Music of Xenoblade Chronicles
The music of Xenoblade Chronicles consists of 99 officially released pieces of music as well as 54 remixes, split across several official releases. Manami Kiyota was the lead composer; ACE+, Yoko Shimomura and Yasunori Mitsuda also contributed to composing music for the game. Sarah Àlainn sang the ending theme.
Much of the music was recorded live; there are some pieces that use synthesised instruments, and the tracks have varying instrumentations and styles, including full orchestra, string quartet, and more avant-garde rock-inspired music.
Slightly under half the tracks were used in cutscenes, with the remainder being split among music that plays in the overworld outside of battle ('area themes'), that which plays during battle ('battle themes'), and music that plays in menus ('menu themes'). There is, however, overlap, particularly with regards to the battle themes: it is very common that the music of a scripted battle begins playing in the preceding cutscene. In most areas, there is separate music that plays during the day and the night; areas for which this is not the case are usually interior in some way, such as Tephra Cave and Mechonis Field. (The main exception is Colony 6, whose music changes depending upon the level of reconstruction.) Area themes that play specifically during the day may be energetic or calm depending on the area, although those that play during the night are always relatively subdued.
Area themes that play during the day are typically named after the area in which they play. If an area has a separate night theme, it is always distinguished by suffixing "(Night)" to the name. Battle themes and cutscene themes have no overarching naming schemes.
In Xenoblade Chronicles, different enemies use different battle themes. However, it is possible for multiple enemies which use different battle music to be engaged in battle at once. To determine which music should play, the game uses a priority system: internally, each enemy has an associated number stored with their music, and the enemy with the highest number is the one whose battle music has priority. The following is a general ordering of which battle music tends to take priority, ordered from highest to lowest priority:
- A Tragic Decision, Zanza the Divine, and The God-Slaying Sword
- Visions of the Future (if a Vision tag has been shattered earlier in the fight)
- Enemies Closing In (if a party member is incapacitated or at very low tension)
- Other boss/story fight themes (chiefly An Obstacle in Our Path)
- You Will Know Our Names
- 'Standard' battle themes (Time to Fight!, Hostile Gazes, Mechanical Rhythm, etc.)
When the track titles were first released alongside the Xenoblade Original Soundtrack in 2010, there was no English translation provided, and therefore they were typically referred to by transliterating from the original Japanese. Official localisations for some tracks were provided in the Xenoblade Chronicles Special Soundtrack in 2011, and the rest of the tracks were localised in 2015 with Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. However, not all localised names were adopted immediately by English-speaking fans; as of 2021, some tracks (in particular Unfinished Business) are still frequently referred to by their localised titles (in this case, 'Unfinished Battle') by English-speaking fans.
Changes in Definitive Edition
In Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, almost all of the battle and area themes in the game were redone. Specifically, all of the tracks from the 3rd and 4th discs of the Xenoblade Original Soundtrack, as well as Engage the Enemy, A Tragic Decision, Zanza the Divine, and The God-Slaying Sword, were redone. In all cases, this meant rerecording in higher quality, although almost all tracks were slightly altered from their originals; many had the balance of their instrumentation changed (e.g. A Tragic Decision), some received new instruments or melody lines (e.g. An Obstacle in Our Path), and a small number even had existing melody lines significantly changed (e.g. Mechanical Rhythm). The game includes the option of playing the original or redone versions of the music.
In addition, several new tracks were composed for Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected:
- Bionis' Shoulder
- Bionis' Shoulder (Night)
- Time to Fight! (Bionis' Shoulder)
- Gran Dell
- Gran Dell (Night)
- Roar from Beyond
- Beyond the Sky (Acoustic Arrange)
Event Theatre glitch
Due to a glitch, when viewing cutscenes through the Event Theatre in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, some cutscenes will have no music. Other cutscenes have the ordinary music replaced with the area theme of the location where the cutscene is set. The reason for this is unknown.
Xenoblade Original Soundtrack
- Main article: Xenoblade Original Soundtrack
The Xenoblade Original Soundtrack is the most complete official release of the music of the main game of Xenoblade Chronicles, containing almost all of the music used in that game. It consists of 91 tracks split across four discs. The soundtrack was released on the 23rd of June, 2010, only in Japan.
The first two discs primarily include cutscene themes and menu themes, while the 3rd and 4th discs contain area themes and battle themes. The music in the latter two discs is broadly arranged in gameplay order, with the area themes arranged in the order that a player would be likely to encounter them (those that play during the day preceding those that play during the night), and with battle themes interspersed roughly evenly throughout. (There are some exceptions, such as Central Factory playing after Agniratha, Mechonis Capital.) The ordering of the music in the first two discs is similar, with the tracks broadly being placed in the order of specific cutscenes in which they play.
Some tracks were shortened for the Xenoblade Original Soundtrack, such as A Tragic Decision and Intrigue, both of which have sections that play in-game that do not play in the OST.
Xenoblade Definitive Edition Original Soundtrack
- Main article: Xenoblade Definitive Edition Original Soundtrack
The Xenoblade Definitive Edition Original Soundtrack is a complete official release of the music of Definitive Edition, consisting of the Definitive Edition remixes of applicable tracks as well as all tracks which were not remixed. In addition, it contains the 8 new tracks used in Future Connected. The soundtrack is set to be released internationally on the 2nd of August, 2023.
The contents of the soundtrack are also included as part of the Xenoblade Chronicles Original Soundtrack Trinity Box.
Xenoblade Chronicles Special Soundtrack
- Main article: Xenoblade Chronicles Special Soundtrack
The Xenoblade Chronicles Special Soundtrack includes 12 tracks from Xenoblade Chronicles and was initially released on a single CD in Japan on the 10th of June, 2010. It was also released on a CD in 2011 with the Australian version of the game, and was made digitally available in August of 2011 via Nintendo of Europe's Club Nintendo website.
"The Music of Xenoblade Chronicles 3D" Video Series
On April 8th, 2015, Nintendo uploaded five promotional videos with arranged versions of several tracks from the game. Main Theme was rearranged by Sachiko Miyano, while Gaur Plain, You Will Know Our Names, Engage the Enemy, and Mechanical Rhythm were rearranged by Tomori Kudo. Oddly, these songs were not present within Xenoblade Chronicles 3D itself.
In Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, the Collection Mode included a 'Jukebox' feature which allowed the player to listen to music tracks from the game, with the number of available tracks increasing as the player advances through the story. The full set of available tracks is the same as that of the Xenoblade Original Soundtrack; tracks from the first two discs (with the exception of Hope) are marked with a red gem, tracks from the 3rd and 4th discs are marked with a green gem, and Hope (unique for being the only track on the OST which does not play in Xenoblade Chronicles 3D) is marked with a blue gem.
The Jukebox is notable in that its track list was the first time that many of the tracks of the game received official localisations into English, as the Xenoblade Original Soundtrack was only available in Japanese.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Sound Selection
- Main article: Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Sound Selection
The Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Sound Selection is a selection of 20 tracks from the music of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, released on the 29th of May, 2020 in Europe, Japan, and Australia as a part of the Collector's Editions of the game in those regions. All tracks on the Sound Selection had either been remastered for the Definitive Edition or were otherwise new to it.
Composer and artist uploads
People involved in the music of Xenoblade Chronicles have made posts to social media featuring covers of tracks they were involved with. Examples include Manami Kiyota, who has posted to her twitter short piano covers of Satorl Marsh (Night) and In the Refugee Camp, and Sarah Àlainn, who posted a partial cover of Ending Theme - Beyond the Sky to her YouTube channel.
Unlike the music of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Torna ~ The Golden Country, short jingles that play in the overworld or in menus (for example, that which plays when the party discovers a Secret Area for the first time) have not been included on any official release of the game's music.
In other media
- Main article: Xeno series crossovers
- The original version of the track You Will Know Our Names is playable in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 under certain circumstances.
- Several tracks appear in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 in some form:
- Shulk and Fiora plays in-game.
- Various tracks in the music of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are remixes of Sword Valley (Night), Hidden Machina Village, and Time to Fight! (Bionis' Shoulder).
- Motifs from Engage the Enemy, Eryth Sea, and Alcamoth, Imperial Capital appear in other music tracks in XC3.
- Several tracks from the Xenoblade Original Soundtrack are playable in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, playing on the Gaur Plains and (in Ultimate) the Cloud Sea of Alrest stages. In addition, the Xenoblade Chronicles Medley was arranged for these games and can play under the same circumstances. Finally, an excerpt from You Will Know Our Names is used as Shulk's victory theme.
- In Tetris 99, when the player is using the Definitive Edition themed skin, the background music in-game switches to Time to Fight!, Mechanical Rhythm, and You Will Know Our Names (depending on how many players are left in the game). The ending theme also changes to Colony 6 - Future if the player achieves a Tetris Maximus and Gaur Plain (Night) otherwise. In all cases, the arranged versions of the tracks from the Definitive Edition are used.
- Remixes of You Will Know Our Names and Engage the Enemy were made for Project X Zone 2. Chapter 6 in this game, which focuses on Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenosaga characters, is called 'You Will Know Our Names'.
- You Will Know Our Names and Mechanical Rhythm were each performed on both day 1 and day 2 of Nintendo Game Music Live!, a series of performances of Nintendo music by rock band and big band as part of the Nintendo Switch Experience event on 14/15 January 2017.
- Manami Kiyota's notes on recording the music for Definitive Edition
- CHiCO's notes on producing music for the game and recording for Definitive Edition
|Versions||Xenoblade Chronicles • Xenoblade Chronicles 3D • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Future Connected)|
|Development||Staff (DE • FC) • Unused content • Bugs and glitches|
|Plot||Plot summary • Game script (FC) • Heart-to-Hearts • Back Home|
|Gameplay||Combat (Battle Art • Enemy • Chain Attack • Vision) • Items (Weapons • Equipment • Gems • Collectables • Materials) • Gem crafting • Quests • Colony 6 reconstruction|
|Audio||Music • Dialogue • Banter|
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