As they’ve teased for the past several months, last night Square Enix announced a new game into the Final Fantasy XIII franchise that promises to mix up the formula, as well as provide a real end for the trilogy. No, they’re not calling it Final Fantasy XIII-3. Instead, the game is called Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
We’ve only got a handful of concept art in terms of visuals, but Square provided plenty of details as far as gameplay at their 25th Anniversary event last night.
The game takes place hundreds of years after the events in XIII-2 in a new area called Novus Partus. Novus Partus is made up of four islands all connected to each other.
The game features Lightning as a solo character able to roam in the open world of Novus Partus. She’ll be much more mobile than in previous games, with the ability for more real-time actions. Actions as simple as running and jumping in the overworld, and real-time blocking and attacking in combat, instead of the ATB system of the past two games.
Lightning herself will also feature enhanced customization options, allowing players to change her look and actually have different effects depending on what she’s wearing or wielding.
The kicker to all of this is that there’s a constant timer in the corner of the screen showing that the world will end in 13 days. Every action you make will have an effect on that timer. Even falling in battle will allow players to rewind their actions in exchange for some time off the timer.
It’s not clear exactly how this timer will work, but I imagine it’ll be something similar to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. The end of the timer doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the game, but it does mean something will be reset.
Square Enix have confirmed this will be the last game in the Final Fantasy XIII franchise, and will be available for PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. Which means if you were looking forward to Lightning Forever and Lightning & Robin, you’re out of luck. (I really hope someone gets that joke).
If you’d like to see the full announcement, its broken into three separate videos below.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I’m glad they’re making the game feel different, but I freakin’ hate timers. As always though, only time will tell, (see what I did there?).