Lightning Returns in a Shorter, More Action-Oriented Final Fantasy

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Lightning Returns in a Shorter, More Action-Oriented Final Fantasy

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In the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, even time is an enemy.

In an interview with Famitsu (translated by Andriasang), Square Enix has confirmed some details about the conclusion to the ongoing Final Fantasy XIII saga. Lightning will take the helm once more for what will be her final outing, Lighnting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The game promises to be a shorter experience and will apparently be a rather different kind of Final Fantasy.

Lightning Returns is based around a doomsday clock timer. Following the events of XIII-2, people have stopped aging and the world is doomed to end in thirteen days. The days will progress continuously, with each in-game day corresponding to between one and two hours of real-world time. Clocks will litter the game's cities, giving a constant reminder of the passage of time. Once time's up the game will end, but it will be possible to hold back the clock by completing certain quests. Players will have to beware, though, as the remaining time can shift forwards as well as backwards depending on who they choose to help. The curtailed time means that Lightning Returns is designed as a much shorter game than its counterparts, and is meant to be played through more than once.

Square Enix has also changed the combat system significantly, making fights far more active. The ATB gauge from the other Final Fantasy XIII games makes a reapparance, but the way it's used is rather different here - instead of inputting commands via a menu, abilities are assigned to buttons on the controller, and players will be able to move freely around the battlefield rather than being rooted to the spot. Some areas of battle will reportedly be timing-based as well, though whether this is just a synonym for "quick-time events" or will allow for something deeper is unclear at the moment. To allow players to better concentrate on the more active system, Lightning will fight by herself.

The game's conclusion will apparently mark a happy ending for Lightning's story, but despite the supposed replayability there will only be one ending. It's not quite clear yet how Square Enix intends to make replays worthwhile, but at a base time of between 13 and 26 hours this certainly looks like it will be a much shorter Final Fantasy experience.

According to the interview, Lightning Returns is currently about 30% complete, and is slated for a release on PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013.

Source: Andriasang

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Sounds like Majora's Mask. I don't think many people will be happy to hear this news :P

Fappy:
Sounds like Majora's Mask. I don't think many people will be happy to hear this news :P

Nope. Some people are like me and like to search every square inch of a game to get the most enjoyment out of it. I don't like an arbitrary clock trying to hurry me up because the game is so impatient it can't wait for me to explore. It's why I hated dead rising 2.

GAunderrated:

Fappy:
Sounds like Majora's Mask. I don't think many people will be happy to hear this news :P

Nope. Some people are like me and like to search every square inch of a game to get the most enjoyment out of it. I don't like an arbitrary clock trying to hurry me up because the game is so impatient it can't wait for me to explore. It's why I hated dead rising 2.

Same here. That was basically why I disliked Majora's Mask. The timer may be very forgiving, but it's still there all the time. I don't like it.

Then again, I still have to finish FFXIII-2 (I suppose I'm one of the few people who liked XIII, but I got really bored with XIII-2), so it might be a very long time before I even try this game.

How did this God awful game get a 3ed installment? Seriously I was shocked when they made FF XIII-2 let alone another one...........

Final Fantasy XIII trilogy? You know, I remember when there was 3 games that were related to Final Fantasy XIII that weren't all connected to Final Hallway XIII. There was that Agito thing for the PSP which I think went Japan only, which sucks, but then there was also Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which has pretty much decided to drop off the face of the earth and hide until the world ends.

SQUARE! Make Versus XIII already! What we've seen looks really good! Focus on that! Make it and let the Director of Kingdom Hearts wrap everything up! PLEEASE!

Also make TWEWY 2 on the way.

Calumon: ...People are really needy, aren't they? :S

I hate you Square.
Of all the games to spawn little bastard children, why is XIII the one you chose?
Didn't buy XIII-2, won't buy Lightning Returns. And if this is the shape of things to come, I won't buy anything from Square at all.

Jeremy Wilkinson:

Square Enix has also changed the combat system significantly, making fights far more active. The ATB gauge from the other Final Fantasy XIII games makes a reapparance, but the way it's used is rather different here - instead of inputting commands via a menu, abilities are assigned to buttons on the controller, and players will be able to move freely around the battlefield rather than being rooted to the spot. Some areas of battle will reportedly be timing-based as well, though whether this is just a synonym for "quick-time events" or will allow for something deeper is unclear at the moment. To allow players to better concentrate on the more active system, Lightning will fight by herself.

This is a HUGE step in the right direction in terms of gameplay. I think I'm gonna look forward to an FF13 title for once.
It looks like Square Enix is starting to do things right, with Theatrhythm and this promising game.

Ugh, I like the sound of the new world "Novus Partus" But for the love of god, why a fucking timer? If it was a part of the story and the last boss would be fought at the end of the 13th day, that would be fine, but to have the clock move in real time, how the fuck are you suppose to enjoy the game? I don't want a clock to hurry my ass up.

I was thinking of pre-ordering FF13-3 when I could, but after this...not so much.

I loved 13-2, loathed 13 and I believe this will probably lean towards the former game. But at least the combat sounds excellent...to bad I apparently can't enjoy it or grind levels because I will have to speed through the damn story :(

This clock thing will be a disaster...

Okay, I knew Lightning was popular, but I didn't realise she was that popular!

Hang on:

Jeremy Wilkinson:

The game's conclusion will apparently mark a happy ending for Lightning's story, but despite the supposed replayability there will only be one ending. It's not quite clear yet how Square Enix intends to make replays worthwhile, but at a base time of between 13 and 26 hours this certainly looks like it will be a much shorter Final Fantasy experience.

What.

So the game ends when time is up. There is only one ending. Does that mean that, if I just leave the game sitting around for 13 hours, basically doing nothing to stop the end of the world, I'll get the same ending as someone who does absolutely everything possible to save the world? And that this ending will be 'a happy ending for Lightning's story'?! If that's the case, either Lightning is perfectly happy with the world ending, or the world is apparently perfectly capable of saving itself!

Also, I, for one, do not mind the Majora's Mask-esque timer game mechanic, so long as they are clever about implementation - don't overly punish people who take their time, and make sure that replays feel nothing like each other.

(Edit: Also - two sequels for FFXII, yet no more word on the Deus Ex scene? Come ON Square Enix!)

Still waiting for this bad dream of XIII games to end. No one cares about them as much as you seem to do, Square.

Combat system sounds interesting, but I'm not buying Square games just because it's Square anymore. Things really have to improve with them.

Okay my interest is peaked, but kinda killed by the timer. At least there appears to be SOME innovation in this game. More so than 13-2, and yes I have trouble writing the Roman numerals. Still I'm gonna remain pessimistic about this so I don't get disappointed. I mean I liked 13 a lot, I got bored once I got to the big over world but it was still alright. Then I felt like I was being punished for liking the game because 13-2 sucked each and every way from Sunday. So I'll just expect this to suck and hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised, although I'm pretty sure even the ultra fanboys don't like this idea, is that true?

Someone should tell Squenix that this ISN'T what people mean when they talk about "catching Lighting in a bottle."

The battle system sounds an awful lot like a certain other battle system in a game they were supposedly working on but put to the wayside for later. A game that has been in development since 2006-2007 maybe? One that perhaps was suppost to be part of a trilogy perhaps? Probably had a tagline that started with a "VER" and ended with a "SUS"?

I hope the timer mechanic doesn't spoil this title. I would probably really enjoy the Atelier series if it weren't for timed objectives. The thing is, time management has almost always been a big part of that series' challenge. To just shoehorn in a new type of challenge into an established series is a major no-no. Imagine if Activision announced that in order to be successful in the next CoD you would need to utilize RTS skills.

I remain optimistic that they know what they're doing, but I'm keeping an eye on the details as they emerge for sure. The one ending thing doesn't make any lick of sense at all.

Now where was that picture...

Ah, here it is!

image

But anyway, I enjoyed the previous two so I'm looking forward to this one.

I didn't have an issue with Majora's Mask because you could use the ocarina to go back in time and all your junk (except quest progress) carried over. You had as much time as you wanted to explore, it was only the long quest lines that became an annoyance. Even then, if you devoted the whole time to those particular quest, things turned out okay. The timer was more of a clever illusion in Majora's Mask.

This doesn't look like the case, it doesn't seem like you'll have some wonderful magical item that resets the thirteen days and keeps all your junk intact. I don't like the idea that I have to do particular quest in order to rewind my time, especially if these quest aren't infinite. Gamers are going to feel rushed through the whole thing with no time to stop and explore under the beautifully rendered waterfalls.

A fitting conclusion to a trilogy that had so much potential, but fell so short.

I'm looking forward to this. It sounds very much like a logical extension into gameplay of ideas they only tackled in the narrative of the first game. I'm also very glad that Lightning is the player character. She was always my favorite in this FF universe.

Let me guess, its still the same price as the 40 hour FF13, and the 25 hour FF13-2? For a game that's around 20 Hours, with only one ending? And I think I can divine the next announcement- something along the lines of 'Lots of DLC that we should have packaged with the actual game'.

Jack and Calumon:
Final Fantasy XIII trilogy? You know, I remember when there was 3 games that were related to Final Fantasy XIII that weren't all connected to Final Hallway XIII. There was that Agito thing for the PSP which I think went Japan only, which sucks, but then there was also Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which has pretty much decided to drop off the face of the earth and hide until the world ends.

SQUARE! Make Versus XIII already! What we've seen looks really good! Focus on that! Make it and let the Director of Kingdom Hearts wrap everything up! PLEEASE!

Also make TWEWY 2 on the way.

Calumon: ...People are really needy, aren't they? :S

It's adorable that you think Square will listen. It seems they've made a habit out of listening what gamers want, then doing the opposite.

Oh god, stop ruining the franchise already! Go back to your routes Square Enix and stop trying to streamline a series which has mainly always been about exploration and going at your own pace, probably the biggest complaint of FFXIII was that it was way too linear for a Final Fantasy and yet you decided to make a game which sounds even more linear, do you not listen!

FFXIII is probably the most hated FF (outside of the online FFXIV) and yet you still continue to milk it dry while there are great FF's out there (4,5,6,7 and 9) which deserve sequels or remakes.

Andy Shandy:
Now where was that picture...

Ah, here it is!

image

But anyway, I enjoyed the previous two so I'm looking forward to this one.

That made me giggle quite a bit, thank you.

OT: You lost me at the Majora's Mask mechanic. There are ways to make the tense without inducing stress from being rushed - better to have context make the player rush themselves than the context rush the player.

Final Fantasy XIII was a disaster, no argument. it was 40+ hours of undiluted suffering.

I will readily admit that 13-2 was a far better game however. I picked it up when it came down in price and put a good 100 hours into it. Kinda regret not having picked it up earlier. The combat is far more engaging, the characters more likeable, and a back story to actually care about. It drops pretty much everything 13 set up, and it's clearly for the best.

So remembering 13-2 fondly, I'm actually looking forward to this. I like to thing Square have a handle on what they're doing by now. At least it can't be as bad as 13 was

Madmanonfire:

Jeremy Wilkinson:

Square Enix has also changed the combat system significantly, making fights far more active. The ATB gauge from the other Final Fantasy XIII games makes a reapparance, but the way it's used is rather different here - instead of inputting commands via a menu, abilities are assigned to buttons on the controller, and players will be able to move freely around the battlefield rather than being rooted to the spot. Some areas of battle will reportedly be timing-based as well, though whether this is just a synonym for "quick-time events" or will allow for something deeper is unclear at the moment. To allow players to better concentrate on the more active system, Lightning will fight by herself.

This is a HUGE step in the right direction in terms of gameplay. I think I'm gonna look forward to an FF13 title for once.
It looks like Square Enix is starting to do things right, with Theatrhythm and this promising game.

Very important information. YOU CAN save a game based off of combat. I'm not as dull-witted or skeptical as a few Yathzee-esque commentators here. Final Fantasy 13-3 should be great -- and for more than just third times the charm.

Beside looking beautiful, this particular trilogy has very slowly (but in all departments) been moving in a progressive nature back to... well, fun.

For starters, the plot is easier to understand. We're given the plot in 4 words: doomsday in 13 days. Wasn't that easy Square Enix? They've finally learned simplicity.

I don't want Final Fantasy to be an MMO, or much of an RPG. It needs to tell a good story, and it needs to have strategy-based combat. Hopefully, shorter game means more fluid and less frequent monster fights with ones that matter more to the story line than to fill in gaps from A to B. Hopefully, quests are more relative to the story and less about buffering a game with hours -- which, we just learned will be shorter, so it looks to me like they've begun removing all of the fluff.

Celebrate these changes everyone!

Fappy:
Sounds like Majora's Mask. I don't think many people will be happy to hear this news :P

Gah, ninja'd right there, in the first post.

But yeah, I second this, it reminds me a lot of the Majora's Mask concept (and my favorite Zelda). I haven't played any of the Final Fantasy XIII games, but this third game actually sounds quite interesting and it could be a good game if Squeenix can pull it off properly.

Dirge of Cerberus meets Majora's Mask?

Lvl 64 Klutz:
I hope the timer mechanic doesn't spoil this title. I would probably really enjoy the Atelier series if it weren't for timed objectives. The thing is, time management has almost always been a big part of that series' challenge. To just shoehorn in a new type of challenge into an established series is a major no-no. Imagine if Activision announced that in order to be successful in the next CoD you would need to utilize RTS skills.

I remain optimistic that they know what they're doing, but I'm keeping an eye on the details as they emerge for sure. The one ending thing doesn't make any lick of sense at all.

At least the plot is only 4 words: doomsday in 13 days -- I don't know about you, but that's a revolutionary concept for recent Final Fantasy games.

Well I'm intrigued and interested enough to give a shit, and I will definitely get this when it does come out. I liked the first two games, the second one more than the first, and the whole doomsday clock thing sounds pretty damn cool.

But, I guess I'm not one of the cool kids bashing Square here, d'oh well.

I used to love this series but I'm really really REALLY tired of what Square Enix does these days.

Number 1: Remaster FF7 for current gen graphics. It's the only thing most of us asked for when you gave us the Tech Demo, and face it, you'd make a stupid amount of profit from it.
Number 2: Stop announcing stuff! Finish a game before you start working on the next one!
Number 3: Give us Kingdom Hearts 3 already. Seriously. We've waited long enough.

So they're going to drop all pretenses and make Final Fantasy an action game now? Intro: Press X to jump the shark. That is all.

How can you make a game centered around a Doomsday Clock that only has one ending, and it's a happy one?

EDIT before I get stormed with "obviously, dumbass" comments: Yes, I know some people don't regard "death" as an "ending", whether that death occurs because you lost a battle or because a timer ran down. Still, most deadline-based games put enough work into the deadline-centered portions of the story that such a "clock rundown" should indeed qualify as an ending, albeit a bad one. And if the game works in such a way that it may be difficult to go back sufficiently far through saves to make major changes that prevent that clock rundown, that's a bit different than switching out your equipment so a particular monster doesn't stop you.

The_Darkness:
Okay, I knew Lightning was popular, but I didn't realise she was that popular!

Hang on:

Jeremy Wilkinson:

The game's conclusion will apparently mark a happy ending for Lightning's story, but despite the supposed replayability there will only be one ending. It's not quite clear yet how Square Enix intends to make replays worthwhile, but at a base time of between 13 and 26 hours this certainly looks like it will be a much shorter Final Fantasy experience.

What.

So the game ends when time is up. There is only one ending. Does that mean that, if I just leave the game sitting around for 13 hours, basically doing nothing to stop the end of the world, I'll get the same ending as someone who does absolutely everything possible to save the world? And that this ending will be 'a happy ending for Lightning's story'?! If that's the case, either Lightning is perfectly happy with the world ending, or the world is apparently perfectly capable of saving itself!

Also, I, for one, do not mind the Majora's Mask-esque timer game mechanic, so long as they are clever about implementation - don't overly punish people who take their time, and make sure that replays feel nothing like each other.

(Edit: Also - two sequels for FFXII, yet no more word on the Deus Ex scene? Come ON Square Enix!)

No, not really. When the timer runs out, you have to fight the final boss. If you did nothing for the duration of the game, then I imagine that you're going to have a hell of a time managing it.

First thought: God I hate time limits.

Second thought: Who the fuck puts a time limit into a god damn RPG?

Third thought upon reading the complete article: Shouldn't this be an expansion and not a game unto itself?

Fourth and final thought: Wait a minute, I stopped caring about this franchise YEARS ago...why'd I come to this topic anyways?

Oh yeah, because it's just further evidence to put into my already bulging "Square's Shitty Ideas" folder. I can sympathize with the younger crowd that see FF 1 - 6 as being before their time so they picked them up in some anthology pack, but (at least dealing with my personal circle of friends who grew up on the classic FF's) all the "old-school" FF fans I've spoken with agree that everything after 9 has been a downward spiral of one shitty game with shitty ideas tacked onto it after another. Though personally, I take it farther and include 9 into the official death of the FF series.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Imagine if Activision announced that in order to be successful in the next CoD you would need to utilize RTS skills.

I now imagine myself buying a COD game for the first time ever.

OT: I may actually pick this up, I pulled an all-nighter on XIII and got stuck about 15-20 hours in and havn't cared enough to retry it, so a shorter game would be a godsend!

RJ 17:

Second thought: Who the fuck puts a time limit into a god damn RPG?

Half-Minute Hero?

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