Why does mankind defy its fate?
In the world where I once existed, time's path is no longer certain...
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, a part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series. It was developed by Square Enix and tri-Ace. The game takes place three years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII, and depicts the story of Serah Farron's journey across time and space to prevent the end of the world while searching for her missing sister, Lightning.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 retains the Command Synergy Battle and Paradigm Shift systems from its predecessor and the battle system is simply a more evolved form of Final Fantasy XIII's battle system. One new gameplay element, called the Mog Clock, has been added, where the player must attack monsters on the field before the time is up to get the upper hand in the ensuing battle. When the player attacks a monster, the screen lights up and the scene switches to a battlefield, marking the start of a battle. Non-player characters (such as the remnant PSICOM operatives) react to the monsters that appear in the field but don't affect any battles that may ensue. Another new feature is the Paradigm Tune, which enables the player to customize how the AI-controlled party members use their abilities in battle. Though the player still controls one out of a three-member party, they are able to initiate the Change Leader option to switch the party member they control during battle. If the current party leader is KO'd, the party leader is automatically switched to the other human character. The defeat of the human characters in the party results in a game over.
Characters grow via a revamped Crystarium System, and they have levels unlike the previous game. These levels are gained by moving through the Crystarium. Each character's Crystarium is no longer in the form of tiers, but now takes the shape of their respective weapon, and includes all possible Paradigm Roles on a singular Crystarium, similar to the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. As a player advances through the Crystarium, they may choose which Paradigm Role to level up and gain bonus stat increases alongside level increases. Characters also learn different attacks at certain levels throughout their Paradigm Role growth. Unlike Final Fantasy XIII, there is no cap on how much a character may grow in the Crystarium at any given time. The weather or Climate Type in an area affects battles, and at one time an uncontrollable guest joins. Summoned Monsters return, but not be in the same form as those in the original game, as the characters are no longer l'Cie.
Monsters can be caught, trained, and used as party members through the Paradigm Pack component. Three monsters can be held at a time, and automatically switch to the role that a player shifts to in the Paradigm. Players can customize a monster's stats via leveling up through items and accessories can be given to monsters to change their appearance. By usage of the new Feral Link system, characters have been shown to be able to access unique special abilities from the monsters in the party by pressing a combination of buttons once a synchronization gauge has filled. Certain enemy monsters are able to do a new form of damage called Wound Damage, which lowers a party member's max HP during battle and cannot be healed, giving further incentive to defeat enemies quickly as possible as wound damage accumulates and max HP drops.
Players are given timed button presses similar to the the Reaction Commands of Kingdom Hearts during Cinematic Action sequences to gain the upper hand in battle and event scenes. There are also "Live" sequences, or real time cutscenes that occur to progress the story, meaning the player maintains control of their character although the camera is focused elsewhere. Another new element, called the Live Trigger, allows the player to choose their response in a conversation with a character by deciding on the sentence. The player character is also be able to engage in conversations with NPCs with speech bubbles above them, and the other characters in the party wander the area getting into conversations on their own. A new dungeon minigame system has been added called Temporal Rifts where the player must guide the character through the various puzzles, and grab crystals along the path within a certain amount of time with the option to retry the puzzle if things become difficult.
Another new gameplay element is the Historia Crux feature, the time travel system in the game that can be accessed through the use of gates throughout areas on the field. The gates are activated by finding special Artefacts in hidden treasure chests using Mog, and by resetting the gates, Noel and Serah can redo their adventures. Using Historia Crux, the player is able to choose the location or era to travel to. There is a "gate matrix," where players select their next location based on the game's AF (After the Fall of Cocoon) timeline. Players are also able to access the save and main menus through gates.
The equipment system in the game is rather unique. Each character has four different slots for equipment and a maximum load that they can carry. These points up any way the player would like to, for defensive gear or stat boosting accessories, but cannot exceed the limit. Monsters which are in the party can be renamed and equip decorative items, such as tails, which change how they look in battle. They grow by purchasing items, unlike the other characters who use the Crystarium. Players can buy some of these weapons, armor, items, and monster training goods from the merchant, Chocolina.
The game has a new area called Serendipity, an amusement park center complete with a casino and minigames such as Chocobo Racing and Slots, which has been compared to the Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII. The game retains the missions from Final Fantasy XIII as well as alternate sidequests from various NPCs in which the player must find and retrieve specific items, for example. Unlike those in Final Fantasy XIII, these are available from an early point in the game.
Unlike the original game, Final Fantasy XIII-2 features difficulty modes of gameplay: Normal and Easy mode, which can be changed at any time. There is also the option to save the game at any point throughout the story from the main menu, and the game automatically saves the game periodically with the Autosave function. Director Motomu Toriyama created an alternate means of playing through the game's multiple endings; players are allowed to reset the Historia Crux gates, returning them to the beginning of the current time period. The "New Game+" feature is retained as well; although players have the ability to reset the gates at any time, new content and endings become available once the main quest has been completed.
She embraced her destiny and fought the false gods who would enslave mankind.
It was a battle that changed the world. A brave few defeated the fal'Cie and saved mankind from destruction. Without the power of the gods to hold it aloft, Cocoon fell from the sky, and the cradle of humanity became locked in a frozen embrace with Gran Pulse, realm of monsters.
The tyranny of the gods was lifted, and a new age began.
But she did not see the new dawn. She disappeared, at the very moment of her triumph.
They all believed she was gone forever, never to return. Everyone, that is, except Serah Farron. She clung to a different truth.
Three years have passed.
One clear night, a meteorite strikes Gran Pulse and shatters the peace of the new era. Spacetime becomes distorted and terrible monsters attack through the rifts in the fabric of time.
In the chaos that ensues, Serah is saved from death by a young stranger called Noel. He says he is a hunter who has crossed time and space to find her.
"Come with me", he says. "We will travel the timeline and find your sister".
Lightning! Could she be alive? Could her beloved sister really be in that world of chaos and death, fighting to save a dying goddess.
It does not take long for Serah to make her fateful decision.
She accepts the weapon that Lightning has gifted her, and resolves to follow this stranger into the future...
As a result of Cocoon's fall at the end of Final Fantasy XIII, some of its surviving citizens now reside on Gran Pulse, and the world has adopted a new dating system since the fall of Cocoon ("AF" or "After Fall"). In the three years since, new towns and cities have been established. While searching for Lightning, Serah and Noel travel to old and new places on Pulse and in Cocoon.
As they travel through time, some locations from Final Fantasy XIII change in appearance. Eden is no longer the capital and the Sanctum is no more. The city of Academia is the new capital, and the new provisional government is run by the Academy, a scientific expedition group wishing to use human technology to build a world that doesn't rely on the fal'Cie.
At the end of Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, Lightning, who felt there was still something threatening the newly acquired peace, finds herself being captured and dragged into the Historia Crux by chaos due to the effects of Etro releasing her and the others (except Fang and Vanille) from crystal stasis. She awakens in Valhalla and goes into Etro's temple. Being able to see all of time from Valhalla, Lightning looks into the future and receives a suit of armor becoming the protector of the dying goddess. As a result of Lightning being written out of history, many now believe her to be either dead or crystallized with Fang and Vanille within the crystal pillar; but only her sister, Serah, remembers reuniting with her after Cocoon fell and knows that she is still alive.
By the year 2 AF, many former residents of Cocoon have created settlements on Gran Pulse like the village of New Bodhum near the crystallized structure, and some have gained the ability to wield magic. After recently moving in together, Snow tells Serah that he believes her, and promises to look for Lightning and bring her home so that he and Serah can finally get married, but a year goes by and he goes missing as well.
Inside Etro's temple in Valhalla, Lightning looks out from the balcony and has a vision of a boy in the Historia Crux. Meanwhile, a man in purple named Caius Ballad lays the lifeless body of a young girl named Yeul to rest in the ocean of chaos. Angered, he summons an army of monsters and challenges Lightning to battle. She confronts Caius with her own army of summoned monsters and Eidolons. They eventually meet each other and clash swords before Caius transforms into Chaos Bahamut. He swipes at Lightning and sends her flying over Valhalla.
Falling from the sky over the beach, Lightning manages to land safely on Odin in his Gestalt Mode, but is promptly pursued by Chaos Bahamut. Riding Odin, Lightning battles Chaos Bahamut, leading him into the city. Dodging Chaos Bahamut's attacks, she manages to defeat him with an attack from behind, but gets caught off guard by Caius's surprise attack. Lightning is saved by Odin, and Caius reappears in his human form. As they clash blades and fire magic at each other, Lightning eventually manages to bury Caius under fallen debris. Then she notices Etro's Gate over the temple and sees a familiar figure falling from the sky towards Valhalla. She recognizes it as the young man she had seen in her vision, Noel Kreiss.
Summoning Bahamut, she saves him from his fall but Caius returns as Chaos Bahamut to continue their fight. Lightning asks Noel to find Serah and help her reach Valhalla as he is the only one who can do it. She summons a moogle named Mog as a gift for Noel to give to Serah, but Caius reappears and summons a meteor over Etro's temple before transforming to escape. Summoning Odin, Lightning thrusts herself into the meteor's path as it crushes the temple. Noel leaps into the Time Gate below to find Serah in the past.
In New Bodhum 3 AF Serah has a dream about Lightning's battle with Caius and Noel coming to New Bodhum to help her. After a crystalline meteor falls from the sky, she awakens to find that her clothes have mysteriously changed. As she heads outside to the shouts of NORA, Serah sees the village transformed into a wasteland. When the village reverts back to normal, it seems that time has stopped and New Bodhum has fallen under attack by mysterious monsters. Once time resumes, Serah finds herself amidst the chaos. When she is attacked, Serah is saved by Noel. With little time to talk, Noel hands Serah a weapon, enabling her to fight off the monsters with him.
Afterwards, Serah's weapon transforms into her new moogle companion. Noel says Mog is a gift for her from Lightning, causing Serah to question whether or not her dream was real. At the meteor's crash site Noel reveals to Serah that he is from 700 years in the future, and that Lightning is waiting for her in a place called Valhalla. He offers to take Serah to her, but the members of NORA remain skeptical. Placing Serah's hand on the meteorite that fell near New Bodhum, Noel shows them it is really a Time Gate.
The next day, Noel and Serah use Mog to search around the village for an artefact that will let them use the gate. After finding it, Noel reveals to Serah that he is from a distant future where all of humanity was slowly wiped out until he was the only one left. Joined by Noel and Mog, Serah leaves her home to find her sister, but unknown to both of them, they are being watched by Caius and his companion, Yeul.
Noel and Serah travel through the Historia Crux to the Bresha Ruins in Cocoon two years in the future at 5 AF. They battle an invisible giant called Paradox Alpha, later revealed to be Atlas. Serah and Noel are arrested by soldiers for being in a restricted area, but they are freed by Academy scientist, Alyssa Zaidelle. Alyssa asks them for their help in defeating Atlas before it will cause the site to be shut down, as she is in search of something in the ruins. Noel and Serah eventually find Atlas, now in his true form, in another part of the ruins. Alyssa informs them of a device possible of controlling Atlas appearing in the ruins. When Serah and Noel find the device, Atlas's hand pulls them into a paradox.
After solving the Temporal Rift, they activate the device and weaken Atlas. By destroying the crystal on top of Atlas's head, Noel and Serah defeat him, and restore the Bresha Ruins to their former glory. Serah and Noel find what Alyssa was looking for, a grave belonging to her friend who died in the Purge, and is glad to see that her own name is not on the grave. Alyssa reveals she often dreams of dying in the Purge even though she survived it, and wonders if she did die and her current life is really an illusion. After hearing Alyssa's story, Serah laments how the Purge was her fault for being made a l'Cie in the first place.
Serah, Mog and Noel travel to the Yaschas Massif in the year 10 AF, which is darkened by an eclipse. Noel says that 500 years before his time, the fal'Cie Fenrir appeared and blocked the sun, sending the world into darkness. Serah figures that Fenrir appearing in 10 AF is due to a paradox. After finding their way through the area, the two find the Paddra ruins and are forbidden entry before being attacked by Aloeidai.
After defeating Aloeidai, they are saved by Academy leader, Hope Estheim, and they meet an older Alyssa who is now Hope's assistant. They learn from Hope and Alyssa about the Farseers, a nation led by a seeress named Yeul, who had foretold the city's destruction, causing conflict among its people. With the ancient device called the Oracle Drive, they see images of the events from the year 0 AF, and Lightning in Valhalla. Using the new artefact they got from Hope, Serah, Mog and Noel go through another Time Gate to solve the paradox causing the eclipse that is affecting the Oracle Drive.
They wind up in Oerba during the year 200 AF where they find most of the town sucked into a black hole caused by the past and future merging together. After restoring the town by solving the numerous Temporal Rifts, they find another Oracle Drive at the old schoolhouse that projects images of Serah's reunion with Lightning, but end up being apprehended by Caius and Yeul.
Caius reveals that there are more than one Yeul across different eras, that she has been watching them through her visions, and that he seeks to punish them for tampering with the timeline. Afterwards, Yeul and Caius leave Oerba, and Noel and Serah use the artefact they left behind to leave themselves. As they have solved the paradox in Oerba, they have also solved the paradox in Yaschas Massif. Serah and Noel arrive in an alternate version of the Yaschas Massif in the year 10 AF, also known as 1X AF. They meet another Yeul, who says that she and Serah are the same in how they can show others the way. Hope and Alyssa are still at the ruins, and the four reunite, even though Hope and Alyssa don't remember meeting them before.
Hope shows a recording from Yeul, which shows clear images of Lightning battling Caius in Valhalla, and Cocoon's crystal pillar crumbling, causing Cocoon to fall. Hope concludes that he will have the Academy prepare for the time when Cocoon will fall to try to minimize the damage and number of casualties, while Serah and Noel continue to solve the paradoxes. After Serah and Noel leave, Yeul dies in Caius's arms before he takes her body away. Serah and Noel end up in the Void Beyond, where they briefly explore before returning to the Historia Crux.
They go to the Sunleth Waterscape in 300 AF, where they find Snow battling a giant flan called Royal Ripeness. Upon defeating it however, it begins to regenerate, causing the party to retreat. After Noel demands Snow to explain why he left Serah and is now fighting in the future, Snow reveals that Lightning appeared to him in a dream, asking him to protect Cocoon's pillar, and in turn, Fang and Vanille. Following a trail of Miniflan, they find two artefacts to use in solving the paradox causing Royal Ripeness to grow. Noel, Mog, and Serah first go to the Coliseum, and obtain the White Hole fragment from the Arbiter of Time.
Next they go to the Archylte Steppe at ??? AF, where they learn from a group of hunters that the Faeryl is sucking flan into its mouth, causing them to appear at Sunleth. Defeating the Faeryl, the trio receives the Black Hole fragment, returns to Sunleth, only to find Snow missing. They find him fighting the Mutantomato and they fight and defeat it together. Noel reprimands Snow for his recklessness and charging in the way he did rather than waiting for help. Snow apologizes to Noel and asks him to look after Serah for him. When Snow begins glowing, Noel says it is because the paradox has been resolved and things that shouldn't exist in this time are disappearing. Serah notices a l'Cie brand on Snow's arm before he fades away. Noel says Snow may have asked to become a l'Cie in order to get the power to protect his friends and carry out his task.
Next, the trio emerges in the Void Beyond again, and decides to take a break. Noel tells Serah a group of Farseers always had a girl with the same appearance, voice, and powers, and who was always called Yeul. They end up in the city of Academia in 400 AF, a highly advanced Pulsian city under the control of a Proto fal'Cie. The fal'Cie spots Serah and Noel and begins transforming citizens into Cie'th without hesitation.
Serah, Noel and Mog attempt to find out what is going on and run into Caius, who tells them they are contradictions in the timeline and that he has every reason to eliminate them. He also tells them they met in a tower 200 years earlier and that they died there after learning the forbidden history sealed inside. Now that they are here, alive and well, they have caused a paradox. Caius leaves them with a band of Cie'th and after defeating them, Serah, Noel and Mog give chase to Caius, but he disappears every time they catch up to him.
Finally, they run into Yeul, who gets attacked by several Cie'th including Zenobia. After Serah and Noel defeat Zenobia, Yeul tells Noel about her vision of death before Serah realizes that Yeul is dying because of them causing a paradox. Yeul tells them that Caius was never in the city and dies, leaving them an artefact. Serah, Noel and Mog use a nearby gate to travel to Augusta Tower in 200 AF.
In the tower, they notice Caius ascending its levels. They find out that the entire tower's staff are artificial duplicates, and they meet a duplicate of Alyssa, who reveals to them the forbidden history from the year 13 AF. During that time, when Augusta Tower was built as part of the "Proto Fal'Cie Project", the tower's AI rebelled against its creators and killed everyone, including Hope and Alyssa. Afterwards, the AI constructed the Proto fal'Cie and created duplicates to cover the massacre.
Serah, Noel and Mog make their way to the top floor where they meet the same Yeul from Oerba, who gives them an artefact. Yeul reveals that Caius is immortal and knows the entire timeline from remembering the seeress's visions. Yeul says that Lightning's disappearance from Gran Pulse was caused by the future being changed and if Serah and Noel continue to solve the paradoxes the past will return to the way Serah remembers it. She also reveals that the Caius whom they encountered in Academia was a fake created by the sentient AI, and that they saw the real Caius in the tower. Serah and Noel venture into the core to defeat the AI. Yeul sees into the future and dies with a smile on her face. Caius arrives, mourns for Yeul, vowing to remember her pain and takes her away.
Meanwhile, Serah and Noel arrive to the tower's core and encounter the Proto fal'Cie Adam, which is using the AI and a paradox to keep itself functional. Serah and Noel witness this as they attempt to defeat it, but it is reincarnated every time they do. As a last resort, Serah shouts at Hope in the past for creating the Proto fal'Cie. Her yelling reaches out to Hope via an Oracle Drive and the Proto fal'Cie disappears permanently. Having resolved the paradox, Serah has yet another vision. The trio then continues on their journey.
Serah, Noel and Mog end up in Academia in a new timeline at 4XX AF, where everything is well now that the Proto fal'Cie is gone. They are greeted by Hope and Alyssa who used a time capsule Hope invented to get to Academia in this time period without ageing in the process. Back at 10 AF, Hope had begun the "New Cocoon Project," in order to create a new Cocoon after the old one is destroyed when the crystal pillar collapses in the future. After seeing the Thirteenth Ark in the Oracle Drive, he and Alyssa entered the time capsule and awoke in Academia to learn how it is capable of self-levitation. To succeed in his New Cocoon Project, Hope requires five Graviton Cores hidden throughout the timeline to make his new Cocoon float.
Serah and Noel retrieve the Graviton Cores and Alyssa gives them an artefact to open the new Time Gate back in town. Hope and Alyssa meet them at the gate and see them off, promising to meet again a century in the future. When Serah and Noel go through the gate, Alyssa smirks as she watches them, something only Mog notices. When Mog follows after Serah and Noel, he and Serah get separated from Noel in the Historia Crux. Afterwards, Alyssa reveals that she got the artefact from Caius and tricked them into his trap, because she is a living paradox and won't exist in the corrected timeline.
Serah and Noel end up in the Void Beyond, where Mog is phased out and becomes invisible to Serah and Noel is impaled by Caius. Serah goes on alone and meets several Yeuls from different time periods. Each Yeul tells Serah certain truths about her, the l'Cie who saved Cocoon, and history's change ending in revelation that like Yeul, Serah has the "Eyes of Etro," the ability to see the future, a skill granted by the goddess herself. The last Yeul tells Serah that whenever people die in the Void Beyond, it can take the shape of their heart's desires, and warns her that as she changes the timeline, she brings herself closer to death. This Yeul turns out to be an illusion made by Caius, and Serah is forced to fight him. He tells her about Noel's fate and that as the result of Etro freeing her and the other l'Cie from their fate on the Day of Ragnarok, the lives of the Yeuls throughout time were in turn cut short. Caius plans to send everything back to Valhalla to save Yeul from her fate, even if it means destroying time itself. In the end, Caius impales Serah from behind, causing chaos to burst from her body.
Serah, in her old clothes, is awakened in New Bodhum by the NORA members. She is confused as they tell her she never left on a journey and have never heard of Noel. When she heads into NORA House, she finds Snow. It seems she is in a dream where everything is the way she wants them to be; she is married to Snow and Lightning never disappeared. When the fake Lightning attempts to convince Serah to remain in her dream world forever, Serah remembers that the real Lightning is fighting in Valhalla waiting for her, and refuses, causing the fake Lightning to disperse into chaos.
Serah hears a familiar woman's voice giving her words of encouragement and she encounters Vanille and meets Fang for the first time. The pair reveal they were able to reach Serah since she rejected the fake Lightning on her own and came to help her escape the dream of the Void Beyond. They tell her that Noel needs her help to escape from his own dream. Leaving a spacetime distortion for Serah, Vanille and Fang return back to their dream inside Cocoon's pillar. Serah heads into the distortion to find Noel and save him.
Noel is caught within his own dream world, based on past memories from his home of the Dying World at 700 AF. Serah follows Noel and witnesses his conversation with Caius and Yeul. Caius tells Noel he must kill him in order to become Yeul's next Guardian and receive his Heart of Chaos, which is a manifestation of Etro. Should it stop beating, the goddess will die, the chaos of Valhalla will be unleashed into the world and history will be destroyed. Noel refuses and Caius defeats him in battle before leaving for Valhalla, in an attempt to slay the goddess Etro in order to free Yeul from her fate. Afterwards, Serah witnesses Noel talking to Yeul. Yeul has a vision of the future and she dies in his embrace, promising him they will meet again someday. Noel goes after Caius and gets caught in a distortion which would lead him to Valhalla, but Serah catches up to him and helps Noel awaken from his dream.
Serah is willing to continue their journey, but Noel is reluctant, because he now knows why Yeul died. Every time a seeress has a vision of the future, a piece of her life will vanish, and if she has a vision strong enough, she will die. Since Serah has the same ability, she, too, is in danger of dying the same way each time she and Noel change the timeline, but Serah is willing to take that risk in order to save the future.
Serah and Noel return to where Yeul died, and the Oracle Drive shows her vision of Noel fighting to save the future and the two of them reuniting. A distortion appears and Mog returns back to normal. Mog reveals that his soul was trapped in the Void Beyond until Lightning saved him. He also reveals that Caius was once a Pulse l'Cie with the Focus of Yeul's protection, until Etro saved him and made him immortal. Noel and Serah realize that Caius has been plotting for centuries, using his tremendous power and knowledge of Yeul's visions to create the paradoxes in order to reach his goal: the destruction of the world, and the goddess's death.
Serah, Noel and Mog go through the time distortion in Dying World and end up in New Bodhum in 700 AF, where the village is a desolate wasteland. Here, they finally meet Lightning who has come from Valhalla and explains everything that happened to her and what Caius is attempting. Caius is trying to cause Cocoon's destruction in order to force Etro's Gate to open, which would cause chaos to erupt from Valhalla. Chaos would engulf the world, turning it into a place where time, life, and death don't exist, essentially re-making the world in Valhalla's image. Noel realizes Caius is doing this for Yeul's sake, to stop her from her cycle of death and rebirth. To prevent this, Caius must be stopped in both Valhalla and the real world. Since Lightning can't do this alone, she needs help from Serah and Noel. She tells them that in the year 500 AF, Hope will launch the new Cocoon and Caius will attempt to bring it and the old Cocoon down in one fell swoop. Lightning tells them if they save the new Cocoon and stop Caius, the timeline will be restored. At her command, Mog reveals a new gate to take Noel and Serah to 500 AF and Lightning prepares to go back to Valhalla to face Caius. Serah asks her if they will be able to be together again when everything is over, but Lightning only smiles and replies, "One thing at a time, Serah", and leaves.
Serah, Noel and Mog arrive at Academia at 500 AF, the time of the prophecy, but the city is now a labyrinth of chaos and the populace has been evacuated to Hope's new Cocoon. As they journey through the area, they hear Yeul's voice warning them not to fight Caius and kill Etro. Reaching Academy headquarters, Caius attacks them as Chaos Bahamut and with summoned monsters, but they are saved by Hope. They give chase to Caius with an airship piloted by Sazh Katzroy, and Serah and Noel fight him as Chaos Bahamut. Caius eventually manages to transform and fly into a portal on the sky which leads to Valhalla. Hope is eager to go after him, but Serah insists that he must protect Vanille, Fang, and his new Cocoon.
Serah, Noel and Mog jump into the portal and encounter Caius in Valhalla. They manage to defeat him but he still swears to stop Yeul's continual cycle of dying and being reborn by destroying Etro. Noel attempts to convince Caius that destruction won't make her happy, and that Yeul kept returning out of her own will because she wanted to be with him. Angrily, Caius attacks Noel but is beaten, causing him to transform into his ultimate form, Jet Bahamut. He blasts at Serah and Noel, sending them falling into an abyss beneath the waves of chaos, but Lightning saves them, urging them to keep hope alive. Serah and Noel fight and defeat Jet Bahamut, and his supporters: Garnet Bahamut and Amber Bahamut, and Caius reverts back into a human.
Caius says that in order to save Yeul, Noel must kill him. He tries to provoke Noel to do this, even by saying that he has killed Lightning, but Noel tells the shocked Serah that Caius is lying. Noel still refuses and Caius lunges at Serah. Noel intervenes and is about to stab Caius through his heart but stops right before he does. Caius takes the blade and forces it through his heart. With Caius dead and the final paradox resolved, the timeline is fixed, and Serah, Noel, and Mog return to 500 AF before the gates disappear.
There are nine possible endings in Final Fantasy XIII-2:
After Caius is defeated he fades into crystal dust, Sazh removes Fang and Vanille from the crystal pillar before the old Cocoon falls and the new one named "Bhunivelze" rises into the sky. Serah, Noel and Mog leave Valhalla and return to Pulse in 500 AF. After Serah thanks Noel, she has another vision and dies because of it. Noel weeps for her as Hope arrives from Academia to greet them. Hope asks Noel why Serah is dead since they both returned fine, and Noel tells him why it happened: Serah was a seeress just like Yeul, and a seeress is forced to see the changes in the timeline whether or not she wants to. This will eventually end in the seeress's death and that's what happened to Serah.
The world suddenly goes dark and Mog grows weak, saying that the goddess is gone. Noel remembers Caius's warning about Etro and the Heart of Chaos, saying that if the heart stops beating the goddess will die once again, meaning that the goddess may have died before. Bhunivelze and everything on Pulse begin to emit chaos as a giant seal opens in the sky. The world takes on Valhalla's appearance, and a crystallized Lightning is seen within Etro's temple, sitting on the goddess's throne. The game ends with the words "To be continued..."
After obtaining all the paradox endings and all 160 fragments, a secret ending, "The Goddess is Dead", plays after the end credits. It shows Caius in the Void Beyond, sitting on Etro's throne. Caius stands up and uses his sword, causing chaos to emerge, wanting to create a new world without Etro where Yeul doesn't die, now that they are free from their curses. This scene also alters the opening scene where Caius is shown seemingly talking to the player. Although the ending implies that Etro is dead, Caius was only able to use chaos because of the Heart of Chaos beating in his chest. This hints that Etro may perhaps not be truly dead.
After completing the DLC episode, "Lightning: Requiem of the Goddess," the reason Lightning ends up in crystal stasis is revealed. After dying, Serah's spirit is taken to Valhalla and held hostage by the spirits of Yeul. Lightning demands Yeul to release Serah, but she still refuses, saying that they will all eventually dissolve into chaos and summons Caius to fight Lightning. Lightning wins against Caius but Yeul forces Lightning to realize that Serah is dead because of her urging Serah to journey through time. When sinking deeper into despair, Lightning is ready to give up all hope, when she meets Serah's spirit in an abyss full of light. Serah explains she knew what would happen to her and has no regrets about her choice. Her only wish is for Lightning to always remember her, and that they will meet again.
After coming to her senses in Etro's shrine, Lightning's hope for the future is renewed. She ascends to the goddess's throne and transforms herself into an indestructible crystal epitaph in order to preserve the world's existence along with Serah's memory, and waits for a time at the end of eternity when she will awaken and reunite with Serah. In a secret post-credits scene, Lightning is seen waking up in a distant future, a destroyed world resembling Noel's home in the Dying World.
- A Giant Mistake: Both sides of the Pulsian civil war, which will eventually bring down Cocoon's pillar, unleash an army of Atlases on the Archylte Steppe. Serah and Noel are trapped in the middle of the war, and resolve to take down each one. The last shot is of a downed Atlas with both Serah's and Noel's weapons lodged in an unbroken crystal atop the beast's head.
- Mischievous Mog's Marvelous Plan with Flan: Noel and Serah use magic to disguise themselves as a Microchu and Miniflan, in order to remain unnoticed while they prepare a poisonous pudding to kill the evil Royal Ripeness, who has taken over the Sunleth Waterscape and wants to transform Cocoon into a human-free world of monsters.
- Vanille's Truth: Serah and Noel find a crystallized Vanille in Oerba, and promise to find Fang for her.
- Test Subjects: Serah and Noel are modified by the Proto fal'Cie Adam to serve as guards in Augusta Tower. They briefly wonder what they were supposed to be doing before their memories were erased, which prompts Adam to question whether there are paradoxical aspects in the "souls" of every human.
- The Future is Hope: Snow appears in Academia 4XX AF with a security detail and arrests Alyssa, stopping her from tricking Serah and Noel into going into Caius's trap. Snow warns Hope of his imminent assassination coming in three days and tells Noel to stay behind to guard him. He states he has thirteen crystals to find throughout time before flying off with Serah and Mog on Shiva as Noel and Hope look on. An interesting note is that Bhunivelze is in the sky of Academia.
- Beneath a Timeless Sky: Serah, Noel and Yeul are trapped in New Bodhum in 700 AF, looking for a way out. Yeul can no longer see the future due to the timeline's collapse. While they search together, a meteorite lands outside the town, in a similar place and manner as the one in 3 AF, and they quickly run off to investigate.
- Fate and Freedom: Serah remains in her eternal dream with Lightning, Snow, and the members of NORA in New Bodhum, though she feels it will never be perfect without Noel and Mog, both of whom she can only faintly remember.
- Heir to Chaos: Noel inherits the Heart of Chaos from Caius, and replaces him as the new Guardian of Time. As Noel floats through the Historia Crux, he resolves to save Yeul, Serah, and Caius from their fates.
- (Serah Farron, セラ・ファロン?, lit. Sera Faron) - The main protagonist of the game. She is Lightning's younger sister, Snow's fiancée, and the only one out of her friends to know Lightning still exists. Gaining the ability to have visions of the future, Serah journeys with Noel to find and save her sister. Her weapon is a bow that can transform into a sword, though its true form is that of her moogle companion Mog.
- (Noel Kreiss, ノエル・クライス?, lit. Noeru Kuraisu) - The main male protagonist of the game. Noel comes from the Dying World at 700 AF, where he is the last surviving human in a world that faced destruction. After a chance encounter with Lightning, he travels into the past to find her sister, Serah. He sets off with her to save Lightning in the hopes of changing the future. He uses two swords that are able to combine to form a spear in battle.
Temporary Playable Characters
- (Lightning, ライトニング?, lit. Raitoningu) - The main narrator of the game. Having been attacked by the emerging chaos and subsequently taken to Valhalla, Lightning is no longer believed to be alive by anyone except Serah. In reality, she has become a knight, protecting the goddess Etro in Valhalla while being confronted by Caius. She now wields a new gunblade resembling a combination of her Blazefire Saber and a traditional sword.
- (Sazh Katzroy, サッズ・カッツロイ?, lit. Sazzu Kattsuroi) - Sazh is playable after purchasing his DLC scenario, "Heads or Tails." Hope reveals that Sazh has mysteriously gone missing, he ends up in Serendipity; what he did whilst he was there is yet to be discovered. After his time in Serendipity, Sazh resurfaces in Academia 500 AF along with Dajh. Once there, he helps Noel and Serah pursue Caius in the skies. Sazh is present at the end of the game along with Noel and Hope. He retains his afro and dual-wield pistols.
- (Snow Villiers, スノウ・ヴィリアース?, lit. Sunou Viriāsu) - Snow left to search for Lightning two years after her disappearance, but is nowhere to be found at the time Serah set out on her own search. He appears as an uncontrollable guest character in the Sunleth Waterscape at 300 AF.
- (Caius Ballad, カイアス・バラッド?, lit. Kaiasu Baraddo) - A mysterious man who is an important figure in both Noel's past and Serah's future. He is of equal strength to Lightning and is said to be on a similar mission to hers, and will be in her way as she tries to complete her own. Caius also has the ability harness his inner chaos to transform into Chaos Bahamut. He travels with his companion Yeul as they pursue Noel and Serah. Caius is the immortal guardian of the timeline, and able to retain memory of all timeline events.
- (Mog, モーグリ?, lit. Mōguri) - Serah's new moogle companion and a gift from Lightning. Instead of a traditional moogle's pom-pom, Mog's pom-pom is a glowing crystal. He carries a rod adorned with a clock, and can transform into Serah's weapon. He is a treasure hunter and will reveal invisible treasure chests within dungeons. He can access treasure in out-of-reach places by being thrown by the player. He also uses his magic to execute the Mog Clock pre-battle system.
- (Hope Estheim, ホープ・エストハイム?, lit. Hōpu Esutohaimu) - Hope appears as a 24-year-old young man, and the leader of the Academy, researching the world's history and looking for a new energy source for Cocoon in the absence of the fal'Cie. He is aware of Noel and Serah's travels through time because of his research, and helps them in their search for Lightning. He also wants to change history in order to improve the world and bring back the people dear to him.
- (Paddra Nsu-Yeul, ユール?, lit. Yūru) - A young Pulsian seeress who is blessed with the ability to see the future. However, the gift comes with the price that she would die and be reborn in the next generation. She was previously mentioned in Final Fantasy XIII, as the author of the fourth and ninth Analects.
- (Alyssa Zaidelle, アリサ・ザイデル?, lit. Arisa Zaideru) - A young girl who is part of the Academy and Hope's trusted assistant. They work together to understand the nature of paradoxes and help Noel and Serah in their journey to change the future. Continuously, the story hints that Alyssa has something to hide about her past.
- (NORA, ノラ?, lit. Nora) - Snow's friends: Gadot, Lebreau, Maqui and Yuj have stayed with Serah during their years on Pulse while resuming their occupation as New Bodhum's neighborhood watch group.
- (PSICOM, サイコム?, lit. Saikomu) - The military corps from Cocoon now handle monster extermination on Pulse to protect the new cities that the citizens are building, and look over the rebuilding of the formerly floating world.
- Dajh Katzroy- Dajh, along with his father, are currently engaged in operations to improve Gran Pulse.
- Oerba Dia Vanille and Oerba Yun Fang: A pair of l'Cie from Pulse who aided Lightning and the others in defeating Orphan before they sacrificed themselves to create the crystal pillar to hold Cocoon up. However, it would turn out that their act was only delaying the fall that would happen centuries later. Though mentioned, Vanille and Fang physically appear before Serah to help her leave her dream.
Composers of the original game, Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki, return joined by Naoshi Mizuta, composer of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light and Final Fantasy XI. The game's main theme in the Japanese PlayStation 3 version is "Yakusoku no Basho," sung by Mai Fukui. An English version of the theme, called "New World", sung by Filipina artist Charice Pempengco, is used in the Japanese Xbox 360 and Western releases of the game.
The soundtrack was released on December 14th, 2011. It includes the standard and limited edition. Standard version soundtrack spans over four discs, while the limited edition has a bonus DVD packed with two trailers, the trailer shown at E3 2011 (Japanese voices version), and the game's Final Trailer (Special Music Edition). The standard edition retails for 3990¥, and the limited edition is 4880¥. A selection of songs from the game are to be available with the Limited Collector's Edition of Final Fantasy XIII-2 in Europe and the entire soundtrack is to be available to those who purchase the Crystal Edition in Europe or the Collector's Edition in North America. However, neither shall include "New World" by Charice.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 includes music from Final Fantasy XIII.
Downloadable Content and Extras
The game features downloadable content in the form of downloadable outfits, weapons, accessories, scenarios, recruitable monsters and minigames. Though there were initial plans to release DLC for Final Fantasy XIII, these ideas did not come to fruition. For Final Fantasy XIII-2 the team designed and planned for content, including DLC, that would expand on the world of Final Fantasy XIII-2 since the beginning of its development.
Players who own Final Fantasy XIII save data can unlock an additional wallpaper (PS3) or gamer picture (Xbox 360) for the save file. Downloadable content released after the game contains additional weapons, costumes and monsters. Kitase assures players that the content will allow for even longer play. Post-release downloads also include a "Final Fantasy XIII Lost Report" which distributed through the game's official site offers a look back at Final Fantasy XIII's story through Rygdea and Yaag Rosch's perspectives.
Kitase has also stated that there will be a downloadable version for Xbox 360, but it is unknown whether or not there will also be one for PlayStation 3.
Hints at a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII were first given when Square Enix stated they would be willing to create a direct sequel if the fans want it. They also said the first installment had enough cut content to fill a new game. Late 2010, in an interview from the Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega, Motomu Toriyama proclaimed the idea to make a story where Lightning "ends up happy in the end." Furthermore, an autographed postcard was personally sent by Tetsuya Nomura to members of the Japanese Square Enix Members community, with an artwork of Lightning and a message saying "She must not be forgotten." Later, Square Enix registered the domain for the game. The game was officially announced at the "Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere" event on January 18, 2011.
Toriyama has said in an interview with Famitsuthe main reason they decided to make a sequel is that there was demand throughout the world and because the development staff wanted to portray Lightning's character further, to give her a clear conclusion. This ended up not being the case, however, and Lightning's story was to be continued in a sequel.
The development of the first Final Fantasy XIII game was problematic due to poor communication between different sectors of the development, as Final Fantasy XIII had a tremendously large production team. With Final Fantasy XIII-2 the team strove to change this by setting milestones and sharing content internally. Motomu Toriyama has said that Square Enix realized they needed to apply more Western technology and production techniques. Because Final Fantasy XIII was a large-scale project, the developers wanted to keep it secret, but this led to user testing happening too late in the process and a lot of feedback about things that needed fixing were decided to be included in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The team conducted user tests and used the feedback to make adjustments to the gameplay and this process was started about a year earlier than what was done with Final Fantasy XIII. Development went better for Final Fantasy XIII-2 than for its predecessor, but Toriyama still feels it could be better, thinking they need to add more buffer time for player testing in the future.
Both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game only need one disc. In an interview, director Motomu Toriyama says that the game actually has the same amount of volume as Final Fantasy XIII and the reason they're able to fit the game in less space this time is that the event scenes are real time rather than prerendered.
In addition to the Square Enix staff, Tri-Ace staff were involved with the development of Final Fantasy XIII-2, helping out on the game with aspects of game design, art and programming. Outsourcing development is something Square Enix is looking to do more in the future, based on the experiences of developing Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2. "We are also thinking that we will not do large-scale internal development any longer," Toriyama has commented. "We have a lot of great creators in Square Enix, but for larger-scale development we will be doing more distributed and outsourced development to reach our targets on time."
Following player feedback on the linear, story-driven gameplay of Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2 focuses on player-driven gameplay with a more open world that players can explore widely, triggering events as they find them. In all the different types of gameplay presented, the developers' goal has been to make the player the main focus and instigator, and the game design to promote the player progressing through the story rather than just passively watching. Toriyama compared this mindset to the differences between Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 - the latter builds on the world and story of the former and thus can have a stronger focus on gameplay.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 uses different types of art styles and art director Isamu Kamikokuryo has said that even with the world reduced close to ruin after the events of Final Fantasy XIII, he was careful in expressing the serious tone of the story and the world when compared to the first game's beautiful but manufactured setting. The developers wanted to go with a dark atmosphere and took inspiration from works of surrealism, such as the art of Salvador Dali and Giorgio de Chirico, which were used as references when determining the balance of how far the team should pursue a photo-like realism, or an unrealistic fantasy. Kamikokuryu further said that the character designs are built from the scenario and setting and the new designs for Lightning and Serah are reflected within the environments where they begin their journey.
There are instances where the line is blurred because these characters are not meant to be hyper-realistic and have a mysterious appeal to them. The characters were meant to be a mix between realism and fantasy. If the end product is distinct from other titles, we've succeeded.
Toriyama at first didn't want a direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII and started with the idea of having Final Fantasy XIII-2 take place some 900 years after the first game. After creating the backstory of the 900 years, the team decided to make it a time-traveling story.
The story of Final Fantasy XIII included many mysterious elements that are central to the story and the game's universe; l'Cie, fal'Cie, and Ragnarok, to name a few. The developers found that many aspects of Final Fantasy XIII's story were not easily explained. Thus, in Final Fantasy XIII-2 the team wanted to employ a different story-telling style, whereas even if the basic elements of the Final Fantasy XIII universe continue to be present as the backdrop, the story of Final Fantasy XIII-2 centers around a time paradox, which the team thought to be a more familiar form of mystery.
The developers drew strong inspiration from one-shot TV dramas and opted for a plot structure where smaller pieces take place quickly one after another. The story of Final Fantasy XIII-2 is described as a glimpse of a more contemporary drama and to be easier to follow in comparison to Final Fantasy XIII.
In the FMV interviews section of Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega, the director of the ending FMV, Hiroshi Kamohara, points out that the "To be continued..." at the end is not supposed to mean "see you next time...", but more like "the story will continue in the next generation" and that was the non-Japanese staff that decided to phrase it like that; the makers of the FMV did not craft it with a sequel in mind. However, in another interview Yoshinori Kitase has said that the "To be continued.." was added pertaining to the Lightning DLC.
The developers have revealed some of the main themes they wanted to explore by making Final Fantasy XIII-2. At the end of Final Fantasy XIII, the world was left in ruins and in Final Fantasy XIII-2 the team wanted to offer the player an experience of following the way the world is rebuilt over a long span of time. Motomu Toriyama called the theme for the game's story "Wish for Rebirth" and explained that the theme has two meanings: one is rebirth of the devastated world, and the other is the re-encounter with Lightning. The wish to rebuild a devastated world may, in part, draw from the feelings in Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, as Toriyama has alluded to this disaster in an interview, saying: "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." In the interview from the Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega, Daisuke Watanabe says the theme is "the future is unknown, but you can keep going as long as you have hope."
Toriyama has said that other than Lightning finding true happiness, the after-effects of Fang and Vanille's sacrifice on her and the other characters are another central theme in the game. He has even compared the light and dark appearances of Lightning and Caius respectively to those of an angel and the devil, but warned not to jump to conclusions about which one is which. Toriyama has said that the traveling system has been completely redone since Final Fantasy XIII, as the team was trying to create a "truly living world, with lots of people living all the way to the far corners of the game".
The game is more fantasy-oriented as opposed to the futuristic feel of its predecessor. The game's general tone is darker and more mysterious, because the developers 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. The story also focuses on the Farron sisters as opposed to how the first game focuses on the love story between Snow and Serah, although hinting that a new relationship will be present during Serah's journey through time. As opposed to the story of Final Fantasy XIII, where Lightning is on a quest to save Serah, the story of Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the reverse, with Serah trying to save Lightning. The story of Final Fantasy XIII-2 also explores their relationship as sisters, and how they are similar yet different in their own ways.
A Final Fantasy XIII-2 bundle was released in Japan on December 15th, 2011 with a black 320GB PlayStation 3 Slim with an image of Lightning. Square Enix also released two new books in Japan on the game's release date of December 15th. The first is a postcard book priced at ¥1,260 that has 24 CG illustrations featuring characters like Lightning, Serah, Noel, and Caius, as well as an eight-page character introduction. The second is a 232-page book priced at ¥1,470, titled FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Fragments Before, which takes place immediately before the events of the game and contains several stories revolving around characters such as Serah, Snow, Noel, and Rygdea and Bartholomew Estheim:
- Serah: Memories of the year AF 0.
- New Bodhum: A story of the year AF 3.
- Snow: The story of his departure.
- Rygdea & Bartholomew: The creation of a provisional government, and the secret history of the founding of the Academy.
- Noel: The end of the world, a period of uncertainty.
The game's story will be continued in FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Fragments After.
Square Enix teamed up with Morinaga to promote Final Fantasy XIII-2 in Japan; Morinaga's popular Potelong snack featured for a limited time Final Fantasy XIII-2 themed packaging. To promote the game's release, AKB48 member, Yuko Oshima, was appointed the leader of a group of thirteen official test players and Square Enix often released videos of her and other test players playing the game.
North American release
The North American collector's edition, sold for $79.99 was available in limited quantities at GameStop, Amazon and Best Buy, and included:
- Packaging featuring artwork by Yoshitaka Amano.
- The 4-disc Original Soundtrack. Although this excludes both "Yakusoku no Basho" and "New World", it includes a bonus track on Disc 4, the "Secret Track" that plays as the background to the DLC coliseum.
- A collection of concept artwork containing "a variety of never-before-seen illustrations, environments and more".
These retailers also had their own pre-order bonus: Gamestop had the alternate costume named "Summoner's Garb" available for Serah (with PowerUp Rewards members also receiving a Genji Bow for her); Amazon had Omega as a coliseum boss and Best Buy had a hardcover book entitled "FINAL FANTASY XIII -Episode i-", a story written by Jun Eishima that ties together the events between the predecessor and the game.
Ultimate Prize winners of the Word to Your Moogle tour received a pink and white PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 featuring Mog.
European and Australian release
Europe and Australia had three different editions of Final Fantasy XIII-2 available to purchase. The "Limited Collector’s Edition", with recommended retail price of £59,99/68€, includes the game; a composer selected soundtrack CD, an artbook, six postcards featuring CG artwork of Caius, Hope, Lightning, Noel, Serah and Snow and a high definition lenticular art print of Lightning.
The Crystal Edition, with recommended retail price of £79,99/91€, includes all of the items above, although the composer selected soundtrack is replaced with the 4-disc Final Fantasy XIII-2 Original Soundtrack (this soundtrack will include all background music from the game as well as the "Secret Track" from the DLC Colosseum, but not the theme song "New World".) Also included is a T-shirt from the Square Enix Products range that is not be available for purchase elsewhere. The Crystal Edition was strictly limited edition and is packaged in a presentation box.
The Nordic Edition includes the game and two additional downloadable pieces of content; the "Fight In Style" pack which includes the "Summoner's Garb" alternate costume for Serah and the "Battle Attire" alternate costume for Noel as well as the recruitable monster battle with Omega and the second downloadable bonus is the "Muramasa" for Noel, which increases the ATB Gauge charge rate.
Preorder bonuses for Europe and Australia were available for customers preordering from certain retail outlets. The preorder extras include:
- An exclusive steelbook case from steelbook.com, the downloadable content "Fight In Style" pack, which contains a boss battle with the recruitable monster Omega and the alternate costume "Summoner's Garb" for Serah and the alternate costume "Battle Attire" for Noel, Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i- which is a paperback novella that fills the gaps between Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2 and three lithograph artcards of official promotional posters. Available from GAME UK.
- A code which allows you to obtain the unique downloadable weapon Muramasa for Noel, which increases the ATB Gauge charge rate. Available from Amazon.co.uk.
Multiple Asian editions of Final Fantasy XIII-2 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have been released. Asian Japanese versions (Japanese voice & texts) for both consoles released On December 15, 2011 and all other versions were released on January 31, 2012 for Asian regions (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, etc). Like its predecessor, the version features Japanese voice overs and both Chinese and English subtitles are available. Bundled and limited versions are also available.
- PS3 Japanese Version (Japanese Voice & Subtitles)
- PS3 English Version (English Voice & Subtitles) (8 post cards included for pre-order bonus)
- PS3 Chinese + English Version (Japanese Voice, Chinese/English Subtitles) (8 post cards included for pre-order bonus)
- PS3 Chinese + English PS3 Bundle Version (Japanese Voice, Chinese/English Subtitles), which includes the game disc and:
- PS3 FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 LIGHTNING EDITION Ver.2 Console
- 2 DLC codes for Serah's Outfit: Summoner's Garb and Noel's Outfit: Battle Attire (first print limited offer)
- A mini clear poster (randomly given out of 8 designs)
- 1-disc Original Soundtrack -SPECIAL Package- (selected tracks)
- 8 post cards (pre-order bonus)
- Xbox360 Japanese Version (Japanese Voice & Subtitles)
- Xbox360 Chinese + English Version (Japanese Voice, Chinese/English Subtitles), which includes the game disc and:
- A table calendar
- 2 DLC codes for Serah's Outfit: Summoner's Garb and Noel's Outfit: Battle Attire (first print limited offer)
- X360 Chinese + English Version Limited Edition (Japanese Voice, Chinese/English Subtitles), which includes the game disc and:
- A table calendar
- 1 mini clear poster (randomly given out of 8 designs)
- 1-disc Original Soundtrack -SPECIAL Package- (selected tracks)
- 8 post cards
Japanese magazine Famitsu gave the game a perfect 40 score with each of the four reviewers giving the game a 10. This marks Final Fantasy XIII-2 as the second Final Fantasy game to receive a perfect score from the said magazine, the first one being Final Fantasy XII. Dengeki gave the game an S score, the highest score in their scale.
Western reviewers are more critical of the game. It received an 8.0 from IGN. The reviewer commended the significant improvement it has over the original although criticized the progression of the story. He also noted that the characters didn't have any clear motivations other than to save Lightning. Official Xbox Magazine gave the game a 9 out of 10 score. The magazine pointed out its improvement over XIII in most aspects of the game especially the explorations.
Both versions of the game received a 79/100 from Metacritic. This makes Final Fantasy XIII-2 the offline numbered Final Fantasy title with the lowest Metacritic score (not counting the remakes of Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III), lower than Final Fantasy XIII, which received an 83/100. Template:Sec-stub
The staff behind Final Fantasy XIII-2 are as follows:
- Producer: Yoshinori Kitase
- Director: Motomu Toriyama
- Scenario: Daisuke Watanabe
- Art Director: Isamu Kamikokuryo
- Character Design (Playable Character Faces): Tetsuya Nomura
- Character Design (Playable Character Costumes and Non-Playable Characters): Isamu Kamikokuryo, Nao Ikeda, Yusuke Naora, Hideo Minaba
- Battle System Director: Yusuke Matsui
- Composers: Masashi Hamauzu, Mitsuto Suzuki, Naoshi Mizuta
- Image Illustrator and Title Logo Designer: Yoshitaka Amano
- Additional Work on Game Design, Art and Programming: tri-Ace
|Lightning||Maaya Sakamoto||Ali Hillis|
|Serah Farron||Minako Kotobuki||Laura Bailey|
|Noel Kreiss||Daisuke Kishio||Jason Marsden|
|Mog||Sumire Morohoshi||Ariel Winter|
|Caius Ballad||Hiroshi Shirokuma||Liam O'Brien|
|Paddra Nsu-Yeul||Mariya Ise||Amber Hood|
|Snow Villiers||Daisuke Ono||Troy Baker|
|Hope Estheim||Yūki Kaji||Vincent Martella|
|Sazh Katzroy||Masashi Ebara||Reno Wilson|
|Oerba Dia Vanille||Yukari Fukui||Georgia van Cuylenburg|
|Oerba Yun Fang||Mabuki Andou||Rachel Robinson|
|Gadot||Biichi Satou||Zack Hanks|
|Lebreau||Yū Asakawa||Anndi McAfee|
|Yuj||Wataru Hatano||Jeff Fischer|
|Maqui||Makoto Naruse||Daniel Samonas|
|Alyssa Zaidelle||Yōko Hikasa||Kim Mai Guest|
|Chocolina||Seiko Ueda||Julie Nathanson|
|Arbiter of Time||Tomomichi Nishimura||Steven Blum|
|Historia Crux Narrator||Michiko Neya||Anna Vocino|
|Amodar/Captain Cryptic||Yūji Ueda||Dave Wittenberg|
|Jihl Nabaat||Mie Sonozaki||Paula Tiso|
|Dr. M||JB Blanc|
|Mystic||Mary Elizabeth McGlynn|
Robin Atkin Downes (DLC)
|Shannon||Mary Elizabeth McGlynn|
|Technical Engineer||Daran Norris|
|Tipur||S. Scott Bullock|
- Additional Voices (English version):
Andrew Kishino, Anna Vocino, Annie Mumolo, April Stewart, Ben Diskin, Cam Clarke, Candi Milo, Charlie Adler, Chris Cox, Chris Parson, Christy Carlson Romano, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Daisy Torme, Dave Boat, Debi Derryberry, Dwight Schultz, Eden Riegel, Eliza Jane Schneider, Gideon Emery, Grant George, Gregg Berger, Hedy Burress, Henry Dittman, Hope Levy, Hynden Welch, Jamieson Price, Janice Kawaye, Jason Spisak, Jessica DiCicco, Jim Meskimen, Joe Cappelletti, John DeMita, Julia Fletcher, Kari Wahlgren, Keith Ferguson, Keith Silverstein, Kim Mai Guest, Kirk Thornton, Kyle Hebert, Laura Napoli, Marc Worden, Masasa Moyo, Matt King, Megan Hollingshead, Michael Sinterniklaas, Michael Sorich, Michelle Ruff, Mikey Kelley, Neil Kaplan, Nick Jameson, Nika Futterman, Patrick Seitz, Phil Procter, Quinton Flynn, Robbie Rist, Robin Becker, Roger Craig Smith, Sam Riegal, Scott Menville, Stephanie Sheh, Steve Staley, Steve Van Wormer, Tish Hicks, Travis Willingham, Vanessa Marshall, Vic Mignogna, Wally Wingert, Wendee Lee, Yuri Lowenthal, Zeus Mendoza
During its first week of release in Japan, Final Fantasy XIII-2 sold 524,000 copies with the PlayStation 3 version topping the charts. The Xbox 360 sold far fewer copies due to the low number of Xbox 360 customers in Japan. First week sales in Japan were much poorer than for Final Fantasy XIII, which sold 1.5 million units in its first week. By the end of 2011, the game sold 697,146 units, becoming the fifth bestselling game from Japan in 2011.
- The object in the bottom-left of the in-battle HUD resembles the early Overclock concept seen in Final Fantasy XIII's E3 2006 trailer.
- The moogles in Final Fantasy XIII-2 are different than the ones seen in the original game because another artist, Toshitaka Matsuda, was chosen to design them for this title.
- Despite the fact of prominently featuring a moogle, "Moogle's Theme" is not present in the game.
- The idea of monsters fighting in the player's party was previously used in International Version of Final Fantasy X-2 , where monsters can be recruited and used in battle with its "Creature Create" system.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the second game in the series to have two sisters as playable characters, the first being Final Fantasy V.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the sixth game in the series to involve time travel as a major plot element, after Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 is similar to the logo of Final Fantasy X-2 by having the game's number in larger size ("FINAL FANTASY X-2" and "FINAL FANTASY XIII-2") and having single-colored characters in battle poses.
- According to an interview with Isamu Kamikokuryo about the art direction, the colors pink and purple came up a lot, and consequently, they are the colors in the logo.
- The icon that indicates party leader resembles the one from Final Fantasy XII.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2's North American release date is on the same day and month that Final Fantasy VII was released for the first time in Japan.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.siliconera.com/2011/12/18/tri-ace-helped-out-with-final-fantasy-xiii-2/
- ↑ http://www.twitch.tv/archive/archive_popout?id=303089445
- ↑ http://twitter.com/#!/GeorgiaVanC/status/102387907196760064
- ↑ http://www.finalfantasy.net/xiii-2/final-fantasy-xiii2-ost-dec-14/
- ↑ http://finalfantasyxiii2.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/square-enix-reveals-final-fantasy-xiii-2-nordic-edition-and-special-editions/
- ↑ http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/12/16/final-fantasy-xiii-2-qa-a-time-traveling-sequel-to-surpass-the-original/
- ↑ Official European Final Fantasy XIII-2 Site Updated! (Snow & Hope Wallpapers), 20th November 2011, Jonttutan, WordPress.com
- ↑ After 30 hours of FFXIII-2 What's Next?
- ↑ Gilgamesh Breaks The Fourth Wall, Siliconera
- ↑ Andriasang
- ↑ IGN
- ↑ FFXIII Producer Wants a Sequel, Escapist
- ↑ Andriasang
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/173093/Square_Enix_to_avoid_largescale_internal_development_after_Final_Fantasy_XIII2.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GamasutraNews+%2
- ↑ http://www.gameinformer.com/games/final_fantasy_xiii-2/b/ps3/archive/2011/11/23/creators-talk-time-travel-sequel-development-amp-more.aspx
- ↑ http://andriasang.com/comy9w/
- ↑ http://www.siliconera.com/2011/12/18/tri-ace-helped-out-with-final-fantasy-xiii-2/
- ↑ http://finalfantasyxiii2.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/exclusive-motomu-toriyama-interview/
- ↑ http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2011/06/09/ffxiii_2_team_interview/
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 http://uk.gamespot.com/news/final-fantasy-xiii-2-roundtable-art-and-music-6345473
- ↑ http://finalfantasy.com.br/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1075
- ↑ Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega Scenario Interview with Toriyama and Watanabe
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 https://member.eu.square-enix.com/en/blogs/final-fantasy-xiii-2-mini-interview-focuses-story
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/news/final-fantasy-xiii-2-darker-freer
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/?p=2007
- ↑ Final Fantasy XIII-2 Judge 13
- ↑ http://gematsu.com/2011/11/final-fantasy-xiii-2-collectors-edition-announced
- ↑ http://finalfantasyxiii2.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/square-enix-reveals-final-fantasy-xiii-2-nordic-edition-and-special-editions
- ↑ http://asia.playstation.com/hk/en/news/pressDetail/255660
- ↑ http://asia.playstation.com/sg/en/news/pressDetail/257890
- ↑ http://asia.playstation.com/tw/cht/news/pressDetail/254740
- ↑ http://asia.gamespot.com/news/namco-bandai-to-distribute-xbox-360-final-fantasy-xiii-2-in-asia-6339843
- ↑ http://xboxlife.tw/show.php?fid=2&tid=2294
- ↑ http://asia.playstation.com/hk/en/game/gameDetail/254390
- ↑ http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-HK/Product/FINAL-FANTASY-XIII-2/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80253510806
- ↑ http://gematsu.com/2011/12/final-fantasy-xiii-2-scores-perfect-in-dengeki-sazh-teased-as-downloadable-content
- ↑ http://ps3.ign.com/articles/121/1217386p1.html
- ↑ http://www.crashtodesktop.co.uk/2012/01/oxm-us-ffxiii-2-feels-like-what-that.html
- ↑ 39.0 39.1 http://www.famitsu.com/news/201102/01039883.html
- ↑ http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2011/06/22/ffxiii_2_kamikokuryo_interview/
- ↑ http://www.gamenyusu.com/component/content/article/8-all-news/903-final-fantasy-xiii-2-weekly-famitsu-details.html
- ↑ http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2011/07/14/ffxiii_2_staff/
- ↑ http://twitter.com/#!/gamespite/status/76708904918200320
- ↑ http://games.fok.nl/special/447833/1/1/100/e3-2011-interview-final-fantasy-xiii-2.html
- ↑ http://finalfantasyxiii2.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/japan-expo-square-enix-announced-the-composers-of-the-final-fantasy-xiii-2/
- ↑ Interview with Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama, p200, April 12, 2012 issue of Weekly Famitsu
- ↑ http://andriasang.com/comzh1/ffxiii2_sellthrough/
- ↑ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2012-01-06/japanese-video-game-market-down-8-percent-in-2011
- Official Japanese Site
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 Judge 13 - Official Test Players website
- Official North American Site
- Domain Site
- Wikipedia article