Nintendo fans have been taking a well-deserved victory lap over these last few months. Nintendo couldn’t have played 2017 any better than it did, recapturing the world’s imagination with the most exciting console on the market and reaffirming its position as a leader in the gaming world.

However, don’t start those celebrations just yet! Just because Zelda and Mario are once against tearing up the award season doesn’t mean 2017 is over. We still have one more game due for release this year that is sure to send shockwaves through the video game world.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is still scheduled for a Dec. 2 release. Myself, along with many others, doubted Nintendo when it said the game would be ready before the end of the year, but we’re just two weeks away from having to eat our words.

Of course, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the latest game in the series from Monolith Soft. Both Xenoblade Chronicles and its spin-off Xenoblade Chronicles X proved to be huge in the closing days of the Wii and Wii U respectively, and the first game even knocked The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword down a few pegs upon release. Many naturally assumed Nintendo’s longtime franchise would walk away as the most popular title of its swan song year, but they were sorely mistaken once Nintendo made the unexpected decision to launch the UK localization in North America.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is flipping the trend of these games by releasing in the console’s opening year as opposed to its closing year, and it is riding the recent wave of success generated by Skyrim that proved a massive RPG can, indeed, thrive on the Switch from the palm of your hands.

Unlike Xenoblade Chronicles X, this true sequel to the original looks to be taking a much more traditional approach to the RPG world. Fans enjoyed X for its “living biodome” feel, but it ultimately lacked a core story and protagonist to hold the whole experience together. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has you in control of a bright-eyed youth who falls a cutie of a living weapon by the name of Pyra.

Young love, blue skies, green hills, JRPG adventure, ahoy! And I don’t have to play it in front of a television!

Fans who have followed Nintendo for the past few generations know that Xenoblade has become just as important to the Nintendo line-up as any one of its classic franchises, and the fact that Nintendo will be able to cap off an already successful year with this release almost feels like overkill… like too much of a good thing.

I can only hope that I have 999 Power Moons before Dec. 2 when Xenoblade Chronicles 2 launches for the Nintendo Switch.

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