As part of the European Xbox Community Network, we are able to share with you this exclusive XCN Q&A for Final Fantasy XIII-2 as answered by Motomu Toriyama, the director of FFXIII and FFXIII-2.
1. Are there any plans for Xbox exclusive downloadable content (particularly ones that expand the story)?
We plan on releasing the weapon “Azrael” for Serah and a set of Gamer Icons as Xbox exclusive DLC. Please download them.
2. How many playable characters will there be in Final Fantasy XIII-2?
The opening battle sees you controlling Lightning as an introduction to the story. This is an all new kind of battle scene that really aims to show how awesome Lightning and the major villain of the game, Caius, both are. After that, the player will control the main protagonists of the game: Serah and Noel. The main cast from the original FFXIII will also appear throughout the time travel episodes in various guises. In addition, this title allows for you to recruit over 150 different types of monster as allies to fight for you in battle. Each monster has a specific role assigned to it in combat, with unique abilities allowing for even greater character development options and tactical freedom than the original, right from the start.
3. What graphical improvements should we look out for (compared to Final Fantasy XIII)?
In the original FFXIII we made the characters expressions a top priority and put great effort into rendering facial animation. These rich and varied character expressions have, of course, been maintained in the sequel. We have managed to make improvements on the graphics side though, such as realistically recreating weather and atmospheric background effects, and the way the world changes between time periods.
4. When “Fabula Nova Crystallis” was announced, SQUARE ENIX said that every game (FFXIII- VERSUS XIII – AGITO a.k.a TYPE-0) was meant to be “the past, the present and the future” of the same game universe. Since then, very few details about this project have been unfold; will FFXIII-2 reveal more information about this (and maybe about FFXIII-VERSUS) because of his time-travelling nature?
The games in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series all share the Crystal Legend as a mythology behind the worlds they take place in. The key words of “future” and “present” etc are concepts and motifs for the design and atmosphere of these worlds, but it does not necessarily follow that they all share the same timeline. The time travel in the world of FFXIII only involves travel on the timeline of FFXIII and does not show times or places shared with the other titles in the series. Having said that, the story of FFXIII-2 is a new tale connected to the goddess of death known as Etro, and so will undoubtedly reveal part of the legend.
5. Will we finally know if Serah and Snow will get married?
The story in FFXIII-2 does carry on from the ending of FFXIII, but takes a mysterious turn as the Lightning who should have existed at that time disappears. Snow feels responsibility for Lightning not being there, and puts his marriage to Serah on hold to set off on a journey. If he manages to see Lightning again, then their relationship might well return to how it was, but you can look forward to seeing a new relationship in Serah’s journey through time.
6. Will the ability to control creatures change our approach to fights?
You can recruit over 150 different types of monster. Each one has a very individualistic role in combat set for it, and the way they grow and develop can be changed too; depending on the items the player feeds it, or the skills they transfer from other monsters. The Paradigm Shift system has also been altered to allow for further fine tuning, really enhancing the tactical aspects of combat over the original game. As an example, the Sentinel role from the first game that was quite hard to use has had its abilities adjusted and is now an essential one for the boss battles.
7. Who’s your favourite Final Fantasy XIII–2 character, and why?
I like Serah, one of the main protagonists in this title. In the previous game Serah’s role was largely that of being protected by Lightning and Snow, but in the sequel she has set off on a journey through time of her own volition, in order to search for Lightning. I hope players will pay attention to how Serah grows and develops as a person, seeing the warmth from the other characters who watch over her, and how she becomes stronger while being supported by them.
8. With Diablo 3 on the horizon and people still playing Skyrim RPG’s are huge at the moment. How will Final Fantasy XIII – 2 stand out from the crowd?
I am currently enjoying playing Skyrim myself and it is an amazing title. This entry in the series has really improved on the finish and quality as an open world type RPG. With RPG titles made outside Japan currently being very successful, I firmly believe that the Final Fantasy series can be enjoyed by players around the world, as it holds up one half of the genre. In FFXIII-2 we have completely done away with the linear gameplay of the original that received such a mixed reception, and come up with the concept of making the whole experience player driven, allowing the player to proceed freely through the game at their own pace. The gameplay revolves around the freedom of jumping between many different times and places; allowing for casual play by just following the main story to its conclusion, while also offering content to satisfy core gamers with multiple side quests, deep challenges and numerous things to collect.
9. Can you tell us any more about your plans and projects due to release after Final Fantasy XIII-2?
We have made many sets of downloadable content that further expand the world of FFXIII-2. This includes not only the boss monster fights in the coliseum and alternative character costumes that have been announced so far, but also includes the kind of rich story episodes that people expect of Final Fantasy. Please look out for further information.
10. Lastly, do you have any amusing anecdotes from development to share with us?
In this title the character Chocolina, a sexy lady in a Chocobo costume, appears in many different places to fulfil the role of shops. She is a fun character with a Latino vibe and has been put in to provide a break from the rather serious tone of the main story. I would be very happy if players could talk to her a lot and become Chocolina fans!
ThisisXbox.com would like to thank the XCN and Motomu Toriyama.