A Look Into The World Design Of Xenoblade Chronicles

By Ishaan . July 6, 2011 . 10:00am

Back when Monolith Soft were working on Disaster: Day of Crisis, Nintendo intended to release it as a launch game for the Wii. Unfortunately, since Monolith Soft were much more used to developing role-playing games, production of Disaster — which was being created to be a cinematic action game — took much longer than expected.


While the rest Monolith worked in earnest on Disaster, Monolith Soft president, Tetsuya Takahashi, began throwing together plans for Xenoblade Chronicles. He wanted to create a world where people lived on the bodies of a pair of giant gods, and so, he had Baten Kaitos director, Yasuyuki Honne, design models of the two gods, Bionis and Mechonis, as revealed in a new Iwata Asks interview with Nintendo’s president.


The models were created in July of 2006, and while creating them, Honne had other Monolith Soft staff members pose for him so he could experiment with poses to see what kinds of play-fields each pose could offer. Here are a few examples with brief quotes on each from  Takahashi:


Bionis’ leg:

“If the god’s leg was stuck out, the upper leg could be used as a plain”


Makna Forest:

“The section of the back which the sun shines on could be a jungle”


Valak Mountain:

“The section shaded from the sun could be an arctic area”


Xenoblade Chronicles’ story begins on the calf of Bionis, and gradually climbs higher up his body. Bionis and Mechonis are connected by bridges formed by their swords, which you have to cross to get over to the Mechonis side of the world. Here’s a look at these areas:


Colony 9 (on Bionis’ calf):


Sword Valley:


The Mechonis side:


Since Xenoblade Chronicles is a story-intensive game, Nintendo and Monolith Soft’s differences in working practises caused difficulties during development early on. Nintendo have a habit of starting out by getting game system fundamentals functioning by creating prototypes, whereas Monolith Soft usually begin their projects by working on the worldview.


Due to this difference, Nintendo had a hard time judging just what Xenoblade Chronicles’ goals were, and asked for a vertical slice prototype of the game to be created, even if it was only a single chapter. The completion of this one area gave the two teams an idea of approximately how long it would take to produce a single section of the game.

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  • Please stop rubbing salt in the wound…  I can’t find an affordable European wii anywhere.  (By affordable, I mean less than US launch price after all fees)

    • You shouldn’t be playing Wii anyway, not while Kenzo Hojo is missing!

      Anyway, I softmodded my Wii specifically to import Xenoblade Chronicles, as I got the feeling that even if Nintendo did have plans for a North American release, it wouldn’t come by the time Europe got the game.

      Very easy process and will save you a ton of cash on not having to import an actual European Wii.

      • Color me intrigued.

        Anyhow thanks for the tip!

      • What gets me upset is that we shouldn’t have to. :(
        I can understand a couple of games NoA passing, but don’t do it to like half of the  titles throughout the console’s life much less a RPG praised as one of the best RPGs out there.
        Now I know how EU felt missing Chrono Trigger.  For the record I never gloated about it at all.

        • Raccoon

          … or Xenogears, or Wild Arms 2, or Suikoden III, or Tales of Legendia, or Tales of the Abyss, or Xenosaga Episode I, or Xenosaga Episode III, or Radiata Stories, or Grandia III, or basically every second Nintendo DS-RPG, and so on and on and on. Don’t get me started on the 8- and 16-Bit-classics.

          I’m not gloating now, but to be honest my pity is kept within reasonable limits. We Europeans missed so fucking many good games. I would not be sad when Xenoblade (and Last Story or Pandora’s Tower) is one of the few instances where it is the other way around (like with Terranigma back in the days ^^).

          • DanteJones

            Wait, they gave you guys Xenosaga 2 but not 1 or 3?


          • Ryos

            Brilliant marketing move.  Why wouldn’t you want to bring out only the worst entry in the series? :P

          • malek86

            It contained a DVD movie with the previous game’s cutscenes, just like Shenmue 2 on Xbox.

            Still a very poor replacement, I guess.

          • badmoogle

            Yeah this must’ve been one of the most stupid decisions made in video games ever.The thing is European gamers became used in this kind of decisions and that’s why we were never as vocal in our protests as the Americans (also internet wasn’t as common as it is today so it was even harder for our voice to be heard back then.)Decades of continuous shafting could do that to you.:/

    • Come on, guys; get over it already. If it’s coming, they’ll announce it when they’re ready to. There’s no point clogging up every Xenoblade discussion with this.

      • Yeah I’m guilty of this too sorry about that.
        I’ll wait patiently.  Though I wonder how it will do in the US if everybody imports…

        • It’s okay. Just…talking about it more won’t do any good, you know? :)

      • Guest

        at that point you will buy us all a copy

    • are you looking for a brand new wii or pre owned?

      • Either is fine.  I’m not exactly a rich man. =p

        Also, sorry for bringing this up again.  I’ve been stressed in general lately.

        • fallen

          No need to apologize.
          I don’t care if I’m not speaking for everyone else. :)

  • Shinji Kazuya

    Those small videos just made the wait even more unbearable. ;_;

  • That model is the ultimate collectible, like those large scale models used in old Science Fiction movies. That’s all I looked at though as I’m on media blackout now. Looking forward to this game.

  • Ren

    Wow, so many late game areas… *Goes back to suffering through Eryut Sea*

  • badmoogle

    Now that is a very unique way to design a game world…i would have loved to see some close ups of the models!
    Btw the latest Iwata asks was about Xenoblade Chronicles so there is huge information there about the development process of the game,its sound and story.

  • I must have those models!

  • leadintea

    Ok, I’ll be the immature one and ask. What’s on their crotches?

  • Haa! Then we all know where the obligatory sewer dungeon will be!

  • hush404

    Explain to me again… why Nintendo wouldn’t bring this to North America?

  • i just ask myself if there any new changes that will be on the europe version that the jp version wont have??? 

    i do wounder this.

    • badmoogle

      I think we would’ve known by now if there was any additional content in the European version (besides the language.)The game is less than 2 months away.

  • Happy Gamer

    i been waiting for this game and it never came out here but at least it is in EU. i rarely play imports as much than i used to during SNES to PS2 era but im gonna have to softmod my wii…
    i never pirate anything or even mod as much so many games dont come out. i understand really niche or very japanese games not making it to the US but Xenoblade and last story is just too much to pass.
    im sure alot of u guys forgot but another monolith soft game that never made it that i was pretty pissed about
    hint: nintendo DS game
    i was also pretty pissy about shining feather :(

    • Nah nobody really forgets a Nintendo Japan only title, just some are more remembered than others.

  • This and The Last Story prevent me from selling my Wii. 

  • When this come out in Eu and there is still no news about NA version, then thats it … I’ll hack my Wii and buy the Eu version …

  • Truth be told, if you were European and you were actually willing to pay for games while the industry was shitting on you, you’re probably a sub-70 as far as IQ goes.
    Hell, the fuckers just stopped releasing multi-language games in the UK, because people in continental Europe were importing cheaper UK games. People who gouge deserve to be destroyed by piracy. That’s the way business works.
    Piracy is a powerful tool in that it allows consumers to rebel against evil business practices from Hollywood and the gaming industry.

  • This game reminds me of the time I used to play RF Online

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