Details are just now coming out, but the game is only 30% complete according to the staff. Lighting Returns will bring the long-promised happy ending for Lightning, and will not include any multi-endings. The game’s project leads specifically stated that this would be the last game in the Final Fantasy XIII saga.
The concept of the game is “world driven.” FFXIII was story driven, and XIII-2 was player driven, and so LR is world driven – which relates to the movement of the world.
Since time is important in Lightning Returns, it’s important to take into consideration that 1 day in the game is about 1~2 hours of real world play time. Remember, the world of Novus Partus is set to end in 13 days. There will be increases and decreases in time. Novus Partus is composed of four islands, two with natural terrain and one has the city of Luxerion on it.
The game is meant to be played and beaten a multitude of times – the volume is not such that it will take many tens of hours to clear once. You’ll have the ability to carry items over through multiple playthroughs.
The people from XIII-2 have not died. Due to Chaos, people no longer age. Depending on your actions, the remaining life of the world could decrease, and the game could end before the 13 day limit. Even actions such as helping people will end in the timer decreasing. Actions such as defeating enemies and completing quests will increase the timer.
In LR, Lightning has become a considerably more refined person. In fact, by having just sole control of her, you can concentrate more on battles than if you would have a full party to manage.
You can freely move around during battle. Some elements of the battle system are timing-based. The battle system is very similar to an action RPG, but contains an ATB bar. There are no menu commands this time – commands are mapped to specific face buttons which can be pressed in succession.
Lightning encounters a murder in the city of Luxerion to which she is tasked to help solve. Such a scene was displayed during the closed doors demo a few days ago.
Hope is confirmed to return. He’ll be sending messages to Lightning through wireless communication. The city shows clocks everywhere which show the ever moving concept of time.
Originally Posted by IGN
Square Enix has announced Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Set to arrive in 2013, Lightning Returns will incorporate “a brand-new story, world, characters and an enhanced gameplay system,” according to Square Enix. The game will feature Lightning as a solo playable character and allow her to freely roam a new world.
Other details regarding Lightning Returns are limited. We do know that the main story takes place hundreds of years after Final Fantasy XIII-2, set in a world called Novus Partus -- which is composed of four islands connected by monorail. The development team told IGN that three of the guiding pillars for the art direction in Lightning Returns are "gothic, mechanical and fantasy."
The most startling change to Lightning Returns comes in the form of the doomsday countdown. According to Square-Enix, the world will end after 13 days, and a massive clock will count down constantly in the corner of the screen to indicate this looming deadline. Any action players take, even taking the monorail from place to place, will spend time and hasten the end of days.
With Lightning as the only playable character, players will have unparalleled control over customizing her looks and combat style. The battle system itself, a greatly modified version of the previous two, will feature real-time elements including direct control of Lightning's movement and her attacks, as well as time-based moves that drain the doomsday counter. Lightning Returns will also include a real-time block system, designed to make battles much more active and time-based. Even dying mid-battle will activate a prompt to give players the choice to rewind their mistakes at the expense of the timer.
Lightning Returns was announced at today’s Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event, which Square Enix has been teasing since last month. In early July, Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 director Motomu Toriyama hinted at the project, which entered production at the beginning of August, followed shortly by a teaser site.
Square Enix confirmed that Lightning Returns will be the final chapter of Lightning’s saga, which began in Final Fantasy XIII back in 2010. [Niro's Note: I can't help but noticed they said final Lightning game, not final FFXIII game, so if you're looking for more you might still be in luck!] Lightning’s sister Serah was the focus of Final Fantasy XIII-2, which hit stores earlier this year and received downloadable content that continued Lightning’s story.
Huge article on lots of things: http://www.1up.com/previews/lightnin...ii-first-looks
Demo impressions: http://andriasang.com/con2jo/lightni...o_impressions/