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Final Fantasy XIII-2 Q&A: A Time Traveling Sequel to Surpass the Original

Fabio Santana's Avatar + Posted by Fabio Santana on Dec 16, 2011 // PlayStation.Blog Manager, Brazil

Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PS3

This week, Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PS3 is hitting stores across Japan with critical praise, garnering perfect scores from respected gaming magazines Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation. Granted, the original FFXIII is the best-selling PS3 title in Japan by a wide margin, but this direct sequel isn’t resting on the laurels of its predecessor. For starters, it will offer a dynamic narrative, addressing one of the main complaints about FFXIII – linearity. The new game also has a darker and more serious tone, in line with the conclusion of the previous game, putting the glitter and glam of FFX-2.

When FFXIII-2 reaches US stores on January 31st, making it the fastest localization cycle among numbered episodes of the franchise – it will also deliver an improved combat system, an area full of mini games, branched dialogue trees with NPCs, and even multiple endings based on your time-traveling journey. To learn more about how Square Enix plans to “exceed Final Fantasy XIII in every aspect,” we reached out to Motomu Toriyama, who is reprising his role as director for Final Fantasy XIII-2. Read on for more details about Serah’s quest to find out what happened to her sister Lightning.

PlayStation.Blog: Of course, the Final Fantasy series was always known for its rich storylines, but Final Fantasy XIII had an unusually heavy focus on a linear narrative. Does Final Fantasy XIII-2 offer more opportunities for players to stray from the main narrative path this time?

Motomu Toriyama, Director, Final Fantasy XIII-2: In Final Fantasy XIII, our concept was to be story-driven and so the game had a very linear development. In XIII-2, we changed the concept to being player-driven and so we’ve prepared story options based on the area and time period the player chooses with plenty of side quests. We have changed it so that the player can enjoy just the main story, or progress in the game while straying from the main narrative path.

PSB: Square Enix typically does not utilize play testing for its Final Fantasy titles during development, but FFXIII-2 is reportedly incorporating user feedback from focus groups into its development process. How has this improved the game? Did users pinpoint any particular issues you did not expect?

Toriyama-san: During the development stage, we conducted numerous play testing and focus group interviews in Japan, North America, and Europe. By incorporating user feedback before the game was complete, we were able to analyze the level of completion objectively, which in turn polished not only the UI but the gameplay elements as a whole. In terms of elements that the users found positive, the US audience enjoyed the Cinematic Action, which is one of the action elements, and the Japanese audience liked the Live Trigger, which gives choices in dialogue. It was a great experience for us, and it let us know what the different sensibilities are between users of the different countries.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PS3

PSB: Final Fantasy XIII-2 will feature time travel elements and multiple endings. Will it work in a similar way to Chrono Trigger? How many different endings will we have?

Toriyama-san: We have introduced a new system called “Historia Crux”, which is a portal menu that allows time travel. To best describe it, it’s as if you’re browsing videos on YouTube to get a preview of one part of the story, then the game progresses when you choose which time and area to go to next. It’s a system that’s geared towards busy adult users of this age. Plus, if you want to go back to work on a particular part of the game, you can always rewind the time of that area and try again as many times as you like. It’s designed to be an RPG style of the new generation, different from that of “Chrono Trigger.” We hope you enjoy your journey with this interface with which you can freely travel through history. In terms of how many different endings we will have, I recommend playing the game and checking it out on your own.

PSB: Considering the different phases of its development process, Final Fantasy XIII took more than five years to be concluded. Now, this sequel comes about two years after the original. What contributed to speed up the development process?

Toriyama-san: In the previous installment, we had to start with developing a new engine intended for a next-generation console from scratch, that’s why it took so much time. In this installment, the foundation engine is that of XIII, and so we were able to devote more time to development of the new game, which in turn shortened the development period. Of course, since we were able to use our time to build the game, we were able to make the game better than the previous installment.

PSB: Although there were plans for DLC in the original Final Fantasy XIII, these plans were eventually put on hold. Are you considering DLC for Final Fantasy XIII-2?

Toriyama-san: We were aiming for the previous installment to be in its ultimate form as a packaged software, so DLC in the form of later additions didn’t come to fruition. For this installment, we have designed and planned for content including DLC that would expand on the world of XIII-2 since the beginning of its development, and so I’m sure you will be able to continue playing the game long after its release. In terms of a lineup of specific DLC, please stand by for more information.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PS3Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PS3

PSB: Are there any special treats reserved for those who are holding on to their Final Fantasy XIII save files? Can you share any details on how that will work?

Toriyama-san: If you have any save files from XIII, they will be recognized upon the start of XIII-2, and you can get extras. Some of the bonuses include adornments for monsters that can be used in-game, and a bonus that can be obtained from the title screen. You don’t necessarily have to have save data of the finished game; you can still get something even if you’ve only played a little.

PSB: The most prominent Moogle from the series, Mog, makes a return as a companion to main character Serah. Can we expect more references to the series’ recurring elements?

Toriyama-san: We weren’t able to showcase the Moogle in XIII, and so in this installment we’ve made the Moogle much more prominent, like a mascot. The Chocobo will make its appearance throughout this installment as well, so if you’re a fan, I hope you look forward to it.

PSB: When will we finally be able to play Final Fantasy Versus XIII? You know, the game has been in development for eons. Do you have anything to share at this time? Anything!

Toriyama-san: First, please enjoy XIII-2 while you wait for additional information.

//Add Your Own

65 Comments

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1

+ VincentVendetta on December 16th, 2011 at 12:07 pm said:

“A Time Traveling Sequel to Surpass the Original” Well, it wasn’t that hard to begin with…


2

+ LJ94 on December 16th, 2011 at 12:26 pm said:

Thank-you for asking about versus xiii. Almost no news for north america. Now maybe they will announce some news soon on it. Maybe at jump feista. (Not sure if I spelled that right)


3

+ KazeEternal on December 16th, 2011 at 12:30 pm said:

Please oh Please Get rid of the Chocobo music and Lake Bresha Rap in FFXIII-2 IT IS TERRIBLE AND HAS NO PLACE IN FINAL FANTASY!


4

+ oycomics on December 16th, 2011 at 12:32 pm said:

I actually liked the linearity of XIII. I’ve never quite finished the game, but whenever I do go back to play it, I’m not confused at all about where I have to go next. Granted, I do like several of the older FF’s better in general (VII, IX, etc.), but I get lost easily in some of them (thank goodness for game guides), so it’s comforting to just play sometimes.

That being said, I’m excited about XIII-2. I genuinely liked the characters in XIII (well, maybe not Vanille, but she’s not in this one, right? Er, right?), so to see to them all turned on their ears and have the chance to veer from the beaten path a bit . . . well, it’s all very exciting and I for one can’t wait until Jan. 31st..

And after seeing the monster buddies, one can only hope the next Pokémon game takes a cue from this.


5

+ Mobius2525 on December 16th, 2011 at 12:33 pm said:

I saw the maps on sankakucomplex.com so i will look forward to buy this game.


6

+ JohnRomer on December 16th, 2011 at 12:52 pm said:

Square Enix has turned into a sad joke.

LOL at anyone dumb enough to waste their money on this garbage.


7

+ ASSHAT222 on December 16th, 2011 at 1:00 pm said:

I wish the Final Fantasy would go back to the old: attack, magic, item, summon menu system. I stopped playing XIII because I really hated the fighting system. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, or how much if any experience points/damage I got. Then having to fill up the attributes after every fight was becoming too tedious for me. I did like the linearity of it, (since I haven’t played an RPG since PS2 days, I welcomed that It would be easy to pick up) I hate getting lost in RPG’s.


8

+ jgrizzle358 on December 16th, 2011 at 1:08 pm said:

I love Square Enix and I enjoyed XIII

haters gonna hate


9

+ MarinoBrea on December 16th, 2011 at 1:13 pm said:

FFvsXIII cancelled!


10

+ zzamaro on December 16th, 2011 at 1:17 pm said:

When will you release ff13 avatars to the US Store?

I envy people with asian accounts because some are using them XD


11

+ OCxViRuXz on December 16th, 2011 at 1:20 pm said:

Thank you for asking about Versus XIII… But really? Nothing about it except “First, please enjoy XIII-2 while you wait for additional information.” Thats a bunch of BS! Come on SQUARE we been waiting for yrs for more news. Why are you making me suffer like this!? :( Anyways cant wait to get my hands on XIII-2 and hopefully my ears will hear about Vs XIII soon xD


12

+ Spacewormhole on December 16th, 2011 at 1:34 pm said:

I have been a fan of the franchise since FFVII for the first Playstation in 1997 and I have enjoyed every new release in the series very much. That was up to FFX. Since FFX-2 the series started deteriorating mostly in the originality and every new release is worse than the previous. At the same time Square has saturated the market so much with all those spin offs that I can not even tell them apart anymore. I am sick and tired of watching emo effeminate blonde boys becoming world saviors not by choice but because the so unfair life forced them to swim in deep waters. Boys that couldn’t even stop moping and grow a pair by themselves. Add to this girls like Vanille that just won’t shut up and every time she does something she makes a sound like somebody pinched her butt and you get a fabulous mix.

I have crushed and burned in my expectations so many times already with this series that I don’t expect much from this one either. I really hope this time Square proves me wrong and actually delivers something good. I am definitely NOT buying this one on release. Gonna wait to rent it first and decide if it is worth spending my money on it.


13

+ Lugoves on December 16th, 2011 at 2:43 pm said:

I don’t know what it is exactly, but I didn’t finish FF XII and I still WANT to play XII-2 .. IDK .. I get so sucked in. I look forward to the time part. perhaps I can get to an ending this time. lol


14

+ Serafym on December 16th, 2011 at 2:55 pm said:

The game design is looking a lot better than XIII. However, I would like to know if they will fix the English dubbed lip synching that was painfully apparent in the English trailers. And if not, will there be audio support for the Japanese language with English subtitles?


15

+ ThreeLeggeDawgie on December 16th, 2011 at 3:00 pm said:

I really enjoyed 13… the story i found interesting and very driven fast paced… i wasn’t a fan of how it was really walking through tunnels and no real towns/npcs to interact with, but at the same time it seemed to make sense with the story. I also liked the battle system, i like it when its explosive and exciting on the screen. If we always listen to fans, games would be stagnant cause no one likes change…. that’s why people keep beggin for a ff7 remake… i’d love one, but i’d much rather see new stories and innovations.


16

+ Hitokiri_03 on December 16th, 2011 at 3:00 pm said:

Finally someone making the right questions about the game (and Versus XIII).

Thanks Fabio.


17

+ Bond007mgm on December 16th, 2011 at 3:06 pm said:

I’m waiting for Versus XIII. They mind as well rename it to FFXV because it looks nothing like XIII.


18

+ Carl-G on December 16th, 2011 at 3:21 pm said:

So ’2′ FF13 games but still no PS3 Exclusive FF13 Versus yet? :-/
(i say ‘PS3 Exclusive’ still hoping it will be) YAWN


19

+ Talgron on December 16th, 2011 at 3:29 pm said:

FFXIII was an enjoyable game and I liked it despite some obvious flaws, but to me it didn’t feel like I was playing an FF game. The battle system I didn’t mind to much, the only thing I hated the most was my healer wouldn’t heal the leader first, he would always heal himself first which more than once lead to us all dying cause if the leader dies you all die. Although you didn’t get an answer i’m glad you asked about Versus. Its been one insanely long wait for that game with not much to go on while waiting. Also if anyone wants to talk about ridiculous spin-offs go look at Theaterythm, thats a ridiculous spin-off if i’d ever seen one!


20

+ Fantasy_473 on December 16th, 2011 at 4:06 pm said:

I actually enjoyed ff13. I don’t care what the haters say, to me it was awesome. i’m sure the sequel will be awesome as well


21

+ Fantasy_473 on December 16th, 2011 at 4:08 pm said:

Why do people obsess over ff versus 13 and a ff7 remake


22

+ polo155 on December 16th, 2011 at 4:16 pm said:

My boy will love this, he is a top player leveled up in the world and he never knew it till I pused him to go to a meet up in china to NYC, people were like wow when they checked his ranking however they do.

Ahh un Santana como yo

PS3 is still Rolling Strong!


23

+ Teflon02 on December 16th, 2011 at 4:28 pm said:

@4
are you sure i didn’t right that lol :P
i swear you said everything i was going to say including the final fantasy’s that are better, except i beat XIII a year ago after being stuck at the final boss’ second part for like 3 MONTHS! lol. but the game was great it was the only time i ever got my butt kicked by boss’ so much and never raged :P
the first time you face the fal’cie, i lost atleast 20 times straight goin at him for hours each day, for 3 days till i found a strategy to take my time and beat him the long way. Till i sadly found out he’ll cast doom on you if you take to long lmao. but then found out how to weaken his deadly attacks. and that ship to, i lost like 5 times then finally beat it. Final Fantasy XIII was one of the best experiences for me this gen, as well as white knight, killzone 3, warhawk and afew more


24

+ MarioTBK on December 16th, 2011 at 4:30 pm said:

Good lord this game is gonna suck

Square Enix just needs to release Verses XIII and Kingdom Hearts III, then do the right thing and go bankrupt and die with what dignity it has left. Square Enix has released very few good games since the merger, and hasn’t put together a single good story since Sakaguchi left. It’s just been about hearts, friendship, and darkness, and different combinations of words inbetween those words since, with no depth or anything remotely likeable or that even makes sense, it’s on the level of fan fiction or a Chevelle song’s lyrics, mindless rabble that sounds kinda catchy. For a Kingdom Hearts game where the bar for story is set super low because gameplay is the only thing that makes it playable anyway, thats exceptable, but for a main entry into the Final Fantasy Series, the story matters more than anything else. It’s unfortunate, because I’m such a fan of everything up until FFX, after that, mediocre was the highest standard, a bar they limbo’d under most of the time, unstead of leaping over.


25

+ Fantasy_473 on December 16th, 2011 at 4:33 pm said:

They will not make a Final Fantasy 7 remake because it is still selling so well as a ps1 classic. I like ff7 and a remake would be nice, but I also like it the way it is as well.


26

+ headronefish on December 16th, 2011 at 4:33 pm said:

I actually enjoyed FFXIII, but I don’t think I’ll be picking this up unless it gets some great reviews. The character design and the music in the FF series just keep getting sillier and sillier in recent games, and this one is bordering on Kingdom Hearts silly.


27

+ Fantasy_473 on December 16th, 2011 at 4:37 pm said:

@23 if you don’t like the game then don’t post a comment. this is for people who don’t overreacted to a change in the formula of a series and like this game.


28

+ Hooligantuan on December 16th, 2011 at 4:42 pm said:

One can accurately measure my interest in Final Fantasy games by how stupid the hairstyles are.


29

+ WilHiteWarrior on December 16th, 2011 at 5:01 pm said:

… Is that Snow in that top pic? If it is… geez, no wonder he always wore that hat


30

+ chemerie on December 16th, 2011 at 6:33 pm said:

Will Final Fantasy XIII-2 feature both English and Japanese languages? And will the soundtrack for the U.S. version be different from the Japanese version?


31

+ Senjutsu_Dav on December 16th, 2011 at 6:59 pm said:

If we have a Platinum, will we have a better bonus in FF13-2? Lol, I only want a reason to do it, I’m about 3 trophies from the platinum… But this meand more than 20 hourd of gameplay, grinding, lol.

I already pre-ordered mine a while ago.

Still, I’m not too sure about the system for the time travels around the story.. I really hope that you can still do it in order, I dislike spoilers, lol.

Finally: I would like another game that ressemble Chrono Trigger, lol. I want a Mistwalker game on the PLAYSTATION!! They made one for each other console (or more), and I had to buy these to play… :(


32

+ thao_thao on December 16th, 2011 at 7:08 pm said:

lol ..enjoy FFXIII-2 first. ^^…


33

+ D-Squad3 on December 16th, 2011 at 8:01 pm said:

Where the **** is Versus XIII?


34

+ shades909 on December 16th, 2011 at 9:46 pm said:

I do have intention to enjoy XII-2 first but it’s annoying how he avoided the question like that…

If it would have been any other game i would have understood but after more then 6 years waiting for Versus XIII i think we do deserve some news at least…


35

+ rabidninjamonky on December 16th, 2011 at 11:06 pm said:

FF 13 was the last game I preordered, and the biggest let down ever. The battle system was pretty but extremely boring.All you did was analyze and press auto battle. It does look like they improved a lot, but they won’t be getting my $60. I’ll just rent it on my blockbuster pass. They really need to go back to turn based, I bought FF6 off psn, and I had way more fun with it than FF 13. Hopefully if they ever release FF versus 13, it will be turn based and have sidequests.


36

+ rabidninjamonky on December 16th, 2011 at 11:18 pm said:

@ senjetsu dave I hear you. I love mistwalker too. Blue Dragon was great, and Lost Odyssee was incredible!! It’s disgusting that FF 13 gets a sequel, but Lost Odyssee doesn’t.


37

+ XavierStar on December 17th, 2011 at 1:17 am said:

I could care less about FF13 or FF13-2. All I’m waiting for is FF13Versus, and I’ve been waiting years for it to come out. Please hurry up and release this garbage so that other players can get some satisfaction through FF13Versus. That’s where the real adventure begins!


38

+ zeon195 on December 17th, 2011 at 2:38 am said:

I hate multiple endings ….but cant wait


39

+ joehowland on December 17th, 2011 at 3:23 am said:

FF13 was a disappointing game, summoning was weak, and the gil system.. took forever to get the platinum trophy. kinda looking forward to FF14, and whats up with a chrono chross sequel?


40

+ DeathGazer on December 17th, 2011 at 6:55 am said:

FFXIII was terrible. Why even bother making this???

And of course we’ll probably get FFXIII-3 before we get FF Versus…ugh


41

+ Senju_Karim on December 17th, 2011 at 8:41 am said:

Thanks for asking about FFvsXIII. Though we got nothing, because for some reason SE thinks that we want this over Versus… If there is time for another interview can you inquire about FF Type-0’s localization?

I still don’t know when I’ll get XIII-2, Tales of Graces F is finally coming so I may wait until the price drops to pick it up. People support Graces F so we can get Tales of Xillia.


42

+ XXCrazy1992XX on December 17th, 2011 at 9:06 am said:

Final Fantasy is crap. On December 15, 2011 (in Japan) or January 31, 2012 (in America), the most over-hyped RPG series of all-time returns with the copy and paste sequel to lackluster Final Fantasy XIII. Check out the trailer for a look at the epic fail of the story. Pre-Order Final Fantasy XIII-2 now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to secure exclusive bonuses only available online for Final Fantasy XIII-2 fanboys who don’t know that Pokemon Gold Silver and Crystal are the better games.


43

+ formerroadie on December 17th, 2011 at 10:06 am said:

This is my most anticipated game ever! I absolutely loved FFXIII. It’s my favorite game on the system and of all time and I can’t wait for the sequel.


44

+ Roxas91317 on December 17th, 2011 at 11:40 am said:

What I can’t beleive is that Final Fantasy XIII and versus XIII were anounced around the same time but XIII plus its sequel will have been out and we still don’t have a release date for versus XIII. I’d think the priority would be on versus at this point. Oh well I guess. :P


45

+ PrettyKitty4u on December 17th, 2011 at 11:57 am said:

I can’t wait! ^__^ This game is going to be awesome, thanks for asking all the right questions :P


46

+ KawaiiKyrie on December 17th, 2011 at 1:45 pm said:

Im sorry but i have not liked any of the final fantasys since ff 10.
the best was final fantasys were 5,6,7,8,10


47

+ patsbradyshawn1 on December 17th, 2011 at 2:40 pm said:

can someone tell me why none of y games will load or play on my ps3


48

+ kawaiigamr on December 17th, 2011 at 3:04 pm said:

i cant enjoy ff13-2 i NEED a straight answer for versus….theyre ruining final fantasy


49

+ PshycoNinja on December 17th, 2011 at 3:19 pm said:

@12 Toriyama is the reason why Final Fantasy isn’t good anymore. He started directing the Final Fantasy games (by himself, there were two other directors on X with him) since X-2. He is basicly the reason why Final Fantasy went down the drain. Ever since he started directing Final Fantasy the series get more and more tainted with every new release when he is at he helm. I have no respect for Toriyama whatsoever.

Second, Toriyama has no involvement in Versus XIII and of course he doesn’t want you talk about Tetsuya Nomura’s game while his game is coming out. Everyone knows that Nomura is a better director and game creator than him. That’s probably why he basicly gave a “No Comment” on the question about Versus XIII. He probably doesn’t like the fact that people are more excited about Nomura’s game than his game. He is a terrible director and should give the title of series director either back to Kitase, Nomura or someone else.

On that note, I wish Square Enix would just give us something on Versus XIII. A release date would be great but just give us something. A story trailer, a gameplay trailer, you know anything.


50

+ PshycoNinja on December 17th, 2011 at 4:29 pm said:

Read this blog if you want to know what happened to Final Fantasy: http://n4g.com/blogs/details/519091


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