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

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

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Main characters

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

The first part consists of: Noah, a brave off-viewer; the cheeky and dull Eunie; and Lanz, a powerful fight. Their first opponents are the kind and compassionate Mio; the ingenious combat tactician, Taion; and Sena, a small person with great strength.

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

Next to these main characters is a list of heroes, who act as the seventh member of your party. Although you can recruit a large number of heroes, only one can be in your party at any one time. Quite a few were shown in Direct, including Ashera, Valdi, Riku and Manana, Fiona, Alexandria and Gray. Few details were offered about what they contribute, but Heroes has its own specialties. Valdi, for example, is a war doctor, while Alexandria is an incursor who can inflict several critical hits.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Battle system and classes

The characters in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 all fit into a classic RPG trinity: Attackers, Defenders and Healers. But within these broad categories are more specific classes. Examples offered by Direct include Swordfighter, which is a well-balanced attacker who leads the fight; Zephyr, a defense specialist who can avoid and counter enemy attacks; Medic Gunner, who can restore allies and strengthen abilities within reach; the tactician, who disturbs enemies and supports allies with paper talismans; Heavy Guard, which uses massive weapons to defend allies and pull aggro; and Ogre, who can crush the enemy’s defenses.

Each grade can switch between classes, and it is recommended for each grade in the party to learn more classes to give a well-rounded team.

Classes allow grades to use Arts; special capabilities assigned to the switch’s face buttons. Assembling Arts creates combinations, and fits into a system where you crack and overthrow enemies before sending them up into the air and then smashing them back to the ground. Linking attacks together is a surefire way to destroy enemies.

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

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

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Ouroboros Interlinking

By far the coolest revelation of Direct is Interlinking; an ability that allows two party members to merge into an Evangelion-like mech / creature / thing called an Ouroboros. Specific character pairs are able to do this, and depending on which character is chosen to be the dominant mind in the pair, an Ouroboros’ abilities may change. As such, you will choose the right “pilot” for the task. Pairing is only a temporary agreement, so you need to get the most out of Ouroboros before the timer expires, but they can join chain attacks to create very harmful combinations.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Expansion Pass and Collector’s Edition

The Direct also announced an expansion pass, which will cost $ 29.99 / £ 26.99. Included is a new history scenario, which will be released by the end of 2023. At launch, the passport will add “useful items” and outfit color variants. By the end of 2022, a new challenge battle, new heroes and missions and new outfits will also have been added. And by the end of April 2023, a new challenge, battle, heroes, missions and outfits are also promised.

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

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was first announced earlier this year on Nintendo Direct in February 2022. It is the sequel to the much-loved Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and although set for the future of the world as depicted in previous games, it has a new cast and history.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s news and feature editor in the UK.