Players will not only be able to chose where they want to go in Final Fantasy XIII-2, they'll also be able to decide when they arrive.
Moving back and forth in time is going to be a pretty big part of Final Fantasy XIII-2, but time travel is a complicated activity, and getting it wrong can have devastating consequences. Thankfully, Motomu Toriyama, the game's director, is on hand to explain how the game will handle its jaunts across time.
Players will be able to use the "Historia Crux," which will allow them to travel through time and space. This means that players will be able to pick both where they want to go, and when they would like to get there. Toriyama said that any gear or skills the characters had would be carried over between different time periods, which made it possible to essentially have lots of little "New Game Plus" moments. According to Toriyama, some people were saying it reminded them of the Super Nintendo classic, Chrono Trigger. He didn't go into too much detail on that point, but presumably the feedback was referring to how the time travel works, and not the way the menus look or the background music.
The idea behind the time travel, Toriyama said, was to give the reins back to the player, rather than the game holding on to them incredibly tightly as in FF XIII. Players will be able to do as much or as little of the ancillary content as they like, and they will be able to make that choice throughout the game. "In the original game, the sidequests were only unlocked in the second half of the story on Gran Pulse," Toriyama explained, "but in the sequel we have put in many different sidequests right from the start."
Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes to PS3 and Xbox 360 in January 2012.