Final Fantasy Wiki

The future belongs not to those who wait...

Final Fantasy XIII Game Trailer

The Battle Within Begins...

Final Fantasy XIII tagline

Final Fantasy XIII is the thirteenth main installment in the Final Fantasy series and the flagship title of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy sub-series, developed and published by Square Enix. It was released in December 2009 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and has since been re-released on Microsoft Windows in 2014. It was directed by Motomu Toriyama, with Tetsuya Nomura designing the main characters and Masashi Hamauzu composing the score. The game runs on the Crystal Tools engine. It was the first multi-platform Final Fantasy title and the first to be translated into traditional Chinese.

Final Fantasy XIII is set on the world of Gran Pulse, above which floats Cocoon, an artificial biodome on which humanity lives, fearful of the surface world. Lightning, a member of the Guardian Corps military forces, goes rogue when her sister Serah is branded a l'Cie by a fal'Cie from Gran Pulse, designating her an enemy of Cocoon. The Sanctum government authorizes a Purge of citizens who may have come in contact with the fal'Cie, and Lightning meets up with the pilot Sazh Katzroy on her way to find Serah amid the Purge. Also caught up in the Purge are Snow Villiers, Serah's fiance and leader of the anti-authority group, NORA, and the civilians Hope Estheim and Oerba Dia Vanille. The five come into contact with the Pulse fal'Cie, Anima, and are branded l'Cie, seemingly with the Focus to destroy Cocoon.

The gameplay makes use of the Command Synergy Battle system, a more fast-paced menu-based combat system that derives from the Active Time Battle system. The player controls the party leader and chains as many actions as there are ATB gauges, with different actions consuming different amounts of ATB. The party's abilities and actions are determined by the current paradigm, with combat requiring the player to shift between paradigms and to level the paradigm roles via the Crystarium system. The game's first half is linear, while the latter half opens up once the party reaches Gran Pulse.

Final Fantasy XIII received generally positive reviews from most outlets, who praised the graphical presentation and battle system, while the story received a mixed reaction and criticized the linearity.[3] Final Fantasy XIII was commercially successful, with Square Enix announcing it sold approximately 6.6 million copies.[4] A sequel titled Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released in 2011, and a second sequel, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, was released in 2014. Square Enix announced that the Lightning Saga had sold 11 million copies worldwide.[5]


Archylte Steppe Enemies

Player traveling the field map with multiple enemies in sight.

The game's progression is chapter-based, and in most chapters, the player will see the story through different characters' views. Players can move around the field map while controlling the party leader, the other members moving independently, sometimes running ahead, engaging in dialogue, or stopping to look at objects on the field and pointing things of interest out to the party leader. Other party members being far away from the leader does not affect their participation in battles that take place in a separate module. Players can jump, but only at specific jump spots marked on the map.

Enemies will appear on the map, and battles initiate when coming into contact with them. Treasure chests can't be opened near a monster, and there are several instances enemies are "guarding" treasures and must be banished to collect the loot. Shrouds can be used to move about the field without triggering enemy encounters and to bestow the party with buffs before the battle's start.

FFXIII Three Way Battle

A three-way battle between a Behemoth King, a Megistotherian, and the party.

Some enemies may fight each other, and interacting with them initiates a three-way battle.

Players can't set the party or the party leader until later into the game, but diversity is brought in via the Paradigm Shift system. The party leader being incapacitated spells Game Over, but the player will simply appear at the point on the field right before they initiated the fight, and they may either reattempt the battle or leave it.

Final Fantasy XIII is the fourth main series Final Fantasy game where the player doesn't routinely win gil from battles;[note 2] instead, money is gained from treasure spheres and selling items. Save Stations allow the player to save and access the Retail Network where items and equipment can be bought or sold.

Command Synergy Battle[]

FFXIII-English Fang Battle

Combat in Final Fantasy XIII, showing Fang attacking an enemy.

The battle system, called Command Synergy Battle in-game, has been described as "more tactical than Final Fantasy X, faster than Final Fantasy X-2, and almost as seamless as Final Fantasy XII". The enemies are visible in the field. When the player runs into them, the screen lights up, and the scene switches to a vast, blank battlefield, marking the start of a battle where the player can control one character out of a party of up to three. After a certain point in the game, the lead character can be switched outside of battle.

The Active Time Battle gauge is divided into sections. Each command has a numeric value referred to as "ATB Cost" next to the name, indicating how many sections it will take up, allowing the player to input several commands per turn. The next turn comes up sooner if the ATB bar is only partially used. Magic and summoning are only available to party members who are l'Cie.

A new element called the Chain Gauge is specific to each enemy and fills as the player performs attack combos marked by a percentage. Upon filling the gauge, the enemy enters "Stagger Mode", where the player can inflict even more damage. Staggered enemies can be launched in the air and juggled with attacks. Staggering is almost essential to winning many battles.

Battle Results FFXIII

A Battle Result.

Because of the ATB cost determining the moves a player can use, the game has no MP. Since magic cannot be used outside of battle, the party's HP is restored after every battle. Full ATB skills work similar to Limit Breaks from previous games as being character-specific special moves. Even if there is no Escape command, the player can leave battle with the Retry option.

When a battle is won, a Battle Results screen gives the player a zero-to-five star ranking and shows how long the fight took. This information is linked to the trophy and achievement systems.

Paradigm Shift[]

Paradigm shift

The Paradigm Shift system.

The player can only control one character at a time. The other party members' actions are governed by a system called the "Paradigm Shift". Paradigms are described as "stances" or "classes" the characters temporarily take during a battle to define the abilities they use, but they're more strict than job classes. For example, the party member with a Medic's role can only heal. In contrast, the Commando's role forces them to only attack with non-elemental attacks.

The paradigms can be changed at any time to suit the situation at hand, but they cannot be adjusted individually, only for the whole party at a time. Thus, a paradigm is a combination of three roles. There are 83 possible paradigm combinations (6 single, 21 double, and 56 triple member combinations). The roles are shown as colored abbreviations next to the characters' names on the battle screen.

The roles within the paradigms are:

Role Color Description
Commando (COM)
(Attacker (ATK) (Name in Japanese: アタッカー))
Build attack chains more easily with enhanced strength.
Ravager (RAV)
(Blaster (BLA) (Name in Japanese: ブラスター))
Charge enemy chain gauges with concentrated attacks.
Sentinel (SEN)
(Defender (DEF) (Name in Japanese: ディフェンダー))
Shield allies from enemy attacks.
Saboteur (SAB)
(Jammer (JAM) (Name in Japanese: ジャマー))
Enfeeble enemies while charging their chain gauges.
Synergist (SYN)
(Enhancer (ENH) (Name in Japanese: エンハンサー))
Support allies with an array of magical enhancements.
Medic (MED)
(Healer (HLR) (Name in Japanese: ヒーラー))
Focus on restoring HP and removing status ailments.


Hope's crystarium

Hope's Crystarium.

Characters grow in power in a system similar to the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X called the Crystarium system. Characters win "Crystogen Points" (CP) in battle and can use them to purchase stat boosts, spells, and other abilities on a circular chart. The skills a character learns affects their ability to learn other skills and opens new paths on the chart—learning Fire, for example, opens a skill path that leads to Fira and other spells.

The available abilities in the Crystaria vary between party members, but series staples, such as Attack, Fire, Blizzard, and Cure, return, along with new commands such as Blitz, which causes area-of-effect damage, and Ruin, a new non-elemental spell.

The system opens up in stages, and party members cannot develop further after completing the current stage. The Crystarium's final stage opens by defeating the final boss, meaning to develop the party fully, players must take on the post-game content.


Ffxiii status screen

Lightning's status screen.

Each character has eight base weapons, most of which can be found, and all of which can be purchased at Retail Network. The base weapons can be upgraded to a unique second stage, and eventually to its third and ultimate stage. The third stage weapons of a particular character share a common name but have different stats and abilities depending from which weapon it was upgraded.

All characters can equip all accessories. Each character can initially equip one accessory but the capacity can be increased to up to four through the Crystaria.

In addition to the basic enhancements provided by weapons and accessories, when a character equips equipment pieces belonging to the same "synthesis" group (a hidden property), the wearer gains additional passive enhancements (such as increased ATB gauge recharge rate).

The basic enhancements weapons and accessories grant can improve by leveling the items up by applying various components to give them Experience Points (EXP). When the weapon or accessory reaches a certain number of EXP, it will be upgraded to a new "level". Once it reaches a certain level (usually 25 for weapons and 2 to 5 for equipment), the number will be replaced by a star (★), at which point standard components can no longer upgrade it. It can now be transformed with a catalyst into a new stage of the same class of equipment, with a new name, that can then continue to be leveled up for higher bonuses. However, some accessories transform into an item of an entirely different synthesis group.

There are three types of components: biological, mechanical, and monetary. Creatures drop biological components; although they don't generally have a high EXP value, they increase the weapon or accessory's EXP bonus, meaning that subsequent components will yield up to 300% more EXP compared to their base value. Mechanical components drop from mechanical enemies and give a high number of EXP at the expense of reducing the EXP bonus. Therefore, biological components should be used first to build up the EXP bonus before using mechanical components to add EXP. The last type is monetary components dropped by human enemies; though they have a nominal EXP value, they're intended to be sold for gil.


Bahamut summoned

Bahamut summoned to battle.

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, they are not playable.

The playable Eidolons have mechanical designs and the power to transform. The Eidolons are used both as a gameplay feature and as plot devices. 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. Instead of HP, Eidolons use "Summon Points" (SP) to indicate their health, but SP also decreases over time. Once SP is depleted, the Eidolon will disappear, and the other party members will return. Each l'Cie must win the "approval" of their respective Eidolon by defeating them in combat.


Lightning and Odin's Gestalt Mode.

Besides summoning Eidolons to fight alongside them, each Eidolon can transform into a form the summoner can ride in a mode called "Gestalt Mode" ("Driving Mode" in the Japanese version). Combat becomes more action-oriented, with the summon able to perform various special attacks with certain button combinations.

Each Eidolon's Gestalt Mode includes a powerful finisher move that will end the summoning. The Eidolon's Gestalt Gauge determines how long the Gestalt Mode lasts; the gauge fills as the summoner builds attack chains with their Eidolon.


Cie'th stone

Missions are accepted from Cie'th Stones.

Gran Pulse has several points marked with Cie'th Stones where the party may accept missions. These are similar in function to the Hunts in Final Fantasy XII and involve battling one of the many monsters around Gran Pulse. They are not part of the main story, but players can experience Foci of past l'Cie who 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 missions are repeatable, as although players only obtain the base mission rewards once, subsequent completions will earn a different type of reward, usually of lesser quality (e.g.: Bomb Ashes and Bomb Shells). Replaying missions is likely required to attain all achievements or trophies, as one needs a 5-star battle rating for all missions.



Coccon Exterior


Cocoon—a utopia in the sky.

Its inhabitants believed their world a paradise. Under the Sanctum's rule, Cocoon had long known peace and prosperity.
Mankind was blessed by its protectors, the benevolent fal'Cie, and believed that tranquil days would continue forever.

Their tranquility was shattered with the discovery of one hostile fal'Cie.
The moment that fal'Cie from Pulse—the feared and detested lowerworld—awoke from its slumber, peace on Cocoon came to an end.

Fal'Cie curse humans, turning them into magic-wielding servants. They become l'Cie—chosen of the fal'Cie.
Those branded with the mark of a l'Cie carry the burden of either fulfilling their Focus or facing a fate harsher than death itself.

A prayer for redemption. A wish to protect the world. A promise to challenge destiny.
After thirteen days of fates intertwined, the battle begins.

Official Prologue

Cocoon is a hollow floating world created thirteen centuries ago by the deity Lindzei, and is ruled by fal'Cie; godlike beings of immense power and authority. Located in Gran Pulse's atmosphere, Cocoon is a futuristic utopian world isolated from the wilderness of the lowerworld. Cities exist on the inside of Cocoon's shell with barriers all around, and the people are forbidden to leave Cocoon. Machines and mechanized beasts are commissioned as the citizens' guardians while the resident fal'Cie provide them with whatever they need, from food and water to protection and guidance and entertainment. The people of Cocoon are conditioned to believe that Pulsians are savages out to destroy them and their paradise and that Pulse is a world full of unknown terrors, a hell for humans.

Vanille Pulse

Gran Pulse with Cocoon floating above it.

Gran Pulse, known to Cocoon's people only as Pulse, is the expansive lowerworld beneath Cocoon, created by its namesake deity Pulse. As opposed to the Cocoon fal'Cie, Pulse fal'Cie only serve to cultivate the land, having little to do with human affairs. The plants and wildlife can evolve and grow to immense sizes, and the world is ruled by natural selection, where only the strongest survive. Compared to Cocoon, Gran Pulse is primitive, with ancient technology and monsters roaming everywhere. The people of Pulse were raised to believe that Cocoon is a source of evil, a "floating nest of vipers" posed to attack at any time.

Six centuries ago, tensions between Cocoon and Gran Pulse rose to the point of war, and the War of Transgression broke out. Two Pulsian girls were made l'Cie and bestowed with the power to transform into the legendary beast called Ragnarok to destroy Cocoon. In the war's climax, only one of the girls became Ragnarok and cracked Cocoon's shell but failed to destroy the floating world. Cocoon was victorious, and most of Gran Pulse's population had been wiped out. Cocoon's fal'Cie raided Pulse for raw materials to repair the damage sustained, and the war served to strengthen the people's paranoia towards Pulse.


FFXIII Characters

The main characters, along with Serah.

There are six playable characters and two guest characters. Although the game focuses on each of the playable characters equally, most of the story is told from Lightning's perspective.

Playable characters
  • Lightning — Formerly a member of the Guardian Corps in Bodhum before her life came crashing down when her younger sister Serah became a Pulse l'Cie. Regretting her refusal to believe Serah, Lightning volunteers to be Purged to save her. She is an agile fighter who makes use of a variety of gunblades, the Blazefire Saber among them.
  • Snow Villiers — Leader of NORA, Snow Villiers is a sturdy man whose mannerisms resemble those of a cowboy. He travels to the Hanging Edge to fight PSICOM and the Purge to save his fiancée, Serah. Although Snow uses his fists to fight, his equipped "weapon" is a runed coat, designed to enhance the wearer's strength.
  • Oerba Dia Vanille — A spirited, young girl with a mysterious past who carries a heavy burden that the others are initially unaware of. She acts as the story's main narrator and can be considered a deuteragonist. Her weapon of choice is called the Binding Rod.
  • Sazh Katzroy — 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 hopes of saving his son, Dajh, he boards the Purge train. He fights with two pistols that can combine into a rifle and owns a Chocobo Chick that hides in his hair.
  • Hope Estheim — A teenage boy from Palumpolum who, with his mother, is part of the group of exiles onboard the Purge train. Blaming Snow for his mother's death, Hope follows him but ends up being forced to work with him and the others. He wields boomerangs in battle.
  • Oerba Yun Fang — A tan-skinned woman with a large tattoo on one arm and a scorched mark of the l'Cie on the other. She searches for a friend and aims to complete her Focus. Her weapon of choice is a variety of double-ended spears, including the Bladed Lance, capable of becoming three-sectioned staffs.
  • Gadot — 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.
  • Lebreau — A woman with black hair and a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. She is 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.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

The party of l'Cie on Gran Pulse with Cocoon in the background.

Cocoon is plunged into chaos when the Sanctum discovers a Pulse fal'Cie in an old Pulsian landmark in Bodhum. Fearing that anyone that has been in its vicinity might now be a l'Cie servant of a hostile fal'Cie from another world, Cocoon's governing body enacts a Purge to remove everyone who happened to be in Bodhum during the discovery. At the center of everything is Serah Farron, a local girl who had unwittingly wandered into the vestige and been made a l'Cie and is now held captive by the fal'Cie therein.

Serah's sister Lightning sets out to save her amid the Purge. She ends up meeting various allies of circumstance before the fal'Cie Anima's abode: Serah's fiance Snow and two youths caught up in the Purge he's been protecting, Hope and Vanille, and a gun-wielding airship pilot Sazh. As they locate Serah, she crystallizes after asking Lightning to save Cocoon. Believing Serah to be dead, Lightning leads an attack on the fal'Cie Anima, who briefly transports the group into another realm. They come face-to-face with the god Pulse that brands everyone a l'Cie, showing them a vision of the mythical beast Ragnarok destroying Cocoon. Back in the real world, the group must come to terms with being unwittingly been made enemies of Cocoon, as if they don't follow the path set out for them by the fal'Cie, they will become mindless monsters known as Cie'th.

The members of the group react to their predicament in various ways: Snow makes protecting Serah's crystal his priority; Lightning sets upon a path of revenge against Cocoon's governing body, the Sanctum, and all fal'Cie with Hope, who views her as a role model, following suit; while Sazh and Vanille choose to run from their fate. They learn Vanille is harboring a secret of having been a l'Cie from Pulse all along, and she and her friend Fang—who joins their group—were involved in the war between the two worlds over six hundred years ago, sleeping through the centuries in crystal stasis. After settling their differences, the party decides to work together to stop the fal'Cie's plan and gain the help of the Cavalry, a rogue army regiment that posits their wish is to free Cocoon from fal'Cie rule.

The l'Cie learn everything was a ruse set up by the fal'Cie, who have manipulated their every action from the shadows. The fal'Cie's ultimate purpose for Cocoon is to be a "farm" for human souls, which the fal'Cie wish to expend to summon a god they call the Maker from another realm. Trying to protect Cocoon despite it going against their Focus, the l'Cie gather in the fal'Cie Orphan's resting place, the fal'Cie that powers all the other fal'Cie in Cocoon. As the party learns Orphan shares the other fal'Cie's goal to sacrifice Cocoon's citizens, they conclude there is no way for humanity and fal'Cie to co-exist. The party declares their real Focus is to save Cocoon and kill Orphan. As Cocoon falls from the sky, Fang and Vanille summon the mythical beast Ragnarok to erect a crystal pillar to sustain Cocoon above Gran Pulse, and the world is saved.

Spoilers end here.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
Serah crystal art

Serah in crystal stasis.

The main themes of Final Fantasy XIII are challenging god-given fate[6] and the concept of willpower. The main cast has an unjust fate (Focus) forced upon them and seek a way to escape it and do what they believe is right. Ultimately free will triumphs over fate, as the party rejects their Focus and follows their true desire to save Cocoon. The themes are present with the characters of Serah and Cid Raines, who similarly defy their fate, and with the interactions of Hope and his father, who tells Hope he must find his own path in life. On the other side of this coin are the fal'Cie, unable to follow their heart's desire as their fate is predetermined by their creator.

Despite lacking magical powers and immortality like the fal'Cie, humans are still implied to be stronger in the end due to possessing free will. Orphan explains to the party that humans' infinite potential is why fal'Cie chose to make l'Cie of men, to carry out tasks the fal'Cie themselves cannot accomplish. Having a white l'Cie brand may represent a human's free will triumphing over the bond of a fal'Cie-given Focus, as at the end of the game, all of the party's l'Cie brands burn out, which is known to halt the process of turning into a Cie'th.

Many characters lose their homelands and loved ones, and the different ways they deal with their losses are at the center of their character arcs. While their first reaction might be anger and vengeance, the party must come to terms with their losses and ultimately realize that revenge is futile, and the only way to cope is to move forward. Related themes are the themes of guilt and running from the past, things the party is forced to face if they wish to move on.

Eden Servant White

A fal'Cie that serves the fal'Cie Eden.

Other central themes are theocracy (a system that governs under a single god recognized as the supreme ruler) and totalitarianism (a system where the supreme ruler controls all aspects of life, and any opposition is forbidden). Cocoon is led by the fal'Cie Eden that communicates through Primarch Dysley, who makes its orders known to the rest of Cocoon. The military enforces the Sanctum's policies without question while justifying their actions by claiming they are for the greater good and necessary to keep the peace.


The planetoid Cocoon floats in Gran Pulse's atmosphere.

The Sanctum uses propaganda and false pretenses to control the public and cover up its true intentions, the prime example being the Purge, a method to slaughter civilians supposedly tainted by Pulse by pretending to cast them out to the lowerworld. The Cocoonian society pushes their own fears away by Purging anyone connected to Pulse; it's a personal revelation to Lightning when she realizes she is doing the same in initially having set out to destroy Eden.

Another theme is the union of two worlds. For centuries, the peoples of Gran Pulse and Cocoon have despised and lived in fear of one another. The fal'Cie acting through the Sanctum brainwash Cocoon's people to believe Gran Pulse to be hell and to fear and hate anyone and anything having to do with Pulse. The people of Pulse call Cocoon a "floating nest of vipers" and hate its people for luring Pulsians to their world and stealing their resources. The party soon realizes the two worlds and their people are more similar than they thought. The two worlds become one when connected by the crystal pillar formed by Ragnarok.

Spoilers end here.



The soundtrack's limited edition.

Masashi Hamauzu, one of the composers of Final Fantasy X: Original Soundtrack and the composer of the Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Original Soundtrack, composed the music for Final Fantasy XIII. The game's vocal 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 vocal theme, but later decided to give the duties to Hamauzu after being hired to work on Final Fantasy XIV.[7]

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 includes a bonus "drama CD" based off Jun Eishima's Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-.

Leona Lewis sings the English theme song for the western localizations, titled "My Hands". Yoshinori Kitase explained the decision to use a different song was due to difficulties translating "Kimi ga Iru Kara" into English. "My Hands" was chosen as the lyrics still fit the game's theme.[8] In the game's western versions, the song "Eternal Love" is replaced with "Serah's Theme".



The logo art by Yoshitaka Amano.

Final Fantasy XIII was revealed to the world at E3 2006 as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series that it would be the flagship title of. It had a tricky development cycle, starting as a project for PlayStation 2, and requiring a brand new engine. Its overarching concept was "a future world fantasy" and "people fighting against fate". The battle system concept was to maintain the strategic nature of command-based battles but create battles similar to those seen in the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The development team resembled those of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 with Yoshinori Kitase at the helm.




Special edition PS3 with Lightning on the console.

Final Fantasy XIII was released on December 17, 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. Two hundred units were allocated to be sold in Taiwan. It contains a ceramic white PlayStation 3 slim 250GB set with pink Lightning artwork.

On November 13, 2009, the game creators released a video with interviews and new footage that announced its international release date. One month before 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 9, 2010, Final Fantasy XIII was released worldwide on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

FFXIII Collector Edition

The entire contents of the Limited Collector's Edition.

A Limited Collector's Edition 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 includes composer Masashi Hamauzu's comments on the ten tracks comprising the selection.
  • A hardback book, titled The World of Final Fantasy XIII, contains scenario information.

A special Xbox 360 bundle was available for the North American, European, Australian, and New Zealand releases. The bundle included a 250GB Xbox 360, two wireless controllers, and a copy of Final Fantasy XIII.

Final Fantasy XIII is the first game in the series to receive an official Chinese release. The localization used the original Japanese audio with traditional Chinese subtitles and was made by SEC Asia. Unofficial translations call Final Fantasy "Space Warrior" (太空戰士), but Yoshinori Kitase kept the name "Final Fantasy" for consistency.[9]

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 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-, 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 21, 2011, the Japanese PlayStation 3 version got a free update, which introduced Easy Mode difficulty, to get on par with the Japanese Xbox360 version released a year earlier.[10] The update also disables the use of preemptive attack to the Ochu enemies. It disables the R1 menu when walking to access the Shroud menu.

The official Japanese website revealed a web novelization titled Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise- that contains a series of short stories written by Jun Eishima leading up to the game's events. The first story is called "Encounter", and focuses on Serah becoming a Pulse l'Cie. The second story is called "Stranger", and is about when Vanille and Fang awoke from crystal stasis and began adjusting to Cocoon life. The third story, "Family", focuses on Sazh and his son, Dajh, detailing how Sazh came to own the Chocobo Chick and how Dajh fell into the Sanctum's clutches.

The fourth story, "Search", details 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 focuses on Hope Estheim's life with his family and friends before the Purge. 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 in the present day.

A multi-chaptered novella titled Final Fantasy XIII Gaiden Shōsetsu: Yumemiru Mayu, Akatsuki ni Otsu included in the Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega tells the stories of individuals in Cocoon that occur in the background during the Purge and the Pulse l'Cie's journey. The main characters are Snow's friends in NORA; an ambitious journalist named Aoede who befriends and accompanies them; René, a university student; and Cielo, an airship pilot.

Microsoft Windows and Steam[]


Logo for Steam Store.

Square Enix announced at Tokyo Game Show 2014 that Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII would be coming to PC and Steam. Final Fantasy XIII arrived first on October 9, 2014. The game features English and Japanese dubs and subtitles in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. The Japanese and Asian versions only have Japanese audio, with subtitles in English, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean.

The game runs capped at 60FPS. Both Xinput and DirectInput controllers are supported.

A patch update was released in December 2014, which included customizable rendering resolution options previously absent in the initial release of the game.[11]

System requirements[]

Minimum Recommended
OS Windows® XP SP2 or later Windows® Vista/ 7/ 8
Processor 2 GHz Dual Core CPU Intel® Core™ 2 Quad (2.66 GHz)/ AMD Phenom™ II X4 (2.8 GHz) processor
Memory 1 GB RAM 2 GB RAM
Graphics NVIDIA® Geforce® 8 Series/ ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 series VRAM 256MB or later NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX™ 460/ ATI Radeon™ HD 5870
Monitor Screen resolution of 1280x720 is required for fullscreen mode. Screen resolution of 1280x720 is required for fullscreen mode.
Hard Drive 49.4 GB (Rest of the world version) available space
26.9 GB (Japanese-Asian version) available space
49.4 GB (Rest of the world version) available space
26.9 GB (Japanese-Asian version) available space
Sound Card Sound card compatible with DirectX® 9.0c Sound card compatible with DirectX® 11
DirectX Version 9.0c Version 11

Steam Trading Cards[]

The Steam version comes with six Steam Trading Cards; all of them feature Lightning.

iOS and Android[]


Final Fantasy XIII on mobile devices.

Final Fantasy XIII became playable on iOS and Android systems on April 10, 2015, via the App Store and Google Play in Japan. The game, distributed by Broadmedia Corporation, runs on smartphones thanks to G-cluster Global Cloud Technology, meaning players need to be connected to the internet to play. The application is free to download and try for the first 30 minutes, with a 2,000 yen in-app purchase allowing users full access.[12]

The game is played on a server, and the footage is sent to the player's device that, in return, sends controller inputs back over the air. Square Enix recommends players play on a wi-fi network with a stable 3Mbps connection.[13]


Critical reception[]


The Crystarium system was one of the game features that fell under criticism due to emphasizing the game's linear nature.

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. In January 2010, it was voted "the best game ever" in the Famitsu reader poll. The game's Metacritic score stands at 83 for the PlayStation 3, and 82 for the Xbox 360, signifying "generally favorable" reviews.

Final Fantasy XIII has been hailed as a technical milestone with its presentation of CGI cutscenes and the almost seamless transition of visual quality between cutscenes and real-time 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 battle system has been generally liked, with the increased 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 between 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 specific storyline points to allow the characters to learn more abilities, and the relatively late point the player is allowed to choose their battle party, contributed to the game's linear feeling, some citing it "boring".

Game director Motomu Toriyama has since stated the lower-than-expected review scores resulted from reviewers approaching the game with a western point-of-view, and reviewers were used to games where 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 was ultimately unexpectedly polarizing and is the first Final Fantasy main title to elicit such strong fan reactions. Square Enix's then-CEO, Yoichi Wada, acknowledged the divided criticism, 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".

When the game was re-released in October 2014 for PC, the game received a "mixed reception" and, at its lowest favor rate from the players, had 41% of positive reception. Among many issues that made the players disappointed were locked 1280×720 resolution, lack of graphic settings, stuttering, and lag. The game later received "mostly positives" user reviews on Steam after Square Enix released a patch update to fix most of the issues in December 2014.

Commercial performance[]

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.[14] 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 Xbox 360. As of June 9, 2011, Final Fantasy XIII has sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide.[15]

As of May 2016, the Microsoft Windows version sold over 570,000 units on Steam.[16]


  • Initial screenshots of the Xbox 360 version released by Square Enix to compare to the PlayStation 3 version were revealed 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 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 problem 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 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.[17]


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, but announced no development plans. A representative of Square Enix noted that the filing is to protect the Final Fantasy XIII intellectual property and does not indicate a new title. On September 1, 2012, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was announced, said to be the last installment in the story of Lightning.

Production credits[]


Director & Scenario Designer Motomu Toriyama
Main Programmer Yoshiki Kashitani
Art Director Isamu Kamikokuryo
Graphics & VFX Director Shintaro Takai
Main Character Designer Tetsuya Nomura
Image Illustration Yoshitaka Amano
Storyboard Director Yoshinori Kanada
Music Masashi Hamauzu
Scenario Concept Kazushige Nojima (Stellavista)
Lead Scenario Writer Daisuke Watanabe
Event Planning Director Takeshi Iwabuchi
Map Planning Director Takayoshi Nakazato
Battle Planning Director Toshirō Tsuchida
Battle Planning Co-Director Yuji Abe
Lead Battle Programmer Yusuke Matsui
Character Modeling Director Hideo Kubota
Character Texture Director Masaaki Kazeno
Battle Motion Director Yoshiyuki Soma
Event Motion Director Yusuke Tanaka
Cut Scene Director Koji Kobayashi
Lead Cut Scene Programmer Naoki Hamaguchi
Background Graphic Director Yoichi Kubo
Background Technical Director Yoshihiko Ōta
Lead Layout Tool Programmer Mamoru Oyamada
Menu Director Yoichi Seki
Lead VFX Engine Programmer Yasunari Ohinishi
Movie Directors Takeshi Nozue, Eiji Fujii
Sound Director Tomohiro Yajima
Associate Producer Hideki Imaizumi
Publicity Producer Akio Ohfuji
Producer Yoshinori Kitase

Voice cast[]

Character Japanese English
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 Zach 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)
Girl with Carbuncle Stephanie Sheh
Cocoon Inhabitants (English version)

Alex Fernandez, Barbara Goodson, Cam Clarke, Cathy Cavadini, Cindy Robinson, Daisy Tormé, Darran Norris, Dwight Schultz, Erin Fitzgerald, Gideon Emery, James Arnold Taylor, Jeannie Ellas, Jill Talley, Joe Cappellietti, John Mariano, Kate Higgins, Kim Mai Guest, Kyle Hebert, Maile Flannegan, Michael Lindsey, Megan Hollingshead, Michael Sorich, Nika Futterman, Pat Fraley Phil Proctor, Robin Atkin Downes, Sam Riegel, Scott Menville, Steve Kramer, Tara Platt, Travis Willingham, Yuri Lowenthal

Motion cast[]

Character Actor
Lightning Naho Nakashima
Snow Villiers Makoto Obata
Oerba Dia Vanille Asami Katsura
Sazh Katzroy Akihiko Kikuma
Hope Estheim Tsubasa Nakamura
Oerba Yun Fang Rumiko Kimishima
Serah Farron Kaori Kawabuchi
Yaag Rosch Koji Shirahama
Jihl Nabaat Haruka Kawai
Cocoon inhabitants Aiko Shimoji
Aki Aoi
Hiroshi Kikkawa
Honoka Fujima
Ippei Hisa
Jun Ishii
Jun Yamashita
Kaoru Arai
Katsu Yashiki
Mayumi Hashiguchi
Muck Akazawa
Natsuho Matsuda
Noriko Ikemi
Saori Fujita
Sawako Akimoto
Sean Ryan
Yo Yoshida
Yutaka Miyauchi
Action motion actors Jiro Okamoto
Miwa Hashiguchi
Mizuho Nogawa
Takuya Iida
Tomoki Tsukada
Yasuhiro Roppongi
Yoichi Nishimura
Dance motion actors Chon Hodo
Tamami Ryusekido

Packaging artwork[]

Final Fantasy XIII 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 contains numerous allusions to the number thirteen, as well as references to various world mythologies, among others.



Chocobo for X360 Avatar.


Male PSICOM Uniform for X360 Avatar.

  • During the development, the team used models of Yuna, Rikku, Ashe, and Vaan as stand-ins for unfinished characters.
  • The PlayStation 3 version came with a code that, when registered with Square Enix's community website, allowed 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 one registered with an 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 downloadable content (DLC) released after the game, but Square Enix scrapped the plans.[18]
  • Final Fantasy XIII is the first main series game not to feature either the original "Prelude" or "Victory Fanfare".
  • After Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, and Dissidia Final Fantasy, 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.
  • An Easter Egg exists where if the player spins the analog stick as is typical for grinding in previous games, the player character will stop and get irritated.
  • The game's Wikipedia article was the featured article on December 17, 2016, on the 7th anniversary of the game's initial release.


  1. The game was released in Japan on December 17, 2009, a day before the anniversary of the original Final Fantasy, released in Japan on December 18, 1987.
  2. The first was Final Fantasy VIII, where gil was received as SeeD salary. The second and third were Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII, where although it is possible for some defeated enemies to drop gil, it is not a universal reward for victory.

See also[]

External links[]