We’ve known for a while that Noel Kreiss will be returning to the third and final installment of the Final Fantasy XIII series, and today he makes his rounds on the Japanese mag circuit. In the trailers we’ve seen since now, Noel has found himself in the city of Luxerion — and not on friendly terms with the Savior. It seems that the five-hundred years that have elapsed since the end of Final Fantasy XIII-2 have taken their toll on the hunter. Noel seemingly blames himself for Etro’s death and the chaos that transpires afterward after what he labels as the “ultimate sin”. Apparently the “hunter of darkness” seeks to maintain a sense of security in Luxerion as the final days wane and that puts him at odds with Lightning, and we see the two clash in cutscene and combat.
We’ll encounter more familiar faces from the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy in Lightning Returns, including Vanille who is also in Luxerion. She has some connection to the Salvation Council, a group garbed in white that works against the Savior. Fang will return as the leader of the Monoculus bandits that scour the desert for relics, and Snow is the Focus-bound l’Cie of a fal’Cie based in Yusnaan. While the people of the city choose to live out the rest of their days with celebration, it seems that Snow has little reason to after centuries without Serah.
Sazh and his son Dajh will be found in the Wildlands, though Dajh has been asleep for the five centuries between the second game and present day. As Sazh explains, Dajh remains a sleep because his soul is no longer with him. Hope Estheim is also back, resembling his appearance in Final Fantasy XIII. This is an act of God, or Bhunivelze as he is known in the XIII universe. The same God that sends Lightning on her journey to save humanity and lead them to a new world. Hope will provide Lightning with various quests from the Ark – a place outside the realm of Nova Chysalia that is exempt from the ticking clock before the end of the world. His quests involve saving souls of humanity to restore light to Yggdrasil – a massive tree that can restore time before the end – up to a maximum of thirteen days.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII releases on November 21st in Japan, February 11th in North America, and February 14th in Europe. The game will be available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with a digital version available on PlayStation Network.