Final Fantasy XIII-2 Update
New details and screens on the casino, Xanadu, Hope, Chocobos and more!
10.27.11 - 9:30 PM
The latest details on Final Fantasy XIII-2 come from some Japanese magazines this week including Dengeki, but thankfully, the screens we have that relate to these details are all in English.
Hope, as you might have heard, returns in XIII-2 and is 24 - ten years older than he was in FFXIII, as Serah travels in time ten years into the future to Yaschas Massif and meets him there. He's head of a research unit Academy, located (appropriately enough) in Academia - their purpose is to create a future that doesn't depend on fal'Cie. Hope's role is to research anomalies in space-time. Though he still hangs onto his boomerang, he no longer fights.
If you noticed a short blonde companion who's dressed like Hope, this is Alyssa. She's popular at Academia, and described as cheerful and charming... not that she looks terribly happy in the screenshot below.
Whereas Eden was the capital of Cocoon in Final Fantasy XIII, this time, it's Academia, pictured below. Am I the only one who thinks it looks like a city environment from Deus Ex: Human Revolution - only less gold and more colourful?
The game's Labyrinth of Time system has your party solving puzzles when shifting in between time periods. As you go through them you'll collect crystals; solving them so you can exit. With some puzzles involve numbers and clock hands, others see the floor's tiles disappear as you run through. (The disappearing tiles were in the E3 demo, if I recall.) Not all will be required to advance the main story however; the more difficult ones are a part of sidequests. Apparently, this element was put in due to fans' reaction to XIII having little in the way of dungeons.
A new area, Xanadu, is a city that floats in the sky with all kind of fun and games - namely, slot machines and Chocobo races. You'll have to buy casino coins with your own (in-game) money, but then you can use them in the slots (which are designed like areobikes) or to bet on the Chocobo races. Alternatively, you can choose to race your own Chocobo here.
Finally, according to Dengeki, Sazh will make a return. He's participating in some project to improve Gran Pulse, but without screens or more info, we'll have to learn more about his return later. For now, you can check out our gallery for the rest of the new screenshots. Final Fantasy XIII-2 releases in North America on January 31st.