Square-Enix hosted a 25th anniversary event for the Final Fantasy franchise at Japan and PAX last weekend. The big news from the Japan event was the new announcement of a new game to be released sometime next year called Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. This is a new game in the Final Fantasy XIII storyline only starring Lightning in a new world called Novus Partus, four islands connected by monorail. This takes place hundreds of years after Final Fantasy XIII-2, which was released earlier this year to mixed receptions both by critics and fans of the franchise. The developers of this new title also want to tackle gothic, mechanical, and fantasy themes in terms of art direction. Another big twist with Lightning Returns is a doomsday clock set to thirteen days for the end of the world as it is up to Lightning to save it from complete destruction.
Since you are going to play as Lightning, will the gameplay completely change to be more of an action game? Square-Enix says that the core battle system from Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 will be the same in this new entry, but with more customization of her looks and combat style. They are also including a real-time block system for defending attacks and the ability to rewind if Lightning falls mid-battle at the cost of the doomsday timer. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be the final game for Lightning's story arc, but other stories from the XIII universe can still be told in the future like Versus XIII, which Square-Enix said recently that it will not make an appearance at this month's Tokyo Game Show. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be released sometime in 2013 for the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360. The 37 minute announcement presentation of this game is below with English subtitles featuring producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Motomu Toriyama.