Mike Salbato
Square Enix Announces Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
The final entry in Lightning's saga.
09.01.12 - 12:05 AM

Square Enix just hosted a presentation in Japan in which they announced the final chapter of Final Fantasy XIII's heroine, Lightning. The company took care in confirming the upcoming title would not be a mobile or social game, but a full-fledged console title. Releasing in 2013 and titled Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the PS3/Xbox 360 game is meant to showcase Lightning's speed and abilities more than the previous games, with a focus on 'button response.' We don't know yet if that means the title will be more akin to an action RPG, though that's how it sounds. Lightning - the game's sole playable character - will be able to hang from ledges, hide behind corners and perform real-time actions in battle, such as moving about the field and blocking attacks. The battle system is said to still be based on that of the first two games, though modified and updated with these direct-control elements.

Lightning Returns is set in a new area named Novus Partus, hundreds of years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2, with a new story and characters (maybe that goes without saying). According to Square Enix, the art direction is based on three main themes: gothic, mechanical and fantasy.

A "bookend" to Final Fantasy XIII's tale of the 13 days that started it all, Lightning Returns tells the story of the world's final 13 days. Time is a major gameplay component as, like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a clock is always ticking down to doomsday. Certain actions will expend more time, such as traveling between locations via monorail, and special abilities in battle. You can still retry difficult battles if you die, though doing so will use up a portion of your time left.

Lightning herself will be able to be heavily customized. Not only can she be outfitted with a variety of weapons, but she'll have a multitude of costumes - Square Enix didn't disclose a number, except to suggest it's far more than a handful of outfits (as we saw in Final Fantasy XIII-2), as it seems to be a major feature of the game.

That's about all we know for now, besides the fact that Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will release for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. I do have a few important links that you'll really want to click though! We have a gallery up with the game's first concept art, and links to the official sites and Facebook page. See all these below. And of course, we'll be reporting any new developments as well.