Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Production Notes #3: Character Design (Part 1)

On November 14th, the official website of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was updated in Japan, adding a new section: Production Notes. It’s a blog-like section, where members of the development team will come discuss various aspects of the game.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Production Notes #1: Drivers and Blades
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Production Notes #2: Script

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Production Notes #3: Character Design (Part 1)

The third Production Notes blog post for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is from Saito Masatsugu, the main character designer.

It was back in February 2015 that he first heard about plans for Xenoblade Chronicles. First, he began by reading the story written by Tetsuya Takahashi, in order to get a good grasp of the characters. After that, he took part in the screenwritting conferences with Yuichiro Takeda, Kazuho Hyoudou, which helped him further his understanding of the characters and what they should look like.

He explains that in the story and screenplay, Rex and co. came out as a really lively characters, with clear emotions and feelings, and witch each word leaving a strong impression on him. That’s why he thought to himself “It’s better if the shape of the characters is easy to grasp”.

One of the key aspects of the character design in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the eyes. By putting a strong emphasis on the eyes, the range of expressions and emotions for characters to display during cutscenes is broadened, making it easier for players to make them out even when the characters are not close to the camera.

Another key aspect of the character design is the colour of the characters. They were chosen so as to make it easy for players to figure out who was who when in the field, especially when the camera is far away from the characters (as we’ve seen in recent trailers/commercials for the game). If a character is red, then that means it’s Pyra. If it’s blue, then it’s Rex, etc..

The Xenoblade Chronicles 2 development team also asked Saito Masatsugu to make it so the character designs incorporate “moving” elements, such as cloaks and scarves for examples. Their reason for that was to make it so players could really feel the wind (or rather, see it!) when out exploring (as you can see in the video below).

Considering the game takes place in a sea of clouds, it’s quite logical to have lots of wind. Therefore, having clear visual feedback for that wind is definitively a plus.

He wasn’t able to put such elements in the design of all characters (that’s the case of Rex, Tora, and Dromarch), but for those, you can still feel / see the wind blowing through their hair, etc..

In return, Saito Masatsugu asked the development team to make it so the personality of each character is reflected in the way they move. Poppi’s is the most striking example, as it really gives the feeling she’s an artificial being. He hopes that players will pay attention to the way characters move while playing.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) comes out on December 1st, worldwide.

Source: official website



Founder and main writer for Perfectly Nintendo. Tried really hard to find something funny and witty to put here, but had to admit defeat. Also known as Maintenance Guy by some.

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