In the run-up to the February release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Square-Enix have decided to re-cap the storyline of the two previous games. Usually we’d get a cutscene compilation with a gravelly voice-over (or maybe Ali Hillis if we were lucky), but for this retrospective Square-Enix has gone the extra mile, recreating the pertinent story moments of Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 in a SNES-tastic 16-bit style, complete with reworked chiptune arrangements. See the eight-minute retelling below.

The team that worked on this video must have had a lot of fun making it, and I have to admit I laughed at a couple of places (specifically, two moments involving Caius). It’s also quite funny how they’ve condensed two games that are absolutely dripping with exposition down to under eight minutes by simply not elaborating on any of the plot points that are put forward. This one is clearly for the fans, as a newcomer wouldn’t be able to make head nor tails of what’s going on. A friend of mine made a good point: this should probably be an extra on the Lightning Returns disc, a nice little bonus for fans.

Unfortunately for anyone hoping to play through this version of the game, Square-Enix’s associate product marketing manager Mat Kishimoto told IGN that no part of the trailer was ever playable. It came about as a collaboration between teams in the US and Japan and took around six months to complete. Kishimoto makes a point of noting that no staff were pulled from creating games to make the trailer, though the idea had been approved by series producer Yoshinori Kitase. Head through the link above to get the full story.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII releases for PS3 and Xbox 360 on Valentine’s Day in Europe. Demos are currently available on each platform’s respective store.