What was first hinted at a month and a half ago with a teaser image designed by Tetsuya Nomura and distributed to Square’s fans, has become a reality, as Square/Enix has officially announced Final Fantasy XIII-2, which will hit PS3’s at some point in late 2011.
The first trailer shows Lightning decked out in some new armor that makes her look like she just stepped out of a Valkyrie Profile game. It also introduces us to the game’s new antagonist, a shadowy male figure that contrasts greatly with the almost angelic appearance of Lightning in the trailer. Director Motomu Toriyama has hinted that this glaring contrast is intended, and things may not actually be quite as obvious as they seem. This raises some interesting questions about Lightning’s mission, and why this new character is trying to thwart her. It has not yet been revealed which other characters may or may not return, though it’s likely most of the original heroes will at least make appearances, and some of them will undergo their own changes.
As many RPG fans are probably aware, this isn’t the first time Square has made a direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy 10 also received a sequel, FF X-2, after its melancholy ending left many fans unsatisfied, and clamouring for more.
Unfortunately, opinion on the sequel was mixed (perhaps due more to an overly vocal minority than anything else, as the game retained strong review scores from most critics and gamers, though lower than the average Final Fantasy). This was mainly attributed to three things; the fact that FFX-2 was vastly different from FFX in execution, with a new battle system and game play progression; the fact that much of the game used the same environments from FFX, though some were redesigned; and the fact its all-female cast, and underlying girl power theme rubbed some male gamers the wrong way.
FFXIII-2 may run into some of these same issues again, as the environments will almost certainly be reused in some places, and the game will probably play quite differently than its predecessor. Toriyama-san has stated that the feedback from fans will be taken into consideration, and that the traveling system in particular will undergo changes, resulting in a more realistic and open world, with NPCs strewn about its regions. This is not a big surprise given that one of the major criticisms of FFXIII was its linearity, lack of towns and NPCs, and corridor-like environments for much of the game.
The good news for fans is that thanks to the reuse of existing assets, the wait for XIII-2 will be far shorter than the wait for XIII was, as the planned winter 2011 release suggests. So are you pumped to play as Lightning again? What changes would you like to see implemented? Let us know your thoughts below.
Update: Expected release date Q4 2011/Q1 2012.
Update: The majority of staff that worked on the first title have been confirmed as working on the second, same staff, same problems?
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