Square Enix released the first issue of the official Square Enix Magazine as downloadable for free. The free digital magazine has info on all of Square Enix’s upcoming games, such as Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and FINAL FANTASY XIII-2. There was an interview with Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase where they answered different kinds of questions and now you can read the interview below this text. The official Square Enix Magazine issue 1 is available right now!
”The Creators of FINAL FANTASY XIII discuss the next instalment in the series with Square Enix Magazine.
Between them, director and scenario designer Motomu Toriyama and producer Yoshinori Kitase have played a major role in shaping many of the FINAL FANTASY series’ latest and geatest incarnations. Since delivering a thirteenth instalment that was more action-orientated than ever, the creative duo have been hard at work on FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, a title that will once again set tongues wagging – and jaws dropping!
Why develop a sequel to FINAL FANTASY XIII?
Yoshinori Kitase: With FINAL FANTASY XIII, we spent a great deal of time and effort the universe and the characters, and eventually felt that the potential of the whole had grown too large to squeeze everything into a single game. So we decided to make sequel in order to extend the FINAL FANTASY XIII universe and describe the later lives of The characters.
How would you describe FINAL FANTASY XIII-2? As a direct sequel? A spin-off? Anf why?
Y.K.: In summary, it is a legitimate sequel to FINAL FANTASY XIII. That said, the story does far more than simply shed light on the day after FFXIII’s conclusion. Without spoiling the surprise, FFXIII-2 begins in slighty unusual circumstances. We are planning to release ”episode0” on the internet, which you might want to refer to for possible clues.
Could you sum up the development philosophy for this game?
Y.K.: We wanted to take the good points of FFXIII and develop them further, while improving evetry aspect that could have been better in the previous game.
A lot of players gave feedback on FFXIII’s gameplay. Now has this feedback been implemented into FFXIII-2?
Motomu Toriyama: FFXIII offered a ”linear” gameplay experience as it was developed to be a ”story-driven” title. FFXIII-2 meanwhile, aims to be more ”player-driven”, introducing new elements of interaction and choice. We have created a game proression system that encourages the player to take a more proactive attitude in exploring the world and the various challenges on offer.
Please could you tell us more about the atmosphere of the FFXIII-2’s world and scenario?
M.T.: The scene of the characters’ daily lives has moved from Cocoon, which was destroyed in FFXIII to the vast, unexplored world of Gran Pulse. In keeping with this mysterious new arena, the scenario has a darker tone, and the gameplay features puzzzle-solving elements.
Do you think that FFXIII-2 will help players to understand the whole FABULA NOVA CRYSTALLIS mythology? And if so, how?
Y.K.: Neither FFXIII nor FFXIII-2 were created the aim of unlocking the mysteries of the mythology. It is actually the other way around. The mythology exists to help player understand the story and universe of the FFXIII titles.
Concerning combat: Each new FINAL FANTASY game features some variation to the battle system of previous titles, will FFXIII-2 follow the same pattern? And if so, what can you reveal about it?
M.T.: The speedy battle system of the previous game was well-received and it has since undergone something of an evolution. While popular elements of the FFXIII battle system, such as ”consecutive command entry” – which was an interpretation of the ATB system – and Paradigm Shifts have been retained certain new mechanics have been added to allow you to play even more strategically. A prime example would be the system which allows you to fight alonside befriended monsters. Depanding on your specific strategy, you can pick and mix several different monsters in preparation for a battle.
One of the best things about the battle system in FFXIII, in terms of pacing, was the ungency it conveyed – Delibering the involvement of an action game while still enabling the player to utlise distinct strategies. Is it your intertion to retain this feeling, or will you change it in some way?
M.T.: The battle system in FFXIII was speedy as it was, but we have made it even faster and more dynamic. Each of the monsters the player can be executed in a similar fashion to the action-orientated commands of FFXIII’s Eidolons in Gestalt Mode. So, you can now add variety to your favorite strategies by using ally monsters.
According to the first trailer, a new character will appear in FFXIII-2. What can you tell us about him?
M.T.: The character in question is the man who stands next to Lightning in the title logo, but I cannot disclose any further details about him yet. He shares a relationship with another new male character, Noel Kreiss, about whom we’ve recently released some information. Please look out for future updates about this guy!
What about the other characters of FFXIII? Will any of them return in FFXIII-2?
M.T.: FFXIII’s characters will, of course, feature in FFXIII-2. Every one of them will have some involvement in the story – albeit in an unexpected fashion. Please wait for further updates to find out what role they’ll play.
Please tell us more about the recently revealed character of Noel. Can you give us any special/secret information about him?
M.T.: Hailing from Gran Pulse, Noel grew up in a very different environment to the likes of Lightning and Serah, and is consequently somewhat detached from their reality, and ignorant of life on Cocoon. He has survived in extremely harsh conditions. Where he comes from, you have to be strong enough to hunt monsters if you want to support your clan, and his determination to protect his loved ones is one of his defining characteristivs. Noel is depicted as a brave young man burdened by a heavy destiny – a different type of a protagonist to Lightning.
M.T.: Lightning’s new costume and equipment – her armour, shield and so on – are ”fantasy esque” in design, and this reflects the situation in which she finds herself. She will take to the battlefield in this costume at the very beginning of the story. I hope you like it.
In the trailer, we see feathers floating around Lightning. What do they imply? Are we to infer that Lightning is a kind of angel, while the other characters is her dark half – A demon of sorts?
M.T: The feathers floating around her symbolise Etro, a goddess of the crystal-based mythology. The story of FFXIII featured two gods, Lindzei and Pulse, but it is Etro who plays an important role in the plot of FFXIII-2. As for the other character you mentioned she is Lightning’s fated rival rather than simply a demon.
It was suggested that you had to leave out some of your ideas for FFXIII in order to release the game on time. Will any of these discarded elements find their way into FFXIII-2, and if so, can you tell us about them?
Y.K.: FFXIII-2 has a brand-new story which was written solely with the new title in mind. As such, none of FFXIII’s so-called ”discarded elements” would have worked without the need for significant modification. As such, you can expect lots of wholly novel ideas, as well as enhancements, conceived specifically to suit the new game’s story and gameplay.”