Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, a part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. It was announced at the "Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere" event on January 18, 2011 and is set to be released in December 2011 in Japan and in the first quarter of 2012 in the rest of the world on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Like the first installment, the game will be directed by Motomu Toriyama. The game's battle system will be evolved from Final Fantasy XIII.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 was part of Square Enix's line-up at E3 2011, and public and private demos of the game were playable at the event. The game was also featured at the Japan Expo in France, where both demos were shown publicly and a new music track was revealed with a new trailer.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 utilizes the Command Synergy Battle and Paradigm Shift systems from its predecessor. However, the enemies are no longer visible in the field and battles are now random. A gameplay element called the Mog Clock has been added, where the player must attack monsters on the field before the time's up to get the upper hand in the ensuing battle. When the player attacks a monster, the screen lights up and the scene switches to a battlefield, marking the start of a battle. Now NPCs (such as the remnant PSICOM operatives) will fight monsters that appear in the field to weaken them before a fight. Though the player still controls one out of a three-member party, some monsters can be used as party members. Players can customize a monster's stats via leveling up and even equip them with accessories to further boost their powers. As a bonus, the weather or Climate Type in an area will affect battles, and at times, guest characters will join the party.
Players will be given timed button presses like the Reaction Commands of Kingdom Hearts during "Cinematic Action" sequences to gain the upper hand in battle and event scenes. There are also "Live" sequences, or real time cutscenes that occur to progress the story, meaning the player maintains control of their character although the camera is focused elsewhere. Noel seems to gain access to monster abilities and a unique set of commands through a gameplay element called the Feral Link. Another new element, called the Live Trigger, allows the player to change conversation by deciding on the sentence. The player character will now also be able to engage in conversations with NPCs with speech bubbles above them, and the other characters in the party will wander the area getting into conversations on their own.
A new dungeon exploration system has been added called Unstable Rifts. As the player guides the character through the platforms, they'll have to grab crystals with floor tiles disappearing behind them along the path. In the E3 2011 demo, solving the puzzle in the Rift weakens the boss Paradox Alpha, also known as Atlas.
Following player feedback on the linear, story-driven gameplay of Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 will focus on player-driven gameplay with a more open world that players can explore widely, triggering events as they find them. The main quest can be played multiple times, but director Motomu Toriyama is looking for an alternate means of achieving this besides a "New Game+" feature. The game will also have multiple endings, and Toriyama compared this mindset to the differences between Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 - the latter builds on the world and story of the former and thus can have a stronger focus on gameplay.
After the events of Final Fantasy XIII, some citizens of Cocoon now reside on Gran Pulse. While searching for Lightning, Serah and Noel will travel back to Cocoon, as well as new places on Pulse.
Set a few years after Lightning and the others saved Cocoon, some survivors have decided to start over by rebuilding on Gran Pulse. Lightning, however, is nowhere to be found and thought dead by many, but Serah believes otherwise. When her town is suddenly overrun by monsters, a mysterious man named Noel appears to save her. Together, the two set off to find Lightning...
At the end of Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, Lightning, who felt there was still something threatening the newly acquired peace, found herself in a mysterious empty dimension while searching for a way to save Vanille and Fang. Five years later, though many of the surviving residents of Cocoon have created the village of New Bodhum near the crystallized structure, believe Lightning to be dead, only Serah refuses to accept it. Soon after, New Bodhum is under attack by mysterious monsters from neither Pulse or Cocoon, and Serah is saved by a mysterious youth named Noel Kreiss. Joined by Noel, Serah leaves her home to find her sister. Part of the plot appears to involve an alternate world or universe, as the demo of the game playable at E3 2011 involved a giant enemy called Paradox Alpha or "Atlas" which Noel stated to be fading in and out of time and space with only its left arm visible.
The story is said to be be darker than in Final Fantasy XIII, mysterious, and also reveal events that took place behind the scenes in the original game. Past characters will return, but with important and unexpected changes. The goddess Etro will be an important element to the game's story. Square Enix stated a desire to create a world bigger and more alive that reflects the changes after the end of Final Fantasy XIII. In the game's first trailer, Lightning, wearing a suit of armor, is seen kneeling to a crystal throne within a temple/resting place of goddess Etro, before crossing swords with an unknown purple-haired male character, who wields a large, elaborate sword emanating a purple flame. He is believed to be her rival, and is featured in the logo with her. Toriyama has described the male character as being of equal strength to Lightning, and being able to fight on even terms with her. He is said to be on a similar mission to Lightning's, and will be in her way as she tries to complete her own. Toriyoma has also said that the man has a relationship with Lightning and is somehow connected to Noel as well. Template:Endspoiler
- Serah Farron (セラ・ファロン Sera Faron) - Lightning's younger sister, Snow's fiancee and the main protagonist of XIII-2. She's had dreams of the events to come, namely of the appearance of Noel. Serah wishes to find her lost sister and sets out to search for her. Her weapon is a bow that can transform into a sword.
- Lightning (ライトニング Raitoningu) - The main protagonist of the original game. Lightning has been missing since the ending of Final Fantasy XIII, but Serah refuses to believe that she is dead. Lightning is trying to find a way to free Fang and Vanille from their fate, while being confronted by a mysterious purple-haired man along the way. She now wields a new gunblade resembling a combination of her Blazefire Saber and a traditional sword. Also, Lightning will serve as the narrator for XIII-2.
- Noel Kreiss (ノエル・クライス Noeru Kuraisu) - The male protagonist of XIII-2. A mysterious man who saves Serah from monsters. He accompanies Serah on her quest to find Lightning. As a beast tamer, Noel can command monsters he defeats, turning them to crystals, and gain access to new monster skills by syncing up with them in battle through the Feral Link battle mechanism. He uses two combinable swords able to form a spear in battle.
- Snow Villiers - Snow will appear and is unconcerned about the new friendship between Serah and Noel, but nothing else is known about his role, or if he will be playable.
- NORA - Snow's friends: Gadot, Lebreau, Maqui and Yuj have stayed with Serah during their years on Pulse.
- Alyssa - A young girl who is part of a research team from the Academy working with PSICOM trying to understand time paradoxes. In the E3 trailer, she shows Serah the grave of a friend who died running from the Purge.
- Mog - A moogle carrying a rod adorned with a clock who can transform into Serah's weapon. He's a treasure hunter and will reveal invisible chests within dungeons. He also uses his magic to execute the Mog Clock pre-battle system. Interestingly, his traditional moogle's pom-pom appears to be a glowing crystal.
- PSICOM - The military corps from Cocoon now handles monster extermination on Pulse to protect the new cities that the citizens are building.
There will be other new "main" characters in the game besides Noel. Old party members from Final Fantasy XIII will also return, but it is currently unknown if any besides Lightning will be playable again.
Hints at a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII were first given when Square Enix stated they would be willing to create a direct sequel if the fans want it. They also said the first installment had enough cut content to fill a new game. Late last year, in an interview from the Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega, Motomu Toriyama proclaimed the idea to make a story where Lightning "ends up happy in the end." Furthermore, an autographed postcard was personally sent by Tetsuya Nomura to members of the Japanese Square Enix Members community, with an artwork of Lightning and a message saying "She must not be forgotten." Later, Square Enix registered the domain for the game. The game was officially announced at the "Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere" event on January 18, 2011.
Toriyama has said in an interview with Famitsu the main reason they decided to make a sequel is that there was demand throughout the world and because the development staff wanted to portray Lightning's character further, to give her a clear conclusion. In the same interview Toriyama also said some characters from the first game will be returning in Final Fantasy XIII-2, but that the sequel will also have a number of new characters. The sequel's principal setting will be different from that of Final Fantasy XIII, although the world of the first game will return in some form. When questioned about the fact that Lightning has lost her l'Cie powers, Toriyama joked that perhaps Lightning has become an even more incredible existence than a l'Cie.
He said that other than Lightning finding true happiness, the after effects of Fang and Vanille's sacrifice on her and the other characters will be another central theme in the game. He has even compared the light and dark appearances of Lightning and her rival respectively to those of an angel and the devil, but warned not to jump to conclusions about which one is which. Toriyama has said that the traveling system has been completely redone, as the team is trying to create a "truly living world, with lots of people living all the way to the far corners of the game." The game is also said to be more fantasy-oriented as opposed to the futuristic feel of its predecessor.
The team is also said to be investigating the possibility of giving something to players who have save data of Final Fantasy XIII in place.
The staff behind Final Fantasy XIII-2 are as follows:
- Producer: Yoshinori Kitase
- Director: Motomu Toriyama
- Composers: Masashi Hamauzu, Mitsuto Suzuki, and Naoshi Mizuta
- Art Director: Isamu Kamikokuryo
- Character Design (Playable Character Faces): Tetsuya Nomura
- Character Design (Playable Character Costumes and Non-Playable Characters): Isamu Kamikokuryo, Nao Ikeda, Yusuke Naora, Hideo Minaba
- Battle System Director: Yusuke Matsui
- Image Illustrator and Title Logo Designer: Yoshitaka Amano
- The clothing of the dark-haired man was designed by Yusuke Naora, who is also the art director of Final Fantasy Type-0.
- This game marks the second time Hideo Minaba has done character design work, after Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy DLC costumes.
- The object in the bottom-left of the in-battle HUD resembles the early Overclock concept seen in Final Fantasy XIII's E3 2006 trailer.
- The moogles in Final Fantasy XIII-2 are different than the ones seen in the original game because another artist was chosen to design them for this title.
- The idea of monsters fighting in the player's party was previously used in International Version of Final Fantasy X-2 where party recruits them after starting new game from "New Game Plus".
- This is the second game in the series to have two sisters as playable characters, the first being Final Fantasy V.
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