Archives for posts with tag: Final Fantasy XIII

Yesterday saw the PAL release of the final chapter in the Final Fantasy XIII subseries, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, so I spent a few hours getting to grips with the game. I’ve currently got about three hours on the game clock, so I’m not very far in, but here’s some thoughts from the opening few hours.

In those first few hours, I managed to finish the first day and it doesn’t feel like I got a lot done to be honest; I completed three or four quick fetch quests and a small part of the main quest, ‘explored’ a bit and picked up some new abilities, bought a new schema and replenished my HP at a food vendor.

So far, I’m really quite liking it (though with one rather large caveat, which I’ll touch on later). I’m a big fan of the way progression works. It’s no secret that traditional levels are out for Lightning Returns, replaced with a system of rewards for certain actions; finished a low-level side quest? Have +30 max HP. Found a treasure sphere? Here’s an equippable Thundara Lv2 spell. Ended the first day? Here’s an improved sword and shield. It might sound a bit piecemeal – and it is – but it means your character is frequently growing stronger and you’re rewarded immediately for every little thing you do.

And it’s this immediacy of character growth that I really like. Generally, to gain better stats in an RPG, you have to grind out XP until you hit a threshold and level up. Until you hit that threshold, all your XP accumulated since the last level is nothing but potential – it’s worthless until you complete that one battle that will push you over the top. In Lightning Returns, you’re constantly improving. New attacks and abilities can be found in treasure spheres throughout the world (and can be immediately equipped to your current schema), even the quickest and lowliest of fetch quests will furnish you with a stat boost, and you even get a stronger sword and shield just for finishing the first day. It feels like you’re always pushing forward, always improving your character, always getting stronger. I like that.

So far, the side quests that I’ve encountered have all been very basic fetch quests – an NPC will ask you to look for something or someone, and return to them with your objective in tow. Quest difficulty is marked with a star difficulty meter above the NPC’s head, and so far all the quests I’ve completed have been one star, so I’m guessing later, more difficult assignments will be more involved (and thus take up more of your precious time). Handing in a quest will save the giver’s soul and earn Lightning ‘Eradia’, which she can offer up to Yggdrasil (yes, the world tree of Norse mythology) at the end of the day to extend the world’s lifespan.

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But that caveat I mentioned? The time limit of course. The minutes and hours tick by very fast and it makes more considered exploration difficult. I feel like I have to be constantly sprinting everywhere, and I’m using the map that came with my limited edition guide to hunt out treasure spheres so I don’t waste any unnecessary minutes searching them out. I always like to find my own way through a game, so had been planning to use the guide for an NG+, but I find myself feeling worried that I’ll miss something big – some powerful skill or schema, perhaps – so using the map is my trade-off against that.

I also tend to take ages playing a game, as I like to slowly wander around and enjoy the scenery, panning the camera around to take in the sights. I can’t do this in Lightning Returns because it’s just wasted time. One of the reasons I play videogames (especially those with a fantasy or sci-fi aesthetic) is that I love the opportunity to explore new worlds that the medium offers. A large team of people spent hundreds of hours creating this expansive, detailed world but I feel like I can’t stop to admire the sights and sounds, or take the time to wander over to Luxerion’s enormous cathedral just to see it. It seems a shame, and I find myself wishing there was no hard time limit so I could enjoy the team’s creation at my own pace. They could even have given players an option to remove the time limit in an NG+ and I’d be happy, but as far as I’m aware that’s not the case.

It’s quite an annoying niggle at this point, but then I’ve only played a few hours – perhaps I’ll slip into a decent groove with a few more hours under my belt. But even so, I’ll never be able to slowly wander through the world, drinking it all in.

So, the tl;dr version? I really like the game, but I really don’t like the time limit. Hopefully I’ll get used to it, because I’m really enjoying the progression and battle systems and I love that Square-Enix is really experimenting with this final title in the trilogy. Personally, I think it bodes well for the future of the series as a whole.

Are you excited for Lightning Returns? No? Well I am, more so than I thought I’d be. I’ve been trying to stay away from spoilers as much as possible since its release in Japan, but I have been checking out the official trailers and such that Square Enix have been putting out, specifically the ‘Inside the Square’ three-part series that showed off a little of the behind-the-scenes work that went into it.

Today, Squenix have published an extended, all-in-one “director’s cut” of these short clips. Weighing in at half an hour, it collects all the material from the previous instalments and adds in more besides, going into detail with the developers themselves as they tell us about their creative process. We get some glimpses into the work that goes into the game, including motion capture and sound design, and get a good look at some of the impressive landscapes we’ll see in Lightning Returns. Watch the full thirty-minute doc below.

The more I see of the final part of the XIII trilogy, the more interested I become. It looks like it’s taking a leaf out of Final Fantasy XIV‘s book, for a start – every time I see footage of the Wildlands, I am instantly reminded of the La Noscea region in that game’s world of Eorzea. Experience is also handed out differently in Lightning Returns, where it’s given for completing quests rather than taking part in battle (much like XIV, where your largest XP rewards come from quests), and customisation looks far more in-depth than any other offline Final Fantasy game and more in line with something you’d expect to see in an MMO (indeed, you can even change the colours of Lightning’s garb, much as you might dye your gear in FFXIV).

Spin-offs and sequels have generally been the titles that Square-Enix have used to experiment (consider Dirge of Cerberus – a third person shooter; Crisis Core – an action RPG; Revenant Wings – an sRPG), and innovations there have often found their way into numbered titles (FFX-2‘s dressphere system inspiring XIII‘s paradigm shift system). This seems to be changing recently however, with XIII-2 being the closest thing to traditional Final Fantasy that we’ve seen in a long time and Final Fantasy Versus XIII‘s recent promotion to full numbered-series status.

At the very least, it’s encouraging to see the team experimenting with the franchise, and it’ll be interesting to see the direction Final Fantasy heads in from here.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be released on February 14th for Xbox 360 and PS3. Ten days, people!

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.

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A demo for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, next month’s conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, has gone up on Xbox Live today. A demo for PSN will land tomorrow.

The demo, weighing in at 1.13GB, apparently grants players an extra schema (an outfit that Lightning can don in battle) if you “submit your battle score” to the Outerworld service, the functionality that allows players to post to social networks. I’m intrigued to see how this works for myself, and I’m currently downloading the demo on my 360.

Hopefully it’ll be a different playable slice to the one I encountered at Eurogamer Expo a few months back. I’ll still play it if it’s the same (if only to get that extra piece of garb for the full game), but it’d be nice to have a different chunk to play through.

You can find the demo here, and I’ll update this post with some impressions once I’ve given the demo a go.

**UPDATE**

The demo is much the same as the one I played at EGX back in September (my impressions of which are linked above). There are a handful of differences, however.

Firstly, you can engage in a fair amount of customisation over Lightning; you have six schemata to choose from in the demo (including the awesome FFIV Kain-style Dragoon!), and you can choose between a number of weapons and shields for each and even plop some headgear on Lightning’s noggin – rather strangely, the ‘Dark Muse’ build comes preloaded with a beret. You can also change the colours of various elements of each garment too, which I experimented with briefly as you can see in the pic below.

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A more minor addition to this demo is the availability of a black market dealer who will sell Lightning a handful of items for her gil. These items include X-potions and other items that confer certain buffs upon use. Curiously, Lightning can only carry five items at any one time, and these slots are likely to be taken up with a handful each of X-potions and phoenix downs now that Light’s health no longer regenerates between battles. I can understand the development team wanting to keep the pace of battle up by discouraging reliance on items, but a total capacity of five seems a bit mean-spirited. Perhaps you can upgrade the number of slots as you move through the game, much as you could gain additional accessory capacity in the previous titles.

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Finally, the Outerworld service I mentioned above is available in this demo, allowing you to upload screenshots (like the one at the top of this piece) or battle results (like the image below) and post them to Facebook or Twitter. I chose Facebook and experimented with it a little. It takes quite a while to submit something to the Outerworld service (long enough that you might think it’s crashed), but you can add a personalised message and apparently even items to your image posts. Rather annoyingly, images seem to be resized to 640×360, so don’t expect to be making tons of new laptop wallpapers from in-game images, and clicking on the posts on your wall takes you straight to the Lightning Returns website, rather than showing the image. You’ll have to go into your photo albums to get a proper look at them.

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I quite like the idea of the Outerworld service (mainly because many of my Facebook friends play video games and much of my time on there is spent talking about the subject) but the execution seems a bit lacking at the moment. Hopefully with the full release we’ll be able to share larger images and do it much faster so that it doesn’t interrupt gameplay quite so much.

Regarding the game itself, this new demo is bookended by a couple of cutscenes, the first of which is a typically stunning pre-rendered intro which appears to be the opening to the game. The story begins in media res, with Lightning on the trail of Snow before the mysterious Lumina interferes. As we battle our way through Yusnaan’s palace on Snow’s trail, we eventually end up back at that same Zaltys boss battle from the EGX demo. Having dispatched Zaltys, a message appears on stage telling us that we may now encounter the enemy “in the field” and that the demo would end at 6am. Glancing at the game clock, I noticed it was 4.48am, so I wondered if the demo might give me free reign over the rest of Yusnaan for a few minutes.

Unfortunately, I rounded a corner and entered another short cutscene (in-engine this time) in which Lightning and Hope discussed Snow’s state of mind, having been living with the events of XIII-2‘s ending for centuries. Lightning teleports back to the Ark, her base of operations, and the demo comes to an end.

My impressions from EGX still stand: I really quite like it. The schemata system will probably take a few hours to really get used to, and at first I found myself trying to rush through battles without too much thought for strategy beyond spamming attacks, guarding and switching garb sets. I think this is likely down to my recent XIII-2 story run with a powerful team, where every battle was a minor inconvenience rather than a challenge. Once I forced myself to slow down and consider my options, I started to appreciate it much more. Thankfully, the game clock seems to stop while in battle, so there’s no need to feel rushed while fighting.

I also still think the Stagger Wave mechanic could be better communicated. I like that you have to try different things to see what it responds to (whether that be a specific type of magic or physical attacks), but it doesn’t seem to respond to the same things with any kind of consistency. I staggered Zaltys twice in the boss battle, the first time playing it safe, the second time going all out by throwing magic at him almost constantly, and bizarrely he seemed to stagger far slower the second time. Perhaps there’s more to it than the demo can show and more battles will expose some hidden depth in the mechanic. My main issue is that I loved the chain gauge in XIII and XIII-2. That system did the same thing and was far easier to read, so why the change?

One thing that worries me a bit more is the game seemingly beginning with little to no explanation. There is some light narration over that opening cinematic in which Lightning briefly touches on her new role as ‘the saviour’ and that seems to be about it. I’m hopeful that the full game will explain itself a bit more thoroughly, but I worry that the already-disjointed narrative between the XIII games will be taken to it’s logical conclusion here.

I’m still excited to get my hands on it though, and I think at the very least it’ll play very well. So far, all I’ve experienced has been from a single linear area, and I’m looking forward to getting out into the cities and the wilds and exploring those wide open areas. If Lightning Returns can strike a balance somewhere between Final Fantasies XIII and XIV, I’ll be pretty happy.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII hits European shores on February 14th.

I mentioned in yesterday’s Eurogamer Expo piece that I had also played Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII at the event, and was waiting for a video I made to finish uploading to Youtube before saying too much about it. Now that the video’s up (it only took about seven hours), I’m going to share some thoughts on the demo.

The playable segment begins with a little discussion between Lightning and the strangely young-again Hope. Lightning is being overly formal, much to Hope’s chagrin, and he points out to our heroine that Snow is her priority. We’re in Yusnaan, the area over which Snow serves as governer, and Lightning is hot on his trail. For some unexplained reason. Enjoy the video (sans audio unfortunately, as the demo pods had headphones), and then treat yourself to my impressions below.

The short slice of gameplay (lasting roughly 15 to 20 minutes) begins in an opulent ballroom-type area, and I must say the game looks lovely. Watching over my friend’s shoulder, I was struck by how much better it looked than XIII-2 (which, to my mind was a bit of a downgrade visually from Final Fantasy XIII), though when I sat down it was harder to tell; sitting so close to the screen, the image looked very jaggy, but you’re unlikely to be playing the final game from about 18 inches away. I had to keep leaning back in an attempt to alleviate eye-strain. At a proper distance, I’m sure Lightning Returns will impress.

We’re treated to a few short, in-battle tutorials that walk us through basic movement in battle (move using the left stick), the schemata system, blocking (which drains ATB for as long as the button is held) and the new stagger implementation, Stagger Wave, which wasn’t particularly well-communicated. Hitting an enemy’s weakness reveals a pulsating waveform around their HP bar, and when it turns red, you can attack again to stagger them. At least that’s how it was explained. It seemed a bit more random in practise, and far less clearly-signposted than in previous games.

The schemata system is very interesting; essentially a mix of the previous games’ Paradigm Shift system and FFX-2‘s dresspheres, Lightning can have three equipped at any time, switchable via LB and RB, and each has four different abilities mapped to the four face buttons. In the demo, we had Divinity (Light’s default costume with Thunder, Block, Attack and Galestrike abilities), Dark Muse (Electric Blitz, Lesser Guard, Light Slash and Heavy Slash) and saucy-ress… I mean Sorceress (Firaga, Lesser Guard, Ruin and Blizzara), which was a bit more revealing than I personally think suits Lightning, and came complete with a rather suggestive end-battle pose.

Battling feels great in this game – if I was to imagine how to re-work the FFXIII battle system for a single character, I feel like this is exactly what I’d come up with; with no party members to worry about, it makes perfect sense to be able to move Light around the battlefield, and the use of skills and abilities on the face buttons, balanced with individual ATB bars for each schema, is a good answer to the question of how to meld turn-based and real-time fighting. Having all your skills quickly accessible means you can attack how and when you want, and the depleting ATB gauges mean that you can’t simply button-mash or spam the same attacks repeatedly. The fact that each schema has an independent ATB forces you to switch up your approach regularly, and thanks to this you’ll get more use out of all of Light’s outfits. I can see collecting all the schema becoming very addictive in this game.

One thing that has changed from the previous games is that Lightning no longer recovers HP in-between battles – you’ll have to dive into the menus and treat her to a potion if you’re starting to accrue too much damage, just like in pre-XIII games. While I’m sure many will rejoice that item management is back in a big way, I have to say that I liked that you could fearlessly dive into any battle in XIII without having to top everyone up beforehand (but then, there was plenty that I think worked well in FFXIII, but wouldn’t necessarily want every game in the series to do). In XIII, this meant that even standard encounters could afford to be quite tough and you generally had to be on your game at all times. As long as battles in Lightning Returns are balanced well though, it shouldn’t pose an issue.

Having trained us with a decent handful of battles (and treated us to a little light environmental traversal), the demo comes to a close with a battle against Zaltys, a large dragon summoned by the mysterious Lumina. Lasting a bit longer, this battle puts everything you’ve learned in the tutorials to the test and it was great fun to defeat. I’m glad I got the chance to play Lightning Returns – I’m buying it anyway, as I’m a fan of the XIII games (I just wish the story slotted together a bit better…) – but the new battle system has really sold it to me. I can see myself having a lot of fun when the game launches in February.

It’s been a bit dead here recently. I blame it on the heatwave (seriously, it’s horrible!), and definitely not laziness. No, definitely not that.

There’s also been little for me to write about – I write about things that interest me, and there seems to be precious little of that about recently. Bizarre, considering we’re staring down the launch of two new consoles at the end of the year, but there you have it. One subject that always manages to grab my attention however is Final Fantasy, and today we have some new details on the forthcoming Final Fantasy XIII sequel, Lightning Returns.

First up, we’ve got a new trailer which shows off some of Lightning’s costumes – remember that in Lightning Returns, you can change costumes mid-battle to switch up abilities and specialities, much like the Dressphere system in Final Fantasy X-2. To me, some of these costumes(including a purple outfit seen in the new trailer below) look more like something Serah might have worn.

The more costumes the development team show off, the more I get a sense that they’ve taken a fairly strong female character and turned her into a bit of a barbie doll that you can play dress-up with. Which brings me onto the image below.

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What… just… what??

Ok, I get what’s happening here. This is Lightning dressed as a member of Final Fantasy XIV‘s cat-people race, the Miqo’te. Square-Enix is trying to cross-promote two of its upcoming games, and given Lightning can switch costumes in her game, it’s logical that they do so by giving her a costume from the upcoming MMO. All of that makes perfect sense, and generally I’d be happy to see a bit of cross-pollination between the two – I’m looking forward to both, and previously wrote about how much I’ve enjoyed playing the FFXIV beta.

But this just doesn’t fit her character at all. Lightning has always come across as stoic, determined and strong (maybe cold, detached and boring if you’re not a fan), but she’s never been overtly sexy or flirtatious. I don’t think she will be in Lightning Returns either, going by the trailers we’ve seen up to this point – she seems every bit as serious as her other appearances, so this just strikes me as even more incongruous. Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive, but what’s the point in developing a character and then portraying them in ways that are utterly at odds with their personality?

Anyway, moving on, a post on the Square-Enix Blog detailed some additions to the battle system. Lightning can now counter enemy attacks by timing her own, leading to a critical hit that has the potential to stagger enemies. There are a couple of caveats here: you can only counter physical attacks (magic is immune) and it claims a large chunk of your ATB gauge, so you won’t be able to spam it in the hopes of landing a crit. Lightning can also destroy sections of some monsters, which will not only weaken your enemy but also affect the item drop you’ll receive at the end of the battle.

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There’s also the above screenshot of Yusnaan, described as “the city of revelry”. This image focuses on an area known as the Slaughterhouse, where combatants battle one another nightly in a brutal arena. So basically it’s a colliseum. How this feature will tie into the ticking clock at the heart of Lightning Returns‘ 13-day countdown is yet to be explained – will time freeze while we’re fighting in the Slaughterhouse?

Despite my misgivings regarding Lightning’s portrayal in some costumes, I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The battle system is the main draw for me here; with Lightning being the only playable character and a system that includes counters and debilitating foes by disabling parts of them, it sounds very different to what we expect from a typical Final Fantasy title. Spin-offs and sequels are of course the perfect ground for Square-Enix to experiment and see what works, before bringing those features to bear in the main numbered series.

I also have to admit that I am unashamedly a fan of Lightning – my main gripe of Final Fantasy XIII-2 was that she was barely in it – so it’ll be nice to see her step back into the leading role when Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII launches next February.

Source: Square-Enix Blog

A new story trailer has appeared for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XII, revealing a bit more of the story, as well as returning FFXIII party member Oerba Yun Fang. Like Snow, she seems to be in a position of some authority in this new world.

The trailer sheds further light on the narrative behind Lightning’s final adventure: she’s apparently been chosen by God to rescue as many people as she can, leading them from this world to the next. Our protagonist is the most powerful she’s ever been, yet she notes her new abilities have come with a price; is she even human any longer? I guess we’ll find out.

This brings the returning character roster up to five, with Fang joining Hope, Snow, Noel and of course Lightning herself. I have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for Lightning so I’m really looking forward to this, even if the character roster and time-travelling story seems to be becoming more and more convoluted. There have been some positive impressions of the game coming out of E3, mainly focused on the battle system, and I’m looking forward to jumping in and exploring Nova Chrysalia next February.

lightret_editedLightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the final part of Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII Saga, has been pushed into next year for Europe and the US. It will launch on Feb 11th in the States and Valentines Day here in EuropeLand, but may still make its late-2013 release date in Japan.

The news comes at the end of a new trailer that also shows Snow returning, and just like Noel, he seems to want to fight Lightning as well. Or maybe Lightning wants to fight him, who can tell. Below is the trailer.

More work for Troy Baker? He’s in everything these days! I hereby declare Troy Baker the new Nolan North. This suits me, as he’s probably my favourite male VA right now.

It’s a pretty swish trailer, though I do wonder how Snow and Noel come to be in this time, 500 years after the events of the last game. When Sazh turned up in XIII-2, apparently for no other reason than to give Serah and Noel a lift, it just seemed like a completely random cameo – how the hell did he and Dajh get there?! I guess it’s something to do with the DLC I didn’t play, but still… Hopefully there’ll be fewer narrative gaps this time.

Also of note is that Lumina, the mysterious girl who looks like Serah, doesn’t sound like she’s voiced by Laura Bailey. But then she does have a remarkably changeable voice (just compare Star Ocean: The Last Hope‘s Welch Vineyard with Gears of War 3: RAAM’s Shadow‘s Alicia Valera!). I’m interested to find out more about this new character and what her role in the story will be.

I’m also interested to see how the new battle system performs; it seems to be something of a mix between the current XIII-series battle system and that of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, so it’ll be interesting to see how it handles, especially considering that Lightning looks to be battling alone throughout.

I suppose I’ll have to get the limited edition (if there is to be one) to go with the rest of my XIII collection. Then I’ll need it signed, to fit in…
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The trailer is titled “E3 2013 Trailer”, so it’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing more of Lightning Returns in a matter of days.

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Back in 2006, Square-Enix introduced us to the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII concept, ostensibly a series of Final Fantasy games that share an overarching mythology, if not setting. This was originally intended to include the numbered series title Final Fantasy XIII, as well as PS3 exclusive Versus XIII and PSP title Final Fantasy Agito XIII.

Now we find ourselves in 2013 and one of those titles is missing in action, (leading many to assume it’ll never see the light of day) while another remains trapped in Japan with no hint that it might one day escape. Instead, we’ve received a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII (which, while I liked it, enjoyed a mixed reception at best), with another, Lightning Returns, on the horizon.

As I mentioned above, Versus XIII seems almost dead in the water; there’s been no word on it for some time now, beyond a rumour last year that it had been repurposed into Final Fantasy XV and would be unveiled at E3 that year. Obviously that didn’t happen, leading some to claim the game had been quietly mothballed. Square-Enix themselves have publically stated that Versus XIII is still in development, but after more than seven years of tinkering, it’s difficult to remain positive.

What makes this situation more aggravating is that the aforementioned PSP game, since renamed to Final Fantasy Type-0, was released in Japan nearly 18 months ago. It provably exists – development is long since finished, yet there has since been no word on a Western localisation, bar a couple of rumours that the Vita may see a port (due to the PSP being more or less a dead platform outside of Japan), leading to some online retailers listing it for pre-order. These listings have since been removed.

Back in September, while I was reporting the weekly DLC updates for 3DS rhythm-action title Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, I noted the release of Type-0‘s opening theme ‘We Have Arrived’ might be a positive sign for localisation. Unfortunately, since that rather epic-sounding track was issued for Theatrythm, we’ve had but one mention of Type-0 from Square; in a November 2012 interview with GameSpot, Director Hajime Tabata had the following to say:

“Due to market reasons, we are taking a clean slate in terms of our plans. We feel strongly about bringing this title to the fans in North America and Europe, so if an opportunity arises that can become a conclusive factor, we are prepared to go into consideration right away.”

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound massively positive to me. He’s basically confirming that no localisation work has even been considered at this stage, let alone begun.

All of which makes the news that dedicated fans are currently working on a Type-0 fan translation patch much more comforting than anything Square-Enix have to say. In the video below, you can see the early fruits of their labours.

Of course, fan translations are nothing new in gaming, certainly when it comes to jRPGs, but I doubt many thought such a high profile game would need such a patch. The legality of such is a little shaky (as you’ll need a ROM of the game to apply the patch to – so get importing if you’re interested), so it remains to be seen whether or not Square-Enix will take any action over these efforts. We can hope not; if Square-Enix won’t allow the vast majority of the world to enjoy this highly-rated and highly-anticipated game, then at least allow fans to translate it so we can import a Japanese version and still understand what’s happening. I’d much, much rather have an official English-language release, but that doesn’t seem likely; we can hope the publicity these fans’ efforts are garnering will prove that there is sufficient demand for Type-0 outside of Japan and the company springs into action. Until then, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on this translation patch, and I shall have to content myself with ‘We Have Arrived’ on Theatrhythm.

Links:
GameSpot’s interview with Hajime Tabata:
http://uk.gamespot.com/features/fantasy-star-talking-to-final-fantasy-scenario-director-hajime-tabata-6399208/
Kotaku’s coverage of the fan-tran patch:
http://kotaku.com/5983342/square-enix-wont-release-final-fantasy-type+0-in-north-america-so-fans-are-taking-over

A new trailer has appeared for Square-Enix’s forthcoming third entry into the ‘Lightning Saga’, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. In truth, it’s mostly made up of footage from previous trailers, though it does reveal that a certain time-travelling hunter is, for some reason, battling against Lightning in this new world of Novus Partus.

That hunter is of course Noel from Final Fantasy XIII-2, but quite why he’s fighting our pink-haired heroine is a mystery, though he seems to think Lightning is some kind of imposter. I suppose it will all become clear (provided it’s not massively convoluted) when we learn more about the game.

The trailer also reveals that Lightning Returns is due to launch this autumn, so there’s plenty of time for things to fall into place.