Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, a part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. It takes place three years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII, and depicts the story of Serah’s journey across time and space to prevent the end of the world while searching for her missing sister, Lightning.
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 January/February 2012 for 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.
- “She defied her destiny. She set out to vanquish the false gods enslaving mankind.
After the war, the world was no longer the same. Humans reigned victorious and their gods were no more. Their utopia fell from the sky and became one with Pulse, the underworld crawling with beasts and fiends. It marked the beginning of a new era.
However, she was nowhere to be seen. Everyone was convinced she was gone―with the exception of one, her sister, Serah.Three years later―
A meteorite disrupts the serenity of a peaceful village. Time is distorted; bloodthirsty monsters are released within the confines of the secluded town. Amidst the chaos, Serah is saved by a stranger who goes by the name of Noel. A hunter from the future, he bears an important message.
“She is waiting for you”, he says. “Come with me if you want to see her again”.She is Lightning—protector of the goddess who rules the realm of death and chaos, the one-and-only sister of Serah.
“I need to see her. I need to see my sister”.
Her heart brimming with hope, a determined Serah sets off on an adventure to reunite with her sister, her family, her world.”
- —Official Prologue
As a result of Cocoon’s fall at the end of Final Fantasy XIII, some of its surviving citizens now reside on Gran Pulse, and the world has adopted a new dating system, since the fall of Cocoon (“AF” or “After Fall”). In the three years since, new towns and cities have been established. While searching for Lightning, Serah and Noel will travel to old and new places on Pulse and in Cocoon.
As they travel through time, some locations from XIII will show change in appearance. Eden is no longer the capital and the Sanctum is no more. The city of Academia is now the capital, and the new provisional government is run by the Academy, a scientific expedition group wishing to build a world that doesn’t rely on the fal’Cie.
Playing as Lightning, there is a mysterious new world called Valhalla, the realm of death and chaos at the edge of time in the distant future, ruled by the Goddess Etro.
- Serah Farron (セラ・ファロン, Sera Faron) – The main protagonist of the game. She is Lightning’s younger sister, Snow’s fiancée, and the only one out of her friends to know Lightning still exists. Gaining the abilities to have visions of the future and use time gates, Serah journeys with Noel to find and save her sister. Her weapon is a crossbow that can transform into a sword, though its true form is that of her Moogle companion Mog.
- Lightning (ライトニング, Raitoningu) – The narrator of the game. Having been attacked by the emerging Chaos and subsequently taken to Valhalla, Lightning is no longer believed to be alive by others except Serah. In reality, she has become a knight, protecting the Goddess Etro’s shrine in Valhalla while being confronted by Caius along the way. She now wields a new gunblade resembling a combination of her Blazefire Saber and a traditional sword.
- Noel Kreiss (ノエル・クライス, Noeru Kuraisu) – The main male protagonist of the game. Noel comes from 700 years in the future, where he was the last surviving human in a world that faced destruction. After a chance encounter with Lightning, he travels into the past to find her sister, Serah. He sets off with her to save Lightning in the ultimate hopes of changing the future. As a hunter and beast tamer, Noel can command the 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 swords that are able to combine to form a spear in battle.
- Snow Villiers (スノウ・ヴィリアース, Sunou Viriāsu) – Snow left to search for Lightning two years after her disappearance, but is nowhere to be found at the time Serah set out on her own search. He is somehow transformed into a Pulse l’Cie again and appears as a guest character in the Sunleth Waterscape at 300 AF. He saves Serah and Noel from a mass-merging of Flan monsters, before being harshly criticized by Noel for his recklessness and inability to protect people. Despite this, he is said to be unconcerned about the relationship between Serah and Noel.
- Hope Estheim (ホープ・エストハイム, Hōpu Esutohaimu) – Hope is 24-years-old when he meets Serah and Noel, and is now the leader of the Academy, researching the world’s history and looking for a new energy source for Cocoon in the absence of the fal’Cie. He is aware of Serah’s travels through time because of his research and helps her in her search for Lightning. He also wants to change history in order to improve the world and bring back the people dear to him. It is currently unknown if he will be playable, but it is confirmed that he will have an important role in the plot and will be featured more prominently than the other returning characters due to his connection to the game’s theme of regeneration and rebirth.
- NORA– Snow’s friends: Gadot, Lebreau, Maqui and Yuj have stayed with Serah during their years on Pulse while resuming their occupation as New Bodhum’s neighborhood watch group.
- Alyssa Zaidelle (アリサ・ザイデル, Arisa Zaideru) – A young girl who is part of the Academy and Hope’s trusted assistant. They work together to understand the nature of paradoxes and help Noel and Serah in their journey. In the E3 trailer, she shows Serah the grave of a friend who died running from the Purge, and she helps Hope assist Serah and Noel in the “Change the Future” trailer.
- Mog (モーグリ, Mōguri) – Serah’s new moogle companion and a gift from Lightning. Instead of a traditional moogle’s pom-pom, Mog’s pom-pom is a glowing crystal. He carries a rod adorned with a clock, and can transform into Serah’s weapon. He is a treasure hunter and will reveal invisible treasure chests within dungeons. He can access treasure in out-of-reach places by being thrown by the player. He also uses his magic to execute the Mog Clock pre-battle system.
- PSICOM(サイコム, Saikomu) – The military corps from Cocoon now handles monster extermination on Pulse to protect the new cities that the citizens are building, and look over the rebuilding of the formerly floating world.
- Caius Ballad (カイアス・バラッド, Kaiasu Baraddo) – A mysterious man who was once Noel’s friend and mentor. He is also from the future, and is an important figure in both Noel’s past and Serah’s future. His reason for opposing Lightning is currently unknown, but it is said that he is of equal strength to 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. Caius also has the ability to transform into Chaos Bahamut. He travels with his companion Yeul and they pursue Noel and Serah. It appears that Caius is a guardian of the timeline, as he intends to dispose of any ‘contradictions’ in it, namely Noel and Serah, believing them to be enemies. It has also been revealed that he is immortal and retains memory of all timeline events.
- Oerba Dia Vanille, Oerba Yun Fang, and Dajh Katzroyhave made brief appearances in the “Change the Future” trailer. Vanille’s English voice actress has also confirmed her reprisal. However, nothing else is known about their roles. One interesting note is that Fang doesn’t have the l’Cie brand on her right arm.
- Paddra Nsu-Yeul (ユール, Yūru) – A mysterious young girl with her face partially covered by a veil who is Caius’ traveling companion, and has a strong connection to him. She makes a small appearance in the TGS 2011 Trailer, in which she tells Noel and Serah that she and Caius have been watching over them. She believes that she and Serah have the same ability to ‘show people the way’, presumably in how they can both have visions of the future. She was previously mentioned in Final Fantasy XIII as a Pulsian seeress and author of the fourth and ninth Analects.
- Sazh Katzroy (サッズ・カッツロイ, Sazzu Kattsuroi) – Sazh is currently engaged in activities to improve Gran Pulse.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 retains the Command Synergy Battle and Paradigm Shift systems from its predecessor. One new 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. NPCs (such as the remnant PSICOM operatives) will react to the monsters that appear in the field and weaken them before a fight. Another new feature is the Paradigm Tune, which enables the player to customize how the AI-controlled party members use their abilities in battle. Though the player still controls one out of a three-member party, they will be able to initiate the Change Leader option to switch the party member they control during battle, and now the defeat of the human characters result in a game over.
Characters will grow via a revamped Crystarium System, and they will have levels unlike the previous game. These levels are gained by moving through the Crystarium. Each character’s Crystarium is no longer in the form of tiers, but now takes the shape of their respective weapon, and now includes all possible Paradigm Roles on a singular Crystarium, similar to the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. As a player advances through the Crystarium, they may choose which Paradigm Role to level up and gain bonus stat increases alongside level increases. Characters will also learn different attacks at certain levels throughout their Paradigm Role growth. Unlike XIII, there is no cap on how much a character may grow in the Crystarium at any given time. The weather or Climate Type in an area will affect battles, and at times, uncontrollable guest characters will join the party. It has also been confirmed that Summoned Monsters will return, but that these will not be in the same form as those in the original game, as the characters are no longer l’Cie.
Monsters can be caught, trained, and used as party members through the Summon Raid component. Three monsters can be held at a time, and depending on the role that a player shifts to in the Paradigm, the monsters will automatically switch to the chosen role.Players can customize a monster’s stats via leveling up and even equip them with accessories to further boost their powers and sometimes change their appearance. By usage of the new Feral Link system, Noel has been shown to be able to access unique special abilities from the monsters in the party by pressing a combination of buttons once a synchronization gauge has filled.
It is unknown if other party members will be able to do this. Certain enemy monsters will be able to do a new form of damage called Blood Damage, which lowers a party member’s max HP during battle and cannot be healed, giving further incentive to defeat enemies quickly as possible as blood damage accumulates and max HP drops.
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.
Another new element called the Live Trigger allows the player to choose their response in a conversation with a character 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 minigame system has been added called Temporal Rifts. The player must guide the character through the various puzzles, and they’ll have to grab crystals along the path within a certain amount of time with the option to retry the puzzle if things become difficult.
Another new gameplay element is the Historia Crux feature, the Time Travel system in the game that can be accessed through the use of gates throughout areas on the field. The gates are activated by finding special Artefacts in hidden treasure chests using Mog, and by resetting the gates, Noel and Serah can redo their adventures. Using Historia Crux, the player will be able to choose the location or era to travel to. There will be a “gate matrix,” where players will select their next location based on the game’s AF (After the Fall of Cocoon) timeline. Players will also be able to access the save and main menus through gates.
The equipment system in the game is rather unique. Each character has four different slots for equipment and a maximum load that they can carry. These points up any way the player would like to, for defensive gear or stat boosting accessories, but cannot exceed the limit. Monsters which are in the party can be renamed and equip decorative items, such as tails, which change how they look in battle. They grow by purchasing items, unlike the other characters who use the Crystarium.
Players can buy some of these weapons, armor, items, and monster training goods from the merchant, Chocolina.
The game will have a new area called Serendipity, an amusement park center complete with a casino and minigames such as Chocobo Racing and Slots, which has been compared to the Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII.
The game will retain the missions from XIII as well as alternate sidequests from various NPCs in which the player must find and retrieve specific items, for example. Unlike those in XIII, these will be available from an early point in the game.
Unlike the original game, XIII-2 will feature difficulty modes of gameplay: Normal mode and Easy mode. These can be changed at any time. There will also be the option to save the game at any point throughout the story from the Main Menu. The main quest can be played multiple times, but director Motomu Toriyama looked for an alternate means of achieving this besides a “New Game+” feature. This will be done by allowing players to reset the Historia Crux gates, and therefore take them back to the beginning of that time period. Players will have the ability to do this at any time, though certain content and endings will be unavailable until after the main quest has been completed at least once. 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.
Composers of the original game Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki return, joined by Naoshi Mizuta, composer of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light and Final Fantasy XI. The game’s main theme in the Japanese PlayStation 3 version is “Yakusoku no Basho,” sung by Mai Fukui. An English version of the theme, called “New World”, sung by Filipina artist Charice Pempengco, is used in the Japanese Xbox 360 and Western releases of the game. One of the songs in the soundtrack is called “Missing Link” from Russian singer-songwriter ORIGA. Another song in the soundtrack is “Song of Time’s Poem”.
The soundtrack will be released on December 14th, 2011, which includes the standard and limited edition. Standard version soundtrack will span over four discs, while the limited edition has a bonus DVD likely packed with the game’s trailers and promotional videos with unnamed valuables yet to announced. The standard edition will retail for 3990¥, and the limited edition is 4880¥.
A selection of songs from the game are to be available with the Limited Collector’s Edition of Final Fantasy XIII-2 in Europe and the entire soundtrack is to be available to those who purchase the Crystal Edition in Europe. However, neither shall include “New World” by Charice.
- Producer: Yoshinori Kitase
- Director: Motomu Toriyama
- Scenario: Daisuke Watanabe
- 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
- Composers: Masashi Hamauzu,Mitsuto Suzuki, and Naoshi Mizuta
- Image Illustrator and Title Logo Designer: Yoshitaka Amano