As everyone pretty much guessed, Square Enix is a making a third entry into the Final Fantasy XIII “saga.” The newest episode is entitled “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII” and the story picks up directly where FFXIII-2 ended.
While still an RPG, Lighting Returns looks like it’s going to have a heavier emphasis on action. Players will have total control of Lightning during battle sequences, and Lightning will be able to freely jump and hang off of ledges, like a character in a platformer. FF series producer Yoshinori Kitase says that “The game system is much more active, and the world features much more interactive environments than before.” Players will also be able to customize Lightning’s appearance and skills as well.
The entire game is played under a strict time limit: Lightning has just 13 days to save the world (again) and the game is constantly counting down towards Doomsday in real time. Everything in the game is governed by the in-game clock; the game features a full day and night cycle, with shops opening and closing at certain times and events only unfolding at certain times. The game’s structure sounds very similar to Zelda: Majora’s Mask on the N64. Square-Enix says that Lightning Returns will be the end of the saga that began in the original FFXIII.
I’m a bit surprised they didn’t simply call it “Final Fantasy XIII-3,” but perhaps they felt a change in title would be appropriate since Lightning Returns looks like it’s going to stray a bit from the formula laid out by the first two games in the series. Lightning Returns is currently scheduled to hit the Xbox 360 and PS3 sometime during 2013.
More concrete details are still coming in from Japan about this latest Final Fantasy. This post will be updated as the story develops.