A few weeks ago the website FFDream got to send someone over to Japan for a live interview with Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase about several upcoming games, including Lightning Returns. Their team got to ask seven questions about Lightning Returns, two of which were questions we all already know the answers to (Why do you only play as Lightning, is this really the last Lightning Saga game) but the rest contained some brand new information.
FFDream: Did you think of influencing the contents of Lightning Returns in comparison with the different endings of FF XIII-2?
Motomu Toriyama: I would say that the different endings of FFXIII-2 let [the player] envisage several different stories. As regards Lightning Returns: FF XIII, we approached the scenario so this one takes place by taking count only of the main ending of Final Fantasy XIII-2. However the paradox endings draw away several different stories, and it is possible that they will manifest themselves in some way in main history.
FFDream: Will the Coliseum make its comeback in Lightning Returns?
Toriyama: What I can tell you is that it will not be that of XIII-2, but another, more specific version of this episode will be present and integrated into the game.
FFDream: In January, at our last meeting, I offered you an illustration. (Note: Lightning wearing SOLDIER First Class outfit, largely inspired by FF VII) Has it been seen by your team?
Yoshinori Kitase: Once a month, about a hundred-person team working on Lightning Returns meets for planning and your illustration was presented as a gift from abroad.
FFDream: After two episodes of Pulse and Cocoon, Lightning Returns arrives in a totally different atmosphere. What was the biggest challenge in changing history with it? What were your inspirations, your influences … ?
Kitase: The theme of this game is based on the last moments of the worlds of Gran Pulse and Cocoon. The greatest challenge of this game is that the end of the world is announced to lie only thirteen days after the start of the game, so it was necessary to find a balance between the desire to save the world and this very limited time the player has to explore the world.
FFDream: Until now, all Final Fantasy had their musical themes. For Lightning Returns, what kind of music did you ask Mr. Hamauzu and his team (Suzuki-san and Mizuta-san) to create?
Toriyama: Lightning Returns marks the end of the story of Lightning, so we made several arrangements. For example, the theme “Crimson Blitz” is still based on the music “Blinded By Light” but with some modifications. I only remember having said the themes of the game were “save the world” and “the redemption of Lightning” to M.Hamauzu who then created the music according to his interpretation.
FFDream: In LR, we can only play as Lightning. Why did you choose to focus on a single character, while in other titles the story is usually told with several characters?
Kitase: In this respect, we focused attention on Lightning because we want players to understand and appreciate this character. It’s a more important way to reveal what it is and that is why we are creating a game that is dedicated to her. Until now, the battle system of Final Fantasy was based on several fighters. This system with a single fighter had not yet been tested in the series (note: Mr. Kitase forgot Crisis Core: FF VII), so we are trying to provide the greatest possible depth.
FFDream: Can you say for certain if Lightning Returns is actually the last episode of the XIII series?
Toriyama: Yes, the story will end with this new game. FFXIII-2 left a little to imagine the player’s own end of the game, whereas this time you will be entitled to a specific purpose, which will be understood by everyone.
FFDream: Is Versus XIII still a part of the ‘Fabula Nova Crystallis’ project? Will it perhaps be released on PS4?
PR Team Japan: Versus XIII is another team’s project. Unfortunately we cannot say anything about it.
FFDream: Will there be other remakes of Final Fantasy games? Final Fantasy VII, for example, is eagerly anticipated…
Kitase: It is clear that for us, FFX and FFX-2 are our first HD remasters. We know from experience that one can create a quality title if we put in the time and care necessary. Currently, it is difficult to envisage a remake of VII, however, with the experience gained through our work remastering X and X-2, we will consider more possibilities in the future…
FFDream: Are their any plans to include FFX-2’s Last Mission in the HD Remaster?
Toriyama: We will first focus on the completion of the main story. Once that is finished, we will consider additional content. The game was released over 10 years ago, so there will inevitably be people who have never played it.
FFDream: Are there any plans for a collector’s version of FFX|X-2 HD?
Kitase: At the moment, I would say that we have not yet made a decision about it. But I promise we will continue to communicate on these two games. Recently we have released a new trailer of what awaits players… and following feedback from fans, we will respond accordingly. We ask you to be patient about it.
FFDream: Bravely Default was confirmed earlier for the West. Can you tell us if you have similar plans for FF Type-0? What do you think of a HD remake, like FFX|X-2 and KH 1.5?
Kitase: Our team is not in charge of that game… sorry!