Xenoblade Chronicles 3 on Nintendo Switch will act as a "culmination" of the trilogy, but won't be a conclusion for the series overall according to its executive director.
In an interview with Nintendo itself, Tetsuya Takahashi said the first three mainline Xenoblade Chronicles games (not including the more futuristic Chronicles X) share similar themes and gameplay ideas that connect them as a trilogy.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 therefore rounds out the trilogy thematically – but Takahashi made clear it's not the end of the series as a whole. "This is like a summary for moving on to the next step in the future," he said.
"Although some elements and designs from one and two will appear in this third entry here and there, there is no need to have played the first and second games to understand the story or how to play," Takahashi explained. "However, since this is a series of works, the underlying theme is consistent, and in each case, the story unfolds based on 'the relationship between foreign things'.
"I used the word 'culmination' earlier, but this title brings together all the themes that have been developed over the past 15 years since 2007, when development of the first title in the Xenoblade Chronicles series began, as well as the gameplay systems that have been developed throughout the series."
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was announced in February and will be released on July 29. As with the previous games, it's a JRPG that features an automatic combat system where the player must combine a number of attacks and effects to achieve victory, set amid a war-torn futuristic world called Aionios.
In our 8/10 review, IGN said: "Xenoblade Chronicles 3 can take some meandering detours across its massive 150-hour campaign, but great characters and addictive tactical combat make it all well worth the time."
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He'll talk about The Witcher all day.