Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Announced – First Images
It might seem like the title of an editorial or a blog but that is the genuine, actual, honest-to-goodness official name of Square-Enix’s latest announcement at its Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event.
Due as early as next year, Lightning Returns will see you play as, you can probably guess, Final Fantasy XIII’s Lightning. In fact, she’s the only character you’ll play, as Lightning can freely roam a new world called Novus Partus, which is four islands connected by a monorail.
The game itself is set hundreds of years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2.
The battle system seems to be focused on more real-time action than Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 were, as you have direct control over Lightning’s movement, attacks and blocks. There are no menus, as you can map different attacks to the face buttons.
The interesting twist is the doomsday counter. The story in Lightning Returns sees the world end after 13 days, and so a doomsday counter will serve as a permanent reminder in the corner of the screen of how much time you have left.
As well as constantly ticking down, some events will actually drain large chunks of time from the doomsday counter, such as travelling between the islands on the monorail. You even get the choice to rewind mistakes should you die mid-battle at the expense of doomsday time. Players will also get the chance to add more time to the clock.
Given Lightning is the only character you’ll be controlling in Lightning Returns, Square-Enix was also keen to point out that there will be extensive customisation options over her looks and combat style.
Square-Enix also mentioned this is the final chapter of Lightning’s saga, which is interesting wording because they didn’t necessarily say it’s the last Final Fantasy XIII project. That could mean Final Fantasy Versus XIII lives or it could mean we should expect Don’t Give Up Hope: Final Fantasy XIII or Let It Snow: Final Fantasy XIII to be announced next. We shall see.
For now, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has been given a 2013 release date, so expect it towards the end of next year.