I wanna say that's evidence towards it being related to Xenoblade, but they could just be making these gameplay similarities for all Xeno games from now on.
♦ The Fuchsia City Guru ♦
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From the fansite Xenoverse: "Tetsuya Takahashi and Koh Kojima stated, in an interview on MSI's official site in 2011, that now the time has come when game creators can do anything and make their dreams come true. Takahashi said that he would like to see people on the development team who isn't a player or interested in games, but who knows art and literature well. There will be a new designer, a woman named Kiko, and both groups (3DS and Wii U) from Monolith will be working on this project, which suggests that this project will be really big. Maps are said to be similar to Xenoblade, and that Xenoblade was just a trial for this project - what is possible to do today with JRPGs and how the world will respond. They want to do a story that even if someone doesn't know Japanese culture it will be fully understable for all players, no mater where they live."
Takahashi is.... a very ambitious person when it comes to games.
Technically, the only thing that remained the same was the combat and exploration aspect. Don't know how everything else will turn out.