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

Many new details about Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have been revealed during a special Nintendo Direct. From the core cast of the six characters to their combat abilities and the world they inhabit, here’s everything we learned today.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – main characters

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes place in a world ravaged by conflict between two nations; Agnus and Keve. The six main characters are initially two factions from opposing sides of this conflict, but soon realize that they share a common destiny and must work together to defeat the real enemy.

The first group consists of: Noah, a courageous off-seer; the bold and outspoken Eunia; and Lanz, a burly thug. Your initial opponents are the kind and compassionate Mio; the ingenious battle tactician Taion; and Sena, a tiny person with great power.

After banding together, the six fight as a whole group to reach Swordmarch, a land pierced by a giant stone sword.

Alongside these main characters, there are a number of heroes that act as the seventh member of your party. While you can recruit a large number of heroes, only one can be in your party at a time. Quite a few were featured in the direct including Ashera, Valdi, Riku and Manana, Fiona, Alexandria and Gray. Few details have been offered about what they contribute, but heroes have their own specialties. For example, Valdi is a war medic, while Alexandria is an Incursor that can deal more critical hits.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – combat system and classes

Characters in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 all fit into a classic RPG class trinity: attacker, defender, and healer. But within these broad categories there are more specific classes. Examples offered by the Direct are the Swordfighter, a well-balanced attacker who leads the fight; the Zephyr, a defensive specialist capable of dodging and countering enemy attacks; the Medic Gunner, who can restore allies and buff abilities from afar; the tactician who disrupts enemies and aids allies with paper charms; the Heavy Guard, who uses massive weapons to defend and aggro allies; and the ogre, which can destroy enemy defenses.

Each character can switch between classes, and it is recommended that each character in the party learn multiple classes to allow for a well-rounded team.

Classes allow characters to use arts; Special abilities mapped to the Switch’s face buttons. Stringing together arts creates combos and fits into a system where you break and tumble enemies before throwing them into the air and then slamming them back down to the ground. Chaining attacks is a surefire way to crush enemies.

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

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

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Ouroboros Link

By far the coolest reveal of the Direct is interlinking; an ability that allows two party members to fuse into an Evangelion-like mech/creature/thing called the Ouroboros. Certain pairs of characters are capable of this, and depending on which character is chosen as the dominant spirit in the pair, an ouroboros’ abilities may change. Therefore, you should choose the right “pilot” for the task. Linking is only a temporary deal, so you’ll need to make the most of your Ouroboros before the timer runs out, but they can combine with chain attacks to create highly damaging combos.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Expansion Pass and Collector’s Edition

The Direct also announced an expansion pass that will cost $29.99 / £26.99. Included is a new story scenario that will be released in late 2023. At launch, the pass adds “helpful items” and outfit color variants. A new challenge battle, new heroes and quests, and new outfits will also be added by the end of 2022. And by the end of April 2023, another new challenge battle, hero, quests and outfits are also said to have arrived.

When Xenoblade Chronicles 3 releases on July 29th, a Collector’s Edition will be available with an artbook and SteelBook case. It’s exclusive to the My Nintendo Store, so keep an eye on the pre-order site.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was first announced earlier this year at the Nintendo Direct in February 2022. It is the sequel to the popular Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and although set in the future of the world depicted in the previous games, it features a new cast and story.

Matt Purslow is UK News and Features Editor for IGN.