In the most recent Dengeki interview, the development team discussed, among other things, the challenges of creating a system with so much varied and customizable equipment that actually appeared out of battle. TensaiShojo illuminated the bulk of the interview for us, with some interesting development reveals mixed in. Lumina, for example, is supposed to look like a 12-years-old girl. Her extravagant movements were made to look especially realistic.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Serah and Noel had alternate outfits but they were few enough for the developers to check thoroughly. However, in Lightning Returns, Lightning will have over 80 outfits and this makes it practically impossible for the developers to check every little detail. For example, if Lightning is carrying a long weapon on her back, it might occasionally go through her outfit. The developers made sure to fix major problems, like keeping her dresses and skirts from flying up while she fights. There were many times when her underwear became entirely exposed in the more revealing costumers. The Miqo’te outfit was especially difficult to fix because the skirt wouldn’t stop turning over. Despite careful adjustments, players can freely move the camera during cutscenes or when taking screenshots, so panty-shots couldn’t be eliminated entirely in those costumes.
Weapons and shields were also very difficult to alter. There is a scene where Lightning points her sword at an enemy, but depending on the size of the chosen weapon, the sword would sometimes pierce the enemy when it wasn’t supposed to. The developers did their best to scale the weapons to look natural during scenes, but some weapons like the sword you seem to obtain from a Behemoth, are hilariously huge.
Next, the creators talked about the tone of the story. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was originally planned to be a light-hearted game where fans could enjoy playing with their favorite characters again, so a few staff members were very surprised when the story took a darker tone and grew into a trilogy. The story of Lightning Returns is obviously darker in keeping with that twist, but players need not worry about the end.
The two developers were then asked about their favorite scenes. Tanaka-san likes a scene where, while sneaking into Yusnaan, Lightning gets embarrassed before she gets up on the stage. He also enjoys the entire scenario of healing the wounded chocobo. Miyake-san likes a certain scene with Sazh that was not discussed at length. The two also warn players of going through the game too fast, as some cutscenes can be easily missed. Of course, players can go back and find such scenes with multiple playthroughs.
Scenes were apparently a little harder for the development team to complete this time around. The cutscene developers had a tough time creating events because not all of the character models and background environments were complete. They had to use many placeholders and unfinished settings before they went back and polished the scenes. In Lightning Returns, all of the locations are absolutely new, so, compared to FFXIII-2, it took a longer time for the world to be created. Also, the story was not entirely complete before development began, so there were quite a few times when scenes had to be redone in order to meet Toriyama-san’s alterations. As for the character voices, in the past the voice-actors recorded their lines before any cutscenes were fully completed. The creators then used the voices as a base for the characters’ emotions and lip-movement. This time, the voice-actors recorded after the scenes were finished.