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Monolith Soft wants to focus more on expressions in the future

Posted on April 27, 2024 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

Monolith Soft expressions

According to Monolith Soft co-founder and Xenoblade executive director Tetsuya Takahashi, the company wants to focus more on expressions in the future.

With each Xenoblade game, Monolith Soft seems to improve upon things like cutscene direction, character models, and more. Characters were the most expressive they’ve ever been in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, but it sounds like Takahashi and the rest of the team isn’t satisfied just yet.

Here’s an interesting excerpt we’ve translated from the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 art book that recently came out in Japan:

“When we say we value expressions, we’ve always considered them to be important, and would like to treat them even more importantly in the future. That is to say, we touched upon video game grammar earlier, but there are scenes with mundane conversations, right? If it was a three-minute conversation, one would get fed up with it if it was written in video game grammar. You might mash the button, hoping you’d get to progress. However, when watching a live action movie, even if a scene is about five minutes long, as long as the actors’ performances and chemistry work, even if there is no music or special effects, one would end up watching it all the same. The difference there might be the choice of words, or the power of the lines, but the most important part is the expressions. A lot of actors can speak using their eyes alone, and those things can fill a gap and prevent people from getting bored in live action media, but for games, we can’t reach that level of expressiveness yet. That’s why we want to focus on this more in the future.

As an extreme example, if we were to make a ten-minute long scene, we’d want to make something that can stand on just the verbal exchanges without music or effects, and that’s the goal we’re thinking to aim for. This is just an example though, of course. We aren’t trying to make an actual 10-minute long scene, so don’t misunderstand (laughs).

Getting back on topic, but when just looking at the cutscenes for a game, many have plenty of action scenes and flashy scenes, and there are many titles that I think would make great reference material for future generations. But when it comes to people and people’s exchange of words and emotions, there is a tendency towards their actions, while the showcasing of the silent parts are still mostly stuck in the realm of video game grammar, so I would like it if Monolith Soft could reach that first.”

For Xenoblade Chronicles 3 fans, you can check out some of our other translations from the art book including some lore here, the villains here, and the fate of the Citizens here. The book sold out originally, but a re-run is currently up for pre-order here.

Translation provided by SatsumaFS, Simon Griffin, and Philip Proctor on behalf of Nintendo Everything.

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