Siliconera’s Final Fantasy XIII-2 Interview With Toriyama And Kitase

By Spencer . June 17, 2011 . 12:34pm

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After playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 and seeing a behind closed doors demo of the game, Siliconera sat down with Motomu Toriyama, Director, and Yoshinori Kitase, Producer, to discuss Serah’s story.

 

Serah, Lightning’s sister, is the main character and while Lightning is in Final Fantasy XIII-2 everyone believes she is dead. In addition to changing protagonists, Square Enix peppered areas with hidden items you can reveal with Serah’s moogle, made monsters allies in battle, and designed the game with branching paths. Everyone caught up? Good.

 

The theme of Final Fantasy XIII is fighting your destiny. What is the theme of Final Fantasy XIII-2?

 

Motomu Toriyama, Director: Rebuilding or playing through the revival [of Cocoon]. At the end of Final Fantasy XIII, Cocoon collapsed and the world was destroyed. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 you will rebuild the world from scratch.

 

Why did you decide to make Serah the main character?

 

Serah is Lightning’s young sister who turned into a crystal in an early point in Final Fantasy XIII and Lighting goes on a journey to rescue her. In XIII-2, it’s the other way around; the two characters switched places. Lightning still plays an important role in the story, but the main character you play as is Serah who is looking for Lightning.

 

In the demo, I saw Lightning was playable. How often will players be able to use her in Final Fantasy XIII-2.

 

I can’t tell you exactly how playable to use Lightning in the final game. I can tell you – you will mainly be playing as Serah and Noel.

 

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Can you tell us more about Noel, how he fits in the game and why you wanted to make him a main character in Final Fantasy XIII-2?

 

If you looked at Noel and his costume, it suggests he is a native resident of Gran Pulse. In Final Fantasy XIII the story is about Serah and Lightning all took place in Cocoon. Noel who has always been in Gran Pulse has no idea what happened to the sisters, the main characters in XIII. If you haven’t played XIII before you can find yourself almost like Noel because he’s detached from what happened in Final Fantasy XIII. These players can enjoy the events as a new experience.

 

Will there be any other characters aside from Serah, Noel, and occasionally Lightning.

 

At the moment, I can tell you Serah and Noel will be the main characters you play, with Lightning coming in sometimes. There will be over 150 types of monsters you can recruit and you can control these monsters, as well.

 

Almost all of the main characters from Final Fantasy XIII will make an appearance in some way or another.

 

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Will there be any new playable characters aside from Noel… and the monsters?

 

[Laughs] We can’t disclose anything at the moment. Please be patient and you will find out.

 

How did the reception of Final Fantasy XIII affect the sequel? Did you incorporate any fan feedback into Final Fantasy XIII-2?

 

Yoshinori Kitase, Producer: We made Final Fantasy XIII with the concept of a story driven game. So much so, some gamers were not very happy with it and criticized XIII and said the game progression was too linear and the world could be more populated. With Final Fantasy XIII-2, we wanted to present a completely different experience with this game. There is more exploration and elements in the environment to interact with.

 

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Another change is Final Fantasy XIII-2 has multiple objectives. How do these effect the gameplay, will we perhaps see different endings?

 

YK: I can’t say much about story branches, but what I can say is we are incorporating lots of replay value. We envision players won’t just play the game for a single playthrough, we want you go through many laps. Each time you go around leading towards another completion there are a lot of discoveries you can find. This leads into the game’s multi-ending system.

 

For the new hardware, PlayStation Vita and Wii U, are you planning on working on any Final Fantasy titles for those platforms?

 

YK: For now we are focusing on the three titles to come – Final Fantasy XIII-2, Type-0, and Versus. While we have no plans at the moment, we’re going to come to a point when we have to decide how we’re going to do our best with these new consoles.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phil-Dean/100002531896595 Phil Dean

    i can’t wait for final fantasy xiii-2 to come out! i’m guessing early 2012 will probably mean around the same time ffxiii came out last year. around march.

  • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

    Thats excellent news indeed. Hopefully I can exclusively use Noel. Epic design. I wonder how the explanation for his hideout and life on gran pulse will be explained. Ultimately intriguing backstory.

    Im really excited for it! 

    • Guest

      I told you to stop misuing the word epic

  • Guest

    Transfaring with the Vita and Wii U monster collecting off screen mini game

  • http://twitter.com/Paradox_me Paradox me

    I like the concept of recruiting monsters, but I hope they aren’t a permanent fixture in your party. I mean, I’m really looking forward to XIII-2, but I love massive casts of playable characters. I’m talking Final Fantasy VI cast.

    Being stuck with Serah and Noel, however awesome he may be, would be kinda disappointing.

    • NipponjiRurouniJSRF

      when I saw monster recruitment I immediately thought Dawn of the New World

      • Guest

        why not SMT or DQM

        • NipponjiRurouniJSRF

          Because those games are known for doing that while that was something new for the series same

      • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

        Dragon Quest, Shin Megami Tensei, (dare I say Pokemon?) had monster recruitment too. I think this is more akin to Final Fantasy X-2 Last Mission’s monster arena where you could also capture monsters.

        • NipponjiRurouniJSRF

          I thought Dawn of the New World because it was another game that TRIED this kind of thing, and it’s series isnt known for doing that

          • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

            Final Fantasy X-2 International did the exact same thing so…. I don’t know what you’re getting at.

          • NipponjiRurouniJSRF

            I never played X-2 international

          • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

            Fair enough :) but you may want to retract a tiny bit of your comment before Paine shows up here or something.

  • AzureNova

    I believe that this was a good interview, and I’m looking forward to Final Fantasy XIII-2 when it comes out.

  • jourdal

    sequel?check
    two main characters?check
    Laura bailey is the female lead?check
    monster recruiting?check check
    old characters demoted to cameos?check check check
    im sorry SE but i beat ToS2 twice already

    Hopefully lightning shows up as often as sazh and vanille segments, im gonna buy this either way though

    • Croix

      hahahaha, I already made the DotNW connection, but I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees it like that. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the game, but playing something that sounds so eerily similar to it…just isn’t as appealing this time.

    • http://twitter.com/NeverUnplaying Sonny Oliveira

      As soon as I saw monster capturing, all I thought was Symphonia 2 also. Watch, the rest of the former cast will pop in and out of the party throughout the game too. 

  • Enma_Kozato

    Those answers were very… vague and obvious.

    • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

      I think the Noel part was just new, or I never thought about where he would have originated from. Oh well, Im hyped for the game. Im surprised they didnt do co-op.

      • Enma_Kozato

        13 made it slightly obvious whether a character came from Pulse or Cocoon because of their clothing. When I saw Noel for the first time the Pulse sirens went off.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S2UKKIGGOA4V5EIFXAD7BQQOV4 Heehee

          I lol’d at the conversation just because of the usernames.

  • NipponjiRurouniJSRF

    Atleast we know Versus still exist, all in all pretty good interview

  • [The Hunter] Doomrider

    “Almost all”? Maybe Hope died because of… Something. That would be nice.

    (Who am I kidding. I don’t even remember him that much, it’s not like I care a lot. I remember being annoyed by him, though.)

    Yeah, there will be other characters. That’s good; I really don’t feel like using monsters in the party.

    Anyway, from what I’ve read so far, it seems like they’re indeed taking all the feedback from XIII into consideration, and that’s great, but, so far, it just comes off as forced.

    I can’t quite explain it… It seems like they’re ignoring what they, as a creative team, would like to do with the game and instead are just addressing all the shortcomings in an almost mechanical fashion, like they’re thinking “The game will sell more if we address all the shortcomings, right?… Mini-games! Lots of NPCs! Multiple endings! Dialogue branches! Open areas! It’s got it all, folks!”

    It’s weird. I don’t like it. Maybe it’s just me, though. Or maybe they’re just trying to convince the people who hated XIII or something.

    • Guest

      Damned if they do damned if they dont

      • [The Hunter] Doomrider

        Heh. I’m not looking at it that way, though.

        I really think it’s great they’re addressing XIII’s shortcomings but I think that if this is not how they really want to make the game, the result can’t be good. There’s the risk of it being and feeling uninspired, I think. That’s what bothers me.

        • Guest

          The inspiration is still off of the 1st game since this mainly contains content that wasn’t able to fit on the 1st game

          • [The Hunter] Doomrider

            Wait, is that official, or are you assuming because there was a lot of content that was cut from XIII?

          • Guest

            official

  • Syltique

    I’m really hoping that they have lots of other characters available.  They always claimed that Lightning was the main character of XIII, but it was a fairly even split between the entire cast.  I’m hoping that’s what they mean here.  I want Alyssa in the party for sure.  

    If they have a more fully developed endgame and new game + system in place, then being able to have more than two characters would really help a lot.  As fun as 150 monsters sounds, I’m not really that sold on it.  They said that this replaces summons, but it also seems to replace the third party member.  That’s really going to get old pretty fast.  Collecting them all and leveling up should be fun though.  

    I’m glad you asked that question twice, because it’s really kind of critical.  It sounds like they have more in store for the game.  I think they really just showed off the first level, and an extremely small amount of material.  So I’m very excited and will be getting it day one.  

    However, the main thing I still want to know is how this story relates to Fang and Vanille. The whole point of the sequel was to save them, not to save Lightning. If they are ignored in the sequel, I will be extremely disappointed.

    At least it’s still got Masashi Hamauzu, and that hilariously awesome female rap song.

    • puchinri

      Wait, what female rap song?

      • Syltique

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5OX0pX5mqM

        Watch ALL these videos, because you’ll hear probably 6 new songs if you listen closely.  And they’re good too.

        http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2011/06/10/ffxiii_2_footage/

        • puchinri

          …I actually don’t know what to think about that. Actually, any of that. It feels less and less like a FF. The music in the second vid is actually making me think of Sonic… And as someone pointed it, it also sounds a bit like Persona music. It does all sound good though. 
          (And hearing Atlas keeps making me think Astro Boy.)

          • Syltique

            It took me a while to get used to it.

          • puchinri

            Yeah… I mean, from the start, I really liked the actual music (with the gameplay at least), but it just doesn’t feel very much like a FF game now. I’ll feel like I’m playing Persona, but using the FF stylized versions of Sonic and Amy (Noel and Serah both sport blue and pink/red some, right?).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shiloh-Emerald/100001426346359 Shiloh Emerald

    I like how they are concentrating on three main games instead of tons of projects at once. Hopefully it will guarantee timely crafted work and nothing rushed or sub-par. 

    I’m still really looking forward to this game even though it does reflect TOS2.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Robborboy Paul ‘Chinny’ Chinn

      I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or what. Square Enix proper rarely has multiple games in production at the same time. Most of the time other games are being made by other companies that Square is just slapping their name on.

  • Rihawf

    No Lightning love 100% huh. Probably 30%

  • karasuKumo

    Should drink every time they tell you that you will play as Serah. Admit it SE she wasn’t designed to fight in XIII so why now? Would accept it if she was a summoner or something similar. Will be very odd seeing someone who plays like Hope/Vanille as the main character. Might be good to see her struggle through the story and gain strength as the game progresses insted of seeing a character power through fights.

    “There will be over 150 types of monsters you can recruit and you can control these monsters, as well.” So does over 150 include Mew? … Seriously though it sounds fun and I’m interested at how this will turn out. I can see that they have taken XIII’s faults into consideration but I wonder to what extent.

    • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

      I hope they are actual individual creatures and not just the same 20 rehashed with different paintjobs.

      • Darkrise

        That’s just asking too much from SE.

  • ManaKnight

    Screw the haters, I really enjoyed FFXIII and really looking forward to this.  I really liked Serah and see Noel as an interesting character.  Can’t wait for this to come out. :D

  • skymap

    I’m worried about how they think FFXIII’s problem could be attributed to it being story focused. It’s not that it’s story focused, it’s that the design of the game was limited in ways that players didn’t like it … and that the FF fanbase is so large that there are always going to be complaints.

    No, Square, you don’t have to make non-linear JRPGs. The most beloved Final Fantasy games are all story focused.

  • eilegz

    im worry about the multi ending stuff, im not into that kind of thing most of the time it maks a story less serious and focused, and it messed up kinda like mass effect

  • http://twitter.com/Xuiz enorka miho

    Alright.. I have mixed feeling.. I dun hate it… I love it but I am sad… Sad because I cant see more of Lightning, Hope, Snow and all the crew… I duno why but they grow on me eventually…Yes, they looks too normal in the FF universe…Still, I love them pretty much…

    Hope and Snow is annoying in the beginning but I like them in the near end when they had grown up during the journey… Although I like Noel… Just… Oh.. I am sorry… I just can’t help it okay… There is just a pain in my chest when I know they are not going to be shown as often anymore… Kitase!! Why are you so cruel!! Just why?? *sniff*

    Oh well, guess the I have to open my heart to them both.. again… :(

  • http://radiantloki.blogspot.com/ Mark Dinh

    So… we are only going to play as Noel, Serah, and a bunch of recruit-able monster? O_O I want to play with other characters too… just saying, not saying it wouldn’t… but I didn’t really like Tales of Symphonia 2 monster thingy… He said they will appear in some way or another… are we gonna be able to play with ALL of them at the end? PLEASE SAY YES! I need Hope… :P
    Multiple endings? No problem, I don’t mind playing through XIII-2 again, love to Final Fantasy too much to pass that up.

  • http://twitter.com/LeanaEstheim Leana

    So excited for this game! I hope Snow doesnt show up in this one too -.-

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leon-Hart/100002316814779 Leon Hart

    Sound’s epic and also i do hope we hear about versus in the next year to come cause that’s the biggest main FF title of this generation.

    look forward to japanese release XIII-2 and type-0

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2WNP7FYA3VYJQKEYYV5GXH3K5Y yahoo-2WNP7FYA3VYJQKEYYV5GXH3K5Y

    This is why I hate direct sequels: you can’t promote it without giving away the end from the original game. Also, Final Fantasy isn’t Final Fantasy without Hironobu Sakaguchi-sama and Nobuo Uematsu-sama. 

  • noctis_nox

    “Yoshinori Kitase, Producer: We made Final Fantasy XIII with the concept of a story driven game. So much so, some gamers were not very happy with it and criticizedXIII and said the game progression was too linear and the world could be more populated.” 

    Interesting story but the execution is very bad. It’s like reading a book from chapter 1 then skips to chapter 5 that’s what I got from playing FFXIII. I think it also has to do with the cut contents. Lot’s of stuff happening in FF XIII isn’t explained and they relied to much on the datalog. 

    OT: it’s a bummer Light is not the main character but FF XIII-2 is shaping up to be a proper FF which is cool.

  • ZBaksh386

    noel is a cool dude and suited for me since i didnt play the first one but i hope everyone comes back in some form or the other and im wondering what everyone looks like after 5 years.

  • Yu_TheKing

    FF Type-0 on Vita :D

    • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

      Yes pl0x!

  • imaguni

    I was told I was in the minority, but I like Noel’s design… Because of how unique it looks. I hope we find out that Noel has a stronger tie to the original characters in the game, though. And I really, really would like at least one additional party member, not just monsters. Not that I dislike the idea of monster control… We’ll see! The questions I had weren’t answered too much, but I know I’ll have to play the game to get my answers, haha.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Priscilla-Tang/100000510298264 Priscilla Tang

    “There will be over 150 types of monsters you can recruit and you can control these monsters”

    Does that mean I can play as Pikachu?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Priscilla-Tang/100000510298264 Priscilla Tang

    But all in all, I don’t like the sound of:

    “Almost all of the main characters from Final Fantasy XIII will make an appearance in some way or another.”

    I really do hope to see a 19 year old Hope be playable, he’ll most likely be less annoying than in XIII (hence being 19) and he’ll be a good asset to the group being experienced through 13 and he was pretty much the historian of the group in XIII so he’ll make a pretty good guide for those who’s new to the game.

    The only character that probably will make less of an appearance will be Sazh (as much as I love the guy) considering his purpose in XIII has already being fulfilled (e.g: His son).

    And Snow… I could care less.

  • PrinceHeir

    we’ll see :P

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