Announced at E3, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is getting a prequel expansion. This is free to Expansion Pass owners or players can buy a physical copy for $39.99 when it launches later in September. Mr. Takahashi of Monolith Soft has given more information about the prequel and how it came to be:
Hello, this is Tetsuya Takahashi, Executive Director at Monolith Soft. We recently announced Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country, an additional scenario for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
It all started three years ago. Torna ~ The Golden Country was a part of our original prototype for the main game. More accurately, I suppose you could say that it was one of the potential story candidates included in our initial prototype.
It’s been five years since the release of Xenoblade Chronicles. We’ve accumulated quite a bit of production knowhow since then, and our process management has improved as well. Now we’re much better at knowing just how big of a game we can create at what level of quality based on a given volume of text. After looking at a variety of factors, we could tell that including Torna ~ The Golden Country in the main game would divert a major portion of the budget and development time we had allotted for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. We hadn’t shown anyone the prototype yet, and quickly decided against including this content, instead opting to take what we needed for the main game, which became the finished Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
For quite some time after that, Torna ~ The Golden Country slept on my computer’s hard drive, but when we decided to include a new scenario with the Expansion Pass, I knew that we had to revive Torna ~ The Golden Country and tell that story.
Story set 500 years before Xenoblade Chronicles 2
The story of Torna ~ The Golden Country covers not only the pasts of key characters from the main game like Jin, Mythra, Malos, and Praetor Amalthus, but will also spotlight characters like Lora and Addam, who factor heavily into the lore of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Ah, and you know that the main story in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the story of Rex and Pyra (Mythra), but Torna ~ The Golden Country follows another set of main characters, Jin and Lora. You’ll see what happened in Jin’s past, what kind of person Lora was, and even what the relationship was between Addam and Mythra. There were bits and pieces of their stories throughout the main game, but they’ll finally take shape in front of your very eyes. (The generic models used for some of the side characters in flashbacks in the main game will be given dedicated models.)
New adventures on a new map
The Tornan Titan will be added as a new field map in Torna ~ The Golden Country. A lot of other RPGs set their additional story sections on existing maps, but Torna ~ The Golden Country ’s maps will be entirely new. And in addition to the field map, we’ll add the capital city of Torna as a new town map. Given that these events take place 500 years ago, the playable areas in Torna ~ The Golden Country will be limited to Torna and the surrounding areas, but I’m sure you’ll still find these to be very rewarding to play.
Reworked battle system
Torna ~ The Golden Country is set in an era of history before Drivers and Blades had learned to cooperate seamlessly during battle, and so there will be a new battle system used in this expansion. The refined battle system will still be based on the one seen in the main game, but I hope you’ll enjoy this new take on it.
New music added
New songs have also been added to Torna ~ The Golden Country. They were composed by Mitsuda-san and some others who were involved with the main game. The feel of the new music is a bit more grown up, in keeping with the more grownup tone of Torna ~ The Golden Country overall. They’re played mostly on acoustic instruments, and have a real groove to them, so I’m sure you’ll really enjoy them.
Torna ~ The Golden Country is an additional scenario that is scheduled for release on September 14 for anyone with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and an Expansion Pass. And for those who have not yet played Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a stand-alone packaged version of Torna ~ The Golden Country will get a separate release on September 21. As I mentioned earlier, the story of Torna ~ The Golden Country is set 500 years before the main game. So it’s possible that players will view the main game a little differently if they play Torna ~ The Golden Country first. This packaged version will also include a code to the other Expansion Pass content besides Torna ~ The Golden Country into the main game, making it a great option as an entry point for anyone interested in experiencing XenobladeChronicles 2 and Torna ~ The Golden Country in the future.
We’ll still need a bit of time until it’s ready for release, but then you’ll get to enjoy all the new maps, new battles and the story of these new characters.