DLC plans may mean that the story isn’t quite over (pic: Nintendo)
The ending of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 raises a lot of questions for both its story DLC and the future of the series.
*** WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for all three Xenoblade games ***
Now that it’s been a week since Xenoblade Chronicles 3 launched, the most ardent fans have likely already reached the game’s conclusion and been rocked by its final cut scene.
At first, there were signs that this game would mark the end of the series, but Monolith Soft has since said that it wants to keep it going for as long as possible, so a new sequel or spin-off is probably already on the cards.
Since we’ve already put together a beginner’s guide for those just starting their Xenoblade Chronicles 3 journey, we’ve decided to look closer at the game’s ending and theorise what could be in store for the series’ future.
Obviously, there will be major spoilers in this article, not just for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, but the first two games as well. So, if you have yet to finish the game yourself or have plans to play the previous entries, stop reading now and go and do that instead.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 backstory explained
This is gonna sound like nonsense to anyone who hasn’t played it (pic: Nintendo)
First, some context. Xenoblade Chronicle 3’s setting of Aionios is, at one point, confirmed to be a fusion of the worlds of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and 2. Both worlds were once originally Earth (as in our Earth) before a certain event split them apart and separated them into two different universes.
They began to naturally reform into one, but if allowed to continue this would result in all life on both worlds being wiped out. To prevent this, queens Melia and Nia (party members from the first and second games, respectively), managed to get in contact with each other and worked together to build a giant machine called Origin.
Origin was supposed to reboot the world after the merging, and also serve as an ark to preserve the data and memories of both worlds’ inhabitants so everyone could be reborn afterwards.
However, the Moebius (the game’s main villains and later revealed to be the manifestation of humanity’s fear of change and the future) hijacked Origin to create an ‘endless now’ – that being Aionios, where its people are born only to fight and are reborn over and over again to keep the world frozen in time, with Moebius feeding off the endless warfare.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3: ending cut scene explained
After the heroes successfully defeat the Moebius leader, Zed, they decide to activate Origin properly, to free the world from its frozen state. However, in doing so, this means the worlds will be returned to how they were before the beginning of the game.
As such, the party are forced to say goodbye and return to their respective worlds. Furthermore, as shown in the post credits epilogue, time itself has rewound, with Noah, Eunie, and Lanz back to being children attending a fireworks show, just like they were at the very beginning of the game. Even their friend Joran, who died during the events of the game, is alive again.
So, does this mean the events of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 were completely undone? Not necessarily, as the epilogue implies Noah might have some memory of what happened as he hears a familiar tune that his fellow party member Mio played on her flute, smiling and deciding to follow it. This simultaneously suggests that Mio somehow crossed over to his world and remembers the events of the game as well.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3: what happens after?
The story DLC’s a complete mystery (pic: Nintendo)
Fortunately, we may not have to wait for a new game to see what comes next for the series. Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s expansion pass includes story DLC that will release by December 2023.
The real question is what form this story DLC will take. It being a sequel seems a tad unlikely given how the story ended, unless it involves the party trying to reunite across the two worlds.
It’s certainly not impossible since, as we said, it’s implied Mio somehow managed to reach Noah’s world. Plus, during the game’s conclusion, several characters express hope at meeting each other again.
Some fans will also point out that characters from the first game and Xenoblade Chronicles X were transported to the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as part of that game’s post-launch DLC, though it’s debatable whether that’s canon or not.
An interquel is always possible, with a new storyline taking place alongside the events of the main game. Although it’d probably have to focus on a separate set of characters and/or its events couldn’t be too significant since they wouldn’t be acknowledged in the main game.
A prequel arguably seems the most likely. It’s never explicitly stated how long the world of Aionios has existed for, so there’re entire periods of its history that can serve as the setting without encroaching too much on the main story.
Could Noah and Mio reunite in the future? (pic: Nintendo)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s story DLC did exactly that, taking place hundreds of years beforehand and fleshing out the backstories of several main characters, including antagonist Jin and how he came to be.
In fact, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has a similar character in the form of N, one of the main villains, so a prequel storyline could revolve around him and his backstory. Although the main game does have a flashback sequence to explain how he became a villain so having an entire prequel game dedicated to him may be unnecessary.
Considering the story DLC will be a separate expansion from the main game, it might not have anything to do with Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s characters and world at all. Perhaps it will take place in a brand new setting, with a new cast, and act more like a prelude to whatever the next game will be.
As for Xenoblade Chronicles 4, or whatever comes next, the worlds being separated again means it could take place in either one, acting as a direct or distant sequel. Or Monolith Soft could go backwards in time and tell a story that’s set after the first two games but before Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Maybe we’ll actually get a sequel for Xenoblade Chronicles X. Or maybe we’ll visit an entirely different universe altogether. After all, the Conduit, the mysterious object responsible for the Earth splitting in two in the first place, disappeared to another dimension at the end of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and, as far as we can tell, doesn’t feature at all in Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
Ultimately, there are multiple avenues Monolith Soft can pursue. The future of Xenoblade Chronicles is eternal and boundless, which, given the overall themes of the series, is perfectly fitting.
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