Lightning Returns Demo & Interview

June 12th, 2013 by Tony Garsow

At this week’s E3 in Los Angeles, Famitsu sat down with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Motomu Toriyama for an interview about the upcoming finale to the XIII trilogy. The demo is currently playable at the Square Enix booth as per the video above. Around fifteen minutes in length, the demo involves a pursuit to catch Snow in the city of Yusnaan and an encounter with Lumina.

The city of Yusnaan is very important to the crumbling world of Nova Chrysallia, and so is Snow Villiers. He has become a l’Cie again, and is charged with protecting the fal’Cie responsible for keeping the world together in its final days. By this task, he has become the de facto leader of Yusnaan. While he has become a l’Cie, it seems he is struggling with his desire to reunite with Serah, perhaps even in death. However, his obligations to the fal’Cie via his Focus may prevent him from doing anything rash. The axe he wields is covered in ice, and is meant to convey his change to a more harsh and serious character.

Yusnaan is a different place than Luxerion, and not only in appearance. While the people of Luxerion quietly wait until the end of the world, the citizens of Yusnaan celebrate with decadent parties as the fal’Cie has my resources to provide. The two cities represent different mindsets when it comes to the end. Yusnaan is inspired by a mix of Renaissance and middle-Eastern cultures.

Lightning starts her journey in Yusnaan as the opening cinematic of the game concludes. However, the game is being designed in an open-world fashion in which the player does not have to progress through the story in a linear fashion. Toriyama refers to parts of the game as “Episodes”.

Since Lightning Returns will have one playable character, the team has redone many abilities so that they will feel fresh for those who have played the previous two games. Famitsu remarked that “Blizzara” in particular looked great. Enemies will have vulnerabilites that Lightning can exploit such as Zaltys (the boss in the demo) having a weakness to electricity. Use Thunder or Electric Slash enough and you’ll build up the Stagger Wave and ultimately break the enemy’s defenses.

There are special enemies in Lightning Returns known as “Accent Monsters” in which your performance can be added to an online leaderboard and shared/compared with your friends. The same criteria for getting a five-star battle in previous Final Fantasy XIII games will come into account here.

Lightning’s equipment sets called Schemata can be switched in and out in battle. Each one will have a unique victory pose, as seen in the video above. There re about eighty different Schemata that Lightning can wear.

You will not recover HP after battle, so you must use your restorative items wisely. You can also dine in towns to recover health or stay at an inn, but sometimes travel conditions might hamper your ability to get back to town. This kind of gameplay will challenge players and force them to proceed cautiously, and Kitase made a comparison to the feeling you get when playing Dark Souls.

The team wants to express that the game will allow a great sense of freedom, and after the tutorial section in Yusnaan, you’ll be able to venture off in any direction you please. Different quests in the game will happen at different times, and Kitase mentioned that Hope will have missions for Lightning at 6:00am every day to save the souls of people in the world and will increase the time left before doomsday. You start out Lightning Returns with seven days remaining, but this can be increased through Lightning’s actions to a maximum of thirteen.

Kitase says that downloadable content is not yet decided, but with regard to the story, it will be entirely contained within the game you purchase. The scale of Lightning Returns is larger than you might expect, and the team is trying to push the PlayStation 3 to its limits.

Via: Famtisu
Video: GameXplain

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  • alexsam

    Yeah, cause remembering to buy enough potions for your travels is so challenging! Seriously, they make the “no healing after the battle” thing sound like such an innovation, you’d think they were referring to a bunch of 5-year-olds!

  • Daniel Masterson

    I am very excited for this and FF XIV and FF XV and FF X HD remaster and KH III. Lots of stuff to finally look forward to from SE.

  • AnimaMagna

    That’s a nice demo, though it would be nice to hear the dialogue. And did they really say eighty?! WOW! As that little titbit about the fal’Cie still being around.. Wow, big bombshell dropped!

  • anonymous

    @alexsam

    It is especially challenging if gil is hard to come by. And the time limit means you can’t grind/farm as much as you want either.

    This certainly is an innovation for the XIII series since the precious two games lacked this type of resource management.

  • anonymous

    @anonymous

    I mean previous*

  • Ehren Rivers

    More importantly than what anonymous said, though, this is a game with only ONE character. In the PS1 era games, for example, you had 3-4 people on your team so losing one person wasn’t necessarily a problem. You could bring them back with Phoenix Down. Here, though, Not having the cash to buy what you need, or the time to get back to town should you forget to restock, could much more quickly lead you to a gameover. The team mentioned the possibility of Lightning being able to ‘perform a miracle’ and cast Arise on herself when she dies, but the idea was that it would cost you a sizeable chunk of time. I believe the figure then was around 100 minutes, which is almost two days of in-game time now.

    I don’t think it’s anything to sneeze at, and Final Fantasy fans may not necessarily be used to such a system anymore. There are plenty of people who started with XII or the XIII games, for example. You didn’t heal after battle in XII, but you could continue to switch party members out in that game until your entire party was dead before you hit a game over. This is considerably more forgiving than even XIII, where you game over just from the character you’re controlling hitting 0 HP.

    It may not be an innovation, but it’s worth stressing to make sure people realize.

  • rattyinc

    ” Kitase made a comparison to the feeling you get when playing Dark Souls.”
    WHUT!?? difficulty of FF won’t even come close to Dark souls, although having said that, if FF had a learning system such as dark souls it would be great. Punish players for being fool-hardy and jumping into battles unprepared. We’ll just need to wait till it’s out.

  • alexsam

    XII was much more annoying and difficult than XIII, simply because of all those darn status ailments! If I never hear the words Disable, Immobilize or Sap again I’ll die a happy man! But seriously, time management might be a crucial element in this game but when all else fails just shift to a white mage schema, use a Curaga on yourself and you’ll be fine. There’s no MP in these games so what’s so hard about that?

  • Ehren Rivers

    Perhaps for you, it was. It never gave me any troubles, except in fighting the higher-up Espers and Hunts.

    And no, you can’t do that. Do you know anything about this game at all? It was confirmed around launch time that you would be unable to make anything like a White Mage (very similar to the Requiem of the Goddess DLC, where you had no Medic-equivalent role), and more recently it was said that healing abilities take EP (GP in Japan) which is somehow directly tied to the remaining life of the world. Even if there is a Curaga and its EP cost isn’t too heavy (which I’m sure it will be, since they are trying to discourage magical healing), it would be like all of the other abilities in the game. That is to say, you would have to find it in a shop and buy it first. Somehow, I doubt such a spell would be found on the cheap. Potions and other outside healing are a necessity, if the picture they’re painting is accurate.

  • Jugg

    So there really is no party in this game?