|Commando (COM)||Attacker (ATK)||Build attack chains more easily with enhanced strength.|
|Ravager (RAV)||Blaster (BLA)||Charge enemy chain gauges with concentrated attacks.|
|Sentinel (SEN)||Defender (DEF)||Shield allies from enemy attacks.|
|Saboteur (SAB)||Jammer (JAM)||Enfeeble enemies while charging their chain gauges.|
|Synergist (SYN)||Enhancer (ENH)||Support allies with an array of magical enhancements.|
|Medic (MED)||Healer (HLR)||Focus on restoring HP and removing status ailments.|
According to the developers, this system was added later in the development to give more strategy and depth to the battle system.
Summons return as Eidolons, linked with the powers of the l'Cie. Playable Eidolons include the Shiva Sisters, Odin, Bahamut, Alexander, and two new summons Brynhildr and Hecatoncheir, while Ifrit, Carbuncle, Valefor, Ramuh, and Siren make an appearance, but are not playable. All Eidolons have been given mechanical designs and the power to change their shape. The Eidolons are used both as a gameplay feature and as plot devices in cutscenes. Each character has one Eidolon, and Eidolons replace the other party members besides the summoner when called.
Eidolons are summoned by the use of Technical Points (TP), which are won after battles. Also, instead of HP, Eidolons use "Summon Points" (SP) to indicate their health, but SP also slowly decreases over time. Once SP is depleted, the Eidolon will disappear, and the other party members will return. Additionally, each l'Cie must win the "approval" of their respective Eidolon by defeating them in combat.
In addition to summoning Eidolons to fight alongside them, each Eidolon can transform into another form that the summoner can ride. This takes place in a mode called "Gestalt Mode" ("Driving Mode" in the Japanese version), where combat becomes more action-oriented, with the summon being able to perform various special attacks with certain button combinations. Each Eidolon's Gestalt Mode also includes a powerful finisher move that will end the summoning. The duration of Gestalt Mode is determined by the Gestalt Gauge that appears once an Eidolon is summoned; the gauge will fill as the summoner builds attack chains with their Eidolon.
When on Gran Pulse, there will be several points marked by large crystals, called Cie'th Stones, where the party may acquire missions. These are similar in function to the Hunts in Final Fantasy XII, and involve battling one of the many monsters around Pulse. They are not part of the main story, but players can experience Focuses of past l'Cie. These l'Cie failed to complete their assignments, and thus their targets are still alive. It is up to the player whether to defeat the specified enemy, some of which have been compared by the staff to mountains towering above the party e.g.: Adamantoises.
By completing these tasks, the party can gain materials and items to improve their equipment. The main difference between the hunts of Final Fantasy XII and the missions of Final Fantasy XIII is while every hunt can only be completed once, the player may take up each mission multiple times. However, the mission reward can be obtained only once; subsequent missions will earn the player a different type of reward, usually of lesser quality (e.g.: Bomb Ashes and Bomb Shells).
Thirteen centuries ago, a floating, utopian world was created in the atmosphere of a planet known as Pulse. The fal'Cie, beings of immense power and authority, willed that the continent be completely isolated from the crude and brutal wilderness known as the Gran Pulse below and commissioned machines to be the guardians of the citizens. Barriers were subsequently set up all around the newly created world, and as such was the metropolis granted its befitting name: Cocoon.
Having been secluded from the outside world for many years, the citizens of Cocoon have become paranoid of what Gran Pulse really holds. Fear has spread across Cocoon, causing the Sanctum, Cocoon's government, led by the Primarch Galenth Dysley, to issue a new edict: Any individuals suspected to be in contact with the world of Pulse or any of its artifacts or items are to be banished from the continent unconditionally and cast into the harsh environment of the planet below.
And so, when a Pulse fal'Cie is discovered in the small town of Bodhum, mass panic breaks out and soon all of Cocoon's citizens are crying out for the expulsion of the entire town to Pulse. The Sanctum's personal army, PSICOM, has no choice but to banish all of the town's inhabitants to the world below, regardless of whether they are citizens or tourists. This event, known as the Purge, marks the beginning of the game as the residents of Bodhum are being taken to the Hanging Edge along with the Pulse fal'Cie, Anima, contained within the Pulse Vestige.
Format:See Also Format:See Also The game's main characters are brought together by the events of the Purge. Lightning is onboard the Purge train in order to reach the Pulse fal'Cie and save her sister, Serah Farron, who became a Pulse l'Cie, a being hated and feared by all on Cocoon who's forced to do the fal'Cie's bidding. Accompanying her is Sazh Katzroy, a civilian airship pilot trying to fulfill his son's Focus in a desperate bid to save him from becoming a Cie'th. Like Lightning, Snow Villiers is trying to rescue Serah as well, as she is his future bride. Hope Estheim and Oerba Dia Vanille become involved when Hope's mother, Nora Estheim, joins Snow's resistance army and dies under his care, prompting the two to pursue him.
Thus, these five characters end up coming together in the Pulse Vestige, where they witness Serah turn to crystal, an event that only happens when a l'Cie fulfills their Focus. In the course of their trek into the heart of the Vestige, they also encounter creatures known as Cie'th; l'Cie that fail to complete their Focus in time. Lightning believes that Serah is dead, while Snow refuses to give up the hope that she will awaken someday. Lightning, seeking vengeance on the fal'Cie, heads into Anima's Throne along with the rest of the party in order to confront Anima, the Pulse fal'Cie responsible for Serah's transformation into a l'Cie.
As the party faces Anima, PSICOM forces begin to blast the Pulse Vestige and everything in it to pieces. Facing certain death, Anima transforms Lightning and her companions into l'Cie, giving them a dream involving the city of Eden and the mysterious Ragnarok in the process. They fall down towards Lake Bresha below, but survive due to Anima's transformation of the entire area into crystal in its death throes.
The new l'Cie set off with the intention of escaping the lake but soon come across Serah's crystallized form. Snow insists on staying by Serah's side, causing an argument to break out between him and Lightning. The party splits into two after successfully defeating a PSICOM warmech sent to kill them: Snow remains behind to dig out Serah, while Lightning and rest of the group heads towards the ruins of an old city at the lake's edge. There, they come across an airship left by a PSICOM patrol. Sazh manages to pilot the airship through the initial blockade, sustaining only minor damage to the hull in the process.
While onboard, the group uses the airship's functions to view a live newscast interviewing Galenth Dysley, and the ongoing operation being carried out by PSICOM after the 'success' of the Purge. The airship is eventually shot down, causing it to crash in the Vile Peaks. Meanwhile, Snow receives his Eidolons, the Shiva Sisters, after nearly being killed by a PSICOM platoon sent to exterminate him. However, he is promptly captured by Oerba Yun Fang, Rygdea, and other members of the Cavalry, along with Serah. They are taken aboard the Cavalry's headquarters, the airship Lindblum, where their leader, Cid Raines, asks Fang and Snow to help him find the other l'Cie.
At the Vile Peaks, the party splits after a disagreement on their Focus, which they assume to be the destruction of Cocoon. On one hand, Sazh and Vanille simply wish to run away and hide from their pursuers. Lightning, however, is intent on destroying the Sanctum and the fal'Cie Eden, believing it to be the only way out of the current situation. Accompanied by Hope, she intends to travel to his hometown of Palumpolum and then on to Eden, the heart of the Sanctum government. As she and Hope trek through the remainder of the Vile Peaks, the pressure of keeping Hope safe and dealing with the enemy soldiers begin to take their toll on Lightning.
In a moment of anger, Lightning yells at Hope about how she can barely protect him when she can hardly keep herself alive and tells him to become stronger on his own, collapsing to the ground as the Eidolon Odin appears and attacks Hope, as if to force her to choose between her mission and him. Together, they bring the Eidolon under control and continue onward on their mission.
While passing through the Gapra Whitewood, Lightning learns about Hope's mother, the boy's belief that her death was Snow's fault, and that he is bent on getting revenge. Lightning tells Hope to make a strategy to help him focus on a goal and not allow himself to be driven by compassion. Taking her advice, Hope forms 'Operation Nora,' his plan for revenge against Snow, although Lightning tries to convince Hope that it was really the Sanctum that killed his mother.
Arriving in Palumpolum, Hope leads Lightning underground to slip past the soldiers occupying the city. Lightning soon realizes that she has been running away from her fate by making the Sanctum an enemy for herself to focus on, and she now has Hope following suit. She tells him to stop with Operation Nora despite his protests. Returning to the surface, Lightning and Hope find themselves surrounded by PSICOM troops. They are saved by Snow and Fang's timely arrival; however, the l'Cie are forced to separate in the chaos, with Lightning and Fang in one group and Snow and Hope in another. Fang reveals that she and Vanille are both Pulse l'Cie and received their Focus long ago. Upon completing it, they were crystallized and woke up in Cocoon in the Pulse Vestige. Fang also tells Lightning that she and Vanille were indirectly responsible for Serah becoming a l'Cie, and that she might eventually awake from crystal stasis like they had.
Elsewhere, Hope confronts Snow over his mother's death and Snow's role in it, intending on taking his revenge. His plans are cut short when a PSICOM warmech attacks them; Snow manages to save Hope from further harm by cushioning their fall from the rooftops, and the two manage to settle their differences.
Soon Fang, Lightning, Hope and Snow are reunited, after which they head onward to the Estheim Residence. There, Snow recovers from his injuries while Hope informs his father of Nora's fate. While the party is busy formulating a plan to deal with the Sanctum, PSICOM officer Yaag Rosch arrives with a multitude of PSICOM troops. Snow demands him to stop the Purge, but Yaag tells him that the Purge was demanded by the people of Cocoon. After a confrontation with an attack shuttle, Snow, Lightning, Hope and Fang are rescued by Rygdea and taken onboard the Lindblum with help from Cid, who seeks to fight back against PSICOM in the name of the Cavalry.
After making their way out of the Vile Peaks, Sazh and Vanille travel through the Sunleth Waterscape towards Nautilus. Sazh confesses to Vanille about how he went to the Hanging Edge to try and save his son, Dajh Katzroy. Dajh became a Sanctum l'Cie at Euride Gorge and Sazh suspected that his Focus might have been to destroy Anima when Dajh uncovered the Pulse Vestige at Bodhum. Vanille is racked with guilt as she knows that her and Fang's presence at Euride Gorge caused the fal'Cie Kujata to turn Dajh into a l'Cie (all of this takes place during Lightning and Hope's trek through the Gapra Whitewood).
Sazh and Vanille arrive at Nautilus where they witness the Pompa Sancta parade, a dramatic reenactment of the War of Transgression between Pulse and Cocoon 500 years ago. Sazh, tired of remaining in hiding from the pursuing PSICOM soldiers, decides to turn himself in with the intent of seeing his son one last time. Vanille protests and is about to reveal the truth when Jihl Nabaat, PSICOM's supreme commander, arrives with a PSICOM platoon. Sazh could do nothing but watch as Dajh turns to crystal in front of him, after which Jihl reveals the truth of the events at Euride Gorge; Dajh's transformation into a l'Cie was the result of Vanille and Fang's presence at the facility.
Furious, he confronts Vanille, triggering the appearance of his Eidolon Brynhildr, which he brings under his control with the assistance of Vanille. In his grief, Sazh tries to shoot himself, but is unable to do so, prompting the PSICOM soldiers to take him and Vanille into custody. They are taken on board the Palamecia, where they are to be transported to Eden and executed before a live audience (takes place during the events at Palumpolum).
Lightning and the rest of the party immediately mount a rescue mission upon learning of Sazh and Vanille's incarceration, with help from Cid and the Cavalry. They manage to board the Palamecia using a stolen PSICOM shuttle. However, their ruse is discovered immediately upon their arrival, forcing them to fight through a number of PSICOM soldiers and automata. Meanwhile, Sazh and Vanille are able to escape from their holding cell in the chaos and fight their way through the ship's engine core. The l'Cie are reunited at a forward portion of the Palamecia's exterior, and, using one of PSICOM's militarized wyverns, head towards the bridge.
There, they come face to face with Galenth Dysley, who immediately kills Jihl and the entire bridge crew without hesitation. Dismissing the l'Cie's assumption that he is one of them, Dysley reveals a horrific truth - he is the fal'Cie Barthandelus, the true master of Cocoon, and that the l'Cie's Focus is to become Ragnarok and destroy Orphan, the fal'Cie that powers all the other fal'Cie in Cocoon and holds it afloat over Pulse.
Barthandelus departs after suffering defeat at the hands of the l'Cie, leaving behind his familiar Menrva to serve as an airship for them to utilize in their escape from the now-sinking battlecruiser. With no alternative, they're forced to board the airship and make their escape, avoiding pursuit from Yaag Rosch onboard The Proudclad, eventually ending up inside the Fifth Ark, located underneath Eden. Fang and Vanille recall a legend concerning the purpose of the Arks; armories and training grounds for l'Cie.
The l'Cie venture deeper into the Ark and, after a long and grueling trek, come face-to-face with Cid, who reveals himseld to be a Cocoon l'Cie and that every single action of the l'Cie had been carefully orchestrated by Barthandelus and the other fal'Cie. He goes on to explain the reason behind the fal'Cie's desire for Cocoon's destruction; it would serve as a means of recalling the Maker, the creator of both fal'Cie and humankind, back to this world. Cid attacks the l'Cie in order to stop them from fulfilling their Focus and destroy Cocoon, but is defeated and turns to crystal (having inadvertently fulfilled his Focus of empowering the Pulse l'Cie).
Shaken by this turn of events, the l'Cie continue their journey deeper into the Ark until reaching a dead end. Snow finally decides on their course of action; they should forget their Focus and fulfill Serah's final wish of saving Cocoon. While everyone agrees to this new plan, Fang turns on the rest of the party, proclaiming that though they might wish to save Cocoon, she would never allow this; having seen the suffering that all Cie'th experience, she would rather die than see any of her friends become one of those monstrosities. Through her emotional turmoil, Fang unwittingly summons Bahamut, eventually bringing it under her control with help from the others. The l'Cie discover a new path following Bahamut's "taming" and a Pulsian airship at the end, which they use to traverse a portal leading to Pulse: their only way forward.
During the flight, the airship is attacked by a wild wyvern in the skies above Pulse, causing it to crash and the l'Cie to become stranded in the valley of Vallis Media. After that the chocobo chick comes to warn the party that Hope's brand is advancing and he is unconscious. Lightning suggests that the party has to find him. After they find Hope, they bring him back to the basecamp.
At the basecamp, they are ready to give up hope after spending days wandering the wilderness and finding no trace of civilization until Vanille finally suggests they should go to Oerba, her and Fang's hometown. Hope wakes up and tells them that if they want to find out their Focus they need to get to Oerba, as it is the place where it all began. Hope believes that he should remain behind until his Eidolon Alexander is summoned and brought under his control, leaving the rest of the l'Cie to speculate about the true purpose of the Eidolons after Hope is given newfound strength in the process. Finally discovering a path to the Archylte Steppe, the l'Cie begin their journey towards Oerba.
While traversing Mah'habara, Vanille claims that she alone became Ragnarok and destroyed Cocoon's outer shield as her previous Focus, but Fang does not believe her and tricks Vanille into revealing the truth: it was Fang who became Ragnarok. The reason that she hadn't destroyed Cocoon was because the Goddess Etro intervened and turned her back to normal. Later, Barthandelus moved the Pulse Vestige where the crystals of Vanille and Fang were placed afterwards into Cocoon in the hope that they would awake and finish their Focus. Vanille's shock from having her deepest lie exposed causes her Eidolon Hecatoncheir to appear. Vanille and Fang defeat it after a long fight, after which Vanille resolves to finally come to terms with her fate and stop running away.
The l'Cie continue their on their journey, traversing the remainder of the Mah'habara mines and the Sulyya Springs, eventually reaching Taejin's Tower, a massive crumbling mechanical tower where the fal'Cie Dahaka makes its home. The Menhirrim there help them to destroy the errant fal'Cie and reach the top of the tower. From there, the l'Cie ride a capsule down to the slopes of Oerba. Upon entering the village, they find it covered in a blanket of snow-like crystal dust and infested by Cie'th. Vanille and Fang lead the party through their old home, where they still find remnants from the past including Vanille's old pet robot, Bhakti. At the end of a crumbling railway overpass, the l'Cie are shocked to find Serah waiting for them.
Serah implores the l'Cie to become Ragnarok and destroy Orphan, but they refuse to believe her, causing her to abandon her disguise and assume Barthandelus's human form. The fal'Cie explains the reason why Cocoon was created in the first place; the fal'Cie, desiring to summon the Maker back to Gran Pulse, need a sacrifice large enough to attract the Maker's attention. The deaths of Cocoon's millions of human inhabitants would cause a large enough disturbance in "the great beyond", according to the fal'Cie, to summon the Maker back. Shocked, the l'Cie engage Barthandelus in battle, determined to prevent this atrocity from being committed.
After defeating him yet again, Barthandelus goes on to gloat how the humans in Cocoon are beginning to fight among themselves now that the resurrected Cid has become the new Primarch. He warns them that the Cavalry are mounting an attack to destroy Orphan and that they have a choice: destroy Orphan themselves or let the humans destroy it. He leaves behind another airship and returns to Cocoon to oversee the final stages of his plan. The l'Cie come across another Cie'th stone which gives them the hope necessary to continue on. They decide to return to Cocoon and either save Orphan or die trying. They board the airship and use a portal in Pulse's atmosphere to return to Cocoon.
The l'Cie arrive in the city of Eden and disrupt an ongoing race, causing mass panic among the spectators and the deployment of a full PSICOM battalion along with the resident Guardian Corps unit. To their horror, they discover that Barthandelus is using portals to warp Pulse creatures and automata from both the surface of Gran Pulse and the Fifth Ark, causing massive casualties and damage to several locations around Eden. With no other choice, the l'Cie press on, fighting their way through soldiers and monsters alike.
Meanwhile, the Cavalry have successfully infiltrated the Primarch's office, where Cid, no longer under the thrall of Barthandelus, tells Rygdea that his own actions will lead Cocoon into ruin. At his request, Rygdea shoots and kills Cid, ending his torment, and proceeds to lead the Cavalry onward to confront Orphan at Edenhall, the seat of the Sanctum's power.
Many of the citizens are taking shelter at Edenhall, one of the few locations safe from the chaos engulfing the capital. At the very center of the complex, the l'Cie are shocked to see the same crystal shards present at Oerba floating in the air. Barthandelus appears and tells them that the shards are the souls of the departed, and its presence signals the inevitable return of the Maker. He also tells them that he has their 'loved ones' inside. The party is also shocked to see that the Calvary soldiers and PSICOM troopers in their vicinity are turning into Sacrifice Cie'th, the result of Barthandelus branding these people without giving them a Focus. They are confronted by Yaag Rosch, who, after being defeated for the second time, helps the l'Cie by ordering his soldiers to evacuate the city rather than search for the l'Cie and by detonating the Proudclad's wreckage, ensuring that the party won't be followed into Orphan's Cradle, the true command center of Cocoon.
Inside Orphan's cradle, the l'Cie discover that the remainder of the Calvary soldiers sent inside before them have already been converted into Cie'th. Guided by the trinity fal'Cie Eden, they eventually arrive at the Narthex, Orphan's resting place. Barthandelus appears and, after destroying Serah's and Dajh's crystallized forms, commands the l'Cie to fulfill their destiny by destroying Orphan, thereby cutting the power fueling Cocoon's functions and causing it to crash into the surface of the world below. The l'Cie refuse, and an enraged Barthandelus engages them in battle one last time, only to be defeated and sent sinking into a mysterious pool behind him. Menrva appears, however, and dives into the pool after him, allowing Barthandelus to rise up once more as the protective shell surrounding the dormant fal'Cie Orphan.
The l'Cie fight Barthandelus once again in Orphan's first form, but fail to destroy him. Barthandelus, growing frustrated with the party by this point, reveals the reason why fal'Cie make l'Cie in the first place in a bid to cause them to lose any hope for the future. Each fal'Cie was created by the Maker for a defined purpose, and given finite power to accomplish the task given to them. Humans, on the other hand, have the power to make anything happen through sheer will power and determination, an ability beyond the reach of the fal'Cie. It is for this very reason that fal'Cie make l'Cie: to partake in the power inherent in humankind.
Fang, remembering the promise she made to Vanille, turns on the rest of the party and attempts to transform into Ragnarok, causing everyone else except Vanille to turn into Cie'th. She is viciously attacked by the shambling remnants of her companions, causing her to transform into an incomplete version of Ragnarok. Because of its incomplete nature, Fang's Ragnarok is unable to destroy Orphan; instead, only the outer shield dissipates before Fang reverts back to her human form.
Disappointed, Orphan revives Fang and tortures her repeatedly in order to force her to transform into Ragnarok once more, while a helpless Vanille is forced to watch her friend suffer in an endless cycle. Meanwhile, Lightning, Snow, Sazh, and Hope each relive their memories of the entire journey, and find the strength of will necessary to transform themselves back into l'Cie, though they believe that their Cie'th forms were another fal'Cie illusion like Serah back in Oerba. They fire several magic spells at Orphan's blade-like form, causing him to suffer heavy damage and sink back into the pool, where he is presumably destroyed for good.
After giving themselves the Focus of saving Cocoon rather than destroying it, their brands burn out. Orphan's true form rises from the pool, and reveals that it shares the same desire as Barthandelus to summon the Maker back, even if it means dying in the process. Believing that if they can destroy Cocoon, they can also save it, the l'Cie attack Orphan and destroy it, causing all of the systems keeping Cocoon functioning to abruptly shut down.
The party find themselves outside and falling towards the city of Eden, no longer kept afloat at the center of Cocoon due to Orphan's demise. While the rest of the group helplessly floats away, Fang and Vanille, who finally accepts her fate, combine together to summon Ragnarok's true form. Ragnarok proceeds to create a massive column of lava, which engulfs nearly the entire surface of Cocoon and slows the descent of Cocoon towards the surface. In its final moments, Ragnarok causes all of the lava to crystallize by summoning all of the crystal dust from the ruins of Oerba, leaving Cocoon securely supported by a massive crystal pillar entrenched firmly in Pulse's surface. Lightning, Hope, Sazh and Snow are all crystallized and placed on the surface of Pulse below, their Focus fulfilled in a sense.
Lightning and the rest of party wake up from their crystal sleep to find that their l'Cie brands have disappeared. In the distance, survivors from Cocoon are rallying around the remaining military units, coming to terms with seeing Pulse for the first time. The party is reunited with Serah and Dajh, who have also been freed from their crystal sleep now that the fal'Cie are gone. Hope takes one last moment to mourn the loss of Fang and Vanille, and Lightning finally accepts Serah and Snow's relationship. In the very core of the enormous crystal tower holding Cocoon above Gran Pulse, the crystallized forms of Vanille and Fang float together, their Focus finally completed after 500 years.
The official Japanese website revealed a web novelization titled Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-. It contains a series of short stories written by Jun Eishima, leading up to the events depicted in the actual game. The first story is called "Encounter", and it focuses on how Serah Farron became the first Gran Pulse l'Cie on Cocoon for a long time. The second story is called "Stranger", about the moment when Vanille and Fang awoke from their crystallized state, and begin adjusting to Cocoon life. The third story, "Family", focuses on Sazh Katzroy and his son, Dajh, detailing how Sazh came to own the chocobo chick and how Dajh fell into the clutches of the Sanctum.
The fourth story, "Search," is about Vanille and Fang's separation, Fang's encounter with Cid Raines, and joining him to locate Vanille. Part five of the novel is titled "Friends", and it focuses on Hope Estheim's life with his family and friends before his mother's death. The sixth story titled "Present," involves Snow buying engagement necklaces and Serah finding a birthday present for Lightning. The seventh and final story called "Tomorrow," is about Fang and Vanille preparing to become l'Cie during the War of Transgression, and Vanille getting ready to be Purged to Gran Pulse.
There are six playable characters in Final Fantasy XIII, and two cast members acting as guest characters. Although the game focuses on each of the playable characters equally, the majority of the story is told through the perspective of Lightning, the main character of the game . The main playable characters are all l'Cie.
- Format:Nihongo — The main protagonist of the game. Lightning was a member of the Guardian Corps in Bodhum before her whole life came crashing down when her sister Serah became a l'Cie. Regretting her refusal to believe Serah, she volunteers to be Purged with the intention of saving her sister. She is an agile fighter who makes use of a variety of gunblades, the "Blazefire Saber" among them.
- Format:Nihongo — Leader of NORA, Snow Villiers is a sturdy man whose mannerism is reputed to resemble that of a cowboy. He traveled to the Hanging Edge to fight back against PSICOM and the Purge in the hope of saving his fiancée, Serah, who has been imprisoned by the Pulse fal'Cie. Although Snow uses his fists to fight, his equipped 'weapon' is a runed coat, designed to enhance the strength of its wearer.
- Format:Nihongo — A young and spirited girl, Vanille's past is a mystery and she carries a heavy burden that the others are not initially aware of. Trying hard to get through the events of the Purge, she tags along with Hope and finds herself wrapped up in the events that take place inside the Pulse Vestige, leading to her joining the others. Her weapon of choice is called the Binding Rod. She acts as the narrator of the story and can be considered a deuteragonist due to the events of the past she was part of that led to the actual game.
- Format:Nihongo — A middle-aged man with dark skin and an afro. He was formerly in the military, but now works as a civilian airship pilot. In the hope of saving his son Dajh, he boarded the train to the Hanging Edge and after meeting Lightning who also wanted to fight back against the Purge. He owns a baby chocobo that lives in his hair. He is described as a gentle person who is easily reduced to tears. He fights with two pistols that can be combined into a rifle.
- Format:Nihongo — A young boy with silver hair who, along with his mother, is part of the group of exiles onboard the train that Lightning stopped. His mother dies during an unsuccessful attempt by NORA to drive the PSICOM soldiers back. Blaming Snow for his mother's death, Hope follows him to try and confront him but ends up being forced to work with him and the others. Hope joins Lightning on her journey to become stronger so that he can eventually avenge his mother's death. He wields boomerangs in battle.
- Format:Nihongo — A wild-looking dark-haired woman with a large tattoo on one arm and a burnt-out mark of the l'Cie on the other. She first appears with Cid Raines and the Cavalry with the intention of capturing Snow in Lake Bresha. However, she has a much more complicated agenda in reality as she searches for a long-lost friend and aims to complete her Focus. Spears are her weapon of choice.
- Format:Nihongo — A member of NORA and Snow's childhood friend. He is a dark-skinned man with orange hair and teal clothes. His design is based on NBA and hip hop fashion. He uses a machine gun in battle.
- Format:Nihongo — A woman who has black hair tied in a ponytail and a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. She is also the only female member of NORA. Her outfit is based on volleyball players, wearing short shorts and a tank top-like shirt with puffy sleeves. She uses a rifle in battle.
- Format:Nihongo - Lightning's sister and Snow's fiancée. She is turned into a l'Cie before the games start, and then, early in the game, crystallized in the Pulse Vestige. Her fate is one of the main motives in the game.
- Format:Nihongo - Sazh's six-year-old son. He was branded as a l'Cie shortly before the game began, and Sazh journeys to reunite with him.
Masashi Hamauzu, one of the composers of the Final Fantasy X soundtrack and the composer of the Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Original Soundtrack, composed the music for Final Fantasy XIII. The game's main theme is called "Kimi ga Iru Kara" ("Because You're Here"), performed by the J-pop artist Sayuri Sugawara. Nobuo Uematsu was originally announced as the composer of the game's main theme, but later decided to give his main theme duties to Hamauzu after being hired to work on Final Fantasy XIV.
The Japanese soundtrack was released on January 27, 2010 with two versions available for purchase. The standard version contains four discs while the limited edition contains a bonus "drama CD" written by scenario writer Motomu Toriyama.
In the game's western versions Leona Lewis sings the English theme song, titled "My Hands". Yoshinori Kitase explained the decision to use a different song was made due to difficulties translating the lyrics of "Kimi ga Iru Kara" into English, and thus "My Hands" was chosen as the lyrics of the song still fit the game's theme. In the game's western versions the song "Eternal Love" was replaced with "Serah's Theme".
|Lightning||Maaya Sakamoto||Ali Hillis|
|Snow Villiers||Daisuke Ono||Troy Baker|
|Sazh Katzroy||Masashi Ebara||Reno Wilson|
|Oerba Dia Vanille||Yukari Fukui||Georgia Van Cuylenburg|
|Hope Estheim||Yūki Kaji||Vincent Martella|
|Oerba Yun Fang||Mabuki Andou||Rachel Robinson|
|Serah Farron||Minako Kotobuki||Laura Bailey|
|Galenth Dysley||Masaru Shinozuka||S. Scott Bullock|
|Jihl Nabaat||Mie Sonozaki||Paula Tiso|
|Yaag Rosch||Hiroki Touchi||Jon Curry|
|Cid Raines||Yūichi Nakamura||Erik Davies|
|Rygdea||Yasuyuki Kase||Josh Robert Thompson|
|Gadot||Biichi Satou||Zack Hanks|
|Lebreau||Yū Asakawa||Anndi McAfee|
|Maqui||Makoto Naruse||Daniel Samonas|
|Dajh Katzroy||Shoutarou Uzawa||Connor Villard|
|Yuj||Wataru Hatano||Jeff Fischer|
|Nora Estheim||Komina Matsushita||Mary Elizabeth McGlynn|
|Bartholomew Estheim||Masaki Aizawa||André Sogliuzzo|
|Amodar||Yûji Ueda||Dave Wittenberg|
|Orphan||Hiro Shimono (True Form)|
Mie Sonozaki & Masaru Shinozuka (Shell)
|Michael Sinterniklaas (True Form)|
Julia Fletcher & S. Scott Bullock (Shell)
Cocoon Inhabitants (English version)
Alex Fernandez, April Stewart, Barbara Goodson, Ben Diskin, Cam Clarke, Candi Milo, Catherine Cavadini, Chris Edgerly, Cindy Robinson, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Daisy Torme, Dante Basco, Darren Norris, Dave Rasner, Dwight Schultz, Eden Riegal, Erin Fitzgerald, Fred Tatasciore, Gideon Emery, Hynden Walch, James Arnold Taylor, JB Blanc, Jeannie Ellas, Jessica DiCicco, Jill Talley, Jim Ward, Joe Cappellietti, John DiMaggio, John Mariano, Kari Wahlgren, Kate Higgins, Keith Silverstein, Kim Mai Guest, Kirk Thornton, Kyle Hebert, Liam O'Brien, Maile Flannegan, Masasa Moyo, Michael Lindsey, Michael Gough, Megan Hollingshead, Mickey Cheetham, Mike Sorich, Neil Kaplan, Nika Futterman, Nolan North, Pat Fraley, Patrick Seitz, Phil Procter, Robbie Rist, Robin Atkin Downs, Roger Craig Smith, Sam Riegal, Scott MacDonald, Scott Menville, Sheri Lynn, Stephanie Sheh, Steve Kramer, Steve Van Wormer, Tara Platt, Travis Willingham, Yuri Lowenthal
Final Fantasy XIII was originally planned as a PlayStation 2 game, but the development was moved to PlayStation 3 and the team had to restart development from scratch. In Famitsu, Kitase revealed that the initial project concept for Final Fantasy XIII was thought of in 2004 when the Final Fantasy X-2 International team came up with the idea during a jogging session. The game was developed on the Crystal Tools engine since the beginning. The development was led by Yoshinori Kitase and as such, the development team resembles that of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, although occasionally, developers from Final Fantasy Versus XIII assisted with the game's development.
The overarching concept of Final Fantasy XIII was "a future world fantasy" and "people fighting against fate." The concept for the battle system was to maintain the strategic nature of command-based battles, but to create battles similar to those seen in the film Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. According to art director Isamu Kamikokuryou, many additional areas that were functioning in an unreleased build, from team Nora's secret base, to Lightning's home and even a zoo, were cut from the game owing to concerns about the game's length and volume. Kamikokuryou additionally remarked that the volume of cut content was enough to make another game.
The game was first revealed at E3 2006. Since then, the battle system of the game has changed several times. In the first trailers, the camera angles and shifts were more dynamic and Lightning had a gravity-controlling ability that influenced the gameplay, lending to a somewhat more action-based and cinematic presentation than the final, more classic battle system. In the playable demo, the battle transitions were nearly seamless as the exploration and battle fields were very similar in appearance, unlike in the final game where the differences between the two fields are much more apparent.
It was revealed at E3 2008 that Final Fantasy XIII would be released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 in North America and Europe, but would remain a PlayStation 3 exclusive in Japan. A demo version of Final Fantasy XIII was released with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete in Japan on April 16 exclusively for PlayStation 3. Covering a part from the early stages of the game, the demo aimed to familiarize players with the battle system, while featuring Cocoon and the l'Cie. Only Lightning and Snow were playable, with Sazh, Lebreau and Gadot supporting them during battles. The demo was not released outside of Japan.
Re: Final Fantasy XIII is a promotional DVD that was released by Square Enix in Japan on December 13th, 2008, to advertise the upcoming games of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series. Said to be included were never-before-seen trailers, along with the rarely seen trailers shown at the DKS3137 conventional event. The DVD is reported to be fifty minutes and includes the first look at real Final Fantasy XIII gameplay. Included on the DVD as well were promos for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, Dissidia Final Fantasy, and movies for non-Final Fantasy Square titles. A second demo was featured in the Final Fantasy XIII Premiere Party and Tokyo Game Show in September 2009, showcasing the summons as well as the Paradigm Shift system. Again, only Lightning and Snow could be controlled in battle, while Sazh, Vanille, and Hope were supporting party members.
The initial screenshots of the Xbox 360 version Square Enix released to compare to the PlayStation 3 version were revealed, in fact, to be screenshots from the PlayStation 3 version, with the Xbox 360 icons pasted on top. Square Enix apologized, claiming it was a mistake, and later released genuine Xbox 360 screenshots. The Xbox 360 version runs at 576p (FMV CG 576p), as opposed to the PlayStation 3's native resolution of 720p (FMV CG 1080p), but both versions can be upscaled to 1080p.
Similar to Final Fantasy X, XI, and XII, Final Fantasy XIII has only English and Japanese sound dubs. Subtitles were only localized to local languages.
A Problematic DevelopmentEdit
After the game's release, Square Enix has revealed that Final Fantasy XIII's development was a difficult one and ridden with miscommunication between different sections of the development team. Final Fantasy XIII had the largest development team of any previous Final Fantasy game, with some of the work also done in conjunction with the Final Fantasy Versus XIII team. According to the October 2010 issue of Game Developer magazine, a big problem during the game's development was the lack of unified vision. The game was first announced at 2006, but the E3 trailer was merely a visual concept and the team hadn't created anything playable yet, leading to pressure within the development team on what the battle system should be like. What further complicated the development was that the team was also working on Square Enix's multiplatform engine Crystal Tools. The team made the mistake of trying to accommodate every single project in progress and a considerable amount of time was spent prioritizing all the different requests and the team was not able to determine the final spec requirements. It created a standstill between the engine and game development teams; if the engine's specs couldn't be finalized, neither could the game's.
The international player tests were late, which led to scheduling constraints as the team wanted to ensure the game would appeal to Western audiences. The development team was well-aware of criticism toward JRPGs coming from North America and Europe concerning game linearity and command-based battles. The development team experimented with Western development methods and international focus groups were set up for certain titles, including Final Fantasy XIII. However, at this time the development team was already far along in development and it was too late to implement most of the feedback. Despite this, the team was able to gain some insight into what players wanted globally, but also led to conflicts because the development team didn't receive clear instructions on whether to force certain changes into an already tight schedule.
The game's overall vision did not fully realize until the demo included with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, because even at a late stage of development, the team did not agree on the game's key elements. The team had to make adjustments to the schedule to accommodate the demo, but after it was complete, the team finally had a tangible version of the game that could actually be played, which unified the vision and understanding of the game's direction across the entire development team. Before the demo, different elements for the game had been created with no clear plan on how they would actually be used in the final game. With the demo pulling all the strings together, the team could prioritize to help increase productivity.
The way the development team has come out open with the problems with Final Fantasy XIII's development is rather unique, and may reflect the polarized reception the game received after its release.
The problematic development of Final Fantasy XIII led to the departure of several members of the development team, who left Square Enix during development or on the game's release, including:
- Toshiro Tsuchida (battle planning director);
- Takashi Ohkuma (background technical director);
- Masashi Hamauzu (composer), who went freelance;
- Nao Ikeda (sub-character designer), who went freelance.
Final Fantasy XIII was released on December 17th, 2009 in Japan exclusively for PlayStation 3. Coinciding with the release a Japanese alcoholic beverage distributor Suntory released the energy drink Final Fantasy XIII Elixir to promote the game's release. A PlayStation 3 bundle called "Lightning Edition" which includes a copy of Final Fantasy XIII was released in Japan on the same day. 200 units were allocated to be sold in Taiwan. It contains a Ceramic White PS3 slim 250GB set with pink Lightning artwork.
On November 13, 2009 the game creators released a video with interviews and new footage that announced the game's international release date. One month prior to the game's release, Square Enix had begun promoting the game via a tour bus where gamers could preview and play the game, until March 9th, 2010, Final Fantasy XIII was released worldwide on both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
A Limited Collector's Edition of the game was released exclusively in PAL territories. It contains the game packaged with the following exclusive content:
- Artwork of all six party members with their respective Eidolons.
- Two stickers of the Pulse l'Cie brand.
- The Original Sound Selection, which includes composer Masashi Hamauzu's comments on the ten tracks comprising the selection.
- A hardback book, titled The World of Final Fantasy XIII, which contains scenario information for the game.
A special Xbox 360 bundle was available for the North American, European, Australian, and New Zealand releases of the game. The bundle included a 250GB Xbox 360, 2 wireless controllers and a copy of Final Fantasy XIII.
Final Fantasy XIII is the first game in the series to receive an official release in Chinese. The localization uses the original Japanese audio with Traditional Chinese subtitles.
The game was released as an Ultimate Hits International Edition on Xbox 360 in Japan on December 16, 2010. It includes a brand new Easy Mode and is packaged with the following content:
- An artwork booklet, titled FINAL FANTASY XIII -Corridor of Memory- with visual art from both Japan and overseas.
- FINAL FANTASY XIII Unused Event Scenes, a look at scenes cut from the game with an accompanying script.
- An epilogue novel, titled Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, which reveals the events after the end of the game.
The International release also includes "My Hands" as its theme song instead of "Kimi ga Iru Kara".
On July 21st, 2011, the Japanese PS3 version of the game, got a free update, which introduced Easy Mode difficulty, to get on par with the Japanese Xbox360 version released a year earlier. The update also disables the use of preemptive attack to the Ochu enemies, and also disables the R1 menu when walking to access the Shroud menu.
In Japan Final Fantasy XIII sold over a million units on its first day of sale and had sold over 1,600,000 copies in Japan at the end of 2009. In March 2010, Square Enix stated that Final Fantasy XIII is the fastest selling title in the series' history. By April American game sales reached an estimated 800,000 units for Playstation 3 and 500,000 units for Xbox360. As of June 9, 2011, Final Fantasy XIII has sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide.
Final Fantasy XIII received favorable reviews in Japanese game media and was voted as the second best game of 2009 in Dengeki online's reader poll, and in January 2010, was voted "the best game ever" in Famitsu's reader poll. The game's Metacritic score stands at 83 for the PlayStation 3 and 82 for the Xbox 360, signifying "generally favorable" reviews. However, this score is the lowest of all the offline main series Final Fantasy titles.
Final Fantasy XIII has been hailed as a technical milestone with the presentation of CGI cutscenes and the almost seamless transition of visual quality between them and realtime gameplay. Many have appreciated the game's soundtrack though some feel the replacement of the game's original theme song with Leona Lewis's "My Hands" was unfortunate. The game's battle system has been generally liked, with the increased battle speed and the depth of the Paradigm Shift system. The story, characters and voice acting were mostly received well with reviewers stating the characters worked well together, and the interactions among them made up for shortcomings in the storyline.
Many, however, reacted negatively to the game's linear nature especially in the first ten chapters on Cocoon compounded by the absence of traditional towns and little interaction with non-player characters. Many also noted that the slow pace the game opens up, with the Crystarium system only expanding at certain storyline points to allow the characters to learn more abilities, and the rather late point in the game the player is finally allowed to choose their battle party, contributed to the game's linear feeling, some citing it "boring". The game director Motomu Toriyama has since stated the lower-than-expected review scores were as a result of reviewers approaching the game with a Western point-of-view, and that reviewers were used to games in which the player was given an open world to explore; he noted this expectation contrasted with the development team's vision in that it "becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you're given that much freedom".
Final Fantasy XIII ended up being unexpectedly polarizing and is the first Final Fantasy main title to get such a strong reaction from the fans, that even Square Enix CEO, Yoichi Wada, acknowledges it, saying in a Gamasutra interview that "... when it comes to the customers' reaction to the quality of the game, some value it highly and some are not very happy with it."
- Initial screenshots of the Xbox 360 version released by Square Enix to compare to the PlayStation 3 version were revealed shortly after to be screenshots from the PlayStation 3 version, with the Xbox 360 control icons pasted on top. Square Enix apologized, claiming there would be no need to enhance the Xbox 360 screenshots and that a mistake was made, and later released screenshots that did come from the Xbox 360 version. Though the screenshots were of low quality, including one with a mouse pointer over it, analysis of the new screenshots and later technical analysis by DigitalFoundry of both versions of the game revealed that the Xbox 360 version runs at 576p (FMV CG 576p), as opposed to the PlayStation 3's native resolution of 720p (FMV CG 1080p). Both versions can be upscaled to 1080p.
- On June 2, 2010, a class action lawsuit was filed against Square Enix and Sony Computer Entertainment America due to alleged freezing bugs in the game damaging and physically breaking PlayStation 3 consoles. Square Enix claims it is an issue with the console, while Sony blames the issue on a glitch on the game disc.
- In August 2010, a television advert of Final Fantasy XIII was banned in Britain by the Advertising Standards Authority due to Square Enix advertising the Xbox 360 version of the game with footage of the PlayStation 3 version exclusively.
- After the confirmation that an Xbox 360 port of Final Fantasy XIII would be released in Japan, CEO Yoichi Wada received death threats from angry fans accusing him of being a liar.
A sequel titled Final Fantasy XIII-2 was announced on January 18, 2011.
Square Enix registered a domain name for Final Fantasy XIII-3 on September 7, 2011. No development plans have been announced as of yet. A representative of Square Enix, however, notes that the filing is to protect the Final Fantasy XIII intellectual property and is not indicative of a new title.
The staff behind Final Fantasy XIII are as follows:
- Game Director; Scenario Writer: Motomu Toriyama
- Character designer: Tetsuya Nomura
- Sub-character designer: Nao Ikeda
- Art director: Isamu Kamikokuryo
- Summon monster designs: Chikako Nakano
- Main programmer: Kazumi Kobayashi
- Movie director: Eiji Fujii
- Music Composer: Masashi Hamauzu
- Game Producer: Yoshinori Kitase
- Image Illustrator and Title Logo Designer: Yoshitaka Amano
- Battle Designer: Toshiro Tsuchida
- Weapon; Equipment Designer: Tetsu Tsukamoto
- During the development, models of Yuna, Rikku, Ashe, and Vaan were used as stand-ins for characters that weren't designed yet.
- The PS3 version of the game comes with a code that, when registered with Square Enix's community website, allows one to register to be a beta tester for Final Fantasy XIV.
- In the lead-up to the release of Final Fantasy XIII, Microsoft ran a promotion where a Chocobo Avatar item would become available if a certain amount of the hashtag '#FFXIIIXBOX' had been used on Twitter or if you registered with your email. The chocobo looks and behaves similarly to the one Sazh carries around with him.
- Players who registered a first production run of the Xbox 360 version at the Square Enix Members site received download codes for Male and Female PSICOM uniforms for their Xbox Live Avatar.
- The game was originally planned to have download content (DLC) released after the game, but Square Enix scrapped the plans.
- Final Fantasy XIII is the first main series game to not feature either the original Prelude or Victory Fanfare.
- Final Fantasy XIII marks the fourth time Square Enix has enlisted a non-Asian vocalist (Leona Lewis) to perform a vocal piece for a Final Fantasy soundtrack, after Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, and Dissidia Final Fantasy.
- An Easter Egg exists where if the player spins the analog stick as is common for grinding in previous games, the player character will stop and get irritated.
- The game was released in Japan on December 17, 2009, a day before the anniversary of the original Final Fantasy which was released in Japan on December 18, 1987.
- The game is the first Final Fantasy title with European packaging artwork that does not only feature the game's logo, but the main protagonist as well.
- Final Fantasy XIII at Play-Asia.com
- Final Fantasy XIII at Amazon.com
- Official Japanese Site
- Official Japanese Xbox 360 Site
- Official North American Site
- Official European Site
- Fabula Nova Crystallis Official Site
- E³ Teaser Trailer at Official Site
- E³ Teaser Trailer at Gametrailers.com
- Final Fantasy XIII Profile Page
- E³ 2009 Extended Trailer at IGN
ReferencesEditFormat:Final Fantasy series
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