Hope is no longer a grown man in Lightning Returns By Erren Van Duine on July 2, 2013 at 5:13 AM

If you’ve been following Lightning Returns, you’ll likely know that Hope Estheim will be assisting Lightning on her adventure.

Hope watches over Lightning from his base in the Ark, guiding the savior as she tries to carry out all-mighty Bhunivelze’s divine mission. As Lightning’s trusted partner, Hope provides key information throughout the quest.

Mysteriously, Hope is no longer a grown man, but has instead turned back into the boy that Lightning first met.

Hope

The area known only as “The Ark” lies at the core of New Cocoon, built by Hope in times past. Hope guides Lightning in her endeavors from this space, within which time has ceased to pass. Within the Ark you can get various kinds of information from Hope and also re-stock on items to prepare for the journey ahead. Within the Ark grows a mysterious tree known as Yggdrasil. Also known as the “Tree of Life, when bestowed with Eradia it will grow and prosper, in turn extending the life left to the world (to a maximum of 13 days). Every day when the in-game time reaches 6:00, Lightning will be returned to the Ark. Once there she can gift the Eradia earned during that day to the Yggdrasil tree.

The story starts with the time left already considerably reduced and it will run down even further as the days pass. This time is the very life left in the world and is the time that Lightning has available to achieve her mission. No matter what anyone does, the world has no more than 13 days left before the onset of the apocalypse. When Lightning first returns, the time remaining before the end is even shorter. As she progresses on her journey she must strive to extend the life left in the world.

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  • LightningF

    Nomura copying from Black Bible? Okay then..

    Why would Nomura, possibly the best game character designer in the world copy someone else?

  • miss chel

    I’m assuming there will be some story materials in the game we can earn like the Analects and Fragments from previous games.

    This is going to be the last game though, so I hope they’ll flesh out stuff enough.

  • LightningF

    Just noticed the clouds in the sky are looking… FAAAABULOUSS *girly voice*. Can’t wait for tomorrow so they can explain why Hope is looking like a 14 year old child model for H&M (I mean that in a good way <_<) :D

  • M. Ziab

    Either way, the “glowing light” and “crystal like structure” must be related to the Eradia/ Accessories somehow. The problem with the Cactuar in the trailer is that it is too close to Lightning and I can’t say for sure that I see a glowing light coming out of it.

    The game is still in development, I suppose. I hope they revamp the HP bar or the on-screen schemata controls, they take up way too much space on the screen in my opinion.

  • adlina

    I can’t be the only one thinking that’s just an AI of sorts that corresponds to Lightning’s memory of how Hope looks like… The real one might be dead :(

  • Storm

    Maybe Hope gave a little of your “time” to Yggdrasil.

  • LightningF

    Eradia to be precise xD

  • Ehren Rivers

    I honestly don’t mind how much space they take up, as they seem to be about on-par with the amount of screenspace eaten up by the previous XIII games. Roughly between a quarter and a third, looks to be. It would be fantastic if they included some form of ‘minimalist’ option in the settings that replaced most of the text with simple icons, and slimmed down the HP bar.

  • LightningF

    * SPOILERS *

    He’s not immortal, the heart just kept him alive all those years :) If the heart was killed, then he would no longer be immortal. Also, some people have speculated that the Chaos brought Caius back to life in the void beyond in the secret ending, which sounds reasonable; however it might not be true as it is after all, mere speculation.

    And imagine him as an Ally… I would scream like a girl in happiness :’D

  • Ehren Rivers

    While it WAS granted to him by the Heart of Chaos, Caius was immortal as long as he had it. I would, however, like to point something out.

    If Valhalla is the place the dead pass into, wouldn’t the soul of Caius simply appear somewhere within its borders, to be revived by Chaos as he had once been revived by Etro?

  • Ehren Rivers

    There’s a chance he won’t return for simplicity’s sake, I suppose, but somehow I don’t see them just dropping him.

  • LightningF

    Oops that’s what I meant about Caius and the heart of chaos x_x I always explain things weird… The problems of being 16 on the internet lool.

    As for the second part of your post, I have no clue LOL x_x!

  • Lowe De Leon

    Hmm brilliant deduction. I guess they did the same thing with XIII-2 when the reason behind Lightning’s disappearance from XIII’s history was fleshed out rather in the middle and lingered close to the end of XIII-2′s main plot. This is the thing with Toriyama, everyone claims stories are convoluted and to look at it, its probably because he wants everything unpredictable. Hmmm makes sense, I just hope we get satisfied with all the plotholes on this saga. O.O

  • Lowe De Leon

    Makes greater sense. When you think about that way, Snow is of course purely obsessed in saving Serah as well but certainly failed. It might have been answered already but I am curious as to which Fal’Cie does Snow follow really since that one was unanswered in XIII-2 and I remembered reading the Collector’s Guide in the narratives at the back that it should be answered in the “future.” Alot of people hated Hope in XIII, but sometimes I think that he’s one of the most well written characters in the game. Sometimes I think people hates people because they see what they are in THOSE people. Prolly not making sense BWAHAHAHA!!

  • Ehren Rivers

    One minor quibble. They’re not plot holes, they’re plot threads. The series isn’t concluded yet, anything left unfinished from XIII-2 is a plot THREAD until the end of Lightning Returns. If it hasn’t been finished by then, THEN it’s a plot hole.

  • Lowe De Leon

    I think I called it plotholes since I thought XIII-2 would be the end of the saga with DLC’s for the story’s ending. But I guess you’re right, it is a plot THREAD.

  • Ehren Rivers

    No, I understand what you mean. I connect with Hope on a very personal level, as I know from firsthand experience what it’s like to lose someone in a less than peaceful manner. Hope’s reactions and personality were, if anything, a little too cold and quickly gotten-over. I don’t see why people think of him as whiny, and much of what he went through is perfectly natural human response. I think he was a damn great character that was superbly written, but scoffed at and ignored because he was a child and therefore any complaints or issues were ‘whining’.

    It was already revealed what fal’Cie Snow follows, both in Lightning Returns and in XIII-2. Back when XIII-2 was released, a Japanese-only set of books (Fragments Before and Fragments After) were released that were, in my opinion, essential to the plot. Here we find that Snow found a damaged fal’Cie named Cactuar and repaired it, an after falling out of time temporarily (and watching one big loop of the events of XIII-2 leading to Serah’s death), he agreed to become a l’Cie in order to save her.

    The book seems to say that saving Serah was his intended Focus, and it seems to hint that at the end of the Sunleth Waterscape he was pulled out of time by some unknown force on purpose. This is another example of Noel and Serah not knowing what is going on, because Noel believes Snow (who traveled there by Gate himself, I believe) vanished due to not needing to be there now that the paradox had been corrected. If that were true, he and Serah would have been snapped back to their own times every time they corrected a Paradox in a new location.

    At any rate, as was discovered in the Snow Coliseum DLC, he was being kept out there in the Void Beyond by the power of the mysterious ‘Black Smoke Yeul’, although it should more accurately be called the “Chaos-Wreathed Yeul”. His Focus, as far as we know, was unchanged at that time and Cactuar was with him.

    In Lightning Returns, Cactuar is the last fal’Cie left in the world (if I remember correctly), and he produces all of the food and products the people of the city of Yusnaan need. Snow’s Focus at this time appears to have been changed to protecting Cactuar from those who would want to destroy him, as Cactuar is both providing for Yusnaan and helping to keep the Chaos at bay according to one source. This and Snow’s natural inclination to try and help people seem to have gotten him unanimously elected by the people of Yusnaan as their leader, the Patron.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Completely understandable. :P

  • Lowe De Leon

    Wow, those are the things I missed on the storyline. Thanks for filling me in. I do know about that mysterious Yeul in the Coliseum which made me go like WTH? But I seriously had no idea that it was the Cactuar Fal’Cie, no wonder that thing had a big statue in the E3 Trailer. Makes greater sense.

  • LightningF

    Sorry to hear about your loss Ehren :(

  • Ehren Rivers

    Thanks. It was a long time ago and I’m as over it as one can get, but I remember what it was like. It’s a pretty heavy thing, and it really affects your behavior for a while.

  • Lowe De Leon

    I might not personally connect with him but as you I have experienced loss in varying ways. It’s just nice to see how such characters that are made in paper come to touch us from time to time.

  • LightningF

    Its okay :)

  • LightningF

    Its okay :)

  • vagrant_soul

    Hell, even today I’m still pissed but I’ll accept it. Now a few questions need to be answered:

    - Why is Etro’s gate inside the ark( or something similar too it)?
    - If Hope is in the Ark, who’s the leader of the bandits in the Dead Dunes?

  • Ehren Rivers

    Oh nevermind, I see what you’re talking about. They’re not the same though. This is Etro’s Gate, as drawn in the Ultimania + in the start of XIII-2:

    http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121221152309/finalfantasy/images/8/87/Etro's_Gate_concept_art.jpg
    Art^^^
    http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100904010721/finalfantasy/images/7/74/Eden_portal_on_the_sky4.png
    In-game shot^^^

    This, I believe, is what you’re referring to:
    http://i.imgur.com/qmhlgLH.jpg

    It’s worth noting that it also resembles the shape of Orpan’s final form when staggered.

  • Sapientia

    Goddamn, you have this game figured out before it’s even out! I will be amazed if your theory proves correct come next February.

  • Sapientia

    Oh, Jesus. Fighting alongside Caius AGAINST Noel and Snow (not that the latter two are allies, just sayin’)…the possibility of such a thing would absolutely blow my mind through the roof.

  • Sapientia

    You don’t think he won’t just pop in a bar and have a quick drink with Lightning, like old friends?
    Damn. xD

  • Sapientia

    Sorry, I was kind of directing my comment at people who think Lightning Returns will look worse than FFXIII-2.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Well, I suppose we’ll just have to see. I can only work with they give me, after all. :)

  • ultromega

    “If that were true, he and Serah would have been snapped back to their own times every time they corrected a Paradox in a new location.”

    The backstory you mentioned about Snow is interesting. I always thought that Noel and Serah were somehow exempt from any such “correction” because they were chosen by Etro to travel through time, and Snow vanished because he gained the ability to travel through time by other means (becoming a l’Cie).

  • Ehren Rivers

    Snow didn’t necessarily gain the ability to travel through time by becoming a l’Cie. In fact, it was specifically mentioned that those Etro blessed with the power to move through time couldn’t be forced to become l’Cie so that the fal’Cie couldn’t use the power to move through time for their own ends. It even seems to imply that a l’Cie able to use the gates may not even be hard bound to their Focus at all, whatever it might be. Noel also mentions that you can’t travel through Gates not meant for you, further implying that any and all time travel is touched by the Goddess in some way.

    But yes, it seems from a combination of in-game Fragments, DLC, and Fragments After that much of what Noel and Serah assumed during the course of the story was flat-out WRONG. I think that’s part of the theme of the game though, honestly. It’s a story about being unable to escape some fates no matter how hard you try, sacrifice for the greater good, and how the world can just sneak up and backhand you.

  • ultromega

    “It’s a story about being unable to escape some fates no matter how hard you try,”

    Just wondering… do you have any info/data/theories on why the final cinematic action yields the same result no matter what choice you make? (kill or spare Caius) Do you think it was to emphasize that theme of inescapable fate? Perhaps the developers planned for 2 entirely different endings, and the other one just wasn’t finished in time for the release?

  • MF@ホプライください

    I recall reading a comment somewhere saying that the Spanish version of the screenshot suggests that the leader of the bandits is a woman (the term used is feminine)… so some people guess the leader maybe Fang. I don’t have the screenshot myself so I can’t tell if it’s true or not. Could someone please enlighten me.

  • MF@ホプライください

    So we just got to see a screenshot of Fang in Japan expo…let’s see if she’s the leader

  • Ehren Rivers

    According to what I’ve read, the developers initially intended to extend the game through DLC. Stuff like Requiem of the Goddess would have been the continuation of the story, although there don’t seem to have been any solid payment plans. (I.e, they hadn’t decided between pay a high amount for the first chapter in a character’s extended story and get the rest free, or pay a low amount for one at a time) After the first scenario DLC (Sazh’s story) was released, the negative feedback lead them to believe it wasn’t going to be a popular, profitable, or successful way of extending the story. Conceptualizing for Lightning Returns appears to have begun around the time the Requiem of the Goddess DLC was nearing completion.

    Then again, all I have to do on is old half-translated interviews and Toriyama’s vague but overly-grand speech patterns.

  • Pekola

    SPOILER ALERT!

    It’s Fang.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Actually, 14 year old Hope’s body with 527 year old Hope’s mind. :P

  • Jon

    You know, it doesn’t matter how they explain it, this is dumb as hell.

  • Storm2356

    Oh, this makes me glad that SE doesn’t plan to extend the story of LR with DLC, the stuff for XIII-2 wasn’t really worth getting, this coming from a person who bought a fair bit of it. I mean, I suppose I wouldn’t mind DLC costumes this time around, seeing as they actually have an ability attached, but I don’t think I’ll get any of the weapons because you can usually find stuff in the game that’s better by the time the weapons get released, like you could in XIII-2. While I’m thinking about the costumes, do you think the ones you get closer to whatever kind of endgame this one has might have more than one ability, or just one that’s more powerful than some of the others?

  • Ehren Rivers

    No idea? They haven’t really told us much of how abilities or upgrading works. Clearly abilities have their own levels, so I’d say there’s probably some kind of progression. I’m also not really clear on how “endgame” is going to work here, so there’s that.

  • Guest

    So Noel has the power of Chaos in him so what type of power does Snow have?

  • Hope Fantasy

    I’m confused about who has the power of Chaos. I know Noel has it but what’s that dark aura or power does Snow have? Is it still L’Cie power or another Chaos?