves soldiers.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Though the Keves and Agnus trios initially come to blows, the appearance of a mysterious man causes them to put their differences aside, and later become proper allies.
    • In the final battle both the Keves and Agnus armies team up to battle Z, who is using Origin to indiscriminately bombard Aionios. However, this is subverted in that the nations are now led by the real Melia and Nia, who are good friends unlike their xenophobic, Moebius-aligned robotic duplicates.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: At the end of the game, Aionios, along with the current incarnation of every character, ceases to exist once the worlds split apart. Of course, everyone is then reborn in their own worlds none the worse for wear. The very last scene even implies there might be some way to regain what was lost with Aionios.
  • Everything Is Online: The Iris works in a similar manner to a smartphone, including wireless communication and access to online information. The Collectopaedia works as an online exchange and eventual social networking website. Even Nopon have a version they physically carry with them. Moebius uses this technology as a surveillance tool.
  • Exact Words: Besides needing to survive by filling their Flame Clock, most colonies fight in order to strive for the coveted Gold rank, as Consuls have promised them that Gold rank colonies won't need to fight anymore. Because when a colony reaches Gold, a Moebius slaughters them all to harvest their life-force.
  • Experience Booster: Some meals can increase the amount of EXP and/or CP obtained in battle.
  • Eye-Dentity Giveaway: When the main cast gain their Ouroboros powers, they sport a glowing Ouroboros symbol in their left eye. This plays into the events that kick off Chapter 5 where it was revealed that Mio and her doppelganger Moebius M had engaged in a "Freaky Friday" Flip after Mio seemingly dies due to her lifespan running out at the end of Chapter 4. While Noah first realizes the switch when M repeats a conversation Mio had with him, Moebius N, not wanting to believe that M had died while in Mio's body, could no longer deny the facts when he sees that M's left eye sports the Ouroboros symbol along with the Moebius one.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Guernica Vandham prominently wears one. It's more important than it first appears: all of the Lost Numbers wear eyepatches when outside the City... since the eyepatches actually contain a material that jams signals from people's Irises, which is how Moebius tracks people. When the main heroes join up with the City, they start wearing the eyepatches too.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Strongly implied to be the fate of one of Eunie's past lives, though fortunately, the audience doesn't actually get to see said character's eye get stabbed.
    • Cammuravi rips out their own eye in order to remove his Iris and escape the control of Moebius.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Played for laughs with Tempapa the "legendary chef". He is in fact very skilled at his craft... making kitchenware, that is. Cooking is just a hobby he practices while testing his products. He let the rumors build up because they make him sound so much cooler than "renowned pot maker" ever could.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Obviously, attempting to make peace with two sides that have been at war literally forever cannot be as easy as it seems. Quite a few people are extremely distrustful of members of their opposite side, even as they prove to be as friendly as they can, and some especially of the mixed Ouroboros team. It's probably best exemplified by Jeremy of Colony 4, whose dead best friend left him completely unable to think anything positive of mingling with Agnus, to the point that his last quest involves his attempt to poison the Ouroboros and pin the crime on one of his friends, just because he happens to be on board with getting both sides together.
    • Very much downplayed with the Nopon, but there are hints that some humans see Nopon as being too scatterbrained and weak to do much military-wise outside of engineering and logistics. Indeed, with the exception of Triton's lieutenant, all high-ranking roles in colonies are held by humans. Some Nopon also consider humans as too dangerous to associate with, with Tempapa in particular – the Nopon you meet during Riki and Manana's Ascension Quest – seeing Nopon with too much human influence as a bad thing. He specifically sees Riku as odd for his closeness and desire to travel with humans. The Nopon Register sidequest where you have to gather red, blue and yellow rocks from every Nopon Caravan in the world? That's them straight-up voting on whether dealing with humans is worth it at all.
  • Fantastic Rank System: Colonies are ranked from lowest to highest as Dirt, Tin, Copper, Iron, Steel, Silver, and Gold, with each higher rank getting better weapons and food. Moebius created the system in order to single out which Colonies were best to reap for their life force.
  • Fatal Reward:
    • Colonies that reach Gold rank are pardoned from fighting, but get their life force harvested by Moebius. This is what happened to a previous incarnation of Eunie, whose Colony was ranked Gold before it got destroyed by D.
    • Surviving your full 10 terms nets you a Homecoming, which has you Killed Off for Real.
  • Fighting Your Friend: A variant occurs during M's boss fight. She has the ability to possess one person, and she has them attack the others. This leads to Ouroboros fighting each other as they cannot tell who M is controlling, but this ends when Taion figures out her gimmick and uses his Mondo to track M. In gameplay, this translates to the Mondo hovering over the member of Ouroboros that M is controlling. This makes them attackable, and any damage to them affects M.
  • Five-Token Band: A fantastic version with six: The main party, excluding Heroes, consists of Noah, a Homs; Mio, a Flesh Eater Blade who resembles a Gormotti; Eunie, a High Entia; Taion, a Blade Eater Human; Lanz, a Machina; and Sena, an Alrestian Fire element Blade.
  • The Flame of Life: Every colony has a "Flame Clock," which supports and chains every member of the colony. If the Flame Clock is full, the soldiers can fight harder and longer. If it is low, they are weaker, and if it empties completely they die. The only way to fill the Flame Clock is to kill living things—monsters work, but enemy soldiers are best. Because of all this, there are a lot of metaphors about fire and flame; "snuff" is a general-purpose strong curse, "by the Flame" is a common exclamation, and references to ashes or light pop up as well.
  • Fling a Light into the Future:
    • Before they were put to a Long Sleep (involuntary in Melia's case), Melia created the Sword of the End and Nia the Ouroboros stones and entrusted the Cloudkeep key to M in hopes that someday, a group of heroes would be able to rise up against Moebius. In Nia's case she also seemed to have some foreknowledge that M and N would somehow meet their "true selves" in the future and that this would be key to restoring the world.
    • Noah anticipates that he and the rest of Ouroboros will be captured by N, so he gives the Cloudkeep key back to Ghondor. He implies that she will be part of the next incarnation of Ouroboros after they die, but they survive the ordeal.
  • Floating Continent: What Aionios is, a massive landmass consisting of merged pieces of Titans from Alrest, and parts of the Bionis and Mechonis, all floating above a vast expanse. Interestingly it is never really commented on, as to most of its inhabitants that is simply what the world has always been. It's possible that the appearance of it floating is due to the land being frozen in time in some sense. Though it does become plot-relevant when the City relocates itself under the world, after Mio-as-M warns them that the Agnus Castle is about to blast them to smithereens with its Annihilator.
  • Fluorescent Footprints: A number of quests will have you track something like a monster, human, Nopon, etc. via these. Actually justified as they are specifically seen and tracked via everybody's Irises.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the bath scene, Noah, Lanz, and Eunie are all very casual about bathing together. At first, it seems like the reason it's no big deal is because the three are Like Brother and Sister. As the story progresses, however, it becomes clear that this is the first clue that everyone ruled by the Flame Clock has no understanding of sexuality; once free, the party becomes much less casual about nudity.
    • During Noah and Mio's showdown in Alfeto Valley, Noah thinks to himself that the two of them shouldn't be fighting and says to himself that they should run, before becoming confused and wondering why he said that. It's revealed at the beginning of Chapter 6 that in multiple past lives, Noah and Mio would end up running away together and falling in love.
    • When Noah and Mio's parties first decide to stick together and travel to Swordmarch they take note that both Keves and Agnus assign Nopon to their special Off-Seer units, foreshadowing the fact that both countries are controlled by the same people in much the same way.
    • When Noah and Mio switch classes for the first time, the hilt of her sword Blade more closely matches the rest of the weapon than Noah's does. We later learn that Noah's Blade incorporates Lucky Seven into the rest of the Veiled Sword, hence the difference in hilts.
    • When the party meets D for the first time, Eunie is the most visibly afraid and even has a flashback to a meeting between them that feels impossible. This foreshadows the fact that the soldiers of Keves and Agnus are reincarnated if they die before their Homecoming and that given the right circumstances they can remember pieces of their past lives.
    • When advising the party on how to reach Swordmarch, Ethel notes that nobody's managed to cross the ocean vortex at the center of Aionios. More specifically, how "we think there's another force at play there." This basically spoils the location of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • During D and Eunie's flashback, D looks slightly different than he does in the present, most notably lacking his horns. When Mio and Noah fuse for the first time, he goes into great detail about how Interlinks work before battling them, including the fact that they're specifically when Keves and Agnus unite. As shown in the following cutscene with the Consul, he was Interlinked with the then-unknown J, a Kevesi, the whole time they were fighting, and later on is revealed to be a former Agnian soldier himself. Other early indications that the form is a result of an Interlink is that two glowing cores are visible inside D, as opposed to the one core seen when Moebius do a normal transformation, and at the end of the encounter D is shown glowing, the same glow that warns an Interlink is reaching its time limit.
    • When the Black Fog starts interfering with K's mind control, we get Ethel's Iris POV. This reveals she saw our heroes as vaguely human-shaped clouds of black smoke with red eyes. But "Isurd" announces his presence with "Long time no see, Taion!" immediately giving away that, despite the red Iris, he isn't being controlled in the same way Ethel was.
    • Since Keves and Agnus are repeatedly noted to be perfectly matched due to the machinations of Moebius, then the Keves Castle unveiling the Annihilator Cannon can only mean the Agnus Castle should have one too. And sure enough, it does. After the reveal, you can find some NPCs complaining about how they really should have seen it coming.
    • The opening cutscene introduces us to a young Noah, Lanz, Eunie, and Joran, who are all attending the Queen's anniversary. One might be forgiven at first for thinking this scene takes place several years before the game's events, but there are some key details that prove otherwise - for example, the city of Alcamoth floats in the sky above, but is nowhere to be seen in Aioniosnote , not to mention that the cutscene itself takes place in what seems to be a peaceful city or town, but we later find out none of the people of Keves and Agnus even know what a city is. Also, if one pays attention in the opening cutscene, people who are clearly much older than 20 are visible, despite the fact that people in Keves aren't supposed to live past 20 (and there are also children younger than 10 seen playing). Moreover, the adults in the scene are casually walking around and the children are playing in the fountain, which is completely at odds with the rest of the game, in which everybody either trains to fight or fights from birth to death. And finally, if one pays attention, nobody has the 10-period mark tattooed on them, not even Lanz who, during the rest of the game, flashbacks included, would have it on his chin. What the cutscene actually depicts is the original Noah - the person from whom both the game's protagonist and N are later incarnations of - witnessing the Time Crash caused by the worlds of the first two Xenoblade games colliding and forming Aionios, long before the game's story begins.
    • An incredibly subtle bit of foreshadowing is hidden in Consul M's battle theme. Namely, it's the flute interwoven into the melody. M never was an off-seer, so the flute, the off-seer's instrument, wouldn't fit her. Of course, it foreshadows that the party is actually fighting Mio herself, swapped into M's body with the latter's powers.
    • There are several hints during the prison sequence that M has swapped into Mio's body, such as when she calls Noah by name, which the real Mio hadn't ever done up until now. She also talks about "my Noah", which doesn't make a lot of sense until you realize she's talking about N, not the current Noah. She also overall seems much more at peace with her inevitable death than expected, considering she had a breakdown about it just recently.
    • When "M" takes over "Mio"'s body and tries to goad the party into killing Mio, you can clearly hear two different voices when referring to Mio (namely "cut her / me down" and "take her / my life"), which indicates that "M" is not really "in control" and "Mio" is playing along. This dialogue change is only present in the English dub: in Japanese, what they say is identical and the overlay effect of their voices is more synchronized, as there is a slightly longer delay in English so you can make out the different words.
    • At the end of the battle over the Annihilator in Keves Castles, D tells J to cancel their Interlink so they can escape the explosion. This foreshadows that he needs J's cooperation in order to defuse, a fact that J later uses to kill them both off via Annihilation Effect.
    • While the world was always known to be a fusion of Alrest and Bionis, several things feel off. The geography of several locations don't equate to where they were in the original games, the Dannagh Desert hasn't existed for at mininum hundreds of years, and the last time the Sword of the Mechonis was seen it was on the bottom of the ocean. This is the first implication that Aionios is not a natural fusion of the two worlds.
    • Near the beginning of the game, Vandham's body dissolves completely into golden motes in a manner similar to a Homecoming instead of releasing red and/or blue motes and leaving a husk like with other fallen soldiers, even though he technically died of the wound inflicted by D. This is an early hint at the true nature of Homecoming as the Final Death that releases one from the reincarnation cycle (which Vandham was never part of in the first place), something Noah's party doesn't realize until much later when said information gets dropped on them in the worst manner possible.
    • The Memorial Hall has several instances of foreshadowing for the Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed expansion:
      • While four of the Founders have statues of themselves erected in the Memorial Hall, Founders Reid and Cassini instead had statues erected of their mentors. Reid's mentor was described as wielding a "great red sword" while Cassini's was said to have wielded "two great swords", which foreshadows the fact that the mentors are Shulk and Rex respectively.
      • In addition, the Reid statue plaque tells of the mentor losing his arm, heavily implying him to not be Dunban, who only lost use of his right arm (and was implied to be recovering it). This is an important clarifying detail, as his look and fighting style inspired Shulk's in Future Redeemed.
      • At the center of the Memorial Hall is an Ouroboros Stone, meant to memorialize a possible seventh founder who was theorized to have not wanted a statue of them erected in the Memorial Hall. Future Redeemed reveals that Riku is the seventh founder in question, who is hinted at in 3 to have been more than just an ordinary Nopon.
      • Founder Doyle's statue states she likely shared a familial relation to Founder Vandham, while Eunie comments that Founder Vandham slightly resembles Noah. This foreshadows that Matthew Vandham and Na'el Doyle were not only each others' siblings, but also the great-grandchildren of Consuls N and M via their son.
      • While the historians of the City generally theorize the existence of the seventh founder or the familial relation of Founders Vandham and Doyle, they notably state it is a complete mystery how Founders Ortiz and Rhodes were able to live past the ten year term limit of Kevesi and Agnian soldiers, as well as to the whereabouts of Founder Doyle in-between the destruction of the original City and the founding of the current one. Future Redeemed reveals that this isn't a case of them not having any records, but rather a case of Suppressed History; Nikol (Founder Ortiz) and Glimmer (Founder Rhodes) had their lifespans extended with their respective fathers Shulk and Rex became part of Origin's Trinity Processor and lifted the term limit imposed on them with their newfound powers, while Na'el was acting as the vessel of Alpha - both things that the Founders were clearly aware of, but intentionally omitted from the history of the City.
    • Separate from the Memorial Hall, there exists another bit of foreshadowing for Future Redeemed in Chapter 6. During the Flashback showing Z giving Consul N the order to destroy the City, the scene only depicts Consul N's reaction to hearing Z's order, rather than the order itself. While this is seemingly used for dramatic effect, it's also the first indication of there being more to the destruction of the first City than first realized - the obscuring of Z's actual order also obscures why he wanted the City destroyed in the first place, which is that Alpha intended on transporting the people of the City away to another world, using these lives as a source of power while destroying the rest of Aionios. N's own reaction to the order is also worded vaguely enough to fit with what the viewer learns in Future Redeemed. On initial viewing, his mention of "life" from the City's people seems a reference to Z saying he must breathe life into M's body himself. However, in another scene Consul Y remarks that Moebius cannot harvest life from City people at all; hinting that the context behind the other scene must be different.
    • The sigils associated with the various Houses turn out to be references to the weapons that their founders or their mentors wielded in Future Redeemed.
    • During Ino's Hero and Ascension Quests, she discusses Blades and Drivers not in the Aionios context but in the one that existed in Alrest, when seemingly none of the inhabitants of Aionios are able to remember the old world. While the game does imply that the Nopon are allowed to retain and pass on their knowledge of the pre-Origin worlds in exchange for remaining Team Switzerland, no explanation is given for how this is even possible. Future Redeemed would reveal that beyond Melia and Nia, who were captured/sealed away early on in Aionios's history, multiple people from the old worlds were brought into Aionios directly with their memories intact instead of being archived or trapped in the cycle as amnesiac soldiers, and that at least two of the Nopon Smiths belong to this group.
    • Within Origin, the closer the party travels to its center, the more the color red is featured within it. Not only does this foreshadow The Reveal in Future Redeemed that the Origin was built around the Ontos core, which is colored red, but it also foreshadows why Noah and N's sheathes glow green and purple respectively; they are channeling the Pneuma and Logos cores, which are green and purple respectively. Furthermore, this also explains why Lucky Seven and the Sword of the End have a similar shape to the Monado, despite being made of Origin's metal; with Ontos powering Origin and with the three Trinity Processor cores all channeling their energies through both Lucky Seven and the Sword of the End, those two swords are effectively Monado swords.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Moebius M uses her body-jumping power to swap her mind and soul with Mio's - unbeknownst to everyone except the two of them - in the middle of M's fight with the party. In an interesting version of this trope, the two characters never return to their original bodies: M remains in disguise as Mio until her new body reaches its expiration date and dies during Mio's Homecoming. It's only then that Mio reveals herself, much to the delight of Noah and the rest of the party, and much to N's despair.
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: One new monster type encountered in Erythia Sea is the Shoox, which look like giant dolphins. They're a docile monster that won't attack you unless provoked, and they'll even playfully follow your ship.
  • Funny Background Event: While the camera and subtitles are focused on most of the characters looking for their stolen food, an argument between Lanz, Riku, and Manana over the latter's eating habits can be heard in the background.
  • Fusion Dance: Party members, namely Noah and Mio, Lanz and Sena, and Eunie and Taion, can fuse into one mecha-like fighter called Ouroboros, drastically increasing their fighting power. Each pair has two different forms depending on who is controlling it.
    G-M 
  • Gainax Ending: The post credits scene shows Noah, Lanz, Eunie, and Joran reincarnated on a rebuilt Bionis, a continuation of the very first scene. However, Noah hears what appears to be Mio's flute playing, even though Mio should be on Alrest. Noah decides to follow the music but the cutscene ends before we can see if anything comes of it. Downplayed, in that it was already known that it was possible to communicate between worlds so her having crossed over at some point is entirely possible.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • At the start of the game, the player is introduced to the Flame Clock system, where the player is encouraged to kill enemies in order to keep a colony's Flame Clock filled so it can grant the party buffs. This matches how Flame Clocks actually work in the plot, as they literally absorb the life energy of defeated enemies. However, later in the game, the Flame Clock system is left behind (Save as an indicator of whether you're within the vicinity of a liberated Colony or not) and replaced with the Interlink system, signifying the protagonists' denial of the Flame Clocks and embracing their Ouroboros powers.
    • The amount of TP (Tactical Points) characters have in Chain Attacks correlates to their overall intelligences. As The Smart Guy of the party, Taion has the highest at 35, whereas Lanz and Sena have the lowest at 15 due to being comparative ditzes, with Noah, Mio, and Eunie (who despite her crude attitude, is mentioned to have been a good student) in the middle. Isurd has the highest base value at 40 due to being a strategic genius even Taion admires, while Triton has the lowest at 10 due to being a Cloudcuckoolander with dementia. Nia bucks this trend, as her base TP is the second-lowest at 15 despite being the Queen of Agnus and the creator of the Ouroboros Stones.
    • Monsters will generally stop attacking you if you significantly outlevel them. The main exceptions to this are Keves and Agnus forces, who will always attack you, the enemies in the final dungeon (since they're Moebius and all), and monsters that hide in sand or water, because they can't see what they're pouncing on before it's too late.
    • With regards to the City Folk heroes being sorted into Kevesi and Agnian classes, Gray wears an eyepatch on their right eye while Monica wears an eyepatch on their left eye, precisely where their own Irises are located. Ghondor's Iris is also located on their left eye.
    • Mio writes in her diary as a record of things in her life before she dies, so one of her idle animations is her doing exactly that.
    • While at the beginning the in-battle dialogue between the Kevesi and Agnian groups (Eunie and Taion for instance) is harsher or more standoffish to reflect their initial Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, as they become more comfortable with each other the in-battle dialogue gets softer.
    • Noah expressly states that his team's battle strategy going forward should be to avoid killing troops from Agnus and Keves alike as much as possible, to aim to knock them out or force a surrender instead. This is reflected by how while he can later use the extremely deadly Lucky Seven on human opponents, he will flip the blade to its blunt side while doing so to minimize the chance of killing them. He does not do this when fighting monstrous enemies.
    • If the party is in their Ouroboros forms at the end of a cutscene preceding a boss fight (ex. the fights against Consul H in Lanz's side story and N at the beginning of Chapter 6), they start the ensuing fight Interlinked.
    • Noah and Mio, both being offseers, carry flutes with them that have two very distinct tunes depending on who plays when you find a corpse on the field and send it. Partway through chapter 4, Noah and Mio swap flutes, and after this point, when you send a corpse, Noah will play Mio's Flute and its tune, and Mio will do the same with Noah's.
    • Upon meeting up with the people of the City, the party will begin wearing special eyepatches whenever they are outside the City, in order to block Moebius from tracking them via the waves their Ouroboros irises emit. However, later, upon learning that Moebius can track Mio regardless due to her now being half Moebius, they cease to wear the eyepatches as it's now pointless.
    • Whenever you initiate a chain attack, the game does a dramatic zoom in on your player character and you can very clearly see their Ouroboros Iris glowing. Following the events of the Wham Episode, one character (namely Mio) has their iris modified due to now being in M's body and thus part Moebius and this is shown in the dramatic zoom in if they're your active character. Very late in the game, Noah merges with N and the same thing happens to them too.
    • Also during the events of the Wham Episode, Noah's knuckles get heavily wounded due to him punching cell bars so much. Not only are these wounds visible, it legitimately takes some time in the story for them to heal. Until they do, Noah will be sporting said wounds at all times.
    • During the party's undercover stint in Li Garte Prison Camp, where they are to rescue Ghondor and free the prisoners, the party cannot Interlink during battle as they are supposed to be keeping a low profile.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • While it is possible to completely empty out the Flame Clock at the beginning of the game, your characters won't instantly die.
    • Zig-zagged when characters change classes; their clothes change and they wield different weapons in battle. While the clothes changing almost always carries over to cutscenes, the characters will use their original weapons. This also extends to Ouroboros Orders in Chain Attacks, which also have them utilize their default weapons.
    • Riku and Manana being counted as Heroes mean that their slot in the party is mutually exclusive to every other Hero, despite the two of them being with the Ouroboros at all times.
    • Because it affects how Arts are charged, every class is sorted as either belonging to Keves or Agnus. This includes the ones obtained from heroes that do not belong to either, like the City folks and the Soulhacker class taken from the lone friendly Moebius member.
    • There are stated to be over a thousand inmates in the Prison (helping explain how our heroes can integrate into it without the guards taking note of not recognizing them), but in actual gameplay you never see more than a dozen or so prisoners at a time.
    • As per usual for the series, New Game Plus breaks the story by having all previously obtained classes, outfits and Heroes from the beginning (the latter of which can be used as soon as Mwamba leaves the party). This even includes Monica and Ghondor, who aren't fully introduced until the middle of the story, and Melia and Nia, who are out of commission for most of the story.
    • Whenever you approach a Unique Monster, your party will comment on what a tough opponent it is. Reasonable enough much of the time, but they will still do so if you’re at level 99 and fighting, for instance, Sycophantic Lilith, who is level 5.
    • Recruiting Melia is this fundamentally, likely why one can only do it in the post-game (which returns you to right before the final battle and ensures you've already seen how it went in canon), since in the story itself the party does not leave Origin after they enter it until after the final battle, and thus there is no opportunity to go to the castle to recruit her. Nia is less a case of this as she is awake and free to move about for some time before the party enters Origin (though she still does not enter Origin in the story and fight alongside the party there until the final portion of the final battle).
    • There are various quests and locations that become available to do and explore only after Origin attacks the rest of Aionios (the destructive events causing marked changes in the landscape). According to the story though, the party can't explore these places or do these quests, since after entering they don't leave Origin until the ending cutscenes of the game.
    • During Ino's Hero Quest, Noah will remark "you only live once," even if you do the quest well after Noah's found out that isn't true for Agnians and Kevesi.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: For a mandatory boss, the Umber Drague has no real bearing on the plot. It's just kinda sitting there, on a cliff overlooking Colony Lambda, and you only defeat it because it's in the way. Its only point is to introduce the emergency beeping that happens when an Interlink lasts too long.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Some items can make characters do more damage, but also take more damage. Given that damage is responsible for getting aggro, this means its more likely for an enemy to target the character and potentially One-Hit Kill them, but you can also do absurd levels of damage both in and outside of Chain Attacks.
    • Cammuravi and his class Seraph in particular heavily stands out as this due to a lot of his arts dealing damage to himself, but in the exchange that a lot of his and the classes arts do incredible damage output that can not be replicated by many characters.
  • Glasses of Aging: A flashback shows a younger Taion not wearing glasses.
  • God-Emperor: While the people of Keves and Agnus do not seem to have the word "god" itself in their vocabulary, their respective rulers are treated as equivalent in most every way. The people are taught that their lives all come from their queens, and in a Homecoming to the queens they return to their embrace. It is for their queens that they fight, with the goal of gaining eternal reward. In truth, this is an elaborate lie, and while the real Melia and Nia were very powerful and revered people in their original worlds, they're clearly not used to being treated as quasi-deities in Aionios. Dealing with the consequences of the all-knowing reputation Moebius have given them in Aionios via their Rotten Robotic Replacements proves a bit of a recurring issue for the actual Queens, made worse by the in-universe reveal that their masked counterparts were fakes making the people of Keves and Agnus gush even more over the real deal.
  • Godzilla Threshold: During the final battle, Z activates Origin's defenses and starts using it to bombard all of Aionios. In response, Melia and Nia mobilize both Castle Keves and Castle Agnus, which are both actually massive city sized Ferronises. The Lost Numbers even commit their own large scale Ferronis, Gilgamesh, to the fight.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: During the final battle against Z, Melia and Nia begin teleporting an assortment of the Heroes you recruited into the battlefield to assist you in the fight before teleporting themselves in to assist the party personally.
  • Gone Horribly Right: N's plot to torment Noah by forcing him to watch Mio undergo her Homecoming goes off without a hitch. However, the one thing N didn't plan for was the fact that M secretly switched bodies with Mio, so it was in fact M who died in Mio's place, resulting in N unwittingly tormenting himself.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Aionios' very existence is the product of a malfunctioning machine meant to recreate Alrest and Bionis after both universes collided and destroyed themselves; Origin was supposed to just recreate the worlds and move on, but it was infected by the desires of its creators and the people it was protecting in digital form to have a world that never changed, creating Z, and from there, Moebius; he hijacked the process so that the worlds never properly de-fused, and a Forever War to ensure an eternal status quo.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Exploited by Z to keep Keves and Agnus locked in a Forever War. Keves soldiers wear black while the Agnians wear white, making it easy to tell friend from foe. Eventually played straight when it is the heroic white, black, and khaki humans against the villanous red and purple Consuls.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The Ouroboros forms can regenerate in a matter of seconds, so they tend to get a lot more punishment than their human counterparts, often losing limbs multiple times in a single fight.
  • Go Out with a Smile: A recurring theme in the game is Noah questioning why some people smile before they die.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Happens a few times, when things get particularly bloody. The most spectacular is probably the camera very quickly panning up as Shania blows her own brains out.
  • Great Escape: After making it to the City, Ouroboros are told to break into a prison to rescue Ghondor. Once inside, Ghondor's plan to break out is to have Ouroboros use their powers to destroy the gates while the guards are understaffed due to a training exercise. It would have worked if Shania hadn't snitched to Moebius. As a result, while a few of prisoners still manage to escape, Ouroboros are captured for real.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Heroes are temporary party members that occupy the seventh slot of the party and can be swapped at will. They're unlocked as the story progresses and bring with them their own unique classes, which the party members can swap to once unlocked.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The method to unlock the Machine Assassin Hero Segiri requires the completion of two seemingly unrelated sidequests, with one of them requiring the completion of a long quest chain to unlock. And even after you do, you have to go to a further unrelated location to finally kick off the Hero Quest.
    • Unlocking Hero Ascensions in general can be difficult. Although the game does tell you which quest ascends which Hero in the Hero Roster (if the player ever thinks of looking at the Hero Roster tab under the menu that is), it does not tell you which quests have prerequisites, and most of them have long quest chains attached to them. And for some Heroes, even after completing the prerequisites, you then have to scan the entire map for a question mark to kick off the Hero Quest. A final issue is that some Hero Ascension quests just require progressing in the story, but some, in addition to all the other details mentioned, require putting said Hero in your party and going to specific locations just to unlock the questnote , none of which the game at all hints.
    • Even worse: despite it rewarding you with a level cap increase for two classes, the option to get Ethel back as a Hero isn't counted as a sidequest and thus doesn't show up on the map at all. The steps to take are at least logical (choose Cammuravi as your Hero and head for the room with the Rapid Aging cradle in Colony Omega), it's just that nothing warns you of them.
    • The Uniting the Seven Nopon quest in general is surprisingly not a Guide Dang It! since the correct Nopon are the ones the player is likely already familiar with. However, one of those Nopon is located back in the Li Garte Prison Camp, which the player is blocked from reentering after they complete it, without any hints how to reaccess it. How do you get back in? Complete a seemingly unrelated quest, which incidentally requires the Machine Assassin Hero. Another of the Nopon isn't met until Riku and Manana's Ascension Quest, giving Uniting the Seven Nopon a pre-requisite the game doesn't mention.
    • If you target an enemy and other nearby enemies have arrows over them, then they will always attack you as a group even if you try to lure one away. This is never mentioned in any of the tips.
    • While getting less EXP and CP from fighting weaker enemies is immediately understandable, what's not obvious is new classes cannot be learned if you're more than 5 levels above the enemy, as it's governed by a near-invisible "class succession point" total which you are not awarded for grey-tiered enemies. You only ever see any actual number of class succession points if you get some from an Amiibo.
    • While the game does explain when Noah can use Unlimited Sword, what it doesn't mention is that his Ouroboros form can use a new Talent Art called Sword of Origin, which can only be used if he enters Ouroboros form while Unlimited Sword is active, or his heat gauge is almost full.
    • Some Unique Monsters only show up at certain times of day, or during certain weather, but good luck figuring out when.
    • Finding certain drops and/or collectibles can be a pain given the huge size of the maps. Some monsters can only be found in pretty out-of-the-way places and some collectibles only in very specific areas. Even if you have found a specific collectible before, only its region location will be listed i.e. Aetia, Fornis, etc, not the specific area you found it in (which aren't marked on the maps beyond particular landmarks anyway).
  • Hailfire Peaks: The game takes place in a land called Aionios which visibly fuses elements from the worlds of both Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2 together.
    • The Aetia Region is a mashup of the Bionis' Leg (specifically Gaur Plains) and Gormott Province, the respective Green Hill Zones of 1 and 2. Its Upper region moves up to Gormott's previously-unexplored head, with a snomy climate similar to Valak Mountain.
    • The Fornis Region is extremely varied in terrain. Its northwestern section is a dry steppe not unlike Mor Ardain from 2, but also contains trees similar to the first game's Satorl Marsh, and the Mechonis' hand from the Fallen Arm is also a prominent feature. Its southern reaches are similar to the northern areas of the Bionis' Leg, with craggy terrain and many lakes; it also contains several saffronia tress due to its proximity to Uraya. Finally, its eastern area is very similar to Dannagh Desert from Torna, even possessing the same name.
    • The Pentelas Region has the Urayan Tunnels, which are inside the titan's remains and also contain elements of Tephra Cave and the Ether Mine from 1, plus musical cues from the Bionis' Interior. Past the tunnels is a large series of waterfalls extremely similar to Makna Forest's Great Makna Falls, beyond which is Maktha Wildwood: a mashup of the Makna Forest and the Land of Morytha.
    • The Keves Castle Region contains hovering reefs much like Eryth Sea, but in a dry environment floating over a bottomless pit rather than an ocean, with the torso and right arm of Mor Ardain forming the main landmass. Keves Castle itself looks very much like Alcamoth (down to the main hall being a direct recreation of the Imperial Palace's, mural of Bionis and Mechonis and all) but with architecture more similar to Agniratha.
    • The Cadensia Region is the largest area in the game by a huge margin. It consists mostly of a massive ocean known as the Erythia Sea that combines elements of Eryth Sea and the Leftherian Archipelago (though oddly, the deepest part of the Spirit Crucible Elpys is now somehow on top of a cliff). On the southern end of the sea rests the Mechonis' sword, while the Bionis' head prominently sticks out from its northern end. The area around the sword is a sickly green marsh resembling the Bionis’ interior- named “Bannis Path”- featuring plant life similar to the cilia seen on the Bionis interior’s floor. The Bionis' Shoulder is also visible on the world map connecting to Upper Aetia, but is not explorable and simply serves as a zone transition. Agnus Castle is also located here, taking design elements from the Indoline Sanctum and Artifices.
  • Hammerspace: In the world of Aionios, humans can materialise their weapons at will while Nopon, lacking this ability, have to carry theirs conventionally, as seen with Riku and Manana. In the usual sense of hammerspace though, Riku is seen using a communications device that serves as the Nopon equivalent to the Iris Network that just seems a bit too big and round for him to stash away in his jacket without issue. And then there's the camping equipment and food stashes that the party apparently carry around with them the whole time.
  • Happy Ending Override: Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 ended with an optimistic outlook where "in this new world all life will walk towards the future, hand in hand." However, the world of Aionios which was created due to the worlds of Bionis and Alrest being fused features a war between the nations of Keves and Agnus. This war has warped the lives of both populations; every citizen is a short-lived incarnation who gets conscripted into a war they aren't expected to survive and gets reborn back into the war after death. Ultimately however, it's a downplayed example with the ending reverting the worlds back to how they were before Aionios was made over a thousand years ago and it being unclear just what impact Aionios ended up having on anyone.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Lost Colony is an Agnian colony located within a cave whose inhabitants are believed to have been freed from the Flame Clocks by a previous group of Ouroboros. Due to their need to keep a low profile, they shun all outsiders.
  • History Repeats:
    • Like the first game, the main setting of the story is between two factions caught up in a Forever War.
    • Like the second, the world is slowly dying as Annihilation Events erase parts of the world, just like the problem of all the Titans slowly but surely dying off.
    • It actually becomes far more literal when it's revealed that all of the inhabitants of Aionios are actually reincarnations. When they die, their souls are placed in new bodies grown in special modules.
  • Hour of Power: The Interlink works on Color Timer rules: stay fused too long, and a loud beeping sound starts ringing in the user's head. Keep going, and things get... unsafe. In terms of combat the Ouroboros form is immediately canceled and is locked out until the cooldown bar is entirely gone; in terms of story, it triggers an Annihilation Event right on top of you, as O and P find out.
  • Hufflepuff House: There's a lot of colonies, on both sides of the conflict, that you just... never run into, despite the party going around most of the known world. To give a concrete example, Agnus is explicitely pointed out to have 23 colonies: you visit five. A handful of them briefly appear during cutscenes in the final battle, but that's about it. It's mainly for practical reasons, ensuring that you'll never run out of antagonistic Keves and Agnus soldiers even if you free every available colony.
  • Human Subspecies: Most of the humanoid species from the previous two Xenoblade games appear, but interbreeding and evolution has made many of them significantly more like humans than they were in their previous appearance. It's most notable with the Machina and the Blades, who have lost their respective height and beastliness compared to other races and now share their respective metabolism and mortality. The different races mostly still retain their signature accents in the English dub, such as Blades and Indoline being the only American-accented characters. Due to the majority of the cast being purpose-grown soldiers, the idea that they could be different species is a foreign concept to them; as such, they only remark on the differences in appearance of members of the other nation, and even that only with brief curiosity.
  • Humongous Mecha: Wouldn't be a Xeno game without them:
    • Both sides use vehicle sized mechs called Levnises, which can come in both piloted and automated varieties. Kevesian Levnises are styled after Mechon, while Agnian Levnises are styled after Artifices.
    • Both sides also have much larger mecha called a Ferronis, which all serve as the core of a Colony and are only mobilized when two Colonies directly battle each other. They vary wildly in design from colony to colony; most of them are mobile fortresses, but some are oddities. For instance, Colony 4 and Delta can jettison the living quarters to become Gundam-esque mobile suits for their commanders, and Colony 11 is shaped like a snake.
    • The Ouroboros can transform into mecha-like forms by combining in pairs, with designs that evoke the robots from Xenogears and Xenosaga. Moebius can do something similar, but with a monstrous Organic Technology aesthetic that belongs to none of the previous games.
    • By the end of the game, it turns out that both Castles, the City, and even the Origin can turn into robots, meaning that every non-ruin major structure in the game is a mech of some kind. Truly, Takahashi is living the dream.
  • I Am Not a Gun: A theme of the game is the Child Soldiers of Keves and Agnus freed from the tyranny of the Flame Clocks wanting to do something other than constant killing until they either die in battle or are sent off during a Homecoming.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: The Lost Numbers had their own chosen heroes who trained their whole life to take on Moebius, until fate led to Guernica giving the power of the Ouroboros to the main party instead. They're pretty bitter about it, to put it mildly.
  • Idiot Ball: The entire party during Juniper's ascension quest inexplicably trusts Consol U to instruct them on how to dispose of "nuisances" in Colony Tau. Predictably, the Consul betrays them, with the preparations she told them to undertake drawing a large number of strong monsters to the colony in an attempt to wipe them and Ouroboros out.
  • In Escapable Prison Easily Escaped: Li Garte Prison Camp is established to be extremely secure, with only one person having escaped in its history (and even then, at the cost of the lives of the rest of the group who tried to escape with her). However, when the heroes reach the prison it's clear that it only has a handful of guards who are too inept to notice the brightly colored protagonists sneak in amongst the actual prisoners. This, combined with the fact that prisoners are allowed to continue using their weapons in order to carry out their Prisoner's Work means that it's incredibly easy for the protagonists and their allies to bust out when the time comes. The only reason the prison break doesn't work out for Noah and the others is because Shania snitches about their escape plan.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Splishsplash the Nopon can somehow control the weather, though he's not that good at it. From a Doylian perspective he's an Anti Frustration Feature, only showing up when a sidequest asks for rain, but in-universe nobody knows how and why he can do that. Heck, he doesn't seem to know either.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The "Legacy of the Seven" Accessories, well hidden in the late-game Cadensia Region, are the best-in-class for their respective categories.
    • The two postgame Heroes (namely Melia and Nia, the true queens of the two nations), are of the Royal Summoner and Lifesage classes respectively, and both the Heroes in question and the classes they offer are some of the strongest in the game. The Royal Summoner class is a very strong Attacker class with powerful Ether damage, while the Lifesage class is an unparalleled Healer class that can also dish out pretty good damage. Both classes also have very good supporting Skills to help out the team, as the Royal Summoner class can boost damage dealt and drop foe's Block rate, and the Lifesage class can offer Damage Reduction and extra healing. The two Heroes in question also offer some incredibly helpful effects during Chain Attacks, with the Royal Summoner Hero being able to bypass the 100% TP limit so that you can go for higher, Amazing percentages, while the Lifesage Hero can revive any fallen party member if their Chain Attack order is complete, and they can reactivate any character used during the order itself if they're the one to finish said order.
  • Inside a Computer System: Sort of. Aionios is a real physical world. However, since it's the unstable mash-up of Alrest and the Bionis/Mechonis, it can only exist due to the interference of the Origin system, a massive supercomputer that was designed to allow their worlds to be remade after their inevitable merging and resulting mutual annihilation. Z's hijacking of that system is the cause of most of the oddities in the world, from the cycle of reincarnation to the annihilation events (basically miniature versions of the destruction Z paused, and a sign that he did not freeze the merged worlds perfectly). This results in a world that seems like an incredibly advanced computer system.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The class selection menu and Hero Roster include silhouettes of all the obtainable Heroes in the game, several of which are very recognizable as characters you might not expect to fight alongside Ouroboros: Miyabi and Cammuravi (both of whom are dead at certain points in the story), Riku and Manana (explicitly non-combatants up until their Hero Quest), a Consul, and one of the mysterious mechanical assassins that occasionally attack the party. Averted, however, with Melia and Nia, whose silhouettes and classes actually are completely hidden until the game has been beaten. The class affinity ranks also spoil which of the party will be the class inheritor.
    • Played straight with Ethel. She becomes unable to be played shortly after her initial recruitment due to leaving for the Castle. However, her character icon continues to level up alongside the party. Furthermore, it keeps leveling up even after she dies, heavily indicating she is going to come back at some point. Sure enough you get to recruit her reborn self late in the game.
    • Played straight with Mwamba, who on account of his upcoming permanent departure from the playable party, cannot have accessories equipped to him, with no reason given as to why.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Ethel and Cammuravi like to fight each other above anyone else, and are fascinated with each other outside of battle. Justified as their society doesn't understand the concept of sex. Becomes more blatant when they fight in their Ferronises, as they ignore Ouroboros so they can fight each other one final time. They drive their weapons through the other Ferronis' chest, and when said weapons fade it looks like their Ferronises are embracing. During the fight itself they are joyful to the point of breathlessness, more obviously happy than they are in any other scene. Ethel in particular repeatedly shows a beaming, blissful smile.
  • Interspecies Adoption: In the City, the ten year-old Nopon Cubibi was adopted by 58 year-old human Jaggar some time prior to the story's events. In a late-game sidequest involving Triton, the party finds out that Jaggar passed away, presumably leaving the Nopon on his own.
  • Invented Linguistic Distinction:
    • Both played straight and double subverted. As in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the characters have a variety of British and other accents in the English dub to distinguish them by background and culture. However, most of the characters are artificially born from pods at a physical age of 10 years and with full speech capability, including their dialects, meaning characters who grew up around each other can sound wildly different. For example, you'll mostly only get Welsh accents from the Gormotti and American accents from the Blades and Indoline, as well as the occasional Scottish accented human, all of which are races of Agnus, but it doesn't tell you anything about what Colony they hail from. The various English accents shared among the Homs, High Entia, and Machina of Keves and many of the humans of Agnus tell you even less. There are also unexplained instances of Agnian characters speaking with accents that don't match their races, such as the seemingly Blade Hero Miyabi having an English accent, or a side character in Fiona's Hero Quest named Kanata sounding Scottish despite having ether lines and a Core Crystal like a Blade. Vandham speaks with an Australian accent similar to the Urayans of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as do some of the naturally born people native to the City on Swordmarch, such as his daughter Monica and his granddaughter Ghondor. Furthermore the reincarnating soldiers of Keves and Agnus are all created using the souls of people from the original worlds of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2 stored within Origin as templates, all of whom presumably picked up their dialects more naturally (aside from the Blades who were born with their American accents in that world as well), so this technically also applies to their incarnations in Aionios, albeit without them having any memory of it.
    • Nopon have the same accents and speech quirks as they do in 1 and 2, but their slang includes marketing terms like "leading brand", "best before", and "green energy". This sometimes causes confusion when conversing with humans.
  • Is It Something You Eat?: After liberating Colony 9 and Zeon starts talking about growing crops, one of the ambient dialogues around the camp:
    "I don't even know what crops are! Can you eat them?"
  • Isle of Giant Horrors: The center of Daedal Isle is filled with gigantic versions of Gogols, Taos, and Darbus, which are already some of the biggest enemies in the game. Taion speculates that something special about the environment must allow for the great size.
  • Jiggle Physics: Jiggle physics on the bust and hair has been a staple of every game in the series. Ladies on the very busty end of the scale, like Ethel or Monica, visibly bounce with every step. That said, it is the somewhat subdued sort seen in the likes of Pyra and Mythra, rather than the extreme, jelly-like bouncing of characters like Perun in 2. As for the hair, Taion's has a noticible bounce when he executes a Chain Order, and Melia's hair bounces like it does in 1.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The secret of Noah's blade is that it conceals a(n admittedly expertly made) katana inside of it. Far from the reality-warping legendary swords of his predecessors, but it's still treated as absurdly sharper and deadlier than any other sword in the setting, from Lanz's BFS to the supernatural blades of the Ouroboros. Its current form was made by Riku as a Power Limiter, because Noah was uncomfortable wielding something that dangerous - which is remarkable, as said form is a Laser Blade. Justified and subverted when it's revealed the reason is because said sword is made partly from metal from Origin; it's not the blade itself, it's the metal.
  • Killer Rabbit: A sidequest in the Erythia Sea occurs when the party comes across an omnious monument, which Riku and Manana warn will unleash an unspeakable evil if they approach it. Said evil is a boss-level Pippito. Hilariously, it's an unspeakable evil not because of its power, but because they're afraid it could out-cute a Nopon.
    Sena: CAN I PET IT?!
  • Lag Cancel: Returning from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the ability to cancel attacks into other attacks. Auto-attacks can be canceled into any kind of Art; Arts can be canceled into Fusion Arts and Talent Arts; and Fusion Arts can be canceled into Arts, Talent Arts, and other Fusion Arts. After the Art of Flow is obtained, regular Arts can be canceled into Quick Moves and other Arts.
  • Land Shark: Aligo are semi-aquatic and often aggressive shark-like creatures who have two massive arms instead of side fins.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The fact the worlds of Bionis and Alrest were linked at all was a massive twist in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, held off until the very end of the game, but the trailer and eShop description treat it as common knowledge.
    • A major mid-game reveal in 2 was that one of the party members had hidden their true nature as a Blade, covering up their Core Crystal and posing as a normal human. In this game said party member (Nia) and her robotic fake wear outfits that expose their Core Crystal.
    • The ending of 3 shows that Pyra and Mythra have seperate bodies. However, througout 2, the two of them are Sharing a Body, and don't even get indiviual bodies until the ending, when Rex reactivates their Core Crystal.
  • Legacy of the Chosen: [[spoiler:The six heroes aren't the first to wield the Ouroboros powers, as the City has records of them going back over a thousand years, with the first ones having statues built of them in the City's Memorial Hall. The story of the Founders is the main focus of Future Redeemed.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: The running theme of sidequests involving liberated Colonies. While they have more autonomy, the supplies from the Castles stopped the moment their Flame Clock was broken. As a result, the Colonies have to figure out ways of being self-sufficient.
  • Lizard Folk: The series regular Igna appear along with a relative called the Merigna, which look like humanoid lizards with fish traits.
  • Loot-Making Attack: Hitting a Dazed enemy with a Burst attack will cause the enemy to drop items.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • Aside from changing the names, those without at least a passing knowledge of Japanese who play with Japanese audio lose context because included text for the subtitles is from the English dubbing. This includes the slang words and Unusual Euphemisms used there-in.
    • Mio's inability to handle heat whether it's the ambient temperature or in food is a joke about her being a Cat Girl and by extension "cat-tongued", a term used in Japanese to describe anyone who can't handle spice in food.
  • Loyalty Mission: Heroes are recruited by completing their Hero Quest. Later on, the maximum rank of their class (for both them and the party) can be increased by completing their Ascension Quest. The main characters also have Ascension Quests that raise the maximum rank of their default class.
  • Lucky Seven: Noah's blade given to him by Riku is named this. It was forged by seven Nopon over seven years with seven different metals and is the only weapon that can destroy the Flame Clocks because the metal it was forged from came from Origin itself and thus is more 'real' than anything else. If Noah's role is set to Attacker and the Talent Art Unlimited Sword is activated, both auto-attacks and Arts have a small chance of inflicting Doom on non-Unique monsters regardless of level.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Downplayed example: while the announcement trailer highlighted Keves as being technologically advanced Keves where Agnus was magic-oriented, this essentially amounts to one side having blue lasers and the other side having green lasers, as it's immediately made clear that there's no philosophical backing behind the war at all and both "nations" only actually exist in the form of their armies, who are forced into fighting by the Flame Clocks. Both sides use ether to fuel their equipment and employ Humongous Mecha which differ primarily in aesthetics.
  • Magikarp Power: The Soulhacker class doesn't come with any Arts in the beginning. The player needs to hunt Unique Monsters and kill them with the Soulhacker user (or later, equipped with a certain skill from the class) in order to gain the Monster's arts, eventually making Soulhackers the most powerful and versatile of the classes.
  • Mark of the Supernatural: Agnian and Kevesi soldiers have tattoos on some visible portion of their upper body that signify how much time they have left before Homecoming. The tattoos start out as completely red at first before darkening over time. Characters that are approaching the end of their tenth term, like Mio, will only have the diamond in the center be red.
  • Marathon Boss: The final boss consists of multiple phases with many long cutscenes peppered in-between. Even worse, the cutscenes in the first phase are completely unskippable. Dying at any point in the fight forces you to start from the beginning, which can easily happen the first time they're fought as they employ a gimmick where your party is temporarily split and can be potentially stuck with a setup that easily dies.
  • Marry Them All: It’s possible that Rex married Pyra, Mythra, and Nia and had a child with each of them based on the image Nia holds in the ending.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The names of the two warring nations, Keves and Agnus, come from the Hebrew and Latin words for "lamb", respectively. The people of these nations are born for the sole purpose of fighting and dying in war, making them metaphorical lambs for the slaughter. And made even more obvious when Moebius treats the people of both sides as nothing more than livestock that they drain life force from and otherwise do as they please with.
    • The Ferronis contains ferrous, which means iron, and ends with -nis like the Bionis and Mechonis from the first Xenoblade Chronicles, which were giant humanoid landmasses, effectively making them "Iron Giants", which is their Japanese name. It also sounds like furnace, which is appropriate since every Ferronis has a Flame Clock built into it.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Piloted mechs are referred to in general as "levnises", while the city-sized mobile home bases are called a "Ferronis" ("Iron Giant" in Japanese). A Ferronis can also be piloted like a mech, but that seems more rare; generally they're just driven places.
  • Męlée ŕ Trois: The player can occasionally encounter two groups of enemies fighting. Approaching them will prompt the party to pick a side, with different rewards for helping either group for the first time you help out a side.
  • Metal Slime: Pippito enemies appear very rarely, are marked by a red exclamation point, and run away from the player, eventually burrowing underground if they aren't hit with an attack quickly enough. They're the only renewable source of Nopon Coins, which can be used to skip a wide variety of other types of farming.
  • Meteor Move: The Smash combo returns from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. While it deals a lot of damage, especially during Chain Attacks, it will also cause certain enemies to get enraged sooner by raising the rage threshold.
  • Mickey Mousing: Justified and lampshaded: during their first encounter, Noah figures out that Mio’s fighting style is based on the Agnian Off-Seer rhythm.
  • Money for Nothing: Due to the removal of most consumables from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and even further streamlining from Torna, with weapon upgrades being tied directly to a character's level, class level, and an optional sidequest, the only things to spend G on is Accessories which are likely obsolete by the time they are available in stores, and on Fabricators which are very cheap. Like Torna, there's an optional money sink late in the game, but by the time you encounter it you'll have several multiples of that amount.
  • Money Multiplier: Some meals increase the amount of money obtained at the end of battle.
  • Money Spider: Justified in that enemies aren't actually dropping money. Instead, they drop Shop Fodder that is automatically sold.
  • Mordor: The game takes a giant swing at the Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography and dumps you there as the starting area, just to make it clear how much of a mess life is for the people of Aionios. The reason for the Everblight Plain being such a wasteland is mentioned later: it's simply the widest flat plain in the world, and both Keves and Agnus like to use it for needlessly large colony-on-colony clashes such as the one that opens the game.
  • Musical Nod:
    • The background music for the Elaice Highway is a direct reprise of the theme of the Hidden Machina Village. Makes sense, as the area's main landmark is the now half-buried Fallen Arm of Mechonis.
    • The Weight of Life, this game's equivalent to Engage the Enemy and Counterattack, features a brief snippet of both its predecessors.
    • The final boss of Ino's Ascension Quest, also marking the point where Noah ends up fully becoming her Driver, is fought to the tune of Battle!! from the second game.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Whereas the aesthetics, clothing, and mechanical designs of the Keves and Agnus nations are pretty obvious Continuity Nods to the worlds of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 respectively, clothing from the City more closely resembles a mix of contemporary fashion and military fatigues, making them more in line with Xenoblade Chronicles X.
    • The default main menu screen arranges the party's faces in profile in a way that is highly reminiscent of one of the more famous official artworks for Xenogears (in fact, the image this site uses for that game's page even).
    • Official concept art for the party's Ouroboros forms harken back to mech designs from past Xeno games. For example, the Noah-Mio Ouroboros resembles Weltall when Noah is in control, and KOS-MOS when Mio is in control. Likewise, when Sena is in control of her Ouroboros interlink with Lanz it heavily resembles Crescens, while a Lanz-controlled one resembles a Galdr with Stier's head shape. Eunie's Ouroboros resembles E.S. Zebulun, while Taion's resembles E.S. Reuben in A Missing Year.
    • The Consuls' uniforms strongly resemble a futuristic version of the armor Grahf wore in Xenogears. D in particular has a helmet with horns that looks almost identical to Grahf's or to the E.S. Judah.
    • The entire concept of Origin is basically identical to that of the Lifehold in Xenoblade Chronicles X, where it's supposed to act as an ark carrying the data and consciousnesses of all life on Bionis and Alrest with the intention of rebuilding both worlds once the universe intersection occurs.
    • One of Taion's default poses in unvoiced cutscenes is identical to Citan Uzuki's concept art.
    • In Chapter 6's ending, the party finds Agnian Queen Nia in cold sleep in a stasis pod. Xenoblade Chronicles X also has something similar in its ending when Elma returns to her true body, which is in a stasis pod that looks almost identical to and even opens in a similar way as Nia's. And just like Elma, Nia had a Ridiculously Human Robot taking her place for most of the game, albeit one not under her control unlike Elma's mimeosome. It's also the scene where a villain ambushes the party, and endangers something/someone valuable when the heroes' guards are down.
    • Keves and Agnus Castle are revealed in the finale to be Transforming Mecha that take place in the assault on Origin, in a throwback to a similar development in Xenogears, in which the administrative center of the Kislev capital of Nortune is revealed to be a giant transforming mecha called the Super Dimension Gear Yggdrasil IV.
    • Origin activating its defense systems in the finale is extremely similar to the scene of the ruins of Old Miltia transforming into Ω System from Xenosaga. By extension, it also resembles the transformation of Merkava after the awakening of Deus in Xenogears.
    • The DLC swimsuit costumes for the party contain several homages to optional swimwear from previous Xeno titles. Noah and Lanz wear the same clogs that the cast of 1 did, Mio's two-piece lightly resembles Nia's sundress in 2, and Taion wears a modified Japanese summer festival outfit similar to Dunban and Jin Uzuki.
    • The Iris system calls to mind a combination of the Limiters from Xenogears and especially the Unus-Mundus Network from Xenosaga. Similarly to the Limiters, the Irises are an omnipresent form of organic technology by which the villains use as a means of artificially spying on and taking control of the masses to prevent them from successfully rebelling against their authority. And similarly to the UMN, the Irises are a kind of virtual information network represented by a ring/Ouroboros symbol that links humanity's consciousnesses together and allows them to communicate with each other near-instantaneously across far distances. The two systems' respective themes also share musical similarities with one another.
    • The DLC Throwback outfits are based on characters from the previous two games. Noah's resembles Shulk's outfit. Mio's is based on Blade Nia with the addition of leggings. Lanz's has an outfit similar to Reyn's with decorations based on Egil. Sena's is based on Brigid's. Eunie's outfit is a mix of Melia and Fiora. And Taion's is based on Jin's Blade form.
    • Mio's flashback to Miyabi sacrificing herself helping Mio and Sena escape from the explosion at Colony Omega is a direct homage to the introduction of Xenosaga 3, which has Kevin Winicott's mother doing the same to help him escape. Likewise, the laboratory and machine that Consul Y performs his experiments with strongly resembles the one used to torture child Fei in Xenogears, enhanced by the tinted window lighting portraying the lab in the same tone of sickly green.
    • The City is a pretty blatant Expy of Xenogears' Shevat, being a floating technological city that is ruled by a council of elders with a female main leader, and which serves as the primary base for the revolution against the villains of the setting. Its location, Swordmarch, also begins with the letter "S".
    • The premise of the game, which is about two similar but opposed dimensions colliding at risk of annihilation with each other, is a Whole-Plot Reference to a major reveal in Xenosaga Episode III: the universe is made up of two parallel realms: the Imaginary Numbers Domain of immaterial human souls, and the Real Numbers Domain of matter. The Gnosis are revealed to be human souls that crossed over and that the bleedover will annihilate both realms unless the universe undergoes Eternal Recurrence or Shion and the party train humanity's collective unconscious to discover another way. In Xenoblade 3, Earth was split by Klaus into two parallel realms, the immaterial Ether-based world of the Bionis (the Imaginary Numbers Domain), and the remnant material world of Alrest (the Real Numbers Domain). Likewise, the heroes' goal is once again to find a way to overcome the Eternal Recurrence that was put in place to temporarily stave off mutual annihilation by training the collective unconscious of both worlds to accept the future.
    N-S 
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: One monster type found in Erythia Sea is the Merfrey, which look like giant crocodiles. Some of them have been tamed by Merigna and are ridden as mounts.
  • New Game Plus: After clearing the game once, this and new post-game content opens up. In a second playthrough, you retain your progression such as Level, Classes, Class Ranks, and any Heroes you allied with in your first playthrough. You'll also keep Colony Affinity Levels and their associated bonuses. You'll have most of your inventory like accessories, Gems, and Nopon Coins, but quest and story-related items will have to be earned through story progression. This goes for traversal skills and your map as well. Unique Monsters you killed last playthrough will be revived as well (though you still get to keep your current Soul Jack Skills so you don't need to go through the hassle of unlocking them again).
  • No Fair Cheating: In previous titles, it was possible to instantly defeat enemies, even bosses, by knocking them off cliffs via Blowdown or inflicting Topple on flying enemies. In this game, doing this can still end the battle, but awards no experience or other rewards and immediately respawns the enemy as if the fight didn't happen. The same will happen if the player manages to place a large enemy in a position where they're air-juggled for more than a few seconds by a party member occupying the only available spot to fall on after a Burst. Additionally, flying enemies will now automatically shake off Topple or Daze once they fall a few feet below the floor the party's standing on, and will fly back up as soon as they recover.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Like the sequel and the first game's definitive edition before it, EXP gained for anything other than fighting is banked as "Bonus EXP" that can be claimed at a rest point. Also like the rest of the series, it's entirely possible to never need it; if you're doing enough side activities to have a decent bank of it, you're probably levelling enough naturally to keep up with the plot's demands, but it's a lot less tedious than Level Grinding if the need arises.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: Aionios' society seems to be an entirely asexual and aromantic society. It's implied that the Flame Clock neuters the element of sexual and romantic attraction from the minds of the people that live under it, which is first shown when the Kevesi trio has no issue bathing in the nude together when in Colony 9, but after becoming Ouroboros, Taion, Lanz, and Noah react with newfound confused embarassment to the idea of changing clothes in front of the girls. Aionians also have no idea about the concept of romantic attraction and relationships, as well as being implied to not even be aware of the concept of sex (also explaining why the "fuck" swear doesn't exist), and things like partners and sexual reproduction are all things they have no idea about and are only introduced to by meeting the people of the City.
  • No Nudity Taboo:
    • The Soldiers of Keves (and Agnus presumably judging by a later scene involving changing clothes) have a mixed-gender bathing area and in an early cutscene, Eunie and Lanz (female and male, respectively) get up in each other's faces, arguing about who performed better in a recent battle while fully naked and not so much as flinching even once at the full frontal nudity. After being disconnected from their Flame Clocks they all begin to develop a sense of sexuality and associated embarrassment with nudity (implying it is the Flame Clock itself that somehow seals these aspects). Notably, one quest titled Research Procedures lampshades this when the quest giver Namuki asks Lanz to strip in the open so he can examine his body more closely (Namuki after being disconnected from the Flame Clock having awoken to the knowledge that the various people uniformly called "humans" in Aionios actually have various very different body designs) Eunie and Sena smack Lanz before he can do so, only to react in confusion as to why they did that and try to come up with a reason.
    • As ever, the Nopon approach to clothing is optional. Younger Nopon are less likely to wear clothing at all and Nopon in general only seem to wear clothing if it is a uniform of some kind i.e. as an engineer or member of a Nopon caravan, or they simply like just the style. It's worth noting that Nopon freely mix with humans in the bathing scene mentioned above without issue and in the oasis cutscene, Riku and Manana freely bathe in front of the others sans clothing.
  • No-Sell: In Chapter 6, X's Power Limiter stops working on Noah and Mio once the latter becomes half-Moebius, allowing them to use their Interlink after it had been disabled. They then promptly smash X's crystal, allowing the rest of the Ouroboros to Interlink once again as well.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Alexandria came up with the Collectopaedia Cards in order to efficiently transfer supplies where they are needed and spy on Keves' own supply movements. During her quest strand, one person manages to use them as a makeshift SOS system and they also prove very valuable in inter-colony diplomacy after the Flame Clocks start to go. Alexandria acknowledges how the cards have evolved in unexpected yet greatly useful ways. Alexandria also comments on an unintended side-effect — she catches on to the fact that some greater force is orchestrating the war when, via the cards, she realizes that Keves and Agnes are unnaturally evenly matched in resources and forces.
    • In gameplay, the skill "Protector's Pride" (greatly raises Arts recharge speed when non-Defenders are targeted), given its name and the fact it's initially found on a Defender class, is probably intended to make it easier for your tank to Draw Aggro when an Attacker or Healer is in danger. It ironically sees the most use on hyper-aggressive team compositions that run no Defenders at all, since without a Defender on the field the fast recharge will always be in effect.
  • Not Zilla: The Darbus family of enemies are large and high levelled enemies that resemble Kaiju. In particular, on Daedal Isle, there are a lot of these on the island and they are even larger then normal, with one of them fighting a giant Gogol in a reference to King Kong vs. Godzilla. The Unique Monster Slack-Jawed Zephal in particular is one of the largest monsters to go against in the entire game.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Colony Lambda runs on a pretty impressive bureaucracy system, making it one of the most efficiently managed colonies in the world. Unfortunately, it also means taking quick decisions is damn near impossible as the due process can take ages. The inhabitants are divided on whether or not change is needed.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Forever War is revealed to have been manipulated by a mysterious group of armored, sinister figures known as the Consuls by the main party, leading them to realize the war is artificial. Unlike most examples, they don't actually have any grand designs and are more like hedonists who want to prevent their personal status quos from being broken.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Moebius N and Moebius M are shorthand versions of Noah and Mio respectively. While this is justified since they are alternate selves of each other, it would also be mighty confusing when both are present in the same room, so the two are addressed by their initials.
    • Blades in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Blades in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are two different things. In this game, Blades simply refer to the weapon that a Kevesi or Agnian warrior can Summon to Hand, and while "Blade-like" humans exist, they aren't referred to as such and are simply addressed as Agnian. This includes Queen Nia, who is a confirmed member of the Blade species. The one exception is Ino, who refers to herself as "the last and greatest Artificial Blade" as an in-universe artifact of Alrest, confusing the hell out of the party as they assume she's talking about the aforementioned weapons.
  • One-Winged Angel: Z turns into an being made of pure energy with only his face visible during the Final Boss battle with him.
  • Optional Boss: In series tradition, there are four superbosses as a part of "Aionios' Strongest", consisting of bosses starting at level 95. Defeating all four unlocks a fifth superboss with its own intro cutscene and boss music.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragues, the four-eyed Western dragons from the first game, make a return in the Pentelas Region, with one appearing as a story boss in Great Cotte Falls and the rest being found in the Lower Maktha Wildwood at high levels. The game also adds Ravoons, gigantic sea serpents who act as the aquatic counterpart to Dragues in that both species only have Elite Monsters in the level 70+ range along with one of the superbosses. The final superboss, Seraphic Ceratinia, also has some dragonlike traits.
  • Our Founder: The Memorial Hall has six statues and one Ouroboros Stone to represent the seven Founders who established the new City in Swordmarch following the destruction of the previous one by N. Two of the statues aren't of the actual founders, but their mentors instead. Their stories would be revealed in Future Redeemed.
  • Our Humans Are Different:
    • Apart from those otherwise indistinguishable from baseline humans, humans in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are an amalgamation of all the races introduced in previous games, with Kevesian humans having traits from Homs, High Entia, and Machina as seen in 1, and Agnian humans often having traits from 2's Blades such as Elemental Hair Composition, Tron Lines, and what appear to be Core Crystals in their chests, as well as other Alrestian races such as Gormotti, Indoline, and Urayans. However, some of those more fantastic traits seem to be vestigial.
      • Pure-blooded High Entia in 1 had notably large headwings, whereas all of the High Entia in 3 have small wings (a trait that was indicative of being half-Homs). However, it is theorized by Kamuki that the wings are what give Kevesi like Eunie higher Ether affinity (a trait present in High Entia of 1). The High Entia in 1 all had silver hair, whereas the ones in 3 now also have a wider and more human range of hair colors, and sometimes the feathers on the wings match (Eunie being the exception).
      • The Machina in 1 were full-blown Mechanical Lifeforms who only needed water and ether to live. The Machina in 3 seem to only have their skin (which is still noted to be rather thick and metal-like, and Lanz has a high pain threshold), and have the same organic needs as the other humans of Aionios. Some text in 1 also implied that Machina couldn't swim or handle being submerged in water due to their weight and mechanical nature, which is not the case with Lanz in both gameplay and cutscenes (although, Lanz is noted to still be rather heavy and not just because of his size, and he makes a large splash when cannon-balling into a lake in a cutscene; it's also suggested that Lanz only bathes once a week, but that's mainly to do with him being unhygienic).
      • The Blades in 2 were Bond Creatures whose lifeforces were bound to their Drivers, which is apparently not the case in 3. Some members of the non-Blade Alrestian races have a Core Crystal somewhere on their body without having Ether lines (such as Taion, Juniper, Teach and Miyabi), suggesting they may be Blade Eaters (meanwhile, Mio is clearly a Gormotti Flesh Eater). The Core Crystals, which were the hearts of the original Blades, now also seem to be decorative, as they can now be killed like any other human. This generational difference is one reason why Moebius D's attempt to kill Nia fails.
    • The vast majority also only have a lifespan of 10 years at most, being born from a Cradle at a physical state equivalent to a human 10 year old, making them in effect die at a physical age of 20 if they survive to the end of their tenth term, and even those who had traits from races that were much longer-lived and matured at different rates than their more human-like contemporaries (such as the High Entia, Machina and Flesh Eater Blades) are subject to this, growing and maturing at identical rates. Upon death, they become husks and motes of their life force leaves their bodies. People who die before reaching their 10th year will be reborn inside the Cradles without the memories of their previous life, but those who manage to make it to their 10th year and die as part of a Homecoming are freed from Aionios' cycle of rebirth and can no longer be brought back as a new incarnation.
  • Ouroboros: Party members can fuse into mecha-like creature, called Ouroboros, with the resultant form being dependent on who is controlling the fusion. Additionally, each character's artwork shows their weapons having the Ouroboros symbol in them.
  • Pacifism Breaking Point: Played With in regards to Noah. For most of his life, he has done nothing but fight, since it is believed that everyone is required to live by doing nothing but fight for their entire lives of 10 years. Even then, Noah absolutely hates it and desires to find a way to live in peace. It's only after he becomes an Ouroboros that he finds out that there really is a way for people to live in peace. However, said way involves defeating and killing Moebius. Noah does not want to fight them, but early on in the game, he realizes just how horrible the Moebius are, as the Forever War that Keves and Agnus are locked in is nothing but a game to them, and the souls of the deceased are used to power them up. It's at this moment that Noah realizes that Moebius must be stopped in order to free the people from their clutches, as he and his friends kill Moebius K and free the people of Colony 4.
  • Past-Life Memories:
    • The rebirthing system that governs life in Aionios is supposed to remove all personal memories of a past life from a person whenever they are reborn. Only their name, abilities, and basic personality are meant to be retained. However, the system is far from perfect, and various people at least partially seem resistant to it, though special triggers may be needed to make a memory surface. Eunie is able to remember somewhat the way her past self was killed by D and thus recognizes him in the present, and Ashera can remember her early incarnations with enough clarity that she can recount the culture of the time and over time her body outright develops the scar and pain from the times she was beheaded. D claims that people in general may remember their previous lives deaths as vague nightmares, and Miyabi is able to somehow regain all the memories of her previous life with the help of Mio and Noah's flute playing. People with especially close/unique bonds may also retain some memories and feelings, as in the case of Cammuravi and Ethel. Both are intensely drawn to each other when they are reborn, and say the other's name (and title) on sight despite not knowing how they could know that name. If Ethel visits Colony 4 (Where she was Commander) as a member of the party post-revival, she remarks that it feels familiar.
    • People who become Moebius are able to remember every one of their past lives. Part of the reason for their hedonistic behavior is to cope with the intense trauma and realization of the world's inescapable nature, and this fact in particular caused Consuls N (Noah) and J (Joran) to Go Mad from the Revelation.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: As is standard for the series, it's possible for the team to enter areas with high-level monsters well-ahead of when the story or a quest lead them there and, through the use of Interlinking and Chain Attacks (especially against Elite enemies for an even greater Experience Bonus), defeat enemies much stronger than them for enormous experience gains. Taion's originally-suggested route in Chapter 2 and the Lower Maktha Forest area as early as Chapter 4 are two such locations.
  • People Jars: The soldiers of Keves-Agnus war were all children grown in pods. They grow in these pods at a rapid pace until they reach the physical age of 10 years, effectively being "born" as 10 year olds and beginning their remaining 10 years of life as soldiers.
  • Pińata Enemy: Lucky enemies, which have sparkles around their level, are enemies that drop more rewards than usual. It's possible for Elite monsters and even Unique monsters to also be Lucky monsters.
  • Playful Otter: One new monster type is the Ottil, which look like otters with fish tails. On top of being docile, you can sometimes obtain items from them while they're breaking a clam.
  • Plot Tunnel:
    • Once you first reach the Fornis Region, the plot will funnel the party towards Colony 4. During that part of the game, you're actively prevented from going off-course, with Taion admonishing Noah if you try and head to the also-available path to Elaice Highway instead.
    • In Chapter 5, before you infiltrate the Agnus prison to rescue Ghondor, you are asked again if you're prepared and that there's no turning back. Once you confirm, Skip Travel is disabled, and you won't get access back to the rest of the world for a few hours.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Zig-zagged. Dialogue notes that everyone in Aionios can summon a personalized weapon called a Blade, and that while most people are stuck with this innate weapon, those with Ouroboros blood (i.e. people of the City) can switch the form of their Blade to another type at will. However, this possession does not imply mastery, meaning most people pick their chosen weapon during training and from then on use that Blade exclusively. However, one of the perks of becoming Ouroboros is that the wielders can copy the knowledge and muscle memory of how to use someone else's Blade by spending time around them, meaning possession does imply mastery for them.
  • Post Endgame Content: After beating the game, you can alter your Heroes' accessories and recruit the real Nia and Melia.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo:
    • At the end of the game, the main party of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 appears in a picture in Nia's possession and Poppi α appears in the "flesh" along with Nia.
    • In a post-game sidequest, the Xenoblade Chronicles 1 party appears in a flashback that Melia has.
  • Primate Versus Reptile: A giant Darbus, a bipedal reptile, and an equally giant Gogol, which looks like a gorilla, can be seen fighting each other on Daedal Isle.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: The Soldiers of Keves have a mixed-gender bathing area, and one early cutscene shows Noah, Eunie, and Lanz discussing recent events while bathing. Notably the scene isn't played for fanservice or humor with nobody acknowledging the casual nudity. Any nudity is still covered up by Censor Steam, and when Eunie stands up in the water to yell at Lanz the camera stays above her shoulders.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The Maktha Wildwood consists of a fusion of Makna Forest and the Land of Morytha, which is the ruins of pre-Conduit Earth. Despite the ruins now having been through two apocalypses and another thousand-plus years of abandonment, this time with nature encroaching on the city, not only are all of the buildings still essentially intact, but the elevators still work.
  • Random Drop Booster: Certain meals increase the number of items dropped by enemies or gives a chance of getting two items from a single collectible on the field.
  • Red Baron: Most recruitable Heroes have a unique title that can be seen on their select screen. While the only titles brought up in the story are "Silvercoat" Ethel and "Smoldering" Cammuravi, we still get nicknames like "Undying Blade" Ashera, "Dawnhero" Isurd or "Wrathfist" Ghondor. The only Hero who doesn't get a cool title has "No. 7" in its place.
  • Retirony: During the first chapter, as if his fate wasn't sealed via not being one of the six characters on the box art and the player being unable to equip accessories to him, Mwamba just had to start talking about how he's hoping to transfer to a branch of the Keves army that is more focused on support and supplies rather than combat for his final term, after this one last mission, didn't he?
  • Rewatch Bonus: A pretty big one after Future Redeemed. During the flashback to when N became Moebius, he is seen reacting to something Z says to him that remains unheard to the player by exclaiming "Life...from the people of the city? You want me to end every one of them!?", which at first points to Z needing the life of the City's people in order to revive M. However, Consul Y later ends up stating that the Moebius cannot harvest life from the people of the City, which at first seems like an inconsistency to what Z said. Future Redeemed reveals that the whole reason the people of the City became such a concern for Z was because of Alpha's decision to transport them to another world while leaving the rest of Aionios to be destroyed, that the "life" he referred to was Alpha using the lives of the City people as a source of power, and the obscuring of his actual command to N allows for Alpha's presence in 3 to otherwise to go unnoticed by the player until after Future Redeemed.
  • Romantic Fusion: Implied with the Ouroboros fusions: while the only requirement for Ouroboros and Moebius fusions is that one partner be Keves and the other be Agnus, the ones that can be done by the main party are all male/female specifically. Though only Noah and Mio have a relationship that is unambiguously romantic, the fact that the Ouroboros change form depending on who is 'dominant' at that moment shows that the Ouroboros forms are at the very least analogous to relationships.
  • Sad Battle Music: Both battle themes for Consul N fit this, after you find out about his tragic backstory where he was a Noah who got to see Mio die over and over again.
    • "Words That Never Reached You (N Version)" plays in the battle against Consul N, right after discovering that his Mio (the real Consul M) sacrificed her life to save Noah's Mio.
    • "Noah and N" plays in the final, two-phase battle against Consul N. It's just as somber as his other theme and the female vocals add to the somberness of these two themes.
    • "Words That Never Reached You (Battle)" is another one, being another remix of the already somber "Words That Never Reached You" that plays in battles against former friends turned Consuls, notably Joran and Crys.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • K presents the party with one in Chapter 2 — either continue attacking his Moebius form, using up the lifespan of soldiers as he drains Colony 4's Flame Clock, or simply give up and die. Noah takes a third option and destroys Colony 4's Flame Clock.
    • Z gave one to a past version of Noah after he finally agreed to meet him. Use the life-force of the City to resurrect Mio (who he's helplessly watched die over countless lifetimes), or let go of her for good? Noah hesitates at first, and Z begins to erase Mio, causing Noah to agree to attack the City in desperation. This results in him crossing the Despair Event Horizon and adopting the moniker N, signifying him abandoning his own humanity. However, Future Redeemed reveals that this wasn't the whole truth; N attacking the City didn't happen because Z needed the life-force of its people to revive M, but because the alternative was letting Alpha use Origin to transport the people of the City to another world while erasing all of Aionios.
  • Scenery Porn: A Xenoblade staple. Aionios is probably the most beautiful Crapsack World you'll ever see, with soaring vistas, varied landscapes, and fantastic viewpoints.
  • Scrappy Weapon: The hammer Sena wields is an In-Universe example, as she is mocked for using it when she was younger. The people making fun of her even suggest she should dual-wield guns instead.
  • Screw Destiny: The party's main motivation is to change the cycle of life and death of their numbered 10 years (Terms) and their only role to be expendable soldiers. The odds are against them because no one has been able to change it.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Both types. Nia sealed herself in the Cloudkeep until the day the Ouroboros would be ready, while Melia was sealed in Origin by Moebius in order to use her access to Origin to do with the world as they wished.
  • Sea Monster: Ravoon are massive sea serpents who can be found swimming in the Erythia Sea and are much more powerful than any of the other aquatic enemies, acting as the aquatic equivalents to the terrestrial dragons (Dragues) found in Lower Maktha Wildwood.
  • Sequel Escalation: The party system now allows up to seven party members active at the same time. While 2 had the Drivers as well as their Blades, the Blades did not count as a target with their own health. In 3, all party members are active combatants.
  • Sequence Breaking: By carefully dropping down ledges in Keves Castle, it is possible to enter Melia's chambers before recruiting her in the post-game.
  • Second Hour Superpower: About midway through Chapter 1, the Flame Clock mechanic is unlocked, increasing the party's power as they kill enemies but inflicting penalties if it runs low from exploring too much without killing anything. The mechanic is immediately removed at the end of the chapter barely an hour or two later, and replaced with the actual superpower, Interlink.
  • Series Fauxnale: The game wraps up the story arc started in Xenoblade Chronicles. However, Word of God stated that it wouldn't be the end of the series as a whole, while implying that the Expansion Pass will serve as a Sequel Hook to what comes next.
  • Set Piece Puzzle: There are a number of odd Trick Lock rooms scattered across the world which are solved by rotating the red orbs into the green slots of the door's "eyes". Justified in-universe as having being created by an eccentric Nopon who thought it would be fun to create such puzzles for random travellers.
  • Shop Fodder: Items dropped by enemies whose only use is for selling are indicated with an icon depicting balancing scales. After meeting Shillshill, these items are automatically sold when obtained. This basically justifies why money is earned after defeating enemies.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several to Final Fantasy, from where the Xeno games are rooted from:
      • The role of an off-seer is help the spirits of the deceased to pass on peacefully, similar to how the summoners from Final Fantasy X send souls to the Farplane.
      • The ending sequence of the game when the party watches each other as the world fades away is nearly identical to ending of Final Fantasy X, in which Tidus fades away after Yu Yevon is defeated and the Fayth are awakened.
      • To make the Final Fantasy X parallels even more blatant, one discussion topic is called "Unsent Husks"; the Unsent in Final Fantasy X are souls that haven't been sent to the Farplane by a summoner.
      • K berating Colony 4 and its people for being Dirt Rank, as well as the fog sounds like a certain former court jester of the Gestahlian Empire. To drive the point home, K and the aforementioned former court jester have the same initial.
      • During Noah's Hero Quest, a shot is shown of him standing in front of the Kevesi Castle that is nearly identical to the cover art of Final Fantasy VII, where Cloud Strife stands in front of the Shinra Building, albeit reversed. A second shot of this happens soon after, this time from the same angle as the boxart for Final Fantasy VII.
      • Kevesi and Agnian soldiers (including the party) have a Power Tattoo somewhere on their bodies that shows how long they have to live before their Homecoming and changes over time as the date approaches, similar to a l'Cie's brand.
      • The game's version of Rest Stops are reminiscent of camping at Havens in Final Fantasy XV. Both sites allow the party to gain extra EXP, cook meals for statistical buffs, and clean clothes that gradually accumulate dirt with playtime. In addition, both share a similar broad premise of a set party of True Companions exploring the (semi-)open-world maps in between stopping at such sites.
      • Garvel's appearance in Lanz's Hero Quest and his dynamic with Consul H brings to mind Seifer Almasy from Final Fantasy VIII; initially a childhood rival of the main characters, before becoming The Dragon to an evil mistress (Garvel to Consul H, and Seifer to Sorceress Ultimecia).
    • The Fan Disservice co-ed shower scene at the beginning of the game references Starship Troopers, which also used such a scene to highlight the dystopian lives the soldiers lived.
    • As is typical for the franchise, there's quite a few to Star Wars:
      • Just before the prison escape sequence, Taion utters the famous "I have a bad feeling about this" quote from Star Wars.
      • Queen Nia showing the party the schematics of Origin resembles how the Rebellion is shown the layout of the Death Star in A New Hope. To make it even more obvious, the primary target of both structures is a narrow passageway at the top of it.
      • The attack on Origin is structured similarly to the Battle of Endor's space portion from Return of the Jedi, in that the Lost Numbers arrive at Origin only for them to be taken off-guard by it launching devastating attacks on them, much like how the Rebel Alliance was tricked into attacking the Death Star II thinking it was dormant, when it was fully operational the entire time. Not only that, but Ouroboros also have to find an opening to get inside Origin calls to mind Lando and Wedge Antilles going inside the Death Star II to destroy its main reactor.
      • A legendary collectible that can be found in the game is Coruscant Coral, named after the planet of the same name first introduced in The Thrawn Trilogy and then shown in full during the Prequel Trilogy and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
      • Z's Cold Ham enunciation is audibly styled after Ian McDiarmid's performance as Emperor Palpatine.
      • The scene where Z turns N to his and the other Moebius' side is a near-identical shot-for-shot recreation of the opera house scene in Revenge of the Sith, or more well known as the scene where Palpatine tells Anakin the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Bonus points for N and Anakin both having the same motivation for turning; saving their loved one from death. Extra bonus points for N's massacring the residents of Hope’s Rest as part of his bargain with Z, recalling Anakin’s massacre of the Younglings in the Jedi Temple during Revenge of the Sith. Future Redeemed even takes it further with the Vatura Flaks aiding N in the City's destruction being similar to the Clone Troopers of the 501st killing Jedi via Order 66.
      • The Annihilator superweapons are a pretty blatant allusion to the Death Star's superlaser, with the attack on the Urayan mountains and the (failed) destruction of the City both mirroring the destruction of Alderaan from A New Hope.
      • Z using Origin to blow up any remaining Colonies not freed from his tyranny is similar to Palpatine ordering a ''Xyston''-class Star Destroyer to destroy Kijimi, as a show of what happens if a world even has a thought of rebelling against his revived Empire.
    • When the heroes fight Consul K, the lightning storms start to scare Manana, who exclaims "Lightning! S-so frightening!", reminiscent of the iconic song Bohemian Rhapsody.
    • When Manana finds a Bright Fig in High Maktha Wildwood, she holds it up in a way that's reminiscent of how Link holds up treasure after opening up a chest.
    • Some sidequest names reference several fictional works:
    • Lanz's Chain Attack pose and the name of his ability, "Tyrant Wave", is a clear reference to Guilty Gear's Sol Badguy and his Tyrant Rave ability.
    • The Impulse Wave art used by the Martial Artist class heavily resembles the iconic Power Wave attack of Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury.
    • While approaching an enemy Eunie can ask the others to show her their war faces like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.
    • The Iris technology used to conjure Blades and augment the vision of its users recalls to mind the IRIS system from Astral Chain, which shares an identical name and very similar functionality to the one seen in Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In Chapter 6, when N tries to discourage his other self Noah from taking on Moebius with the Sword of Origin:
    N: It is impossible! I... we tried to walk that path, and failed!
    Noah: You're full of shit! You never tried, you're just a coward!
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Two members of the City, Jake and Tessa, are husband and wife who act extremely mushy around each other. According to another resident, they were originally a pair of Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, with Tessa being the only one to keep Jake company due to him being a Bully Magnet from not being tied to any of the Founders' houses. Whenever he got glum and miserable, she would act more perky around him to lift his spirits. The other members of the City find the two incredibly annoying, but don't deny that their story is heartwarming.
  • Sidequest Sidestory: Every Colony (and the City) features an elaborate set of interconnected sidequests that develop storylines of those places dealing with their challenges within the larger conflicts. Several Heroes also have sidequest chains dedicated to their development specifically, beyond their initial recruitment and Ascension quests. As the game goes on, some Colonies and Heroes actually start having their sidestories cross over.
  • The Silent Bob: Clad from Colony 11 doesn't speak at all, and the party points this out, yet his underlings can still understand him.
  • Smashing Survival: If the player is Toppled, Launched, or Dazed, they can end the state early by wiggling the control stick and Button Mashing.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: A major recurring element for liberated Colonies is them figuring out how to sustain themselves now that they're no longer bound to their Flame Clock or Consul, or receiving supplies from the Castle. Colony 9 in particular, being in one of the most inhospitable regions in the world, quickly turns into a big mess that requires a long series of sidequests and a good deal of help from Colony Tau to reach any kind of stability.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Annihilation Events are almost comically clean in their destruction, to emphasize how otherworldly they are. In fact, they're so clean that if they separate part of a mountain from its base, the chunk will just hang in mid-air as if it was still attached instead of obeying gravity. A number of landmarks, such as sand pits or lakes, are near-perfectly circular and obviously created by the Annihilation Events.
  • Stance System: Similar to switching between Pyra and Mythra, the Ouroboros System allows you to quickly switch which of the pair is in charge of the fusion, resulting in changing the appearance of the Ouroboros as well as its available skills.
  • Stealth Pun: Origin is described by Nia as an Ark used to preserve the souls and memories of the inhabitants of both universes from being omnicided in a great cataclysmic event. Noah is one of these people, and it's up to him to set things right. Essentially, it's Noah's Ark!
  • Stranger Behind the Mask: Midway during the game, Moebius D reveals his true face to taunt the party (which is framed to be as significant as the reveal of Moebius J), and it turns out that D is a completely new character no one the party or the player recognizes, causing Noah to respond with Dull Surprise It's eventually subverted after the last fight with D in Chapter 6 when he reveals his past life as Blackblaze Dirk, causing Taion to immediately recognize him as an Agnian solider who went mad long ago before he became Moebius.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Most enemies wandering the field are content to leave the party alone if your character levels are significantly higher. However, Kevesi and Angnian soldiers are still all-too happy to pick a fight with your party, even if you're 20+ levels higher than they are.
  • Summon to Hand: All Blade wielders do not wear their weapon on person, but rather summon it in a fiery flash.
  • Superdickery: The first half of the game, along with prior promotional material, push the the idea that the Queens of Keves and Agnus are Melia and Nia, who were part of the main playable cast in their respective games, and the heroes have to oppose them for enabling the Forever War. But then midway through the game it turns out the Queens leading the war are fake, and the real ones have been hidden away. Melia was captured by Moebius to gain access to Origin, while Nia went into hiding, but not before creating the Ouroboros powers to oppose them.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Chain Attacks are styled this way, where your lead character initiates the attack, then portraits of the rest of team Ouroboros (and any Hero that have joined you) cut in with a close up of their eyes. Each of Ouroboros's respective eyes also glow, namely the right eye for the Kevesi and the left eye for the Agnians. Their portraits also cut in again when you select any of the team's Chain Attack order.
  • Super-Strength: Everyone from Agnus has some level of this, with those from Keves being physically weaker on average (with some exceptions like the naturally super strong Ethel) and relying on technology called Power Frames to close the gap. In general the strength displayed is on the lower end of the fantastical side, enough to send someone flying with a punch, leap higher than their own height, etc. and with roughly equivalent levels of durability (Ethel for instance jumping down well over a hundred feet without flinching). Assuming the party was reduced to mundane human levels of strength when sealed by X, and assuming N was being literal when he described their current strength, an average Aionios soldier is stronger than six average humans, with the strongest ones being a good deal stronger than that.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • At the end of Chapter 1, the heroes band together to fight off an unknown new threat and learn from Vandham things that make them question the state of the world as they know it. The first thing they do after this is part ways to return to their respective camps. This is after barely avoiding getting into another fight with each other. Years of bad blood between nations and personal grudges don't just magically disappear because you've fought together once and heard some unbelievable stuff from a strange man. It's only because of further circumstances that force them to team up again.
    • During a Chapter 6 sidequest, after the City has relocated from its original location high atop Swordsmarch to below sea level, several people get sick due to the sudden elevation change without time to acclimate.
  • Survivor Guilt: Each of the Ouroboros members have had a friend sacrifice themselves so that they might live:
    • The Keves group has been living with their grief the longest, losing Joran in their second term. Lanz suffers most from this, since he was always the hardest on Joran, and it was his life that Joran saved; it's clear that Lanz's scars have barely scabbed over in the seven years since Joran's death. When Joran is revealed to be Consul J, Lanz goes through a Heroic BSoD, becoming emotionally unstable and lashing out at everyone.
    • Miyabi sacrificed herself to save Sena and Mio. The trauma is more recent than Team Keves, but Mio is just as distraught as Lanz; still trying to figure out why the younger Miyabi would give her life for someone who has less time left to live.
    • Taion's mentor Nimue saved his life in a You Shall Not Pass! moment against a Kevesi ambush. Taion's grief is probably the most guilt-ridden, as he feels personally responsible for failing to thwart the Kevesi's attack strategy.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Noah's starting class, Swordfighter, acts as this for Shulk's moveset from the first game, down to even having several of the same Arts, or Arts that work the same way.
    • Mio is a Cat Girl like Nia, wields similar Twin Rings, and sports what resembles her Flesh Eater Core Crystal on her chest. She also has a similar Welsh accent in the English dub (though much less thick than Nia's). The only real physical difference is that Nia's hair is slate while Mio's hair is pure white. It's implied that Mio, or some incarnation of her, could be Nia's daughter.
    • As per tradition, the game has a high-levelled, red-furred Gogol Unique Monster in one of the game's starting areas, but its name is "Jingoistic Gigantus" and not "Territorial Rotbart" like in both of the previous numbered games, and it is one level weaker than normal.
    • There is a long sidequest chain that eventually has you fight a Nopon that has been revealed to be evil, just like in the first two games. Though, this Nopon is called Pulipuli, whereas the previous two were called Bana.
  • Symbolic Blood: The game is about as bloodless as 2, but the Life Energy that seeps out of soldiers when they're killed is deep red. Some cutscenes play it for all it's worth.
    T-Z 
  • Taken for Granite: People who die while connected to a Flame Clock will have their bodies turn to a stony texture.
  • Take That!: The City arc of the game criticizes the idea of political conservatism. One of the main factions of people in the City are repeatedly referred to as "the conservatives" (particularly by Ouroboros who are unfamiliar with the term), and are depicted as an annoying obstacle to some of what the party wants to get done because they're too comfortable with their current conditions and don't want to stir the pot or contribute to the battle to liberate Aionios from the oppressive Moebius overclass. However, it's somewhat downplayed in that if you talk to various City NPC's, you find out that some of them are literally conservative: they want to maintain the status quo by conserving all their resources, rather than risk it all to fight Moebius and get their people killed (as has happened time and again, with yearly executions reminding everyone of what they are losing by fighting against Moebius for little apparent gain) for no benefit. It's also downplayed in that it's made clear they don't all think the same and that there are some more sensible individuals among them, including one who helps the party after all, keeping them from coming off as a Straw Character.
  • Take Your Time:
    • Rest spots, secure areas where you characters can sleep, eat, wash up, train, and make magical gems, are sometimes found on the beaten path while the party barely has time to breathe, let alone rest. Justified from an Anti-Frustration Features perspective though; they not only serve as a respawn point if they happen to be pulling double-duty as Suspicious Video-Game Generosity before a tough fight, but serve as a concentrated source of all the easiest ways to power up if you do happen to be underprepared for a challenge.
    • Mio is established upon her introduction as only having a scant three months left to live (and the trip to Swordmarch being estimated to take two months at minimum), and this time dwindles as the story continues, providing the impetus for much of her character arc. Of course, the player can spend as many day-night cycles as they please exploring the world and doing sidequests: only actual story events count against Mio's ticking clock.
    • Even when the final battle has begun, the party is free to backtrack and sidequest indefinitely until confronting the Final Boss.
  • The Talk: After seeing their first newborn baby in a maternity ward, Dr. Hollis outright teaches the party where babies come from, though we don't see the details onscreen.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Masagutsu Saito reprises his role as the lead character designer, coming from 2. However, his work here is somewhat more reined in compared to how it was before, where his origins in erotic artworks were very apparent. There is still plenty of fanservice (Supermodel Strut being a staple for pretty much every older female character) and very attractive characters, but there are fewer outright skimpy outfits, the Jiggle Physics on the chest is limited to relatively few characters, and there are pretty much no scenes that exist mostly for the purpose of titillation.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Due to high attrition, Colony Mu is comprised solely of soldiers that are around their early teens at most, if not outright children.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: The "3" contains the life tattoo found on the bodies of Kevesi and Agnians that show how much time they have left in their ten-year lifespans, while the lettering has the life energy motes that are released when people die coming off it.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: A variation. The Chain Attack theme normally overrides every other battle theme, except for most of the Final Boss fight. Once said boss' final form has less than 50% HP remaining, the Chain Attack theme will play as normal, giving it the feel of one of these.
  • There Are No Adults: Since everybody in Keves and Agnus is vat grown and only has a lifespan of 10 years, adults (in the sense of people over 20, given in many cultures you're considered an adult much earlier) literally do not exist in the world apart from the Queens and Consuls. This is even to the point where Aionians have no concept of what physical aging is, as they're utterly baffled by Vandham's appearance. Even the concepts of parenthood, childhood, pregnancy, sexual reproduction, and families are completely alien to them (to the extent that, due to Weirdness Censor, they don't even take notice of the fact that animals around them do have these things).
  • There Are No Therapists: For the residents of Keves and Agnus, this is justified, since they're artificially aged up in stasis tubes to fight in wars and only have a lifespan of 10 years, meaning there would be little time for them to vent their issues, especially after it's revealed that the characters are reincarnated every time they die with no old memories. However, therapy would've really helped a member of the City, who does have a natural human lifespan, that being Shania. Aside from Hollis, who only specializes in physical treatment and maternity, the City has no known medical professionals, much less mental health professionals, and because Shania's mother viewed her as a failure child for wanting to create artistic projects and not help with Aionios' Forever War, she grew to be self-resenting and see life as inherently worthless. Sena comes close to setting Shania on the straight and narrow thanks to her rousing speeches to her, but one manipulation from Moebius later, and Shania's nihilism and self-hatred comes to a boiling point when she comes within a hair's breadth of destroying the City, and successfully manages to kill herself.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Defeating an enemy before a Chain Attack is finished will initiate an Overkill, granting additional experience the more damage you inflict on the enemy. There is an option to disable this in the menu, and the player can chose to end a Chain Attack as soon as they reach that point as well.
  • Threatening Shark: Gyaark are large sharks with a scythe-like horn on their heads. Unsurprisingly, they're an aggressive enemy that will attack unless you outlevel them enough. Naturally, Triton is first seen carrying a dead one over his shoulder, as they're apparently also very tasty.
  • Time Crash: What made Aionios, as turns out; the worlds of Alrest and Bionis, while they remained separate planes of existence at the end of their respective games, merged at some point in the future of both worlds (implied to be around ten or twenty years after the events of Future Connected), which would destroy both; however, Melia and Nia were able to combine their people's knowledge to create Origin, a device that would store everyone's souls and promptly reconstruct both worlds into the state they were in before the collision. What they didn't realize was that Origin would be infected by the obsession humans have for making sure Status Quo Is God, creating Z, who hijacked the formation of the reborn worlds and created a Crapsack World where nothing ever truly changed.
  • Time Passes Montage: At the end of chapter 5, as N locks up the party in the Agnus Castle to deliberately waste Mio's final month. The montage alternates between their desperate efforts to break out of jail and join up with her, and the phases of the moon slowly going by.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: It's a major plot point that it takes about two months for the party to reach the City; Mio has three months left at the start of the game, and about one month once they reach the City. Other than that, you can travel all over Aionios with no regard to how much time it might take. Multiple sidequests require you to travel literally from one end of the world to the other. It's implied that the City gives Ouroboros access to their flying Levnis transports, but even with that, NPCs who are explicitly not traveling with you can make the trip on their own without any mention of it taking too long.
  • Turns Red: Bosses and Unique monsters have a rage threshold on their HP gauge indicated by a fireball. When their HP goes below the threshold, they become enraged, increasing their attack power and gaining new attacks. The rage status can be temporarily removed by performing a Burst combo.
  • Twin Telepathy: Segiri and No. 13 have this, which Segiri even calls telepathy. We don't get the full details on what it does, but considering that they're descended from machina, it's entirely possible that it's just flat-out radio. When Thirteen went missing years ago, this link was cut off, but it returns once they find each other again, even after Thirteen runs away. The interesting part is that due to everyone being born from Uterine Replicators, no one has any concept of twins or even siblings; no one ever understood why Segiri and Thirteen looked identical, much less why they had such a connection.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: As your characters traverse Aionios, especially in the dustier areas such as the desert, their clothes will get covered in dirt that only comes off when you have them cleaned at a Camp. Cleaning clothes has no in-game benefit but hey, it looks nice.
  • Unified Naming System: The opposing nations of Keves and Agnus have names which mean lamb in Greek and Latin respectively. Their Colonies all begin with the word "Colony", with Kevesi Colonies following with a number and Agnian Colonies with a Greek letter. This is a sign that both nations are being manipulated by Moebius.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Loloka's Collectopaedia Card is currently unable to be completed. One of its items, the Gogol Vuaga, can't be found in the game due to the developers having forgotten to create a reference between the item and the enemy that's supposed to drop it. Unfortunately it's also one of the few cards that can't be completed simply by paying Nopon Coins.note 
  • Unobtainium: Origin Metal, a strange material with properties that tend to badly mess with Moebius. Quite a few plot-relevant items are made from it, including the device that granted the party their Ouroboros powers. It is simply metal taken from the Origin, the giant ark built by the people of Bionis and Alrest to rebuild their worlds after their imminent collision. As the one thing that doesn't really belong in Aionios, it falls outside of Z's dominion and thus bypasses most of his powers.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The characters are quite foul-mouthed for the game being rated 12+, but get around it by using made-up curse words like "spark", "snuff," or "mudder" more often than real world profanity. Notably, the fantasy swears and colloquialisms are based on concepts that hold a lot of cultural weight in Aionios, such as the ideas of "flames" being analogous to life, as in the sparks of a fire, snuffing out a flame, or in phrases like "thank the flame" , and the Queens from which they believe everyone is born, such as in phrases like "Queen's beans" or "by the Queen's snow white wings". They also seem to replace swears based around concepts that typical Aionion soldiers would be unfamiliar with, namely sex and religion. Other swears like "shit" remain fair game.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • In the late-game and post-game, you can prance around Colony 4 with the resurrected Ethel and all of Aionios with Queens Nia and Melia in your party. Only Bolearis comments on Ethel, assuming he's hallucinating, while nobody reacts to the Queens of Agnus and Keves (outside of their Ascension Quests). Melia is at least given a Hand Wave in that she's wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise, which could logically apply to Nia as well.
    • Aionios as a world is this to its inhabitants. Through a combination of it being all they know and the Flame Clocks instituting some kind of perception filter, nobody in Agnus or Keves questions why the entire world is just a landmass floating over a vast expanse of nothing, or why the land itself looks cobbled together out of so many disparate things, why a miles-tall sword is stuck in the ground, why the Urayan "mountains" are clearly the corpse of a gargantuan creature, etc. Lampshaded during Nia's Ascension Quest where in her travels around Aionios she explains a bit about what some of the landmarks really are. After pointing out that the Urayan Mountains were not mountains in her world, the party admits that they had since their journey started noticed they had a strange shape.
  • Uterine Replicator: We see in the opening cinematic that all soldiers of Agnus and Keves are grown in pods and decanted at age ten. The soldiers call these pods "cradles," but the people of the City, who know what actual cradles are, prefer to use the more bland term "growth module."
  • Variable Mix: On top of the series usual day and night versions of songs, this time all boss themes (including this game's version of You Will Know Our Names) come with a "Climax" version that starts playing when the boss's HP gets low.
  • Video Game Vista: Every time you reach a new area, the game gives a brief cutscene of Scenery Porn with the name of the region.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Origin, the super-computer floating in the center of Aionios created by the Queens of Agnus and Keves which has become Moebius and Z's base of operations for sustaining the eternal war.
  • Voice of the Legion: Characters gain a heavy reverb effect to their voices when Interlinked or in their similar monstrous forms. Notably, the effect doesn't come from layering the fused characters' voices on top of each other, but each individual can speak from within the Interlink regardless of who's in charge.
  • Weirdness Censor: The Flame Clock system appears to institute a psychological version of this in those born under its yoke. The main cast and others all note in various scenes that it's only after they were freed from it that they started to notice things like how strangely different the bodies of certain people (those the player knows are at least part Blade, Machina, High Entia and so on) are, that they never seem to grow and change to the same extent as the animals around them, etc. They knew on an intellectual level that such things existed, but they didn't make any further connections.
  • Wham Episode: Several:
    • The finale of Chapter 3. Taion's past is revealed to the rest of the characters, the heroes learn how to swap in Interlink, and Consul J reveals himself to be Joran, the deceased childhood friend of Noah, Lanz, and Eunie who was brought back as agent of Mobeius. It also sets up the idea that there is more going on with the off-seers role in the conflict.
    • The ending of Chapter 4 reveals that when characters die, they get reborn and that the Queen of Keves was a robot all along.
    • Once the party finally completes their journey to Swordmarch and learns the truth about the Lost Numbers and Ouroboros in the City.
    • At the end of Chapter 5, when the prison break appears to be successful, Shania is revealed to have betrayed the party to Moebius, N and M show up and reveal even more truths, and it culminates with the party losing and getting captured, forced to wait the rest of the month until Mio's Homecoming.
    • The beginning of Chapter 6 which reveals the true nature of N and M (and by extension, Noah and Mio themselves) as well as M's Thanatos Gambit to save Mio from N's sadistic Evil Plan. The chapter also reveals some crucial information about Moebius, such as confirming that Z is their true leader as well as the real Agnian Queen's long-term planning to thwart him.
    • The closing moments of Chapter 7 specifically everything from Melia's rescue onwards, reveal that Z, and by extension Moebius, is actually an Anthropomorphic Personification of the people's desire for stability and enforcing Status Quo Is God, which corrupted Origin and created the Crapsack World of the game.
  • Wham Line: One at the beginning of Chapter 6, courtesy of M whose body is now inhabited by the Mio we know.
    "M": I'm sorry... My hair, it's gotten kinda long. Will you still... walk alongside me?
  • Wham Shot:
    • After defeating the Queen of Keves, she begins sparking and is finally unmasked, revealing... a black robotic skull.
    • In the ending sequence, Nia retrieves a photograph showing the Xenoblade 2 cast...and Rex had children with Pyra, Mythra, and Nia.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Melia and Nia are the only characters to return from previous games. While they are both explicitly Long-Lived and quite possibly just outlived most of their friends, there are other immortals and near-immortals who could conceivably still be around. Mythra, Pyra, and Dromarch could easily live as long as Nia, but none of them are mentioned. This gets more confusing as we discover that the timeline of events was not as simple as we thought. Due to it being unclear when "the Endless Now" began, it's entirely possible that the world was frozen just a few decades after the main games, which would mean that everyone could still be alive. There is still no mention of them, other than Nia having a picture of Rex and his wives and their children, and having Poppi safely tucked away, and an indirect mention when Melia refers to there being "countless" people who exist within Origin.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: The main characters, and everyone else under the Flame Clocks, think that life begins when their Queen wakes them up from their pod, so none of them are even aware that mating or even relationships are a thing. It's not until the main characters get to The City and find some regular humans that they learn what romance even is. That said, it's clear that the soldiers of Keves and Agnus do have at least platonic love and care for their friends and allies, even if they don't understand, for example, why they're suddenly feeling flustered when meeting a cute Commander from the other side for the first time after be disconnected from the Flame Clock's influence.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Plato's The Republic. Keves and Agnus both make up two parts of the perfect society described by Plato; one where the concept of family is nonexistent, where no one has any ownership of any personal possessions, art and history are constantly censored, the world is ruled by "philosopher-kings", and precious metals are used to judge the productivity of citizens. Beyond that, the Platonic Cave allegory also comes into play with the standard Gnosticism themes expected of a Xeno game, and the City is an allegory to the opposite of Plato's ideal state, which is supposed to be Atlantis according to Timaeus and Critias - and just like Atlantis, the original City was destroyed and its ruins sunk into the sea.
  • Wily Walrus: One new enemy type is the Quardun and Quarmu, which look like walruses. While the Quarmu who won't attack you unless they're provoked, the Quardun will attack you on sight unless you outlevel them enough.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Some Unique Monsters come in groups of two, three, or even four. They will only leave behind a Named Grave if all of them are defeated, and each one provides an Art or Skill for the Soulhacker.
  • Wrong Context Magic:
    • Origin, and its metal, is the only thing in Aionios that Z has no control over, due to it being "external to the flow." As such, the Sword of Origin can cut through anything and the Ouroboros Stones can empower people of opposing worlds to Interlink and be immune to Moebius' mind control.
    • Nia's Flesh-Eater Blade powers—as the only true Blade in Aionios, she retains her immense healing abilities, which saves her life when Moebius D aims for her heart instead of her Core Crystal.
  • Wutai: The visual aesthetic of the Agnus soldiers in the announcement trailer resembles that of medieval samurai armor similar to that from Torna, which was also overtly based on feudal Japan. Taion, a soldier from Agnus, also fights with weapons designed to resemble traditional Shinto paper dolls. And while many of them are lost in the English translation due to Dub Name Change, most Agnus characters have distinctly Japanese-sounding names.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The new Chain Attack mechanics are designed to evoke this trope, with each member of the party proposing a series of wildly different battle plans that the player has to quickly string together into a winning strategy.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The Consuls repeatedly talk about how trying to defy fate is a futile gesture.
  • Your Days Are Numbered:
    • Everyone in Agnus and Keves has a lifespan of ten years, also called Terms. Life begins on the first Term, and they are expected to die once they are close to the end of their tenth Term. Everyone's life goal is to fight and survive on the battlefield to fill their Flame Clocks by consuming the lives of others before the tenth Term is up so that they can have a homecoming ceremony in front of their queen that allows them to pass on in peace. This only applies to those countries, however, as Vandham, someone not from either country, states he's well in his sixties.
    • For Mio in particular, she joins the story three months until the end of her Tenth term, keeping a diary counting down the days until her Homecoming. She receives a new, immortal body at about the same time as her Homecoming, resolving the issue.

Lanz: That was over way too soon!
Eunie: Hear that, Noah? Lanz wants something a bit meatier.

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Origin

Origin is a device built by Melia and Nia designed to record the data of every living being in their worlds, and then properly fuse their worlds together rather than the two colliding and annihilating each other.

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Main / MergingMachine

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