While all eyes are on Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (many Switch newcomers will want this game) this holiday season for the Nintendo Switch, which dominated Black Friday sales, one game has slipped under the radar: Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Nintendo has been marketing the game strongly and technically, this is Nintendo’s holiday release; it comes out December 1. Fans of the series are ecstatic considering the game goes back to the roots of what made the original Xenoblade Chronicles so great: its story. Xenoblade Chronicles X was fantastic in its own right, but it lacked the characters and charm of the original. As the holidays fast approach, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a game poised to become Nintendo’s holiday surprise. It’s Coming From Tetsuya Takahashi Tetsuya Takahashi may not be directing the game, but this game is his baby, no doubt. Very little know that Xenogears, the original installment in the Xeno series, was actually an early concept for Final Fantasy VII (!!!). The higher-ups at Squaresoft deemed it too dark to be a fantasy, thus the cult hit Xenogears was born. Takahashi went on to create the Xenosaga franchise for the PlayStation 2 but when sales were rather poor after the first game, development stopped on the fourth installment. While the games weren’t great, the story is among the best to grace the PlayStation 2, incorporating complex religious themes and taking much from Carl Jung’s philosophy, mixed in with aspects of Gnostic Christianity. While the games may not have been the greatest, the series was an engrossing experience. Takahashi was then young, but later matured, and later developed Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. While it shared many of the themes of its predecessors, it is by far Takahashi’s crowning achievement and one of the best games to grace the system according to Metacritic, scoring a 92/100. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is going back to the series’ roots and is plot-driven with an expansive world, like its predecessor. It’s Not the Only Nintendo Holiday Game While Zelda doesn’t quite count as a holiday game, so many are buying a Switch this holiday season (just look at the Black Friday sales) that they are bound to buy one of the greatest games of all time. Nintendo has done a masterful job at spreading out their release dates, with Super Mario Odyssey coming out on October 27. Fire Emblem Warriors came out a week before. This gives gamers plenty of time to be able to pick up Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which comes out on December 1. This takes a considerable amount of pressure off of the game. The fact that it’s coming out on an up-and-coming system doesn’t hurt either. The problem with Xenoblade Chronicles X, which was released on the same date two years ago, was that it was the only holiday game for Nintendo on a dying system. The marketing for the game was abysmal. Nintendo has really pushed Xenoblade Chronicles 2, even giving it its own Nintendo Direct and releasing several trailers for the game and its own music video. The marketing has been superb, even receiving a special sidequest in Breath of the Wild to obtain Rex’s armor. Under Nintendo’s guidance, Monolith Soft’s games have scored an 84 or higher on Metacritic. Nintendo and Tetsuya Takahashi’s genius seem to be a perfect match for each other. Newcomers to the Series are Excited There are a good number of people who have never played a Xeno game who are either intent on buying a game or it is the game that sold them on the Nintendo Switch. This is huge. It shows the title is not simply a “niche” game like so many claim. It’s one of the most-wanted games for the Switch, and according to the November 29 issue of Famitsu, the most-wanted Nintendo Switch game. With all the hype Nintendo has built for the game with their excellent marketing, as long as it has stellar reviews, and previews indicate the game is superb, it’s going to be a must-have this Holiday 2017 season. The Hype is Real The Hype for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is real. Fans of the series and newcomers alike are ecstatic for the latest entry in the series. Nintendo took a chance on Monolith Soft and Tetsuya Takahashi years ago, and it’s paying off. Xenoblade Chronicles was a hit, despite a limited release in North America, totaling over one million sales (if the New Nintendo 3DS version is counted). Who knows if Digital sales from the Wii U are even taken into account in those numbers. Xenoblade Chronicles X sold almost a million copies despite being on a dying system with barely any support from a marketing standpoint. There’s no reason why Xenoblade Chronicles 2 won’t be an even bigger hit, given it’s coming out on Nintendo’s crowning achievement during a holiday season where the Switch is dominating (just look at Black Friday). All of the trailers have also been incredibly intriguing, especially the character trailer. The story may rival Xenoblade Chronicles. Nintendo is banking a lot on Xenoblade 2. Given their marketing for the game and the fact that it’s spread out from other Nintendo Switch releases, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo’s holiday surprise.