By the same character designer though, and the cat-people are back, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some snuck through. The truly egregious designs were only limited to a handful of characters, but I think we’re probably still in standard anime fanservice territory.
(Edit: I think a bunch of blades were done by guest character designers? So the worst of those probably won’t be back)
The Xenoblades are all independent stories. XC2 ret-conned a connection to XC1, but in a multiverse way where they’re only connected through like, an endgame final boss monologue style meta-narrative. The XC1 Switch remaster confirmed that link, so that’s the narrative that this next one is building on.
They’re loosely connected to Xenosaga and Xenogears, but only in like, the way different Final Fantasy games are linked. Theres themes, and Easter eggs, but there isn’t any direct narrative connection to those.
Having said that, they’re both excellent, and if this truly does unite them into a more explicitly connected narrative, it would probably be a good idea to play 1 and 2 before this one. They’re both on Switch, so they’d be easy to play.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is separate, and only on WiiU. People keep speculating about a Switch remaster, but Nintendo seems happy to memory hole it. Even if playing the others, you can skip that one.