Video Game Atlas: Bionis

Once a week Art Attack will offer you a handy little travel guide to the fictional worlds of video games.

Name: Bionis, Xenoblade Chronicles series

Population: 40 million

Government: Autonomous states roughly overseen by hereditary monarchy

Leaving behind the many new friends I had made on Blobolonia, I decided to visit a more recent addition to the video game maps, a place called Bionis that was rumored to be unlike anything else ever seen before. I have to say, the rumors fell far short.

The continent of Bionis is not a continent at all in the way we would define it. Instead it is a massive, inert god that was frozen into a dormant state while engaged in mortal combat with an equally unbelievably large god, Mechonis. The local legends say that when the world they inhabit was new, the biological Bionis and the mechanical Mechonis fought a sword battle for eons, until each struck a devastation blow locking them in stasis until the current time.

Since then, three different races have evolved to live on the skin of the Bionis, which resembles much of contemporary Earth with its hills, valleys, lakes, forests, and mountains. The Homs are as close to human as to make no difference. They were formerly numerous, building at least nine technologically advanced colonies among the lower half of the Bionis. Only two of these remain, and only one, Colony 9, in stable condition. Their towns are run by the military leaders, who man the defenses against machine-based invaders from Mechonis. Lately, Mechons with disturbing faces have taken to kidnapping Homs for unknown reasons.

The most famous Homs on all of Bionis is a man named Dunban, who I met as he rested at his house in Colony 9. Though his right arm is near paralyzed, he is still one of the greatest warriors in Bionis history. Previously, he wielded the Monado, a mystic sword that is devastating against Mechons, but overuse of it at the Battle of Sword Valley that repelled the invaders a year ago led to his current incapacitation. The Monado is still in Colony 9, being studied for use against the Mechon.

Exploring all of Bionis would be the subject of many articles. I guestimate the size of the titan to be roughly that of the Japanese archipelago, with a similar population at its height. There is thriving commerce all over the land, and the many shops and stalls offer food the likes of which you have never even dreamed. If you do nothing else while visiting Bionis, sample the restaurants.

Also indigenous to the Bionis is a small race of rotund pixies called the Nopon. They are centered in the great Makna Forest under the leadership of a headman, but are found in all corners of the world conducting trade and scientific research. Though not typically a warrior class of people, they are nonetheless perfectly capable of defending themselves despite their size. They are by no means primitive, but they do not specialize in the powerful machines and elegant spires of other Bionis races. Instead, they rely on a deep knowledge of natural abilities to make their way in the world. Their bravery is also beyond question. From the chilly Satori Marshlands to the edge of Mechonis itself, it's rare not to have a Nopon nearby with a well-stocked caravan.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner