Which Xeno games should you play before Xenoblade Chronicles 3?

How much lore do you need to know?

Image via Nintendo

Despite its name, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 isn’t actually the third game in the Xenoblade series. If you want to be really technical, there are about 10 or so games in the wider Xeno franchise if you include Xenogears and the Xenosaga series.

RPG sequels sometimes demand an intimate level of knowledge of the series’ lore to fully understand what’s going on. So, for anyone who might be interested in jumping into the Xeno series, here’s a simple rundown of which games you can play before Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and whether you even should.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

Image via Nintendo

As the first Xenoblade game, this is arguably the perfect starting point for newcomers. While it originally released for the Nintendo Wii and saw a New Nintendo 3DS port, the Nintendo Switch version is the optimal way to experience it. Aside from being much more readily available, it has the best visuals and an epilogue titled Future Connected.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Image via Nintendo

The second numbered Xenoblade game, this one is also easily available on the Switch. It’s not a direct sequel to the first game, however, and has an entirely different setting and main cast. So, you could feasibly start here and play the first game afterward. It is recommended that you play both these games before jumping into Xenoblade Chronicles 3, since developer Monolith Soft has said it “connects the futures of the two previous mainline Xenoblade Chronicles games.”

Do you need to play any other Xeno games for Xenoblade Chronicles 3?

To summarize, you really only need to play the first two numbered titles. Even then, Monolith Soft has also stated that no prior knowledge of the series is necessary to understand the main story, so new fans can start their journey with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 if they want to. That said, there are a few important figures in the game’s story that may be returning from the previous games.

Early on in the adventure, a man called Vandham appears before the protagonists and he shares his name with a similar looking character from Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Long-time fans were also quick to spot that the masked queens of warring nations Keves and Agnus bear some similarities to Melia and Nia, both of whom were party members in the first and second games respectively. Whether any of these characters are the same ones from the previous games or not is one of Xenoblade Chronicles 3’s biggest mysteries.

As for the rest of the Xeno franchise, while there may be some references to those games and their themes, their actual stories and characters are unlikely to be important for Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Plus, in the cases of Xenogears, the Xenosaga series, and Xenoblade Chronicles X, those games aren’t available on modern platforms. Torna – The Golden Country, meanwhile, is prequel DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so it’s mostly there to expand on that game’s world and story.

Xeno series release timeline

  • Xenogears (1998) — PlayStation One
  • Xenosaga Episode I (2003) — PlayStation 2
  • Xenosaga Episode II (2005) — PlayStation 2
  • Xenosaga Episode III (2006) — PlayStation 2
  • Xenoblade Chronicles (2012) — Wii
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (2015) — New Nintendo 3DS
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X (2015) — Wii U
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017) — Nintendo Switch
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country (2018) Nintendo Switch
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (2020) — Nintendo Switch
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (2022) — Nintendo Switch