The future belongs not to those who wait...
The Battle Within Begins...
Final Fantasy XIII is the thirteenth installment in the Final Fantasy main series, and is the first of the series to be released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Unveiled at E3 2006, the game is the flagship of Square Enix's Fabula Nova Crystallis project. The game runs on Crystal Tools, a proprietary engine built for Square Enix's seventh generation games.
The game was released in Japan on December 17, 2009, and March 9, 2010 for North America and Europe. A traditional Chinese version for PlayStation 3 was released in May 27, 2010 . Final Fantasy XIII is the first Final Fantasy game translated into traditional Chinese. A sequel titled Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released on December 15th, 2011, and a second sequel, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, was announced on September 1st, 2012, and released in 2014.
The game's progression is chapter-based and in most chapters, the player will see the story through different characters' view. 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 cannot be opened in close proximity to 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 prior to the battle's start.
Some enemies on the map may fight against each other and if the player contacts them it will start a three way battle.
Players can't set the party or the party leader until later into the game, diversity being brought in via the Paradigm Shift system. If the party leader is incapacitated in battle, it will result in a Game Over, but if a battle ends in defeat, the player will simply appear in the point on the field right before the fight was initiated, and they may either re-attempt the battle or leave it.
Final Fantasy XIII is the fourth main series Final Fantasy game in which the player does not routinely win gil from battles; rather the player obtains the currency from treasure spheres, or from selling items. The first such game was Final Fantasy VIII, where gil was received as SeeD salary, and 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.
Command Synergy BattleEdit
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.
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 of these sections it will take up. This allows 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 even more damage can be done. Staggered enemies can be launched in the air and juggled with attacks. Staggering is almost essential to winning many battles.
Because of the ATB cost determining the moves a player can use, there is no MP in the game. 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 and 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 pops up, giving the player a zero-to-five stars ranking on how they did, as well as showing how long the battle took. This information is linked to the Trophy and Achievement systems.
The player can only control one character at a time in battle. 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 battle to define the abilities they use. They are more strict than job classes; for example, the party member with a Medic's role can do nothing but heal, while 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 changed individually, only for the whole party at a time. Thus, a paradigm is a combination of three roles. There are a total of 83 possible paradigm combinations (6 single, 21 double, and 56 triple member combinations). The roles used are shown as colored abbreviations next to the characters' names in the battle screen.
The roles within the paradigms are:
(Attacker (ATK)Name in Japanese: アタッカー)
|Build attack chains more easily with enhanced strength.|
(Blaster (BLA)Name in Japanese: ブラスター)
|Charge enemy chain gauges with concentrated attacks.|
(Defender (DEF)Name in Japanese: ディフェンダー)
|Shield allies from enemy attacks.|
(Jammer (JAM)Name in Japanese: ジャマー)
|Enfeeble enemies while charging their chain gauges.|
(Enhancer (ENH)Name in Japanese: エンハンサー)
|Support allies with an array of magical enhancements.|
(Healer (HLR)Name in Japanese: ヒーラー)
|Focus on restoring HP and removing status ailments.|
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 make a 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 reaching the end of the current stage. The final stage of the Crystarium is only opened by defeating the final boss, meaning to fully develop the party players must take on the post-game content.
Each character has eight unique base weapons, most of which can be found in the game, and all of which can be purchased at Retail Network stores. The base weapons can be upgraded to a unique second stage, and eventually to its third and ultimate stage. The third stage of all the weapons of a particular character share a common name, but have different stats and abilities depending upon which weapon it was upgraded from.
All characters can equip all accessories. Each character can initially equip one accessory at a time, but this capacity can be increased to up to four through upgrades obtained in the characters' Crystaria.
In addition to the basic enhancements provided by weapons and accessories, when a character equips weapons and accessories that belong to the same "synthesis" group (a hidden property), the character can gain additional passive enhancements (such as increased ATB gauge recharge rate).
The basic enhancements weapons and accessories grant to characters can also increase as the items are upgraded through the application of various components to increase its 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 it can no longer be upgraded by standard components. It can however be transformed with a stone ore 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, although there are some accessories that transform into an item of a completely different synthesis group.
There are three types of components: biological, mechanical and monetary. Biological components are dropped by biological enemies and although they don't generally have a high EXP value, they do increase the EXP bonus of the weapon or accessory, meaning that subsequent components will give up to 300% more EXP points compared to their base value. Mechanical components are dropped by mechanical enemies, and work in the opposite way to biological components, giving a high number of EXP points, at the expense of reducing the EXP bonus. Therefore, biological components should be used to build up the EXP bonus, before using mechanical components to add EXP. The final type is monetary components. These are dropped by human enemies, and although they have a nominal EXP value, they are intended to be sold for gil at shops to buy other, more effective components.
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.
In addition to 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), 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 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.
Gran Pulse has several points marked with 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 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 main difference between the hunts of Final Fantasy XII and the missions of Final Fantasy XIII is that while every hunt can only be completed once, the player may take up each mission multiple times, although 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). Replaying these missions is a requirement for those seeking to attain all Achievements or Trophies for the game, as one requires a 5-star battle rating earned for all missions.
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.
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 guardians of the citizens 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.
Gran Pulse, known to the people of Cocoon simply 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 was 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.
There are six playable characters, and two 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 playable characters are all l'Cie.
- Playable characters
- Lightning — The main protagonist. Lightning was a member of the Guardian Corps in Bodhum before her life came crashing down when her sister Serah became a Pulse l'Cie. Regretting her refusal to believe Serah, Lightning volunteers to be Purged with the intention of saving her, only to be made a l'Cie like 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 are said to resemble that of a cowboy. He travels to the Hanging Edge to fight PSICOM and the Purge in the hopes of saving his fiancée, Serah, who was imprisoned by the Pulse fal'Cie, only to share her fate as a l'Cie. 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 young and spirited girl with a mysterious past who carries a heavy burden the others are initially unaware of. Getting through the events of the Purge, she tags along with Hope and finds herself wrapped up in the events leading to her joining the others. She acts as the narrator of the story 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 to the Hanging Edge, only to become a l'Cie himself. He owns a Chocobo Chick that hides in his hair. He fights with two pistols that can be combined into a rifle.
- Hope Estheim — A young boy who, along with his mother, is part of the group of exiles onboard the Purge train. During an unsuccessful resistance effort by NORA, his mother dies in the conflict. Blaming Snow for his mother's death, Hope follows him but ends up becoming a l'Cie and being forced to work with him and the others as he waits for his chance to get revenge. He wields boomerangs in battle.
- Oerba Yun Fang — A wild-looking woman with a large tattoo on one arm and a scorched 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 more complicated agenda, as she searches for a friend and aims to complete her Focus. Spears are her weapon of choice.
- 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.
Cocoon is plunged into chaos when a Pulse fal'Cie is discovered in an old Pulsian landmark in the town of 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 fal'Cie's discovery. At the center of these events 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, and ends up rendezvousing with various allies of circumstance before the abode of the fal'Cie Anima: 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 where 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 the fact they have unwittingly been made enemies of Cocoon, as if they don't follow the path set out for them by the fal'Cie they will be turned into 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 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 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 been manipulating their every action from the shadows. The fal'Cie's ultimate purpose for Cocoon is revealed to be a "farm" for human souls, which the fal'Cie wish to use 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 said to power all the fal'Cie in Cocoon. As the party learns Orphan shares the other fal'Cie's goal to sacrifice the citizens of Cocoon, they conclude there is no way for mankind and fal'Cie to co-exist. The party declares their true 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.
The main themes of Final Fantasy XIII are challenging fate 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. The fal'Cie are on the other side of this coin, 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, and Orphan explains to the party that humans' infinite potential is why fal'Cie chose to make l'Cie of men to carry out tasks they themselves are unable to do. Having a white l'Cie brand may represent a human's free will triumphing over the bond of a fal'Cie-given Focus, as in 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 in Final Fantasy XIII suffer great losses in losing 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, the things the party are forced to face if they wish to move on.
Other central themes in Final Fantasy XIII are theocracy, a system of government that rules under a single God recognized as the supreme ruler, and totalitarianism, a government system in which all aspects of life are controlled by the supreme ruler and any opposition is forbidden. Following theocracy, Cocoon's Sanctum is led by the fal'Cie Eden that communicates through Primarch Dysley, who acts as Eden's messenger and makes its orders known to the rest of Cocoon. In accordance to totalitarianism, the military forces follow the Sanctum's policies without question and ensure the populace follows suit. They justify their actions by claiming them to be for the greater good of everyone and necessary to keep the peace, willing to go as far as fire upon unarmed civilians who try to escape or resist.
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, "execution masquerading as exile" as Lightning points out. The Cocoon society pushes their own fears away by Purging anyone connected to Pulse, and it is a personal revelation to Lightning when she realizes she is doing the same in having initially set out to destroy Eden.
Another theme is the union of two worlds. For centuries, the people of Gran Pulse and Cocoon have despised and lived in fear of each other. Those from Cocoon are conditioned by the fal'Cie acting through the Sanctum to believe Gran Pulse to be hell and to fear and hate anyone and anything having to do with Pulse, while 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. During the course of their journey, the party realizes their two worlds and their people are more similar than they thought. It is when Gran Pulse and Cocoon are connected by the crystal pillar formed by Ragnarok that the hostility ends and the two worlds become one.
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.
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" based off Jun Eishima's Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-.
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".
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 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. The development was led by Yoshinori Kitase and as such, the development team resembled that of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2.
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 PlayStation 3 slim 250GB set with pink Lightning artwork.
On November 13th, 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, 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.
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 PlayStation 3 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 disables the 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 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 the moment 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 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.
A multi-chaptered novella titled Final Fantasy XIII Side Story: A Dreaming Cocoon Falls into the Dawn included in the Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega tells the stories of individuals in Cocoon that occur during the Purge and the Pulse l'Cie's journey.
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 subtitle in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. The Japanese and Asian version have Japanese audio only, with subtitle in English, Traditional Chinese, and Korean.
The game runs capped at 60FPS. Both Xinput and DirectInput controllers are supported.
A patch update was released on December 2014, which included customizable rendering resolution options previously absent in the initial release of the game.
|OS||Windows® XP SP2 or later||Windows® Vista/ 7/ 8|
|Processor||2GHz Dual Core CPU||Intel® Core™ 2 Quad (2.66 GHz)/ AMD Phenom™ II X4 (2.8 GHz) processor|
|Memory||1 GB RAM||1 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 GBRest of the world version available space|
26.9 GBJapanese-Asian version available space
|49.4 GBRest of the world version available space|
26.9 GBJapanese-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 CardsEdit
The Steam version of Final Fantasy XIII comes with six Steam Trading Cards; all of them feature Lightning.
iOS and AndroidEdit
Final Fantasy XIII became playable on iOS and Android systems April 10th 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.
The game being 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.
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 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 the presentation of CGI cutscenes and the almost seamless transition of visual quality between the 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 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 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 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 was ultimately unexpectedly polarizing, and is the first Final Fantasy main title to elicit such strong reactions from the fans; Square Enix 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 rereleased 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 releases a patch update to fix most of the issues in December 2014.
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 Xbox 360. As of June 9th, 2011, Final Fantasy XIII has sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide.
As of May 2016, the Microsoft Windows version sold over 570,000 units on Steam.
- 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 2nd, 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 18th, 2011.
Square Enix registered a domain name for Final Fantasy XIII-3 on September 7th, 2011, but no development plans were announced. A representative of Square Enix noted that the filing is to protect the Final Fantasy XIII intellectual property and is not indicative of a new title. On September 1st, 2012, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was announced, which is said to be the last installment in the story of Lightning.
|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|
|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|
|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)
|Girl with Carbuncle||Stephanie Sheh|
- Cocoon Inhabitants (English version)
April Stewart, Ben Diskin, Candi Milo, Chris Edgerly, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Dante Basco, Dave Rasner, Eden Riegal, Fred Tatasciore, Hynden Walch, JB Blanc, Jessica DiCicco, Jim Ward, John DiMaggio, Kari Wahlgren, Keith Silverstein, Kirk Thornton, Liam O'Brien, Masasa Moyo, Michael Gough, Mickey Cheetham, Neil Kaplan, Nolan North, Patrick Seitz, Robbie Rist, Roger Craig Smith, Scott MacDonald, Sheri Lynn, Steve Van Wormer.
|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|
|Action motion actors||Jiro Okamoto|
|Dance motion actors||Chon Hodo|
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.
- During the development, models of Yuna, Rikku, Ashe, and Vaan were used as stand-ins for characters that weren't finished yet.
- 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.
- 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 Wikipedia article for this game was used as its featured article on December 17th, 2016. It is possible that this day was selected due to it being the 7th anniversary of the game's initial release.
- Final Fantasy XIII Allusions
- Final Fantasy XIII Concept Art
- Final Fantasy XIII Timeline
- Final Fantasy XIII Translations
- Official Japanese Site
- Official Japanese Xbox 360 Site
- Official North American Site
- Fabula Nova Crystallis Official North American Site
- Official European Site
- Steam Purchase Page
- Final Fantasy XIII at Play-Asia.com
- Final Fantasy XIII at Amazon.com
- Wikipedia Article
- Final Fantasy XIII Profile Page
- E³ Teaser Trailer at Official Site
- E³ Teaser Trailer at Gametrailers.com
- E³ 2009 Extended Trailer at IGN
- ↑ http://store.steampowered.com/app/292120
- ↑ http://gematsu.com/2015/04/cloud-powered-final-fantasy-xiii-hits-ios-android-japan
- ↑ http://gnn.gamer.com.tw/1/42251.html
- ↑ http://www.squareenixmusic.com/musicnews2.php?subaction=showfull&id=1252948500&archive=&start_from=&ucat=2&
- ↑ http://www.vg247.com/2010/01/30/ffxiii-producer-explains-choice-of-leona-lewis-for-theme-song/
- ↑ http://gnn.gamer.com.tw/0/44540.html
- ↑ http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2011/06/07/ffxiii_update_and_date/
- ↑ http://store.steampowered.com/app/292120
- ↑ http://store.steampowered.com/app/292120/?CC=JP
- ↑ http://press.na.square-enix.com/releases/350/final-fantasy-xiii2-arriving-to-windows-pc-on-december-11
- ↑ Cloud-powered Final Fantasy XIII hits iOS, Android in Japan — Gematsu.com
- ↑ Square Enix is now streaming Final Fantasy XIII to iOS and Android devices in Japan — Pocket Gamer.co.uk
- ↑ http://kotaku.com/5440318/2009s-top-five-selling-games-in-japan/
- ↑ http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/browse.php?name=Final%252BFantasy%252BXIII%2526lt%253B%252F
- ↑ http://steamspy.com/app/292120
- ↑ 
- ↑ http://www.mcvuk.com/news/40798/Square-scrapped-FFXIII-DLC-plans