That reminds me, I'm not fully up-to-date on X news, but was there ever any word on the early screens where it said "Player 2" and "Player 3" in the party bar with huge level gaps between the characters?
I always figured that meant we're getting MP for Xenoblade X to some extent, but it might have been scrapped since.
I can sort of understand the skepticism from those who've never played Xenoblade, but to see it coming from the people that have? It's not a grounded fear based on what we've seen. There are more legitimate things to worry about, like the Dolls trivializing the size and scale of the game, the terrible side quests and side quest system returning (which is looking likely, honestly), or Takahashi regressing into some of his more unsavory writing habits. There are even legitimate criticisms to make, like the bafflingly stupid decision to relegate time manipulation to these "stations", instead of letting players do it on the fly via the menu.
I'm quite far along in Xenoblade, and this is what worries me about XCX. As fun as it is to fly around and explore the world in mechs, I hope it's something restricted until you have already had a chance to find your way through the landscape at ground level. The problem of flight trivializing the exploration of an intricately designed terrain is something that Blizzard learnt the hard way in World of Warcraft, where flight was initially introduced as a beloved endgame convenience that unlocked a handful of areas, but in the Cataclysm expansion was available from the start for all of the new zones. The result was that players never had to traverse the landscape, just treat it as a glorified minimap where they would hop straight from one waypoint to the next without much of a reason to admire the sights or navigate. This was quickly corrected in the next expansion, Pandaria, where flight was once again unavailable until the level cap.
I mention this here to illustrate that to fly so high above the terrain runs the risk of driving the player to perceive it for what it is, a CG model, before the player has properly had the chance to perceive it as an immense living environment. Perhaps the greatest success of Xenoblade Chronicles, from what I've played of it, was how right from the opening minutes it established a tremendous sense of place: here's the Bionis and Mechonis, it said, and we're going to make you traverse it the long way. Only a few days ago I
ascended the second digit of the Fallen Arm all the way to the fingertip
—one of my favourite moments in the whole experience after dozens of hours—and that's exactly the kind of monumental act of exploration of its own sake, of earning a dramatic survey of an already familiar landscape with landmarks you already know, that would be lost if you were given the power to fly over a land that you haven't had the chance to travel through up close. Game-world exploration seems to operate in a grammar opposite to that of film, where you begin with the establishing shot and work your way in; instead, it's best to see the world up close and marvel as it expands around you.