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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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51

+ Icestar10 on December 17th, 2011 at 4:42 pm said:

I enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII and I can’t wait for Final Fantasy XIII-2! I already pre-ordered my copy!


52

+ fijski8 on December 17th, 2011 at 5:05 pm said:

I loved 13, I got the platinum to prove it. Can’t wait for 13-2/….. it is killing me…

Some guy at Gamestop told me, they are going to release all DLC with the collectors edition at the last minute. Anyone know if this is true? The guy said he went to a Gamestop meeting… with some head guys… no idea… hope it is true…


53

+ patsbradyshawn on December 17th, 2011 at 8:16 pm said:

methmnhmrt;lmhtr;lmbf;lbf;dlb’;lmfdb;’lfdkmb;lkmfdblmfdbmfdbmfdlbmfd.,bfd.,b.fd


54

+ patsbradyshawn on December 17th, 2011 at 8:17 pm said:

srry tht was a spam lol im patsbradyshawn1 from earlier


55

+ Jedah_PR on December 17th, 2011 at 8:51 pm said:

I had HUGE expectations for XIII; but sadly I was REALLY dissapointed by it. I’m an old school gamer; so I’ve been playing FF games since the first one back in the NES; but XIII is easily one if not the worst RPG of this GEN.

Fool me once; shame on me; but fool me twice; shame on you. I will not be getting XIII-2.


56

+ Rikith on December 18th, 2011 at 7:01 am said:

Wish they would port FFXI over to ps3, wanting to play an MMO and tired of waiting on XIV.


57

+ Kedaro on December 18th, 2011 at 11:53 am said:

Any luck with taking the series back to it’s roots, for the old timers that helped you be able to afford to make more than just a few games? huh, Square/Enix how about it?

We ‘The old fans’ (while fewer in number) were the only ones who religiously bought every game you put out, were hoping for a return to what Final Fantasy used to be.

Swords, Shields, Shining Armors, Magics, and Wonders, Heroic Tales, and Villains so grey in contrast it’s hard to not see their point. Greater goods, and Pure Evils, a story so amazing with characters so emotionally real you could relate to them, and all around Intrigue and Surprise, not just a bunch of flashy(albeit amazing) graphics, The man hours your brilliant teams put into these, and all your doing is killing a title we used to love.

Not killing the title really, killing it for ‘us’. the true fans.


58

+ Kedaro on December 18th, 2011 at 12:01 pm said:

And yes FFXI on ps3 please… the wait has been excruciatingly painful for some.


59

+ Kedaro on December 18th, 2011 at 12:15 pm said:

@26 Fantasy_473

No… This is a .blog for fans of everything that happens in the world of playstation to come in contact with developers, sometimes participating in discussions with them, It has been the foremost venue to do so, as any developer with any form of guts/ or gumption to back his/her claims/work/or opinions, would be intelligent enough to either comment or refuse to comment post-consideration of any one person’s comments, When they invent a magical truth blocking comment filter, I suggest that be a plugin you download and utilize, as the truth is people are upset, and have opinions, that may or may not conflict with yours… regardless of who’s feelings are hurt in the process, Not trying to be a jerk or anything, but telling people to not speak their mind, is paving the way for companies to continue to roll over us as consumers, and collect their fat paychecks from the blind leading the blind…and the overall muted population you might wish us to be.


60

+ starBlinky01 on December 18th, 2011 at 4:01 pm said:

That guys face looks like Tom Cruise


61

+ Kid_Grim on December 19th, 2011 at 2:04 am said:

Personally I hated final fantasy XIII, It took everything I loved about Final Fantasy, and replaced it with annoying characters, a crappy combat system, and boring story. All of which are what make the franchise. I understand that they were trying to reach an new audience, but why disappoint your core players with such a bad game?


62

+ AizawaYuuichi on December 19th, 2011 at 3:03 am said:

Yeah, I knew I shouldn’t have bought FFXIII. But I did anyway, cause I thought I might enjoy it, despite everything I’d seen/read about it leading me to think otherwise. I gave it a fair chance. The only thing good about XIII was the visuals. And watching the trailer for this, it looks like rather than fixing what was wrong with the game (everything but the visuals), they just decided to throw more stuff at it, making ti more confusing. I’m not wasting another $60 on S-E attempting to target a US audience, when what originally made them popular was games not aimed at the US audience. Sorry, but hurry up with VS XIII. You’ll get no more of my money for FF games until VS XIII comes out.


63

+ a_southern_boi on December 23rd, 2011 at 9:00 am said:

If you dont like the game why even come here… why give your opinion.. no body cares… im personally here to read about the game because i enjoyed the first one..


64

+ Artemisthemp on January 10th, 2012 at 1:09 pm said:

Does you get to play Serah in Bikini outfit? :P


65

+ nathanuc1988 on January 10th, 2012 at 1:49 pm said:

This has been my “most anticipated title of 2011/2012″. I LOVED XIII and nearly had a plat until I lost my save. Where was cloud save when I needed it?! Anyways, I’m greatly looking forward to platting this title and overplaying this demo tonight :)


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