‘Development was a little bit easier than on Xenoblade X…’
The original Xenoblade Chronicles and its follow up on the Wii U, Xenoblade Chronicles X, both had protracted development cycles, with both games arriving after years of anticipation. Indeed, long development cycles have been something of a trend with developers Monolith Soft, who have a history of shooting for ambitious projects, and taking years to deliver them.
Which is what makes the rapid turnaround of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, due out later this year, a bit surprising- how has a studio, with a history of longer development cycles, gotten this game out within two years of the previous one?
Speaking to Time, Tetsuya Takahashi, the head of Monolith, and the director of the Xenoblade series, shed some light on how the game’s quicker development cycle occurred.
“The ease or speed of developing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 stems a lot from our having already created this architecture with Xenoblade Chronicles X,” he said. ?The game portion of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is kind of overlaid on top of that fundamental architecture. I think that made the biggest contribution to why development went so fast. And in terms of Switch versus Wii U, another point is that we’ve only had to deal with one screen, so that also has made development a little bit easier.”
He also explained Monolith and Nintendo’s desire to have a large scale role playing game out on Switch early in the system’s life cycle. “And so to add to that, both at Nintendo and at Monolith, we wanted to have a major large-scale roleplaying game early in the Switch’s lifecycle. We thought about how we might accomplish that, and we wanted to do the same thing with the Wii U. But the development for Xenoblade Chronicles X was a little bit difficult, and that’s why it ended up being released a little bit later in the Wii U’s cycle. So we had a postmortem and tried to think ‘How can we deliver this at an earlier stage in the console’s lifecycle?’”
In the end, it looks like Nintendo’s efforts to streamline and expedite their development pipelines and processes have paid off- after the slower development cycles their games suffered during the Wii U era their games on the Switch seem to be coming out at a rapid fire pace. Given how great these games are, I don’t think anyone will complain, either.