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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Monolith Soft Boss Talks About Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Development Struggles



Monolith Soft president Tetsuya Takahashi met with Atlus’ Katsura Hashino, known as the producer and director of several Persona games, for the very first time to share some development stories in a special interview featured on Den-fami Nico Gamer.


Here’s a bit from the interview where Katsura Hashino discusses some of the struggles Monolith Soft saw during the development for Xenoblade Chronicles 2:


Katsura Hashino: It was impressive to see how lively the characters of Xenoblade Chronicles were. I certainly felt the love that went into the character CG models. It made me think how they must have been made with such confidence.




Tetsuya Takahashi: Thank you very much. But rather than love, I believe it was more the passion of the workplace. Up until now our characters always took a beating, so we said “this time we won’t let you guys complain.” That was promising to see.

However, on the other hand, things didn’t go well with the UI. We lost three programmers in the middle of development.


Hashino: Oh, is that so?


Takahashi: We had no choice but to do it with our remaining members, and we endured to the very end. The team worked  hard, but that part was frustrating.


Hashino: How much of it was handled in-house at Monolith Soft? Was the character modeling done internally?


Takahashi: Monolith Tokyo has a little less than 100 developers. Of that group, between 50% to 60% was helping Nintendo with Zelda (Breath of the Wild). Of the remaining 40 to 50 people, several were part of R&D (Research & Development), and the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 staff was made of the remaining 40-plus members.

However, we couldn’t make it with just these members, so we outsourced then revised what we got, and that was the flow of things.




Hashino: So the character models were done externally?


Takahashi: Yes, they were produced externally and adjusted internally. Rex, Pyra, and several other models were done completely in-house from our members. We had some talented new recruits who were assigned with it as well.


Satoshi Eguchi (Former Dengeki Game Media Editor-in-Chief)Nevertheless, it’s quite amazing that you guys made such a large-scale game like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 with 40 people.


Hashino: Was the event design and scenario handled externally?


Takahashi: Those were internal.


Hashino: And with 40 people, that’s truly what you call core members. When you get together the main programmers, main designers, and planners, that’s easily already 40 people.


Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is available on the Nintendo Switch.


NNID : ShenlongDK
PSN : DarkLong213
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Damn 40 people and about ~2.5 year dev time (based on Xenoblade X releasing April 2015) is impressive.

When the herd loses its way, the shepard must kill the bull that leads them astray.

Wow.The development of this game must have been a headache.At least thats what i get when Tatsumi said it wasnt love, but passion that motived the developers to go on.

Hopefully with the great sales of XC 2, Nintendo gives Monolith more resources and manpower when developing the next Xenoblade game, given their increased sales potential.Or just dosent steal its developers away for other projects lol

My (locked) thread about how difficulty should be a decision for the developers, not the gamers.

It shows in the final product.

Don't get me wrong, it's a very good game, but it has a few polish issues you don't typically see from a first party Nintendo product, so it doesn't surprise me to hear development didn't go as smoothly as it could have.

Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

curl-6 said:

It shows in the final product.

Don't get me wrong, it's a very good game, but it has a few polish issues you don't typically see from a first party Nintendo product, so it doesn't surprise me to hear development didn't go as smoothly as it could have.

I knew that Monolith Soft was helping Nintendo on BOTW, but I didn't realize 60% of their staff was dedicated to the game. No wonder XC2 struggled in terms of polish. I wonder why Nintendo felt they needed to rush the game out by the end of December. I still love it, but I definitely feel bad for the amount of pressure Monolith Soft had to endure.


NNID : ShenlongDK
PSN : DarkLong213
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I’m hoping, now that the rest of the team is free from Breath of the Wild, that they return to a more open world style game for the next one. I wouldn’t mind an alternating series.

It sounds like the rest of the team are world class experts at open world game development.

I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

When you have to siphon people from projects in deep development in order to finish other projects then that should be a wake-up call to hire more people.

It's strange to me to see them praise the character models so much, to me it's one of the games biggest faults, with the worst ones mostly being the ones that seem to be made in-house.

I am loving the game, though I'm not surprised to hear they were working with a severely reduced staff, it does not feel like the most polished experience, I mean when the game launched pressing the map button didn't even open the map up to where you were.

I think the sales numbers so far seem pretty good and I'm excited to see what they will do for the next title in the series. I hope that they have a full staff and a bigger budget for the next title.

Man, not bad at all with 40 people working on the game. The final product still managed to be quite excellent despite a rather small team. The issues I did have weren't so much technical, but the writing aspects of it. A few character motivations could have used some more work...



Dance my pretties!

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Wow i'm so glad the game is doing amazing. They will most likely get a bigger team for their next project. It already looks amazing.