Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: Vanille confirmed, fourth continent revealed, more

New details from premium experience event.

July 27, 2013 / 11:26 PM EDT / (@salromano)

Square Enix recently invited 180 members of the Japanese press to a premium experience meeting for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia’s Play Community website.

The development team, including producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Motomu Toriyama, shared new information about the game during a stage event at the meeting.

Yuna Costume

We’ve previously seen Lightning’s Yuna outfit (from Final Fantasy X) on a render outside the game. Square Enix used the event to reveal the full costume, dubbed the “Summoner of Spira,” in battle. The sleeves flutter and dance as Lightning moves, and her victory pose becomes a ladylike bow.

Previous Lightning Outfits

We already know Lightning will be able to wear Cloud’s 1st Class Soldier outfit (from Final Fantasy VII) and the Miqo’te outfit (from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn), but she’ll also be able to wear her previous outfits from Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2. You’ll need save data from the previous two games to access them.

Costume Color Customization

In addition to the default color, you’ll also be able to customize the color set  for each outfit. For the Ambivalence costume, for example, you can customize the main parts, lining, and pocket. Or for the Nocturne costume, parts like accessories, inner, vest, and boots can be customized. Every part can be customized at once, too. You’ll be able to select your colors from a pre-set palette or from a more varied color wheel.

Four Continents

There are four continents to explore in Lightning Returns.

In the capital of Luxerion, a city with a strong religious atmosphere, Lightning is tasked with investigating a murder. Two play styles are offered here, which the team labels “Detective” and “Tracking” parts. The Detective part offers a more quiet style of play, while the Tracking part offers a more movement-based play style.

The Dead Dunes is a large desert, and as one might expect, not an area with a lot of buildings or structures. But it’s not just field of sand. The idea was to create a desert that ‘felt real.’ Buried within the sand are ruins and relics.

In the dazzling city of Yusnaan, you’ll meet governor-general Snow. There are various points of interest here, but you’ll need to make use of your time limit well.

The fourth continent, The Wildlands, has not been detailed until now. This is a vast, open-world area in vain of Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with an natural terrain and offers a higher degree of freedom compared to other continents. You’ll be able to ride a Chocobo here to get around.

Shops

Unlike the previous two games, many shops will appear. As time passes in the game, the product line-up available in these shops will change. There are over 100 types of shops. Lightning will only be able to hold six items at the start of the game, but this will increase as you progress.

Vanille’s Return

Vanille, like Fang, Snow, and young Hope before her, will return.  She is being sheltered by a religious group known as the “Salvation Council” in the city of Luxerion, according to director Motomu Toriyama. More details on her reappearance will be shared in a follow-up report.

Enemies and Difficulty

There are some enemies that even the most skilled test players have referred to as “impossible.” Up until now, Square Enix has talked about the possiblities of New Game Plus, but this is the first time they’ve discussed the optional areas to explore after you technically completed the game. The difficulty level of the enemies in these areas is still under adjustment.

With equipment, costumes, and customization, Lightning’s strength will vary greatly in battle. Amongst Square Enix’s most skilled play testers, there have been a number who’ve defeated the last boss in 50 seconds.

Lightning’s Bust Size

An unexpected question posed to the development team at E3 was, “Has Lightning’s bust size really gone from a C to a D-cup since the first two games?”

To answer the question, Square Enix confirmed they did in fact increase her bust size. Because some of the costumes show off a bit of Lightning’s cleavage, it was thought that this choice would showcase the costumes a little more. With over 80 types of wear to collect, this is one little bit of motivation.

Q&A

Q1: I think that one of Lightning`s most attractive features is her armpit. Is there a costume that will show off this part of her when she does her victory pose?
A1: Something that shows off her armpit..? Well, there are some revealing sets of costumes. I’m sure you’ll enjoy those.

Q2: On the shop’s accessory screens, I didn’t see any earrings or other small items that looked like they could be equipped…
A2: We’re still at a point where there’s time to make adjustments. We’ll look into that.

Q3: Will there be an arena-like area like there was in Final Fantasy XIII-2?
A3: Yes. There will be an area where you can fight strong monsters.

Q4: I know you said there will be a time system in this game, but will there be an item like the Excalibur II from Final Fantasy IX that you can only obtain at one specific time in the game?
A4: There won’t be anything specifically like that, but you will be using the time system a lot over the course of the game. For example, there will be quests that you must clear within a time limit, items that you can only buy during the first half of the game, and some shop characters that you can only run into once in a while. The world you play within will be constantly changing.

Q5: Will you be able to customize the weapon and shield colors?
A5: This won’t be a feature, but there will be a large number of each to collect. There will be about 70 or 80 swords, and the number of shields is only a few less than this, so there will be lots of combinations to play with.

Q6: Will there be mini-games?
A6: There aren’t really going to be simple card-based mini-games, but there will be mini-game-like ways to clear certain stages of the continental quests.

Q7: Why is Hope a young boy?
A7: As of now, thanks to the power of the gods Hope has been returned to the form of a young boy.

Q8: Final Fantasy XIII-2 featured multiple endings – how about this game?
A8: This is the last installment in the Lightning Saga, so there is only one ending. Outside of this, if you fail to save the world, of course it’s game over, and the New Game Plus feature will allow you to explore new areas of the world after completing the game.

Q9: In Final Fantasy XIII there were small jokes, like when you shook the controller Lightning’s eyes would roll. Is there anything like that in this game?
A9: I don’t think so, unfortunately. But if you move Lightning toward walls and pull her back away from them at the last minute, she will launch herself away from them. Depending on the costume she’s wearing, her ‘launch pose’ will change, so we hope you’ll have fun with that.

Q10: Are there any plans to use DLC in combination with the costumes?
A10: This hasn’t been decided yet. However, I think that you’ll be able to enjoy the entire game from the disc you purchase at the store.

Q11: Will Hope be fighting alongside Lightning?
A11: We have only two weeks left for development, but we’re considering it (laughs). Hope is so supportive to Lightning…

A12: I really like Moogles and Chocobos. How many kinds of each will there be?
A12: There will be some Chocobos you haven’t seen before! But we ask that you please wait for our follow-up report.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is due out for PS3 and Xbox 360 in Japan on November 21, in North America on February 11, and in Europe on February 14.

Thanks, Game Watch, Dengeki, and Gamer.ne.jp.

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