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Insight Into Main Character Designs of Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Nintendo has been pulling back the curtain a bit and showcasing the developers who worked on Xenoblade Chronicles 2. This time around the main character designer details some of the subtle elements that went into creating some of the playable characters.



Hi, everyone. My name is Masatsugu Saito. I am in charge of main character design for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I have been given the opportunity to write about main character design, and would like to discuss the thought process that went into these characters, broken down across a few posts.

I first heard about plans for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 around February 2015. First, I structured an outline of the characters by reading director Tetsuya Takahashi’s plot. Then I participated in screenplay conferences with Tetsuya Takahashi, Yuichiro Takeda, and Kazuho Hyodo to start expanding on my character drawings. Rex and the other characters seemed very lively in the screenplay and plot. Their emotions were very clear, and every word they said was very moving.

It was at this point that I decided the characters should be modeled simply and clearly. One way of doing this was with a design that emphasized their eyes. Putting emphasis on their eyes allows a variety of emotions to be expressed during cut scenes, and makes it easier to see the character’s expressions, even when they are far away.

I also gave the characters some obvious color coding to make them easy to locate from afar in fields that are packed with detail. Rex is blue, for example, while Pyra is red, and so on.

The development team requested that the characters each have something that would blow in the wind (e.g., a cape or scarf) to express the atmosphere of the field. I wasn’t able to do this for a few of the characters (including Rex, Dromarch, and Tora). For these characters, the subtle movement of their hair or other features helps give a sense of the air around them.

One request that I made was that each character have their personality reflected in how they walk. I think their personalities come through quite well. Especially Poppi, who you can easily tell is artificial. The other characters also have some slight differences in how they walk and run, which is something I’d like you to look out for while you play.

Next time I will go into more detail about designing Rex and the other main characters.

For more information about Xenoblade Chronicles 2, visit the official site.


As a reminder, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is just a few days away from release. It arrives on December 1!


[Source: Nintendo]


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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