Xenoblade’s Humble Origins Began On A Train

By Laura . June 3, 2010 . 1:38am


One of the most anticipated Wii RPGs this year, Xenoblade, developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo, is the focus of the latest Iwata Asks. This time, the Nintendo president gathered together the two scenario writers for the game, Tetsuya Takahashi (also one of the directors) and Yuichiro Takeda, to discuss the development of the concepts and themes behind Xenoblade and how they grew.


Xenoblade georama The idea came to Takahashi one day while he was the train. “Wouldn’t it be interesting if people lived on the bodies of something huge, like gods?” Excited, he immediately dashed to his office and filled an entire page with ideas. Not long after, a georama was made and the idea took flight. Takahashi wanted someone he could talk to, someone he could work together with to work on the scenario. Who better than his 10-year colleague, Yuichiro Takeda?


Takeda was primarily an anime scenario writer, having worked on series such as The King of the Braves GaoGaiGar, Banner of the Stars, Zipang, and SD Gundam Force. With Monolith, he had worked on Xenosaga I-II, a single-cart DS adaptation of the first two games in the series, as well as the drama CDs and anime. This difference in media, anime and games, was one of the many hurdles he had to cross when he wrote. While the overall content is the same, an anime scenario has to take into account the time limit (usually 22 minutes per episode, as well as commercial breaks) to decide what happens when. To keep the viewers watching and the tension going, cliffhangers and such have to be timed perfectly.


In the case of games, though, this isn’t a problem — interactivity is. The player interacts with the characters in an RPG, so there’s a feeling of attachment to the characters that isn’t quite the same as with characters in an anime. In fact, one of Takeda’s original ideas was to have one of the party members that had always been by the protagonist’s side to betray him at the end and become the final boss in the game. Takahashi rejected the idea, saying that it would be too harsh for players to spend all that time raising a character and growing attached to them, only to have him / her betray them at the end of the game.


Despite this difference, the two worked well together, often bouncing ideas off each other. This offered each a different viewpoint on a new idea, and then they would discuss, refine, and then run with it. In fact, they weren’t the only participants; Shingo Kawabata, the producer of Xenoblade and the director of Soma Bringer and Kou Kojima, one of the directors, as well as one of the scenario writers for Baten Kaitos, also participated. Even some of the staff from Nintendo sat in on the meetings.

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  • Aoshi00

    For some reason I thought about FF7/13 when I read “train” in the title lol… the idea of living on a giant is definitely cool, I think they pulled off the epic scale here compared to the epic fail Blood of Bahamut. I knew it wasn’t supposed to be to scale due to DS’s limitation, but a human that lives on a giant fighting another giant just look stupid, while you’re supposed to be the size of an ant or microbe.. Not sure how to feel about the gameplay, but the story looks to be interesting and the music sounds good… and there’s lots of robots/mechs too even though it’s not related to Xenogears/Saga. I have a $5 coupon from P-A about to expire, now to pre-order or not to pre-order :(…..

    • Those coupons always make you feel like you want to spend it on something. …Even if you end up spending more than you originally would have spent just to meet that $50 minimum.

      Yes, that was the main problem I had with Blood of Bahamut. While your enemies were “giants,” they weren’t … all that big. I mean, certainly larger than you, but it was more on the scale of you vs. a brachiosaurus, rather than you vs. something the size of a continent. It felt like the game debunked itself, almost…

      • Aoshi00

        yea, even though it’s good to use it to cancel the shipping, but the idea is to trick you into a vicious cycle of buying unnecessary stuff lol.. I bought quite much a while ago and have several coupons left now.. and when I do need to buy something they’re all expired, wish they won’t expire so soon.
        If they have “Last Story” up I would pre-order that… now I have about a week to think about Xenoblade, to be honest, the gameplay doesn’t seem like my cup of tea.. I really don’t like a world that is too vast (somewhat FFXII-esque to me)

        BTW, that model of the two gods looks really cool…

  • karasuKumo

    Awesome :D I love the creativity of this game, lol what if you flew off the god?

    • alastor3

      The god are too huge they even have gravity

  • holyPaladin

    Interesting concept really..
    Wish I got Wii to play this

    • cowcow

      You can’t have mine

  • vrakanox

    I’m glad I hate it when one of your party members betrays you. Mainly because it’s almost always the coolest character.

    • MrRobbyM

      Reminds me of Kratos from ToS

      • alastor3

        or Zelos

  • Joanna

    Well if that many people were involved in refining the story, I have high hopes :)

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