Vanille will also have a role to play in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII By Erren Van Duine on July 27, 2013 at 3:32 AM

Japanese fans got their first hands-on with Lightning Returns today – courtesy of a Sony sponsored Play Community event held in Tokyo – where they were able to preview the beginning of the game. While most of the details shared at the event encompass information we already know, a few new tidbits have leaked out from those who attended the viewing.

Earlier this month, we learned that Fang would be rejoining the cast and it looks like she won’t be alone. Vanille is also back in some form, although details on her reappearance are still largely unknown. It seems she’s being sheltered by the religious group called the Salvation Council, which keeps a tight grip on the city of Luxerion.

The reason for Hope’s appearance as his 14 year old self is also still a mystery – one that will likely be solved during the course of the game. Apparently he went missing 169 years ago from the start of the game’s story, and although he can’t remember how he reverted to his teenage form he still remembers events from the past – just not in an emotional sense. Both Lightning and Hope seem to have thinning emotions. The older version of Hope from XIII-2 will make at least one appearance via a cutscene, but it’s still unknown if he’ll return to his adult form in the end. Snow has changed somewhat as well – no longer referring to Lightning in a casual manner, but now simply as “Savior.”

The fourth and final area in the game – the Wildlands – was shown off to the audience. It’s an open forest sort of area in which Lightning can ride chocobos through. The other three previously detailed continents include: Luxerion – a city with a strong religious atmosphere where Lightning is tasked with investigating a murder. Two play styles are offered here, which the team labels “Detective” and “Tracking.” The Detective part offers a peaceful style of play, while the Tracking part offers a more stealth-based play style. The Dead Dunes is a large desert, and as one might expect, not an area with a lot of buildings or structures. But it’s not just a bunch of sand – the idea was to create a desert that felt realistic. Buried within the sand are ruins and relics along with terribly strong monsters. In the pleasure city of Yusnaan resides the Patron, Snow. There are various points of interest here, but you’ll need to make use of the time limit with great caution here.

As previously detailed, the collaborative costumes from Final Fantasy VII, X and XIV will feature unique sets of victory poses as well as their own victory themes. Color customization will be available on these outfits as well for those wanting to change the look of Cloud’s SOLDIER uniform, however weapons and shields will not have the ability to be pallet swapped. Lightning will also be able to obtain Yuna’s summoner garb – which was initially revealed at E3 and will likely be a part of Square Enix’s Go There campaign.

For those that still have save files from Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, you’ll unlock Lightning’s outfits from each respective game automatically.

Lightning’s other costumes will be available through quests or purchased at a shop, while some abilities can be gathered through enemy drops. Unlike the previous two games, many shops will appear. As time passes in the game, the product line-up available in these shops will change. There are over 100 types of shops. Lightning will only be able to hold six items at the start of the game, but this will increase as you progress.

Initially the range of items available will be limited but it’ll increase as the story progresses – the same can also be said for the number of inventory slots available to Lightning, with only six at the start. She’ll also be able to wear a variety of accessories including necklaces, earings, mascot items (such as XIII-2’s Mog) and glasses. Equipping the right setup is key – by using the right configuration of equipment, the game’s final boss can be felled in under 50 seconds. Players more interested in a less action-based approach need not worry – Lightning can be stacked more on the defensive side of things which will eliminate the need to reply on Guard and Evade tactics.

There are some enemies that even the most skilled test players have referred to as “impossible.” Up until now, Square Enix has talked about the possibilities of New Game Plus, but this is the first time they’ve discussed the optional areas to explore after you technically completed the game. The difficulty level of the enemies in these areas is still being adjusted.

Lastly, the staff took some Q&A time to answer fan questions – one in particular curious if Lightning’s bust size had really increased as indicated in a Japanese interview at E3. It’s true, according to Toriyama and her bust size will actually change depending on the type of Schema she is wearing. The rest of the Q&A is translated as follows:

Q1: I think that one of Lightning`s most attractive features is her armpit. Is there a costume that will show off this part of her when she does her victory pose?
A1: Something that shows off her armpit..? Well, there are some revealing sets of costumes. I’m sure you’ll enjoy those.

Q2: On the shop’s accessory screens, I didn’t see any earrings or other small items that looked like they could be equipped…
A2: We’re still at a point where there’s time to make adjustments. We’ll look into that.

Q3: Will there be an arena-like area like there was in Final Fantasy XIII-2?
A3: Yes. There will be an area where you can fight strong monsters.

Q4: I know you said there will be a time system in this game, but will there be an item like the Excalibur II from Final Fantasy IX that you can only obtain at one specific time in the game?
A4: There won’t be anything specifically like that, but you will be using the time system a lot over the course of the game. For example, there will be quests that you must clear within a time limit, items that you can only buy during the first half of the game, and some shop characters that you can only run into once in a while. The world you play within will be constantly changing.

Q5: Will you be able to customize the weapon and shield colors?
A5: This won’t be a feature, but there will be a large number of each to collect. There will be about 70 or 80 swords, and the number of shields is only a few less than this, so there will be lots of combinations to play with.

Q6: Will there be mini-games?
A6: There aren’t really going to be simple card-based mini-games, but there will be mini-game-like ways to clear certain stages of the continental quests.

Q7: Why is Hope a young boy?
A7: As of now, thanks to the power of the gods Hope has been returned to the form of a young boy.

Q8: Final Fantasy XIII-2 featured multiple endings – how about this game?
A8: This is the last installment in the Lightning Saga, so there is only one ending. Outside of this, if you fail to save the world, of course it’s game over, and the New Game Plus feature will allow you to explore new areas of the world after completing the game.

Q9: In Final Fantasy XIII there were small jokes, like when you shook the controller Lightning’s eyes would roll. Is there anything like that in this game?
A9: I don’t think so, unfortunately. But if you move Lightning toward walls and pull her back away from them at the last minute, she will launch herself away from them. Depending on the costume she’s wearing, her ‘launch pose’ will change, so we hope you’ll have fun with that.

Q10: Are there any plans to use DLC in combination with the costumes?
A10: This hasn’t been decided yet. However, I think that you’ll be able to enjoy the entire game from the disc you purchase at the store.

Q11: Will Hope be fighting alongside Lightning?
A11: We have only two weeks left for development, but we’re considering it (laughs). Hope is so supportive to Lightning…

Q12: I really like Moogles and Chocobos. How many kinds of each will there be?
A12: There will be some Chocobos you haven’t seen before! But we ask that you please wait for our follow-up report.

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  • Sapientia

    I’m looking forward to changing the colors on Lightning’s XIII uniform to match Amano’s original design where her outfit is more of a black/white palette.
    So many choices~!

  • Sapientia

    Also looks somewhat similar to what the AKB48 member designed for Serah’s Style & Steel (that IS what it’s called, right?) outfit, the shield.

  • Sapientia

    Yeah, but, but…!
    Lightning Returns has SUGOI ATB!
    I don’t even remember if that’s what it was called. xD

  • Ehren Rivers

    Something like that, yeah. In English it would be “Amazing ATB”, or “Double ATB” (AATB).

  • Ehren Rivers

    It does a little, yeah. Not similar enough to be mistaken in-game from what I can see, but certainly close.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Black and white will certainly fit with the aesthetics of Luxerion. Personally, most of my outfits for her will be all dark purples and greens and golds.

  • Alexis Crockett

    If Square left an open box for people to comment in, the majority of questions would be ‘Why do your iOS games cost so much’, ‘When is Final Fantasy [insert number here] coming out’, ‘pls send me vidya gaem’ etc..

    It’s better to do it in person because there’s crowd control and you can see everyone, so the confidence and recklessness found in anonymity is lost.

  • Sapientia

    So…you don’t hate her character?

  • Sapientia

    Is someone planning on importing…? :P

  • Sapientia

    I know, right?! I don’t even think some of that has ever even been shown…I want all of those character art panels…UGH, I WANT TO WORK AT SE.

  • Ehren Rivers

    Sadly no, I don’t have the cash for that. However, I’m curious to see if there’s something new we could learn about the controls from that little guide. :)

  • Sapientia

    By the time February 11th comes around, I’ll have spent about $200 on the JP version and the English (I’ve been saving since the announcement last year lol)…holy crap, I can’t wait until the day when an FF releases simultaneously internationally.

  • Erren Van Duine

    Final Fantasy XIV.

  • Sapientia

    Sorry, should’ve said “that I plan on buying.” I probably won’t pick up XIV for awhile, but I didn’t know it was releasing simultaneously. Ya learn something every day.

  • Stealth

    Its how I felt but your right lol

  • Stealth

    not 100%

  • M. Ziab

    Yeah, if you actually said why you disliked her and elaborated a little more, perhaps people might understand your opinion and accept it. They may not agree, but if you didn’t just ‘hate’ on her, and gave an honest opinion, people might listen. Seems like you didn’t like the voice actor in the English version?

  • Anime10121

    I think it is still the Amazing Time Battle system :P

    and I’m definitely looking forward to it, but I still dont see anything topping IX as my all around fave :P

  • Anime10121

    Well said, alot of the connections you mentioned I didnt even think about, mainly because of the (barring II and IV) lack of focus on story/plot in the first five. Also, I’m not one to ride the hype chain of VII either, I like it, but its definitely the worst of the PSX games to me, to much Shounen Jump in my Final Fantasy for me. Dont get me wrong, I love a lot of Jump, but in my FF, I want something a little different.

  • Anime10121

    IX had so many fine touches that it’s just uncanny, tis why it will take something amazing to dethrone it from my top FF.

  • Sapientia

    Kind of random, but do you guys send questions as part of NovaCrystallis, or is Erren uber-special and has these interviews? I’ve always been curious.

  • Sapientia

    I’ve never played IX. *shame*
    Eventually, though, eventually. Something particularly special about it, though (not that every FF ISN’T special)? I hear nothing but goods things. :)

  • Sapientia

    Speaking of chocobo adventures, I’d like a fun easter egg where if you press a number of button combinations, Lightning can do various moves on the chocobo, like stand up with her sword, or hang off the side, kickstart it and go zooming like hell…if anyone didn’t notice, I have a fetish for SotC. :P
    One question for Ehren though…is the chocobo thing going to be like XIII, where the chocobo has a morale type of mechanic and will buck you off, or in XIII-2 where enemies simply don’t appear on the field? Either way, I’d like for enemies to appear even on a chocobo…I’m just imagining a scenario where in an epic chase scene, Lightning is running away from something on a chocobo and is forced to the edge of a cliff in the Wildlands, jumps like a badass, and then immediately starts into another battle! 8D
    Sorry for my antics~~

  • Ehren Rivers

    To my knowledge it’s part of Nova Crystallis? :P

  • Ehren Rivers

    Oh, Shadow of the Colossus. My life would be fantastic if there was more of that.

    Noooo idea. We actually haven’t gotten any information about the Chocobo mechanics to my knowledge.

  • Sapientia

    Darn. Fingers crossed, but maybe it’s better they put others things ahead of a chocobo circus, priority-wise. A girl can dream, anyway.
    And I take it you enjoyed SotC? I hope this isn’t too off-topic from the page, but there’s no forum to simply chat. ;)

  • Ehren Rivers

    Hahaha, well we’ll put articles up pretty much as soon as we get the info.

    And it’s a little off-topic so we should prooobably stop, but. Well, I suppose we’ll see what the future holds.

  • Anime10121

    The whole game’s special, it oozes a mix of charm, cuteness, fantasy, and nostalgia all mixed in one. It has imo one of the best OST’s ever created by Uematsu, as evident here Here and This one (which in its placement in the game is REALLY awesome) and and finally this, one of my favorite FF tracks !

    The Chocobo game is the best yet imo, and its extremely useful in obtaining weapons, accessories, items and more. The moogles have a quirky little minigame that’s actually quite broad. It houses one of the strongest (physically and character-wise) female characters in the series in Beatrix. It has Black Mages :D The design of the world itself is beautiful and colorful. Its steampunk and a departure from all the Sci Fi SE has been into since VII.

    Its just a fantastic FF and I really thoroughly enjoyed it (its the one FF I try to play EVERY year)! Hopefully when you play it, you’ll feel the same :)

  • Storm
  • Ksar
  • M. Ziab

    I agree with Anime. You should play the game!

    FFIX is special to me. It feels like a ‘Final Fantasy’ to me. The game offers an incredible degree of biodiversity, enchanting areas (I can’t think of ANY single place I don’t like), and encaptivating music! I’m not kidding; every single place feels like a world of it’s own. It’s also hilarious! I love the character development.

    In my opinion, the best thing about the game is the amount and type of side quests.. It’s just full of them (A LOT are missables). It shares this with other FF’s such as VII, X, and VIII.

  • Matthew Barnes

    So then why is she still alive? -_-….

  • Ehren Rivers

    She’s not. People still worship Etro, but she’s not around anymore.

    The only mention of Etro’s fate that could be construed as her surviving came with a question regarding the Eidolons and the possibility of summons. The translator said “When Etro lost her power” the Eidolons also did and that they don’t exist the way they did before. The line would have been more accurately translated as “When Etro’s power faded”, which is a world of difference. Etro died, her power (and that of the Heart of Chaos) faded away from the world, and the Eidolons lost their powers. It’s not even confirmed that they’re still alive, just that they “no longer exist in the form they did”. They could easily be weapons, shields, accessories, or Schema/Garb for Lightning to collect now.

  • Sapientia

    I hope so. I finished Final Fantasy I a few weeks ago (Android remake) and just started XII over summer, but I’ll get around to it. I’m a noob to the series. xD

  • Sapientia

    I’m kind of expecting some sort of sacrifice on Lumina’s part to bring back Serah (far-fetched, but it could happen) and she and Lightning fight the final boss together, alone. Now THAT would be, just…badass.

  • Anime10121

    Oh, well boy are you in for a treat! I wholeheartedly recommend these entries in no particular order after your run in with XII!

    IX
    VIII
    IV
    VI
    X
    X-2
    Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII

    Cheers and have fun :)

  • Sapientia

    Well, I shouldn’t say “noob” exactly. My first FF was XIII, but I’d been following the series since at least 2006 but never played one. I know a good amount about the series. I’ve played and completed FFI, VIII, X, X-2, XIII, XIII-2, and Type-0. XII was the one that intimidated me, as I heard it was extremely hard at times. I already screwed up my chance to get the Zodiac Spear, too. :(
    And thanks, I do and will! :D

  • Arianna

    FAL’CIE?! Someone asks about armpits, honestly?! I wish to know if we’ll get more interaction with the fal’Cie!? Seriously…

  • Mihel

    I disliked her VA as well, though she wasn’t from the USA, she’s australian.

  • Prima

    You know…that armpit question…

    That is possibly a Sass Master. In that someone might have been ballsy enough to be sarcastic and in response to that shitty bust question.

  • Zerox20

    hmm..

  • Hope Fantasy

    I really want to see the group get together XD been long for them and I mean LOOONNGGG :P