Fancy a bit more insight into the development of FINAL FANTASY XIII-2's story? We've had a short chat with the game's director, Motomu Toriyama and asked for his feedback on some questions that you guys have been asking over the months.
What are the main story themes you wanted to address in FFXIII-2?
At the end of Final Fantasy XIII, the world was almost completely destroyed. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 we wanted to offer the player an experience of following the way the world is rebuilt over a long span of time. That’s why we decided to use “Wish for Rebirth” as the theme for the Final Fantasy XIII-2 story. The theme has two meanings: one is rebirth of the devastated world and the other is the re-encounter with Lightning, who has gone missing.
The past year has seen many disasters - not only in Japan but also across the world. We sincerely hope that the story of Final Fantasy XIII-2 will bring hope and courage to many people’s hearts.
How much of a challenge was it to create a story that would be accessible for newcomers, but still grab the attention of Final Fantasy XIII players?
As far as the story of Final Fantasy XIII is concerned, the most important mission for us was to express the game’s unique universe - including l’Cie and fal’Cie - and therefore some difficult terms had to be used in the story-telling. We have taken a lesson from it and employed a different story-telling style for Final Fantasy XIII-2.
The basic elements of the Final Fantasy XIII universe continue to be present as the backdrop while the story now centres around Time Paradox, a more familiar form of mystery. Meanwhile, we have taken strong inspirations from one-shot TV dramas and opted for a different plot structure where smaller pieces of drama take place quickly one after another. As a result of these changes, the Final Fantasy XIII-2 story has turned out to have a glimpse of a more contemporary drama and is easier to follow in comparison to Final Fantasy XIII.
Which characters and locations were you most interested in bringing back for Final Fantasy XIII-2?
When it comes to characters, I felt particularly keen to portray Hope as a more mature person, as opposed to him being the sensitive young boy in Final Fantasy XIII. That’s why he returns to the story as a grown-up who works as a leader of the Academy.
As for locations, a different concept has been applied for level design and necessary adjustments have been made accordingly so that the game can offer brand-new gameplay to the player wherever they are. However, Oerba, for instance, still has its original features because it was the final destination in Final Fantasy XIII. We tried our best not to blot out our fans’ fond memories with a different, renewed appearance.
What inspired the somewhat darker tone of Final Fantasy XIII-2?
There are many gods and goddesses in the crystal mythology and Final Fantasy XIII-2 has chosen the Goddess of Death - called Etro - as the key feature. The general tone of the game is darker and more mysterious because we wanted to take the concept of death and extract features of the world of death to reflect them on the story and universe of Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Valhalla, one of the new areas, is located in the middle of a gap between the unseen world and the real world and heading for death. The death-bound nature of the area manifests itself in distortions of the time axis and battles are expected to go on eternally there.