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View Full Version : [LR] Eyes on FF Exclusive Lightning Returns Preview! Part 1!



Freya
01-18-2013, 05:32 AM
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Eyes on Final Fantasy had a unique opportunity to once again be invited by Square Enix, thanks to community manager Robert Peeler, to preview another entry in the Nova Crystallis saga. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was shown to us in all its shining glory. We spoke with Producer Yoshinori Kitase and Director Motuma Toriyama for an in-depth look at this upcoming game.

In the first entry in a few series of articles about our visit, we’ll be discussing the trailer and the hands-off demo we witnessed. Combined with Toriyama and Kitase’s commentary, we had a first hand glimpse at the game and it’s new style.


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Although the trailer was leaked early, we saw the full HD version of it with details from Kitase and Toriyama. We found out that the graphics in the video are not polished as you may be able to tell. They were more focused on the gameplay than on the graphics at the moment. Hoping to have the gameplay polished first, they wanted to show the major differences of the game for the fans.

Apparently more excited than Del Murder, I started to scribble notes like crazy. They gave us our own small note books and this Editor actually ran out of paper after using the front and back of the small notebook. Even during the trailer they gave their commentary. The first thing you notice as Lightning walks of the train is the people. They went on to say that these trains are there to connect the continents. The world is living and breathing even without your involvement. Everything is very active as well as interactive. Various platforming was shown with a more dynamic camera to see your surroundings.

In the trailer there is a voice over for Hope. He was mentioned as a supporting role for Lightning. He goes on to speak of faith, divine light and teachings of god. This all gives credence to the fact that religion once again plays a big part in this new entry. As you may know Square has often dabbled with religion being the antagonist so it’s no surprise really. Not only that but Noel makes a brief appearance questioning Lightning’s validity and jumps to attack.

Then in the trailer the combat is shown. Similar to previous entries, the battles are still break away. Instead of having a menu to select your attacks as the previous entries have had, this one assigns hot keys to particular spells and abilities. This gives it an action feel to it focusing on that and your reactions instead.

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And of course her badass glasses are there, as you can see.


That’s all the general information gained from the trailer. Now though, now I get to sill juicy scoops with you. What may you ask? Well a full hands-off demo. It was clear that the demo wasn't as far along as the XIII-2 demo we had the luxury of playing last time but that was okay because it allowed me to get more notes for you guys! And let me tell you, it’s looking to be quite fun!

First off we were once again shown Lightning’s arrival. Although this time it was expanded into far more. Upon arriving, you come across a crowd gathering. Murder in the streets of Luxerion, The Divine City! As the crowd grows, suddenly a body swings down, hung from the rooftops. Scared this may be another body, it turns out to be more of a doll that looks similar to Lightning. At this point is when we’re able to see the actual game being played rather then just cinematics.

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Now you’re no longer Lightning, hero of time and all that jazz. No now you’re Lightning Holmes, the Great Detective. There have been three murders now and you have to find out whodunit! That’s where your detective skills come into play. In this extremely open world you’ll need to find clues and witnesses to help solve the mystery. Your platforming skills as well as moving your camera will help you out in these type of quests. They said there will be plenty of side quests for you to spend your time on.

Clues were found, people were talked to, and we found the culprits, somewhat anyway. A suspicious group shows up in white coats that are reminiscent of the Organization XIII uniforms in the Kingdom hearts series. You’re now no longer Lightning Holmes. You’re now Lightning Auditore Di Firenze. And by that I mean, it’s time for sneaky stealth action. The stealth isn't always used, it’s just an extra perk to help with some of the quests. Stalking your prey, you see them escape behind a gate that requires a code. Time for more searching.

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At this time thy wanted to show off some of the world for us. Unlike any other Final Fantasy game to date, the massive amount of stores is astounding. They have never had this many stores in a Final Fantasy game. They wanted the world to be that for a living and breathing sort so they made restaurants, bakeries and the like more important. To heal Lightning you have to actually visit these places to get that precious HP back. Of course there will still be potions but only for combat.

Not only will you have to visit those stores for health but other stores will be used for various things as well. One of the more important stores of the game is the ability shop. Unlike the previous entries, in Lightning Returns, you’ll be able to buy all your skills, abilities, and spells. Since Lightning is the only playable character they wanted to allow you to pick and choose exactly how you wanted to set her up and when.

The NPCs in Lightning Returns are unique themselves. With the 24 hour clock, the days progress as they should in our world. In the morning people are commuting to work. Later near lunch they are moving very differently. The world is constantly in action. Because of these time frames you may miss quests or clues. It gives you a sense of urgency as well as makes the world feel interactive. But watch out, time does still pass during those cut scenes as well. The management of time is something that will push you forward through the story.

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NPC's will react uniquely to monsters occasionally roaming the streets. As previously stated battles are still break away meaning you can still get those surprise attacks on the monsters. Those new and unique monsters they've added, that is! There are monsters completely unique to the XIII series that you'll have to change your tactics for. The ATB gauge is used for your attacks as you hit the assigned buttons for attacks. Not only does this gauge go down IN battle when you use skills but it also is used for sprinting outside of battles. The gauge slowly refuels itself over a short period of time.

“The Amazing ATB” is what Square Enix is referring to this next part. You’ll be able to shift between outfits which have skills attached to them. Each outfit has it’s on ATB bar. They all will reload as you’re using another during battle. The seamless transition between the outfits and styles was impressive.



39406Speaking of styles, that’s right guys, you CAN change that outfit. There are a number of ways that you could do this though. If you like an outfit but don’t like the colors picked, don’t you fret! You can customize near every color of Lightnings clothing. You want to be a pink power ranger? You go-go-ranger it up! The give you an entire color spectrum wheel. Not only that but there are various outfits and each outfit has skills and stats attached to it.

We saw a few of them such as a Viking looking style, a clown (I was getting a Kefka vibe off it), Serah-ish one, and get this, a full formal elegant dress. Yes. Lightning looked like she was going to prom. Not only can you change the outfits but you can mix match all the weapons and shields to fit your needs, or just your stylistic choices if you want. Every outfit has something unique to it.

When in combat you'll only have a choice between three outfits at a time, each with their own skills. They didn't want to completely change the battle system so if you're used to the strategy you used before then you will really enjoy the new stagger system, referred to as “knock down”. The battle has really been enhanced. Not only are you able to freely move around and counter a monster at certain times for weakness due to your timing, but you also get to be doing it with style! They've been diligently working on completely upgrading the visuals of combat. This means spells and the like!

They then showed us the various locations. In the world of Lightning Returns there consists of four continents. We were only shown three. Luxerion which is the main continent and what we saw the most off. The Wildlands which is a nature continent filled with wildlife, trees and small villages hidden without. Lastly they showed us a glimpse of the Dead Dunes, a desert continent where ruins are lurking beneath the sands.

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People stopped aging in this world and it became a “heavy burden in their hearts.” Which seems to be a tell against the plotline. The shared with us that fellow comrades may show up in your journey. They introduced us to a new character, Lumina. Although her appearance is very similar to Serah's we were told she is a separate "more playful" character. Hope is playing a supporting role, directing Lightning from above, essentially. The last character to appear from previous entries of the saga was Noel of Final Fantasy XIII-2. He fights with Lightning and referred to himself as the “Shadow Hunter”. There very well might be more from the series to make an appearance than just those few.

It all seems to have a lot to it and there was a lot more told to us through the presentation and the interviews but we’ll save that for the next entry! What are your impressions and what are you looking most forward to?

krissy
01-18-2013, 05:44 AM
cannot friggin wait

Freya
01-18-2013, 05:47 AM
It looked so awesome krissy you don't even know! You don't even! *Explodes*

DMKA
01-18-2013, 05:51 AM
Haha, dresspheres!

No but seriously, this is all sounding great so far and I'm getting really hyped for it now. It's sounding like it's going to be completely unlike any other FF experience prior, in respect to the open, constantly changing world aspect particularly. Also, I'm curious about the shops...if you actually use the shops or if there just there for aesthetic quality? And if you do indeed use the shops, why the heck is Chocolina there, or is she just a plain old NPC this time around? Hmm.

My biggest concern still, however, is how long the game will actually be, with the whole limited time aspect of it.

But yeah, I'm really excited!

Del Murder
01-18-2013, 06:03 AM
My biggest concern still, however, is how long the game will actually be, with the whole limited time aspect of it.
The developers said it will require multiple playthroughs to fully complete. It sounds like it will have a Majora's Mask quality to it in that you will experience each part of the world in one 'game' period with multiple playthroughs necessary to see and experience everything.

chionos
01-18-2013, 06:15 AM
The world is living and breathing even without your involvement. Everything is very active as well as interactive. Various platforming was shown with a more dynamic camera to see your surroundings.

May seem like a small thing, but if this were the only thing they changed/added I would be excited. My primary gripe with FFXIII from the get-go was that the world felt linear, and all of the beauty that could be seen in cut-scenes and in the background were just so distant when you're actually running around. But not so here: looks/sounds pretty amazing.

I'm not a big fan of the changing outfits mechanic in games, but if they implement it well, and it's not just a gimmick, I'll bite.


The NPC’s in Lightning Returns are unique themselves. With the 24 hour clock, the days progress as they should in our world. In the morning people are commuting to work. Later near lunch they are moving very differently. The world is constantly in action. Because of these timeframes you may miss quests or clues. It gives you a sense of urgency as well as makes the world feel interactive.

Sounds interesting.



Now, is this supposed to be a full-fledged sequel or a spin-off like DoC was for FFVII?

Lone Wolf Leonhart
01-18-2013, 06:44 AM
Really hyped for this game!

Very interesting to hear about a new character and how unique and enriching the environment is. Glad to see Noel in that trailer as well as hearing Hope's voice.

Definitely a day one purchase, for sure. :cool:

Varnis
01-18-2013, 07:07 AM
Can't wait for this, Hopefully this game fixes what I disliked about XIII-2 :P

Freya
01-18-2013, 07:13 AM
In the next article, we'll go into some of the details Kitase and Toriyama shared. Why they chose to do what they did and it's actually really fan/player driven for a lot of the reasons.

black orb
01-18-2013, 07:36 AM
>>> Atleast good old Lightning still looking hot even in that horrible outfit..:luca:

I wonder why the people of SE want to give her a penis that badly..

Formalhaut
01-18-2013, 08:04 AM
great article!

krissy
01-18-2013, 08:21 AM
YOU CAN DRESS UP LIGHTNING?!!

COME

ON

AND JUST

TAKE MY WALLET OUT O FMY HANDS

KH-Cloudy
01-18-2013, 10:07 AM
Seems very intriguing! Looking forward to it :)

Shauna
01-18-2013, 11:59 AM
Oh man. Sounds exciting. Looking forward to it! :D

maybee
01-18-2013, 12:06 PM
It's really odd how SE makes their main females so masculine and their main males so feminine. :ffvilaugh:

Formalhaut
01-18-2013, 01:02 PM
It's really odd how SE makes their main females so masculine and their main males so feminine. :ffvilaugh:

So your calling Snow feminine?

Aulayna
01-18-2013, 06:36 PM
My biggest concern still, however, is how long the game will actually be, with the whole limited time aspect of it.
The developers said it will require multiple playthroughs to fully complete. It sounds like it will have a Majora's Mask quality to it in that you will experience each part of the world in one 'game' period with multiple playthroughs necessary to see and experience everything.

Considering Majora's Mask is one of my favourite games of all time - if it's anything like that with just as much impact within the game world then it should be gooooood.

Red Mage Coffman
01-18-2013, 06:49 PM
Majora's Mask X Final Fantasy = LIGHTNING RETURNS.

I have SUCH high hopes for this game. I literally cannot wait to shove my money down their throats.

Formalhaut
01-18-2013, 07:25 PM
If the time element is well thought and there are actual consequences for your actions, then I'm sold.

Del Murder
01-18-2013, 08:28 PM
I was a skeptic going into this event, but I thought a lot of the things in this game were really cool. The multiple ATB bars looks really fun and I definitely appreciate a lot of customization details. The different continents also intrigued me, and the Majora's Mask aspect of the time clock got me excited.

Really, the only thing that is holding this game back for me is that it's based in FFXIII. I really wish this was just presented as a new IP. But Square REALLY loves Lightning. Really. You could see the glow in Kitase's eyes every time he mentioned her name.

Raistlin
01-18-2013, 09:41 PM
I really wish this was just presented as a new IP. But Square REALLY loves Lightning. Really. You could see the glow in Kitase's eyes every time he mentioned her name.

I agree, and I really don't understand SE's obsession with Lightning.

The game continues to intrigue me, though I remain cautious. But the new details in this article are very interesting. How long in real time is an in-game day?

Del Murder
01-18-2013, 10:15 PM
Well, the dude was playing for about 5-10 minutes and I think 1 in game hour passed. So possibly 1 day = 1 hour, which is typically how these things go.

LadyJuxtaposition
01-19-2013, 01:17 AM
The features and the graphics the game provided are amazing, so very different and unusual for a Final Fantasy based game. The extented trailer is so much better than the shorter verison! It feels like I'm previewing a fantasy-action-packed movie! :D

Formalhaut
01-19-2013, 06:18 PM
I really wish this was just presented as a new IP. But Square REALLY loves Lightning. Really. You could see the glow in Kitase's eyes every time he mentioned her name.

I agree, and I really don't understand SE's obsession with Lightning.

The game continues to intrigue me, though I remain cautious. But the new details in this article are very interesting. How long in real time is an in-game day?

I think people have to come into the game without XIII in mind. I don't know why, but I feel this game looks far removed from XIII and XIII-2. It looks deeper, more dystopian, more dark. Lightning looks very mature and I feel this game could very well help buoy up the weaknesses in it's two sister games.

krissy
01-19-2013, 06:38 PM
http://home.eyesonff.com/attachments/lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/39405d1358481966-eyes-final-fantasy-exclusive-lightning-returns-preview-part-1-luxerion.jpg

check out the YOLO graffiti on the wall on the right haha

NinjaCoachZ
01-20-2013, 12:08 AM
This... sounds... AWWWEEEESSSOOOOOMMMMEEEEEE.

yukina
01-20-2013, 04:24 AM
Looks interesting so far! I need to finish FFXIII-2 now haha. But yeah, SE's pretty much milking FFXIII and Lightning for all they're worth :/

Formalhaut
01-20-2013, 01:53 PM
Looks interesting so far! I need to finish FFXIII-2 now haha. But yeah, SE's pretty much milking FFXIII and Lightning for all they're worth :/

I do agree.

I mean, I know people call Lightning a cow, but Square-Enix took that too far.

Bolivar
01-24-2013, 05:00 AM
Del I just wanted to say thanks to you and the staff for going out and sharing these sneak-peek goodies with all of us. I know you guys probably enjoy getting treated, but even still, I really appreciate it.

JaymeNoel
01-26-2013, 11:58 PM
It's really odd how SE makes their main females so masculine and their main males so feminine. :ffvilaugh:

Eh? I never quite understood how some people thought Lightning was masculine? And really, I disagree as a whole. Look at any of the Star Ocean female protagonists. Then Ashe, Tifa, etc.. None of them are masculine.

Formalhaut
01-27-2013, 01:27 AM
It's really odd how SE makes their main females so masculine and their main males so feminine. :ffvilaugh:

Eh? I never quite understood how some people thought Lightning was masculine? And really, I disagree as a whole. Look at any of the Star Ocean female protagonists. Then Ashe, Tifa, etc.. None of them are masculine.

I guess what she meant was that they had a steely, determined personality. I agree with you thought Jayme. I think the characters you mentioned certainly had a determined, take no s**t attitude, but they still were identifiably feminine in appearance. Tifa, for obvious reasons, but Lightning certainly doesn't dress in a masculine way, she shows abit of leg with her outfit, and even Ashe doesn't exactly dress like a nun.

I do sort of see Maybee's point about the main character males being feminine, but only to a point. Famous examples include XIII's Hope Estheim, X's Tidus and VIII's Squall, sort of. Definitely with Hope, be it through his whinyness or tendency to have a slightly high voice, he definitely have some feminine qualities. Tidus and Squall appear masculine, but they have some elements of femininity. However, this isn't the rule. Cloud is definitely quite masculine, Auron is badass, even Snow is the "hero".

Del Murder
01-27-2013, 06:30 PM
Wow, so being whiny is feminine and being the 'hero' is masculine? You might get into some trouble with that one, bro. I don't think Hope was feminine at all. His 'feminine' qualities as you put it are just part of being a kid.

Lightning's cold emotionlessness is probably her most stereotypical 'masculine' quality. Her body/face design are certainly not that masculine.

Raistlin
01-27-2013, 06:59 PM
I agree with Del entirely. There was nothing particularly feminine about Hope, unless you consider "not being a cold, physically strong badass" to be feminine. He was a whiny little kid, sure, but kids whine.

Lightning's calm, mostly emotionless personality is only "masculine" due to how stereotypically feminine most female characters have been. I'm glad SE has started getting away from that.