Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII features an "amazing Active Time Battle" system

Some more Lightning Returns details have leaked out following this week’s Japanese magazine release.

A few bits and pieces of this we already know, such as Lightning’s new costume design being drawn up by Tetsuya Nomura. Lightning will also have access to other outfits, including the ability to change colors.

Given that the game’s core concepts revolve around time, time itself will always be moving forward on the field except for when you’re messing about in menus. To create an even more living environment, NPCs will often change their location and well as their movements. Time also factors into information gathering – there’s only specific times when you’ll be able to find key clues throughout various locations.

In FFXIII, each day actually consisted of 26 hours but due to the effects of Chaos, the time for each day has been shortened to 24 hours much like our own world. As we know, time in LRFFXIII ends in 13 days, but whether or not you can continue past 13 days is still a secret. Those who play skillfully can probably clear the game within 2 to 4 days of game time. Because of this, there are many different ways to get to the game’s ending. Reaching it sooner won’t necessarily alter the ending itself, however, events that occur beforehand will provide the motivation needed to attempt multiple playthroughs.

In LRFFXIII the player controls Lightning and Lightning alone, however, the game is not an action RPG. Weapons, shields, accessories, and abilities are formed into “Styles” which can be switched out during battle. The outward appearance and performance of these Styles will enjoy a great selection of customization. The act of defeating enemies will allow Lightning to earn points which will increase available world time and items to strengthen her equipment. Unlike the previous games, however, Lightning will be limited in the number of items she’ll be able to carry.

While the name of LRFFXIII’s combat system has yet to find a name for itself, it’s tentatively being referred to as “sugoi ATB,” or rather something along the lines of “amazing ATB.” Commands can be set up and mapped to face buttons, combined with action elements such as real-time blocking and direct control over Lightning’s movement. These button presses allow the player to keep a close watch over the ATB bar itself without having to worry too much about menu selections. It’s a system that gives the impression that multiple members still take part in battle despite the reality of Lightning’s solo situation.

Monsters will appear both in and around the city. At certain times, black haze will appear in certain areas which signifies a new monster territory. Approximately half of the game’s monsters are new, so you’ll still encounter some familiar types from the previous two games.

The world of Novus Partus is said to be vast, with locations connected in a very much open world style. To travel between each of the four islands, Lightning can board a monorail or simply walk to other areas. Right now the team is working on expanding the world. They begin each section by laying out each map and then make necessary adjustments. Regarding each of the four continents, each one is being constructed one by one and the staff are now having a good time trying to conjure ways to connect them.

Those worried about possible scenario DLC after XIII-2’s cliffhanger ending, rest easy – Motomu Toriyama says that the end of this title can be experienced within one singular package. Kitase guarantees that you’ll also find satisfaction by the outcome of stories for the other FFXIII characters who don’t seem to play a big role this time around.

About the Author

Erren Van Duine As a self-professed Final Fantasy fan, Erren created Nova Crystallis in 2009 as a place to collect the latest information on her favorite series. As owner and Editor-in-Chief, she also spends her time as a freelance illustrator.