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The first hour of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII detailed By Erren Van Duine on July 27, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Today Square Enix held a Play Community Event in Tokyo showcasing Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII for a number fans – the bulk of which were originally reported on here.

Those invited to the event were treated to a one hour play time – which isn’t too uncommon for these types of previews. However, instead of simply having access to the demo we saw at E3, it seems fans got to see a bit beyond that – essentially starting from the beginning of the game. The demo starts off with Lightning arriving in Yusnaan – the first area in the game where she’ll pursue Snow for a bit while players get a taste of the game’s battle systems. The following contains spoilers, so please advance at your own risk.

Following the confrontation with Lumina, Lightning can advance further into the castle before being stopped again. Although the door she approaches is open, it’s filled with Chaos on the other side. There is a conversation saying Snow is not of sound mind if he’s staying in a place like that. Snow’s royal guards then start coming after Lightning, so she has no choice but to return to the Ark. Here she says something like, “I’ve already come so far. How can I retreat just like that?!” Hope stresses that it would be troublesome if she were to be defeated and that she must take care of herself.

Returning to the Ark is similar to that of the Historia Crux from FFXIII-2. Every time you return, Hope will greet Lightning with the words: “Welcome back, Light.” After the scene where Hope asks Lightning to return to the Ark, Lightning begins a monologue explaining the events that happened in FFXIII and XIII-2 – including some additional scenes following the Requiem of the Goddess episode. It’s here we learn that Lightning blames herself for not being able to rescue Serah. She also gives us an overview of the world of Novus Partus (Nova Chrysallia in the English version) and its four continents – Yusnaan, Luxerion, Wildlands and the Dead Dunes.

Lightning herself has become the servant of Bhunivelze – having awaited the day of her resurrection since she became a crystal. The world of Nova Chrysallia is falling into ruin and as a result, Bhunivelze wishes to create a new one. Because he is unable to create human begins, Bhunivelze tasks Lightning with the job of the Savior. Souls of humans from the existing world must be gathered and transferred to the new one; souls Lightning fails to save will be destroyed forever when the old world ends. Because of this, Lightning takes on her role as servant of the god in hopes of rescuing her sister.

Of course, there is a possibility the world will end before the 13th day is reached – depending on how much time is extended by the player from the initial seven days provided to them. If Lightning fails to extend the world’s life to the maximum 13 days then her mission is considered a failure and she’ll not be able to rescue Serah. Despite her new position, Lightning doesn’t seem to feel anger at the fact that Serah has essentially become a hostage in all this. While she still retains memories from the past, she has become void of most emotion. Hope finds himself in a similar situation as well.

The world of Nova Chrysallia is the remnants of Pulse consumed by Chaos 500 years ago when the gate to Valhalla was opened onto the visible world. Because of this humans are immortal, although they can still suffer illness and other disasters. Worshiping god (Bhunivelze) has become popular amongst the people – particularly in the city of Luxerion.

169 years ago, it seems Hope went missing. When he woke up in the Ark, his body has reverted to his teenage form for some mysterious reason. The Ark is actually the artificial Cocoon seen at the end of FFXIII-2 and is controlled by Hope. Time doesn’t flow here – it’s essentially Lightning’s home base where she’ll receive outfits (such as her Sorceress outfit, weapon and shield) and other goods from Hope while at the same time the location she’ll use to restore time to the world.

Having entered the Ark, Lightning wishes to continue her pursuit of Snow, however the timing isn’t quite right as she’ll only be hunted by Snow’s guards if she goes back now. Hope suggests that Lightning visit a different area instead – the city of Luxerion. It’s here we learn that Lightning must return to the Ark at 6am every day for a specific reason. Using a warp spell, she ends up on the train – as seen in the trailers – where she departs. At the station a human figure bearing Noel’s appearance can be seen. Vanille is also present here – it seems she’s being sheltered by the religious group called the Salvation Council, which keeps a tight grip on the city of Luxerion.

Serial murders have started taking place in Luxerion as someone aims to kill Lightning. The city of God has been filled with blood – three people dead in three days – and Lightning on the hunt to find the culprit. So intent are these detractors, that they’ve hung an effigy of Lightning near the town’s clock tower. The group responsible is a bunch dressed in white. Their goal is as much as a mystery as the story itself.

The demo is prefaced with a bit of an adventure. Lightning takes to the streets, questioning those in her path while following the advice from Hope Estheim – a familiar FFXIII character who operates elsewhere for the time being. By moving around the city, Lightning can collect evidence and in turn traverse through many shortcuts to get to where she needs to be.

Via: Eternal Light.

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  • artemisthemp

    So the True Ending will basically have the cast from FFXIII and FFXIII-2 in it.

  • Erren Van Duine

    There is only one ending.

  • artemisthemp

    Perfect 🙂

  • Erren Van Duine

    Basically if you fail against the final boss you just game over, that’s it.

  • Wercal

    Wow, sounds unforgiving…

  • Erren Van Duine

    Eh, that’s actually pretty normal in any RPG.

  • artemisthemp

    Try Dark Souls, that is unforgiving.

  • Wercal

    Well, what do you mean by game over? Those it mean it’s the basic ”try again” or does that mean the story ends and you don’t get to see the ending?

  • Wercal

    yeah, I know… Can’t wait for the second one!

  • artemisthemp

    Most likely means Game Over – Begin a new game or load a previous save.

  • Wercal

    Oh right. That aint what I understood at first. Sorry if it sounded stupid.

  • Sapientia

    Oh, Jesus, mah man! I’m so excited!!
    *blasts through the roof*

  • Sapientia

    Wait, seriously? Like, you have to start all over?

  • Ehren Rivers

    Hmm. What’s this bit about if you can’t extend the time to the maximum of 13 days you fail to save Serah, then? From everything they’ve said up till now, if you’re playing the game right you can reach the final boss and defeat it without having to go to the maximum.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Game Over only? They’d been talking about a New Game+ option for if you fail, I hope that hasn’t gone away.

  • Erren Van Duine

    That’s what the source said. Things may have changed since the original reveals.

  • Flame

    Dark Souls doesn’t restart your game if you die, or lose to Gwyn…
    Only lose souls and human form + all soft humanity.

  • juma086

    I shouldn’t be reading this, I shouldn’t be reading this, I shouldn’t be reading this…!!!

  • TheTux94

    Same here lol, I would love them to not release story info so I could get the game and know nothing about it = enjoy it more :).

  • SilentSymphony13

    O.O can’t wait

  • SilentSymphony13

    So excited!!

  • M. Ziab

    That header photo has almost given me a shock. I thought it was from the opening CGI of Lightning Returns..

    One question: From what I’ve read here, it seems that you first play through Yunsaan, and then go to Luxerion.. Do you have a choice on this, or do you have to do it in that sequence? I’m pretty sure I’ve read that you can visit Yunsaan at the beginning of the game or at mid-game.. It was one of the directors was explaining the E3 Demo. Other than that, looks like I won’t be able to wait until next year any longer..

  • Erren Van Duine

    After the opening in Yusnaan you can pretty much go where you want. The person who played the demo decided to follow the story’s advice.

  • Sothe Zephyr

    ER MA GURD! Anyone want to bet that Vanille gets captured by the cult but Lightning saves her?
    SO excited! However – I dislike the whole “you cant chase snow anymore because his guards are there!” Was hoping to have a confrontation with snow ASAP but….-sigh- but this is awesome nonetheless xD

  • LightningF

    WHY U MAKE HEADER SO PWETTY?!

  • ultromega

    “Must… resist…. *Click*”

    That was me, considering whether or not to click on this article. 🙂

    These updates are making the wait until February unbearable. So excited. I can’t wait.

  • LightningF

    *pulls you back down*

    NO You cannot die on me before LR comes out :'(

  • LightningF

    LOOOOOOL tell me about it xDD

  • Sapientia

    xD Swear to Etro, if we get another trailer before the release with some epic CGI, I’m done. I’m out. I’m gone. I CAN’T TAKE THIS MUCH LOVE FROM SQUARE ENIX.

  • LightningF

    You leave me and…

    *pulls out gunblade*

    I’LL USE THIS :'(

  • Sothe Zephyr

    …….-implodes from the anxiety-

  • Sapientia

    Oh, shit…Jesus save meh! O.O

  • Sapientia

    What the hell, dude? You left a pile of nasty for everyone to clean up… xD

  • Absolclaw

    So basically it’s going to be a quick, action packed introduction mission, followed by exposition exposition exposition exposition exposition exposition exposition exposition, from the sounds of things.

  • LightningF

    Lightning, the new Jesus, will do no such thing >:D

  • Sapientia

    Oh no. Oh, HELL NAW. You didn’t just go there.

  • LightningF

    *does the oh no she di’nt finger wave*

  • Sapientia

    Yup, that’s EXACTLY it. The entire game, definitely.

  • SazhKatzroy

    Awesome news!!
    Bhunivelze is creating a new world. I was right. Though I wonder if he will let Lindzei and Pulse play a part in this plan, rather, if they will even show up in LR… heck it be sweet if we got to battle Fal’Cie if they returned, only this time, Chaos-infused and tasked with stopping the “Savior”

    Chaos-infused Space-Pope… with same voice actor… EPIC

    I wonder when they will reveal Sazh too.

  • M. Ziab

    As much as I would love Dysley to show up in this game, along with the other fal’cie. I don’t think it is likely happening. Stopping the savior as a task would be contradictory to what they ‘made’ to do in first place. They were all made to awaken Bhunivelze. I’m guessing he’s now wide awake and will be so until Lightning guides all of those souls to the new world.. or maybe he just went back to sleep.

    Sazh will most likely make an appearance in the game.. Pretty soon I hope! Unless Chaos has killed him during those 500 years..!

    One thing I was surprised about is that Vanille will not be making an appearance in the Wildlands, as I expected her to. It seemed more like something that would fit Vannile.. She’s a wild girl. Buuut then again, we still haven’t seen much of the Wildlands.

  • Ehren Rivers

    I wondered if she would appear in Luxerion, actually, because of her religious connection. Vanille is often seen in XIII forming what appears to be a sign of faith with her hands, and she talks a fair amount about fate and such as the narrator. My money was on the Wildlands, though.

  • M. Ziab

    That’s true. She was also the one who spoke of what happened after the War. I mean when Etro saved her and Fang at first. (I’m talking about the Cie’th Stone that appears after you defeat Barthandelus for the second time).

    BUT, she was also the one who was branded on the upper part of her thigh, the one who always got away, and well, does really weird things when she’s on top of Hecaton. There’s also the Sunleth Waterscape, it always reminds me of her for some reason..

  • Panos Dek

    The clock system is still a bit confusing! I really want to learn more about it!
    As for the “Spoiler Alert”… It seems like when I read something like that I can’t just ignore the rest of the article! I can’t! OMG! This game seems too promising! How to wait until February? xD

  • Mihel

    I guess it’s because people complained that much of the exposition in FFXIII was not given through cutscenes but through Datalog entries.

    Rofl just some days ago a dude here was whishing we had more news on the story and character because all the latest news were about outfits, today we get substantial news about story and characters and someone else complains about exposition.

  • Storm

    After seeing the screenshots that have surfaced I’m sure: LR have freaking great graphics.

  • Mihel

    Yeah, I didn’t buy the fact she is being sheltered either.

    I guess she is more of an hostage than a captive though, Fang would have come to rescue her already if she was only held captive.

  • Ksar

    Is there any feedback from those people invited to the event ?

  • MF@ホプライください

    I was thinking how oddly familiar this article is then I looked at the source…okay. Thanks for making it sound more interesting because my language kinda sucks LOL.

    I have only translated the scenario part and left out all other things on the report. Apparently there will be no mini-games in LR but you will have a bunch of quests to solve. Some of them are lighthearted. These include a cooking quest, a sheep (the familiar sheep-looking monsters we saw in previous installments?) herding quest and a quest where Lightning gets chased by a cat.

  • MF@ホプライください

    I’m afraid you’re losing the bet LOL. I have actually translated another report other than the one you put up here and it did say that Vanille IS in Luxerion. She seems to be the “great person” of some religious institute now and Lumina is right behind her in one of the scenes: http://eternallight13.tumblr.com/post/56600681785/lrffxiii-translation-of-comments-on-new-play-demo

    Someone who attended the premium event yesterday posted something on twitter earlier today. It appears to her that the original 13 cast all seem to be some sort of “great people” now – Vanille for Luxerion, Snow for Yusnaan and Fang for the dessert. We all know where Lightning and Hope are…therefore Sazh must be in Wildlands.

  • Noctis Caelum

    Why do i have to read now the beginning of the story??
    It spoilers so much and i want to be suprised,
    if i play this game by myself.

  • Absolclaw

    So it’ll be the exact same as XIII then. Good to hear they haven’t even seen a single review of that game.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Oh, I know. We already had an article about Vanille, and the article above mentions that she’s in Luxerion. All I was saying to Ziab was that I had personally believed she would be in the Wildlands, but that Luxerion had sort of been my “second choice” for where she could appear. Oh, but thank you very much for the new translation! I’ll definitely give it a read as soon as I’ve finished waking up.

    Lastly, I wouldn’t be even remotely surprised about Sazh being in the Wildlands, especially with the Chocobo connection. Sazh is the last of the original cast that could possibly appear (if I’m remembering right), and then from XIII-2 we still have Caius and Yeul to see. The latter’s voice seems to be heard in the “Divine Task” trailer, telling Lightning about the “winds of the dead”, whereas the former was more recently confirmed to have his mystery solved in the new game.

  • Faith

    Lightning needs to extend the world’s life to 13 days, that is her main mission, and she will able to rescue? (and ofc kill the final boss) That’s interesting.
    I think Lumina will be the final boss instead of Caius again.
    When Lightning gather a soul she need to kill the victim first?

  • Ehren Rivers

    “a quest where Lightning gets chased by a cat.”

    …That sounds like the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard of.

  • MF@ホプライください

    At first I wrote down “Lightning chases after a cat” but then I realized I was wrong. I wonder if this has anything to do with her miqo’te costume.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Hmm, now that you mention it I believe they said the Miqo’te Garb was a found-in-game outfit you got as a quest reward. Yeah, that sounds like it could definitely be the way you get it!

  • M. Ziab

    Well, you don’t have to. There are spoiler warnings. Some people cannot wait till the release date, so they just read the article. Plus, most of these spoilers were things we have already seen in the trailers, except for some details about the main cast.. So it’s not that of a big deal.

  • miss chel

    Well.. I’m not so sure about her gathering souls; more like gathering Eradia. She doesn’t need to kill people in order to gather them, as what that 13-minute Japan Expo gameplay showed us. After finishing Adonis’ quest, he gives off Eradia.

  • Wercal

    Actually, you get Eradia from completing quests. Yet the task of the savior is to harvest as many souls as possible before the world ends. It’s only shown in the Comic-con trailer and the music clip though. We never actually see her kill someone to take their soul afterwards…

  • Ehren Rivers

    Not harvest, save. Please remember that earlier in development, it was said that Lightning had to “free people of their burdens” in order to bring their souls with her to the next world. While it may have changed, up until now it’s sounded like you have to complete quests for people in order to free them from whatever is holding them back. Completing quests does give you Eradia, but that’s not all it necessarily gives you. We don’t actually know what Eradia is when it comes down to it, either.

    A light leaves the body of the character Adonis in the Japan Expo demo, which is similar (nearly identical) to the light shown in the CG trailer we assume to be the soul, as well as to the light that leaves enemies when Lightning defeats one. This could be Eradia (since you get Eradia from completing quests and from beating monsters), OR it could be the soul (since Lightning mentions something about “freeing” the monster’s soul in the E3 demo battles), OR it could be both; It’s a distinct possibility that souls produce Eradia somehow, and that the collection of souls is how you obtain it.

    —–

    Speaking of that line of thought, in the creation myth it’s said that as long as humans (who have a spark of chaos in their hearts) are around, the balance of the Seen and Unseen Realms is kept. Let’s say that human souls produce Eradia through their unique interaction with Chaos. Now, let’s say that when a human being dies that Eradia is released. When the soul flies to Valhalla, the Eradia is absorbed into the World Tree.

    In this way, the births and deaths of humanity would keep the world stabilized. With the merging of the two realms, and with humans unable to die regularly or have new children, the World Tree would receive no nourishment and eventually fail. According to the information we’ve just received, Bhunivelze can’t create new human beings. Humans are a very unique kind of creature, born from the death of a Goddess and given the gift of impossibility.

    Let’s suppose the above is all true; Wouldn’t that mean that even upon creating a new world, Bhunivelze might eventually face its destruction again someday and be forced to create yet another if he left humanity behind? If Bhunivelze finally understands that his mother’s words are a prediction based on facts rather than a curse, perhaps he sees humanity as the perfect counterbalance.

    Or maybe he just likes their clothes.

  • Ksar
  • Wercal

    Yeah, I think you’re right. What I meant was that Eradia was not the same as a person’s soul. Your theory is very logical actually. I think some elements of it (if not all) could actaully be the best explenation to the motives of Bhunivelze in regards of humanities role in the new world. After all, who doesn’t like our incredible fashion… 🙂

  • Storm

    Translation plz!

  • M. Ziab

    I thought that was Lumina.. It could be Yeul though, nice catch!

  • Stealth

    the game still doesnt sound good

  • LightningF

    Deaf.

  • RoxasXIIIK

    I hope Sazh get’s announced soon. He’s a pretty cool character! 🙂

  • DarmusXIII

    lol really? ur an odd one xD

  • Stealth

    I think my opinion is the majority that the game looks pretty bad but I accept your disagreement 🙂

  • Stealth

    I think my opinion is the majority that the game looks pretty bad but I accept your disagreement :).

  • Wercal

    Initial reviews all praised the game. It was later that a portion of the FF community (the loudest one of course) began to heavily criticize the departure it was from the original games. What we hear usually is the loud community which expresses its opinion convinced that, by doing so, they will gain back what they believe they have ”lost”. The people which licked the games will usually come to those kinds of smaller, yet more friendly forums. Here, they can talk with people who share their interest in games they’ve enjoyed.

  • Stealth

    I havent seen a single review praise the game. Most laugh at it but thats ok. Its fine you like the game. I think it looks bad. The final product will deside.

  • LightningF

    Omigod, you don’t read the news much.

    EVERY article about the game has been praising it since E3, there’s only 2 which haven’t and one was about sexualisation. Learn what you’re talking about before you spew out your opinions masquerading as fact. Seriously.

  • LightningF

    Blind too?

    We all accept your disagreement too, although it’s horribly incorrect and deluded.

  • Stealth

    1) That isnt true at all, most have been pretty indifferent towards it. 2) I admire your defense of the game but please dont put words in my mouth

  • Stealth

    So because you disagree I think the game looks really bad you insult people? You like it. I respect that, and would never argue with you over it. Stop being disrespectful

  • Ehren Rivers

    Okay, it’s time to take your fingers off the keys and leave it alone. It’s starting to get nasty, and I’d rather not have to take moderational action against anyone. If either person responds to the other, or to me, I will start slapping down temporary bans.

  • Ehren Rivers

    And this goes for you too. I don’t care who feels they are right or wrong. I don’t care what either of your opinions are, what you feel the public opinion is, or what either of you have said to the other. Please end the conversation and walk away. As I said to the other person involved, if I see either of you respond to each other or to me, I will be instituting temporary bans.

  • EX+

    Lightining is actually quite appealing.

  • Somber

    oh….oh….!….oh!!!! can’t find a word to show how stupid and deluded this *** is! -__-

  • Stealth

    you were told not to comment

  • Ehren Rivers

    No, she was not. LightningSF is a completely different person from who I told to stop commenting. That would be iLoveLightning, who has not commented again on this conversation.

  • Magnumsally

    I assume you just temp banned my twitter account for my error, which is fair. Just let me know how long and I will refrain from posting.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Two weeks.