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It's the beginning of the end. Time has run out on this world, and there won't be any more tomorrows.
The progression of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is divided in days. A day lasts 24 in-game hours—an hour in real time—although the time stands still in battles and menus, during cutscenes and while in the Ark.
Depending on the day and time of the day, different events may occur: shops and venues may have opening times, some people are around only on certain days, Chaos infusions appear at certain times, and storyline bosses' stats and form may change the later the player battles them. The end or the beginning of each day may include a cutscene in the Ark; many of these are triggered by events, such as clearing a main quest, and are therefore independent of specific days.
List of daysEdit
Before the time mechanic begins, there is a playable segment in Yusnaan that acts as an introduction.
Lightning was awakened by Bhunivelze from her crystal sleep and tasked with the mission of being the savior of souls. She arrives at Yusnaan to save Snow but, unable to do so, she retreats to the Ark.
Lightning teleports to Luxerion and stumbles upon a murder of a young pink-haired woman deciding to investigate the case.
As Lightning tries to teleport to Nova Chrysalia, Lumina intercepts and introduces herself in a space where Hope, and thus Bhunivelze, cannot hear them. She cryptically alludes to the nature of the unseen realm in which they are conversing, and Lightning thinks she spots Lumina summon an apparition of her deceased sister Serah, but she disappears before Lightning can question Lumina further. As Lightning floats through the portal to reach the ground, Hope confirms he was unable to hear anything due to the abundance of Chaos in Lightning's location.
Upon entering the Ark at the end of the day, Lightning sees an apparition of Serah, who briefly reassures Lightning that they will meet again. Lightning lacks compassion and questions whether the apparition was simply a reminder from Bhunivelze to keep her focused on her task as the savior.
A treasure cube with the Esunada EP ability appears in the Ark.
As she is sent to the Ark at the beginning of Day 6, Lightning has a vision of Serah who longs to be reunited with her. Lightning interprets it as a reminder from Bhunivelze to stay on her predetermined path, but is puzzled she feels no warmth toward the illusion. Hope suggests Lightning is becoming more like a god herself and thus is distanced from human emotions.
A treasure cube with five Bronze Malistones appears in the Ark.
As she is sent to the Ark in the beginning of Day 7, Lightning again converses with Serah's spirit. The two reminiscence on their childhood and Serah notes Lightning was always stoic. As Serah fades Lightning muses the part that used to feel warmth seems to have been stolen from her heart.
Monsters' stats and numbers will increase and their ability drops generally increase by one level; for example, Attack Lv. 1 from a Rafflesia on Days 1-6 will become Attack Lv. 2 from Day 7. This can be problematic if one intends to farm monsters for specific ability level drops to enhance through Sorcery, but has already exterminated a particular species on that playthrough.
Amazon Warrior garb appears in the Ark at the start of Day 7.
A treasure cube with the Army of One EP ability appears in the Ark.
As Lightning leaves the Ark at the start of the day, she encounters Lumina again, who helps Lightning realize Serah's soul has been stolen from her by Bhunivelze. She suggests the Serah Lightning had met a little while ago, Hope, and Lightning herself, are but fakes. Lightning implies she will turn on Bhunivelze if he does not fulfill his part of their deal, and Lumina reminds her that in that case Lightning will have to betray Hope, her one friend in Nova Chrysalia.
Many new garbs become available on this day. Innocence garb becomes available for purchase in North Station Plaza Outfitters, and Loyal Servant from the Pilgrim's Passage Outfitters in Luxerion. Candy Raver becomes available to purchase in Yusnaan's Augur's Quarter Outfitters. Splendid Admiral and Intruder garbs become available from the Outfitter in either Armor Alley or Hawker's Row in Yusnaan. Urban Outlaw and L'automne become available from the Outfitters in Canopus Farms in the Wildlands. Déjà Vu garb becomes available at Dead Dunes station Outfitters, and Divergence and Sand Fox can be bought from Ruffian.
As Lightning returns to the Ark at the beginning of the day, she meets Serah's spirit again. Serah claims her journey through time with Noel was a mistake she longs to forget. She wants everything to return to how it was before she became a l'Cie and any of their adventures happened, saying these "clean slates" are their true selves. Lightning begins to think this Serah is not real, but a fake created to deceive her.
A treasure cube with Decoy EP ability appears in the Ark.
Like Day 7, the tenth day causes an increase to monster attributes, and also increases the level of their ability drops. As the player may have rendered one or more species extinct by this day, farming abilities can be of concern.
A treasure cube with the Martial Monk garb appears in the Ark.
As Lightning leaves the Ark at the start of Day 11, she is pulled to the realm inside her heart by Lumina. She is met by Yeul and the apparitions of her friends. Lumina says Lightning's friends want to help her, but she is denying them. Lightning says she doesn't need help and Lumina mocks her. Yeul says Serah's soul is invisible to Lightning and so she can't save her, and that she can't save anyone unless she can first save herself, but Lightning doesn't understand what she needs to do.
Like Day 6, many shops get new equipment on the eleventh day. X-Potions are added to general stores, but do not replace Hi-Potions.
When Lightning is summoned back to the Ark at the end of Day 11, she meets Cid Raines, the form the dead who well in the Chaos have taken to speak to her. Raines as the speaker of the dead asks Lightning to stop the Soulsong and defy Bhunivelze, as Vanille unknowingly has the power to guide the dead to the new world to be reborn. Lightning learns that Chaos must not be eradicated from the world, because it is the material human hearts are made of, the connective tissue that unites all of mankind, a power that gods cannot see. Upon a person's death their soul will momentarily melt into the Chaos awaiting rebirth, Serah's soul included. Lightning thinks if she were to plunge herself into the Chaos and call out, Serah would respond.
A treasure cube with the Quake EP ability appears in the Ark.
The player must have completed the five main quests to progress beyond the twelfth day. If not, it is game over, and the player must restart from Day 1; however, the option of making their development carry over is available in this instance, effectively making it a variant of New Game+.
If the player has completed a large number of sidequests, instead of Day 13 being the Final Day, an Extra Day is unlocked. There is a hidden calculation the game uses to determine if enough sidequests have been completed. Canvas of Prayers quests do not count.
Higher rated sidequests contribute more towards the unlock threshold:
- ★-rated sidequests are worth 0.02
- ★★-rated sidequests are worth 0.04
- ★★★-rated sidequests are worth 0.08
When the player's total equals 1.00, the Extra Day is unlocked, but the exact nature of the calculation used is unknown, with the Piggyback Official Guide stating only it is not purely a straightforward sum, and that it depends partly on what order the sidequests were completed in. Nonetheless, a value reasonably above 1.00 will generally be sufficient to assure meeting the criteria without worrying about the precise details.
The main feature of the Extra Day is access to the Ultimate Lair, a bonus dungeon in the Dead Dunes filled with Last Ones and the superboss Ereshkigal. Unlocking the Extra Day earns the Beyond Thirteen achievement.
Regardless of when the player completes enough sidequests to satisfy the requirements for the Final Day, the flower on Yggdrasil for the Extra Day will not bloom until Lightning returns to the Ark following Day 12. Thus, the player should not be alarmed if they believe they have met the requirements prior to then, because it still appears the game has not granted them the Extra Day. If the player meets the requirements and has not yet received it, the Beyond Thirteen achievement will appear almost immediately upon Lightning's arrival on the Ark, even before Lightning offers her final prayer to Yggdrasil. The Extra Day is composed of the lost hours that have been returned, referring to the fact the world used to have 26 hours in a day.
This day will only take place if the player unlocks the Extra Day; otherwise, the Final Day will be on Day 13 instead.
The day starts with a cutscene where Hope disappears, saying his role is over and he is being discarded by Bhunivelze. He urges Lightning to keep hope alive in finding Serah, and tells her it was her presence that kept him from being afraid. Lightning ponders whether Hope abandoned her, or if it was the other way around. Mog appears in the Ark and takes over Hope's shop in selling Lightning items in exchange for EP.
At the start of the fourteenth day, a treasure cube with five Silver Malistones appears in the Ark.
Many garbs become available in Luxerion on the Final Day. Innocence, Candy Raver, Sand Fox, Champagne Gold and Nightmare garbs become available in all Outfitters in Luxerion. Urban Outlaw becomes available in the Outfitters outside the Luxerion Cathedral. Lilitu garb becomes available from Outfitters in Luxerion in Hard Mode.
On the evening of the Final Day, Vanille is to perform the Soulsong, a ritual meant to erase the souls of the dead from the living's memories to give them a "clean slate" in the new world. Lightning and her companions stop the ritual, but her friends are absorbed by Bhunivelze. Lightning fights the god to end the reign of the divine over humans, and together with her friends and sister slays him, after which Lightning and her companions arrive to the new world.
Several days mark points where almost all enemies gain improved attributes to increase the challenge they pose. The only enemies excluded from this are Ereshkigal, Cactair, Aeronite, and all of the main quest bosses.
|1 – 6||7 – 9||10 – 12||13||14|
|Enemies' Strength & Magic||×1.0||×1.3||×1.6||×2.0||×3.5|
These factors stack additively—rather than multiplicatively—with the factors imposed by the game difficulty. For example, consider a Cactuar fought on Day 12 on Hard Mode. Cactuar's default gil reward is 5,000 gil. The multiplier for Day 12, ×2.0, is added to the Hard Mode difficulty multiplier, x3.0, to make a cumulative x5.0 multiplier, resulting in 25,000 gil received.
- Noel Kreiss is replaced by Noel Kreiss+ from Day 8 onwards.
- Snow Villiers is replaced by Snow Villiers+ from Day 6 until Day 9, and Snow Villiers++ from Day 10 onwards.
- Grendel is replaced by Parandus from Day 8 onwards.
- Bhunivelze is replaced by Bhunivelze+ on Day 14, but only on New Game+ playthroughs.