The design for the Nopon is actually based on a idea we had of what a Penguin crossed with an Owl would look like. But we also took a few liberties designing the shape of it so that it looked like some of the mascot characters you see in Japan. -Takahashi
Yes, the game "lacks a story" (which is a silly argument, there is a story, but it's not presented in the same way jRPGs traditionally do story - which I love for a change), but seems to make up for it by a well-crafted world that is made for people who just want to go about exploring. If that doesn't float your boat, fine. But I find the negativity surrounding the game to be unjust, MLSI wanted to go for something different this time and everything I hear makes it sound like this is a RPG made for me.
Also, speaking from my personal experience with Monolith's games (of which I've played almost all save for Xenogears and the third Xenosaga) is that this particular team excels at crafting unique, interesting universes but has trouble executing an in-depth "story" without being hampered by the sheer necessity of complex exposition those universes require. Dialing back a bit with the idea of a "traditional narrative" and focusing on building a world and letting you explore it may play more to the strenghts of this particular studio than trying to go for a complex, high-brow "story" in the sense most people think of it.
Being several years behind others in the development of an HD title and taking into account Monolith Soft’s company size, there are just some thing that we could not achieve, which couldn’t be helped, but in order to move on towards the next step, there was no avoiding this. And that is the truth. -Takahashi
Takahashi says he hopes to apply a broader story, improved interface, more intricate online connectivity and the option of going to space in his next title.
It's understandable. The transition to HD development has been a struggle for many developers so Monolith Soft just wanted to take it easy. Now that they have experience, they can hopefully take it up a notch.
I've read some impressions and it seems like they focused on world exploration and gameplay in favor of story and characters.
It doesn't mean it's a bad game, but it would be wise to treat it as its own thing instead of going in and expecting a typical JRPG experience.
Earth blew up and mankind is trying to survive. They crash land on this planet that they now have to call home. "Survival" is the keyword here. When you play the game, think of it as you're playing the role of a survivor. If you read the descriptions of the 8 unions you can join, you can see each one does something that helps mankind survive.
The game will get a Limited Edition and a Wii U bundle:
In addition the original Wii classic Xenoblade Chronicles is to be made available on Nintendo eShop on Wii U right now! Those who purchase this game will be eligible for a £9.00 discount on Xenoblade Chronicles X if they buy it on Nintendo eShop on the same Wii U console* within two weeks of the game’s launch in December.