A trailer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the final part of the FFXIII saga, has appeared online.

In it, we see Lightning’s new clothing design (which I must say, I’m not too fond of) as well as some interesting environment traversal and a short look at the battle system that will power the new game.

In battle, Lightning’s clothing appears to change on the fly (when a new paradigm is chosen perhaps, somewhat reminiscent of X-2‘s dresspheres?), and looking closely at the battle UI, we can see a few changes. Abilities are now laid out on the right hand side of the menu in a rough diamond pattern – much like the face buttons on a controller. This makes me wonder if it’s now possible to initiate separate abilities with each button, and from there, maybe even chain different attacks into combos. If this is the case, it should afford us more control over how we battle in Lightning Returns – I’ve always liked FFXIII‘s battle system for its pace, but a little more granular control is certainly a welcome change.

Here you can see the diamond pattern of the battle abilities.

Here you can see the diamond pattern of the battle abilities.

As I mentioned above, I’m not too fond of Light’s new look – she looks like a slightly fetish-y reworking of an Assassin’s Creed character (and that high collar is just horrible), but the way she moves around the world also seems to have taken a bit of inspiration from Ubisoft’s free-running stealth series. We see our heroine jumping up and vaulting over platforms, and using a pole to come back down to earth, and while movement doesn’t appear to be as free as in an Assassin’s Creed title, it’s certainly a welcome step up for the FFXIII series; Final Fantasy XIII and it’s sequel were always beautiful games, but interactivity with the world was limited to jumping small obstacles (automatically in the first game) and occasionally hitting a switch. Giving us more of a connection with the setting of Luxerion can only be a good thing.

The one thing we still don’t know anything about is the storyline. Sure, we know it’s set centuries after the conclusion of events in XIII-2, we know the city we see in this trailer is called Luxerion, and we know that it begins thirteen days from the end of the world. What we don’t know is why Lightning is here, and what connection (if any at all…) this has to the previous games in the XIII subseries. To me, XIII-2 felt only tangentially linked to the original game, and I fear this second sequel is going to be even further removed.

I’m most definitely intrigued by the gameplay changes I’ve seen in this trailer though, and I’ve always quite liked Lightning as a character, so I’ll certainly be picking this title up, and look forward to working out its mysteries when it’s released, sometime in 2013.

You can see the trailer below. Give it a watch and let me know in the comments what you think.