The Xenoblade Chronicles series is one of Nintendo’s big up and coming franchises and saw its debut in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. Shulk, the hero of the first game in the series, was a surprise final reveal before the game’s release (or would’ve been if he was not leaked just a week before). Many people did not expect such a relatively minor franchise to get a character, stage and assist trophy; even Sakurai commented on how unusual it was. Since then, however, the series has become more main-stream and a slew of new releases have appeared which leads many to believe a new character from this series is very likely. We already did a Dream Smasher article on the star of the second game in the series, Elma, as well as a Character Corner for the whole franchise. Now we have a new hero, a duo in fact, who could have a shot for that Super Smash Bros. slot and this is the Driver Rex and his Blade, Pyra.
Who are Rex & Pyra?
Rex is a young scavenger who spent his days earning money for his family back home. Pyra is a legendary weapon known as the Aegis that was sealed away for 500 years. The two meet after Rex takes a job that nearly kills him and she saves his life. The two become partners with Pyra giving Rex the ether in the environment so he can fight and the two go off on an adventure to the mythical land of Elysium.
In the game, Rex is the one who does all of the fighting during gameplay whereas Pyra acts as support, allowing Rex to perform special attacks and stepping into the fray herself for combos and chain attacks. They are both tied together with their energy and feel each other’s pain. If Rex gets hurt then Pyra gets hurt as well. However, they are not handcuffed together and Pyra has the free will to leave and go about as she pleases.
Importance to Nintendo and Series
Rex & Pyra are the latest stars of the Xenoblade Chronicles series. As the main protagonists, this gives them a higher priority than any other character from their game. As Xenoblade is a series with an ever-changing cast, like with Fire Emblem, being the most relevant hero at that time is also a massive plus for being chosen for Super Smash Bros. As for importance to Nintendo, Rex and Pyra were some of the first characters revealed for Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch. This has put them on a similar pedestal to Spring Man, Ribbon Girl, the Snipperclips duo and the Inklings in terms of advertising and presence in 2017. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 certainly got a bigger push from Nintendo than any prior game in the series which gave these guys chance to be known.
Colours and Design
From now on I think it makes sense to split their design and the how they play section up so it is easier to read. One topic that fans will jump to straight away in Smash is Pyra’s design. The lower half shows a lot of skin and some fans think this will get in the way of her making an appearance but this isn’t true. We will just see some slight alterations. Sakurai has edited characters outfits in the past to get them into Smash, like with Corrin’s thighs and Palutena’s dress, so the same would happen here. She would still wear shorts but they would cover more. They would feel like actual shorts than the underwear they look like now.
Their default outfit is Rex’s Blue and Pyra’s red and both their colours will change based on the outfit. Each colour is taken from a party member or important character in the game, as well as a reference to the first Xenoblade thrown in for good measure. Color 2 is based on Nia’s Yellow and Dromarch’s white; 3 is based on Vandham’s Green with Roc’s fiery red, yellow and orange; 4 is Tora’s biege and blue with Poppi’s black and lilac; 5 is Morag’s regal navy blue and red with Brighid’s blue; 6 is Zeke’s black with Pandoria’s Green and purple; 7 is an outfit based on the two villains of the game, Jin for Rex and malos for Pyra, which also creates a nice black & white colour scheme and finally number 8 has a Shulk colour scheme for Rex and an Alvis colour scheme for Pyra. I originally intended to give Pyra a Fiora scheme as she is the leading lady of the first game, however, the colours used there match Dromarch’s but with blonde hair, as well as the Mythra transformation Pyra uses in some moves, and it would clash. Alvis however thematically fits better due to certain Xenoblade spoilers I won’t mention here. If you’ve played the game you’ll understand and if you haven’t then you should go play it now (or after you’ve played Xenoblade Chronicles 2, both deserve your time).
How will they play?
Niche: Driver and Blade duo
First of all, here are some statistics.
- Can they crawl: No
- Can they wall jump: No
- How many jumps do they have: 2
- Is there any exclusive abilities they have*: Two people running around at once
- Weight Class: B
- Height Class: B
- Speed Class: D
- Are they mirrored when they face left: No
Rex and Pyra will both appear on the battlefield in a similar way to the two Ice Climbers or Rosalina and Luma. Players will control Rex rather than Pyra, and the latter will function more as a simple AI like the Luma, rather than an exact replica of Rex like with the Ice Climbers. In her own game, Pyra only joins into the fight during super attacks and is otherwise acting as a support for Rex behind him and this is what is being replicated in Smash.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has a feature called affinity that can be raised by a Blade and their Driver working together in battle. It is represented by a blue string of fate that connects the two and as players fight side-by-side this string gets stronger until it glows a bright gold. If a driver moves too far away from their blade then this connection is severed, same if they get knocked out. This is represented in Smash the same way.
Pyra will follow Rex around as he fights, and Rex will get progressively stronger the more she sticks to him. If Rex gets too far away from Pyra he will weaken and if he is knocked off they’ll have to restart again. Pyra won’t do any fighting herself outside of the Final Smash although she can still be attacked. Attacking Pyra won’t affect Rex’s % but the amount of knockback Pyra will receive is affected by Rex’s damage. So, if Rex wants to survive then he is going to have to defend Pyra and in turn, she provides him with an attack boost.
I contemplated giving Pyra the ability to swap between herself and the blade Mythra using the down special but decided it might be too complicated and would be a lot more work as a designer for very little change, as it wouldn’t change the type of moves done, just between an attack or speed boost.
The Kirby hat for Rex will give him access to Rex’s standard B, Anchor Shot, and he will wear Rex’s Scavenger helmet over his body.
|Move Name & Action||Description|
|Entrance||Rex and Pyra blast out from a ring of flame on the ground, both holding the sword together|
Rex performs his normal battle stance and Pyra hers
|Idle 2||Rex will stand more upright and put one hand on the back of his head while Pyra creates a flame in her hand before putting it out.|
|Idle 3||Pyra crouches down and pokes at the ground. Azurda pops out of Rex’s helmet and looks down at her, causing Rex to lean back a bit and look behind as well.|
|Walking||Rex slowly steps forward holding the sword with both hand. Pyra slowly walks behind him.|
Rex bounds forward holding his sword by his side. Pyra runs to catch up.
Rex does his standard jump animation, Pyra as well.
Rex and Pyra do their falling animations from their game
Rex and Pyra do their damage animations from their game
|Shield||Pyra thrusts her hands forward and covers his face with his forearm.|
Rex’s three-hit jab is fairly slow. He does a sweep in front (from right to left), then an overhead swing to the front and finally ends with a stab. Being hit at the end of this will knock opponents away.
|F-Tilt||Rex swings up with the back of his sword, holding it with both hands.|
|Up-Tilt||Holding the sword flat, Rex pushes upwards.|
|D-Tilt||Rex stabs the ground ahead of him while crouched.|
|Dash Attack||Rex performs a wide slashing attack in fornt of himself.|
|Up Smash||Rex stabs upwards. If Pyra is there then flames burst out of the top and sides, the length and strength of which is affected by their affection.|
|Down Smash||Rex starts low and spins upwards around himself. If Pyra is there then a trail of flames follow.|
|Forward Smash||Rex performs an overhead slam with his sword, similar to Roy’s standard B without the explosion. Flames will exist there if Pyra is around.|
|N-air||Rex pins around once with his sword.|
|F-air||Rex does an upward swing in front of himself.|
|B-air||Rex stabs behind himself.|
|U-air||Rex does an arcing swing from the front to the back above himself.|
|D-air||Rex aims his sword downwards and dives down at an angle.|
|Grab||Rex reaches forward and grabs with his hand.|
|Pummel||Rex knees his opponent in the stomach|
|F-throw||Rex pushes opponents and quickly slashes them three times.|
|B-throw||Rex throws opponents behind him and down. If Pyra is there she will blast the opponent with a fireball and knock them back towards Rex. If she is gone the opponent will just fall.|
|U-throw||Rex let’s go of his opponents and performs a launching attack that knocks them upwards.|
|D-throw||Rex throws opponents to the ground and fires his anchor shot down at them.|
|Neutral Special 1: Anchor Shot||
Rex does his signature Anchor shot in front of him. It does not do much damage but can steal any item an opponent is holding, including a hammer in use. It also has a low chance of tripping an opponent who isn’t holding an item, and this chance increases if Pyra and Rex’s affection is high.
|Neutral Special 2: Heavy Anchor||Rex fires a larger anchor in front of him. It no longer trips or steals items but does more damage.|
|Neutral Special 3: Long Anchor||Rex’s anchor shot reaches longer and can still trip people up but it no longer steals items.|
|Side Special 1: Sword Bash||
Rex performs a similar stab attack to Marth’s neutral B, however, it does more damage if it hits opponents from behind.
|Side Special 2: Sword Dash||Rex’s attack now launches him forward but damage is now the same wherever you hit.|
|Side Special 3: Back Slash||Rex performs Shulk’s backslash.|
|Up Special 1: Double Spinning Edge||
Rex performs an attack similar to Link’s Up B. On the ground it moves Rex forward as he spins twice. If in the air, then he rises. This attack does more damage if it hits opponents from the side rather than above or below. If Pyra is available there will be a flame effect.
|Up Special 2: Triple Spinning Assault||Rex spins an additional time and rises higher, but his range is smaller, and his swing isn’t as strong.|
|Up Special 3: Single Spinning Blast||Rex can charge this to increase damage if on the ground. It will deal a lot more damage but in the air Rex doesn’t get much recovery at all.|
|Down Special 1: Rising Flame||
Rex will jump up and stab the ground in front of him. If Pyra is there it will cause a pillar of flames that will hurt opponents (the blast won’t be as large as in the gif).
|Down Special 2: Fire Explosion||Rather than a pillar it causes an explosion. This harms Rex a little though.|
|Down Special 3: Flaming Spear||Rex dashes forward surrounded by Flames like a Falcon kick fi Pyra is there. If she isn’t there are no flames and Rex doesn’t go as far.|
|Final Smash: Heaven’s Arrow||
If Pyra is knocked off the stage she will respawn for this attack. Pyra transforms into Mythra and nods at Rex. The two grab Rex’s sword and point it skyward, firing a large beam into the air. Beams of light then rain down from the heavens at multiple locations at random.
|Up Taunt||Rex will perform a victory cheer while Pyra briefly turns into Mythra and then back again.|
|Side Taunt||Azurda will appear from Rex’s helmet and pull at his left ear. When Rex goes to look he will hide and Pyra will laugh as Rex looks confused.|
Rex will do the aggro animation and say ‘come on then’ while Pyra will take a more battle-ready stance.
|Victory animation 1||Rex and Pyra both blaze forward with a stabbing attack before standing upright and doing a confident pose.|
|Victory animation 2||Rex and Pyra stand back to back and Rex says ‘let’s keep it up’ with Pyra replying with ‘Roger’.|
|Victory animation 3||Rex stretches with both arms up and says ‘phew, I’m beat’ while Pyra smiles and looks at him.|
Rex & Pyra’s victory music is the default Xenoblade Chronicles victory fanfare already in Smash:
Whether we get this duo, Elma or Fiora, the Xenoblade series is one that Super Smash Bros. fines seem keen to get more representation in Smash. Even if Sakurai opts for a character other than these two, Xenoblade 2 content is a guarantee. A stage, assist trophies, music and regular trophies will definitely happen and this duo will make a cameo somewhere in the game at least. I think they would make a really fun playable character and it would work technically speaking as well. In 8-player Smash it may look like 16 characters but will function like 8 so it should work. But let me know what you think in the comments below and let me know how you are enjoying Xenoblade Chronicles 2 so far. If you haven’t picked it up but are interested then check out our review, I’m sure it will help you make up your mind.