Lightning Is On A Mission For God In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

By Sato . January 3, 2013 . 6:16pm

Gunblade, check. New outfit, check. Sunglasses, check. Lightning is on a mission from God… a Fabula Nova Crystallis god, that is. This time, she’s serving as a “Liberator” in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, with the role of saving the souls of everyone around her.


In a recent Famitsu interview with key developers, Motomu Toriyama, Yoshinori Kitase and Yuji Abe, we learn more about Lightning’s role in the next Final Fantasy XIII game. Lightning will be the center of the story this time around, so you can expect a satisfying finale on her part, they say.



This third installment of the series is still an expansion to the ever growing world of Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix wanted to keep the idea of Lightning appearing in all three games, while changing the styles to keep things fresh. After considering her resurrection as the main focus, they decided to name the latest project Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII instead of Final Fantasy XIII-3.


Now on the subject of Lightning being a “Liberator”. You might be asking yourself, what exactly is a Liberator?


To put it simply, the world is going to end in 13 days, and a new world will be born after that. The Liberator’s job is to help Bhunivelze, a Fabula Nova Crystallis god, in helping souls transfer to the new world. Lightning’s new outfit was also given to her by Bhunivelze, as Liberator attire.


Director, Motomu Toriyama, explains: “We got [Tetsuya] Nomura to design Lightning for what will be her last fight. We asked him to represent her with the word ‘strength’ as the focus. Red and white were the dominant colors that represented Final Fantasy XIII, with that in consideration, I believe that the color red symbolizes strength better than any other. In the end, we decided to go half white and red for Lightning’s color scheme.”

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  • That new world is Noctis orgy world. Lightning will sacrifice herself in this game.

    • komiko12

      Maybe.. Perhaps the world in Versus would be the new world created in this game.

      • StarWarudo

        If that actually happens then I’m going to attempt playing through all the XIII games again.

      • Nemesis_Dawn

        I would kinda love that, even if I had always assumed the Versus XIII world was before XIII.

      • FFmax

        That.. actually makes a lot of sense, and it would certainly explain why Versus is taking such a long time to come out.

  • Hinataharem

    So basically she’s making sure there are no lost souls after the Conception

  • Lightning deserved more screentime in XIII as a character but her status upgrade from soldier to a god was taking it too far in XIII-2 and now it’s even worse in Lightning Returns.

    Lightning doesn’t need to be involved with the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology to be a good character, no one should. The video that explained the mythos would be subtly referenced in other FNC games. This is the polar opposite.

    If XIII ever gets rebooted, I want Lightning be more human, less of a superhero/messiah and more of a law enforcer with real emotions.

    With all that said… Liberator of souls? Like Nightmare from SoulCalibur? Wouldn’t that make Lightning the villain?

    Lightning: “Need more souls! Souls… come on to me!”

    Toriyama, please stop writing and directing games. You ruined Aya Brea and made Lightning a freaking god, there’s no way to make your character popular. Just leave Square-Enix, start your own company and make mobile games.

    Also, Lightning’s outfit is still bad. No way Nomura thought this was a good design, almost as if he made it bad on purpose.

    • OathkeeperSoraXIII

      her being on god-term powers isn’t much different from XIII, yeah she was soldier but as soon as she became a L’Cie though she was already granted powers of magic and then later on the ability to summon an Eidolon. The fal’Cie are practically considered Gods anyway. And the crew tool down a few of them so it’s not that farfetched for her status to be that of almost a god.

      I agree with you I’d like her to feel more human, she felt human in XIII when she was with Hope and then another key moment was probably Her and Snow in Bartholomew’s house other than that they didn’t put too much emotion into her. then again, she was a soldier. so it can outweigh it depening on how you look at it. but XIII-2 tried to portray her as too much of a badass (which they did but it kind of meant the only emotion from the game came from Noel. I didn’t find Serah as a very good character) Light’s role is more or less on the same track as what Etro’s role was in the mythos- To open the gates to valhalla for the souls to come through. so yet again, not that much of a change compared to XIII-2.

      Toriyama is actually okay at writing stories, he just tells them in the most bizarre ways possible making it so that the gamer can barely understand them. In XIII for example if you wanted to know 100% of the time what was going on you had to look it up in the datalog.

      I find the outfit okay, gameplay wise it looked pretty good whilst she was moveming but in the CGI render it looks slightly awkward, but they did say you could change it and also change the colours. I’m happy with all the news so far. I’ll still miss the lack of a party though, I hope we get summons back

    • MrTyrant

      “I want Lightning be more human, less of a superhero/messiah and more of a law enforcer with real emotions.”

      This is what I don’t like Lightning. Not the character fault but I think its the company fault for trying to force those aspects.

  • I’m always baffled to how Lightning stated she would choose her own fate and not be slaves to higher powers yet in these 2 sequels that’s exactly what happens. She is bound by fate and is basically forced to serve higher powers.

    • Tien Ron


    • RETCON! :D

      • And that’s what the Compilation of FFVII did. And probably what will also happen to VIII, too.

        • Point being? You say “but” as if XIII isn’t retcon’d.

          Retcon occurs in sequels too, when you add elements into the story that are just out there with little to no consideration of what occurred beforehand. XIII-2 retcon’d the initial story of the previous game by making time travel a focus. The altered ending of XIII-1 is living proof. Rather than, say, end the game the way it should and create a sequel set at what occurred after the salvation of humankind, lets make it veeeery interesting by including time travel. Oh, and let’s make Lightning a servant of gods despite her saying that humans should create their own destiny and fight those who would enslave them.

          If you think I’m expressing some sort of contempt, then no. This is just how it went down.

          • You should’ve kept your essay to yourself. I already know that. The “but” was changed to “and”, since you chose the former word for argument’s sake. It’s my bad for typing the comment like I did.

          • Glad you confirmed that because I simply couldn’t help but go “argument mode” just a little assuming you didn’t know. And that’s my bad too.

        • Nemesis_Dawn

          I’m not sure there’s a demand for further games in the VIII world.

          • VIII is one of my favorites, but the story’s pretty much done. I can’t see what else they’d have other than a remake or updated port.

          • Well, you can be sure that no one demanded a Trilogy for Lightning’s story. And did that stopped Square Enix? In fact, I thought the same for VII, as well! The original ending was fine! It didn’t even screamed “Sequel Hook”!

    • FFmax

      It’s Square, their games may be fun but god damn they have the worst luck with their plots. Hell, to this very day I still have trouble grasping some parts of FFVIII or VII.

      • Ricardo Chicalé Lemes

        The plot itself is not bad. I think the problem is that the Fabula Nova Crystalis myth is not complete. I bet they’ve been expanding it until now and that’s why the story is so bad developed (from my point of view, of course).

        If that’s true, then they should’ve written all the myth and story first. The outcome would much more great than the actual games are like the others FF from the past PSone. But… you know… wallet comes first so…

        • Jeremy Barnes

          Fabula Nova Crystalis could have gone better, plotwise.

        • Ehren Rivers

          The creation myth of the FNC is meant to be like real-world creation myths; Mostly vague, with inadequate explanations of how the world works. It is supposed to be a jumping-off point for each team of the three game-lines to develop their own take on things.

          The big problem is that people are interpreting the FNC myth as hard fact, so they become angry when there is any kind of deviation.

          • Ricardo Chicalé Lemes

            Yes… but this does not make up for its bad plot development, in my opinion. It can have vague, inadequate explanations but even those could be well employed so the players can be immersed in the story and feel how mysterious and convoluted the plot is.

            Take for exemple Xenogears. For the most part of the first disc I couldn’t grasp a thing about the plot direction. It was a really twisted story for me in the beginining, but it still managed to made me interested in the plot because its events main facts was well presented so the mysteries could still remain.

            On the other hand FFXIII-2 was a huge break up in plot of the first game.

            For LRFFXIII I have nothing to say… It seems the game will be a true continuation for FFXIII-2, in plot and in the spirit of FFXIII-2 I mean. I look foward to see it.

          • Ehren Rivers

            That’s your opinion and you are of course entitled to it, but I don’t really agree that it has bad plot development. I understood it perfectly, with very few blank points (most of which I assume are intended for answering in the last game). The story engaged me, and I enjoyed discovering the bits and pieces which enhanced understanding of events in the background.

            I honestly don’t see why people think the second game destroys the plot of the first; If anything, the story simply moves on to explore another facet of the mythology and builds on the struggles that would inherently be faced in a world-changing situation like that of XIII’s end. The only thing they ‘take back’ is Lightning being freed from crystal, and even THAT still happened. Serah is just the only person that remembers it that way.

    • JoJo_649

      They screw everything after the first game, just look at the compilation of FFVII or FFIV The After Years.

      • ff93

        I liked all of those games. >_> And the after years was regarded by most to be excellent. You’re such a hater.

        • JoJo_649

          I refer to the storyline aspects, every single one ended perfectly and those sequels seemed to force something that was already done for, also introducing stuff like The Creator in The after years, Deepground in the compilation and the Vegnagun in X-2 that seemed to cheapen the original plots, and also made radical changes to some characters like Lightning serving a god, when in the original’s ending she was fully against it and Cloud becoming depressed for Aerith’s death when in the original game’s ending, he was hopeful to meet her again, they are good games but feel forced.

    • SpellcraftQuill

      I preferred it when each game wasn’t related to the last. Remember Spira’s Angels?

    • I think it’s mainly out of necessity as well as when interest coincide. After all, are you gonna die when a god says you have to? No. But, if a god asks you to save other people or fight back darkness that would end all things, I think you’ll be more than willing to help.

  • Tales_of_Master

    *Sigh* Is Toriyama trying to take a page from what Atlus have been doing with their SMT games ? Gods, world ending, and a Messiah-figure…..this seems suspiciously like a mix between Nocturne and Persona 3. What more is that Lightning doesn’t look like a savior, especially in this ridiculous outfit. Just the thought of the game painting Lighting as the selfless savior of mankind makes me cringe. She defiantly didn’t look the savior-type in FFXIII. My expectations are getting lower, let’s just hope that FFXV will return to what made me fall in love with the series back in the day -_-

    • SuperSailorV

      defiantly =/= definitely

      speaking of cringing

    • Compare the first game with DDS. The similarities are uncanny.

      • LightZero

        Not really. DDS was most certainly different. SO3 has more thing in common with DDS. The only difference is DDS does that certain “plot twist” better.

    • LynxAmali

      -Gods, world ending

      Except those are standard fair in fantasy which has been around much longer than SMT has.

      Yeah, I got nothing for this one.

  • doctorpope181

    *Knock Knock*
    “Hello, sir/madam, do you have a moment to talk about Bhunivelze?”

    • MrTyrant


      After she begin to sing songs about Bhunivelze.

  • And now, you suddenly imagine how cool a Blues Brothers game would be.

  • Tien Ron

    red and white as the two dominant colors but yet there is a big black armor in front of us. i thought lighting wasn’t a slave to the gods? what the hell happen to her? it’s like an atheist finding religion and now turned Mormon savoir. oh well still final fantasy, still gonna play it

  • Suicunesol

    So she’s the messiah?

    • Tales_of_Master

      Expect her to die at the end of the game….again >_>

    • Göran Isacson

      She’s not the Messiah, she’s a very naughty girl!

      I am only sorry that I was the first one to say the quote.

  • So since this is Lightning’s last fight, will she be able to reunite with the rest of the cast? Bad enough about the last series of unfortunate events in XIII-2, now she’s basically trying to save the world all on her own. Being a slave to the Gods that she fought so hard to not serve. *sighs* I feel for Lightning, but I enjoyed both XIII and XIII-2, so I want to see how Square Enix is going to conclude her journey with Lightning Returns.

    • Göran Isacson

      Reuniting with them is possible, but they have said that she will be the only playable character so… we will just have to see where this goes.

  • SirRichard

    “Lightning’s new outfit was also given to her by Bhunivelze, as Liberator attire.”

    So the gods do have a sense of humour!

    Jokes aside, I really don’t see what the staff see in Lightning (or the Fabula Nova world stuff) for all this fanfare but at least they’re willing to draw a line to stop at and I suppose it’s good to see that they eventually made something of their early ambitions for this generation.

    Having got XIII-2 for Christmas (but not having started it yet) I guess I’m committed now, so here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

    • I too received XIII-2 and it improved on the original title in a lot of ways. I already beat it, but I just got through the main story. Plus, it has something like New Game Plus found in most JRPGs, so there’s plenty of reasons to play it again.

  • Andrew Austin

    Insert Blues Brothers joke here.

  • Göran Isacson

    Lightning only wishes she was half as cool as Jake and Elwood. THAT ASIDE, I have to admit curiosity as to how this game is planned to end. Will it be the world of Versus we see created here? Will Lightning and the souls of her former comrades all pass on and all will be returned to the Wheel of Life, or will they survive this coming apocalypse? Will Lightning perhaps rebel against Bhunivelze? All possibilities…

    Also, has any of the flavor text or lore even mentioned Bhunivelze up until now?

    • Versus, like Type 0 isn’t connected to XIII. Just like FF1 isn’t connected to FF2. So on and so forth.

      • Versus is supposed to be in the same universe, just in a different locale and time setting, isn’t it?

        • Ehren Rivers

          No, the three games-lines of the FNC are only built on the same mythology as a starting point, and are not set in the same universe. Square Enix has be pretty upfront from the beginning that XIII, Versus, and Type-0 all have nothing to do with each other beyond their stories being developed from the same base mythology and the sharing of some technical systems.

          • Ah, I see. Thanks for clearing that up. I’ve never been quite sure how the games were connected/not connected, as I could’ve sworn I’ve read slightly different statements by Square regarding how they relate to one another.

          • Ehren Rivers

            It’s probably because they use many of the same terms, which they get from the mythology. Also, there was some confusion about Type-0 being connected to XIII because it uses something called the ‘Alto Crystarium’ for its skill progression. There was also some confusion about Type-0 and Versus being connected because Type-0 involves four nations/areas each with their own crystal and Versus is set in a world where only one crystal remains (It’s been mentioned that other nations in the game had their own crystals once).

            They are, however, just similarities.

        • Nemesis_Dawn

          When I got to the ruins of Gran Pulse in XIII, I could swear the buildings looked like the ones we’ve seen in the trailers of Versus XIII, so I thought the same thing. That Versus XIII was like a thousand years before XIII or something.

        • Wrong. It shares the FNC mythos just like FF 1-5 shared a crystal mythos.

    • Ehren Rivers

      Bhunivelze is mentioned in at least one of the fragments in XIII-2, as well as in the ending to the Requiem of the Goddess DLC episode. It is believed he is also mentioned in XIII, in the Thirteenth Analect. Also, Bhunivelze is what Hope named the ‘new Cocoon’.

      It won’t be the Versus world, because as mentioned the three game-lines of the FNC are not actually connected beyond certain shared systems and the creation myth each used as initial inspiration.

      If the game’s premise is any indication, Lightning and all the rest will have a new life in a new world. It’s possible though that when moving on through, everyone will be ‘reborn’ and not remember the previous world at all.

      • Göran Isacson

        Mmm, thanks for clearing that up. Having not gathered all the extra-material in the first game and owning none of the DLC to XIII-2, I guess that’s why I couldn’t recall it.

        Also I do recall that the three worlds being separate was stated elsewhere, but I guess that at this point I’m not holding anything as impossible considering the strange twists and turns Lightning’s story has taken. A new life in a new world were they don’t get to remember anything DOES however sound like the most likely option, it sounds like a decent reward for all of the gangs struggles up until this point.

  • brian

    Ugh: pretty much all that comes to mind each time I think of this game.

  • TheDocMontalban

    Noel and Lightning get transferred to the new world and they repopulate it with thirteen babies. The runt of the litter will be named Hope.

    • Damn, didn’t he was into older ladies.

    • MrTyrant

      I’ll give you my internet good sir.

  • I was under the impression that she succeeded the goddess in XIII-2, was that not correct?

  • Sweet love The Blues Brothers

  • AoNoise

    So much for Lightning being “No one’s slave!”

  • Ehren Rivers

    I keep seeing people talking about Lightning having become a slave to the gods, but that’s not really the case. In XIII-2 when Lightning found her way to Valhalla, she looked out across all of time from Etro’s Throne and saw all of the pain, the suffering, and the horrifying twists of fate that were taking place from time becoming fluid. She mentions that she was moved to act; Lightning felt at least partially responsible, because it was Etro’s act of saving the l’Cie and then yanking Chaos back to Valhalla that had altered the course of history. She received power from Etro to protect the Goddess while she slept, and used it to try and fix the damage. It was her choice, which she made out of a sense of duty and purpose.

    When she puts herself to crystal sleep, she does so specifically in the hopes of waking up one day and finding a way to save the dying world. Her sister’s death weighs on her as well, caused because of a path that Lightning herself set Serah on. People really think that when Bhunivelze wakes her up and says “Hey, I have a way to save everyone in this world if you’ll help by seeing their souls safely to the new world when the time comes.”, that she’d just… Refuse?

    There’s a big difference between being the slave of something or someone and deciding to help out when asked. If Lightning were to refuse to become the Liberator, or she were to just sit back and do nothing, then the world would just be destroyed anyway and no-one would be saved. I understand why some people would be frustrated by the high-powered direction the story is taking, but she’s not giving up her independence in these games.

    She’s doing what she thinks is right, to help the people of the world.

    • ff93

      Amen. People need to realize that helping someone doesn’t make you their slave. Lightning is choosing her own fate.

  • Okay im confused. Lightning is supposed to be the hero. But to me this sounds like she is the villain. She was said to be saving the world not the People. So why is she now aiding in destroying the world? and isn’t Bhunivelze the one who screwed everything up to begin with? FUCK. I hate the writers for this era…it started off really intriguing and invigorating but the way they’ve gone with it is wayyy off.

    • Ehren Rivers

      No, she is not aiding in the destruction of the world. The world is going to die no matter what she or anyone else does; The Chaos released from Valhalla has permeated everything and there’s no saving the current world. Lightning’s goal is to bring all of the people of the current world into the new one that will be born when the current world dies.

      Bhunivelze is a bit of a bad guy in the FNC creation myth that XIII, Type-0, and Versus are based off of but the writers for each game-line were told to interpret the mythology in their own way. That said, we don’t know of any of Bhunivelze’s other goals. It’s possible that the only way HE can enter the new world is if he goes along with the souls of humans beings and therefore NEEDS Lightning to save them. It’s also possible that the writers are interpreting him as less of a dick than the mythology made him out to be.

      • I was hoping that Etro would pull off some sort of savior biz- since a lot of fans believe shes still alive- due to Caius’s scene at the end of XIII-2 and Lightning still weilding Goddess powers after Etro passed- but heck…

        • Ehren Rivers

          Unlikely. The secret ending confirms the true and final death of Etro, so there’s that. There’s also some confusion about Caius’ abilities, actually, which is explained in the Fragments. According to the information found there, the Heart of Chaos (Etro’s heart) doesn’t give a person any kind of power. All it does is make them immortal.

          When Caius’ eyes are seen glowing red in the beginning and in the secret ending, this is not because of the HoC. Once he entered Valhalla and the Void Beyond, Caius learned to wield the powers of Chaos and possibly even befriended whatever semblance of ‘intelligence’ it has. (One of the datalog entries mentions that Chaos is almost friendly with people who are deeply aligned with it) This has lead to the misconception that Caius received the ability to use Chaos from the Heart.

          As for Lightning, her powers don’t flow to her from the Goddess continually. They apparently shared souls (according to the Ultimania) briefly in the scene where Lightning looks out from Etro’s Throne, and Etro left a portion of her power with Lightning.

          It’s also worth noting that technically, Lightning does not appear in XIII-2 AFTER the death of Etro. She goes to crystal sleep “before” this, but the out-of-sync nature of Valhalla caused Serah’s soul to appear even though she was technically still alive. It’s very timey wimey.

          • One thing I find odd is that there is a new image of Lightning speaking on the phone saying “Only fools believe in the goddesses ways”.

  • William Bartee

    i wish yall would stop sayin this is lightnings final game and givin half spoilers weither or not shes gonna be happy in the end.If u wanna make this game a success make the game long more trophys/achievement no have open stories.Dont get me wrong i love FFXIII with a passion but ur making too FF and soon everyones fav characters will be forgotten and lightning must NOT BE FORGOTTEN

  • ff93

    She chooses to serve them though. It was her choice. That is what she meant by choosing her own fate.

  • AnimusVox

    Red and white were the dominant colors for XIIII? I thought it was pink and white

  • igotareallybigthingwithcars

    Are they gonna reuse New World as the ending song. lol

    • Kurisuchan

      LOL. Then someone dies at the middle of the song. . . Again. Hahaha.

  • Waka The Baka

    My god…DAMN IT LIGHTNING! You’re such a gold digger switching from Deity to deity…First in FFXIII you serve Pulse then in XIII-2 you serve Etro and now in XIII-3 you serve Bhunivelze? Bitch please stick to one god k? (ʳ ´º㉨º)ʳ

  • Pythia Brixham

    Ah… So it is Bhunivelze’s fault that Lightning has the dumb looking outfit.

  • Kurisuchan

    There are still plenty of questions left unanswered though. In my opinion, you should have finished the story with FFXIII. And move on to the next series.

  • Bhunivelze you perv XD

  • OatMatadoQuatro

    “We got [Tetsuya] Nomura to design Lightning for what will be her last fight.” “Lightning’s new outfit was also given to her by Bhunivelze, as Liberator attire.”

    Tetsuya Nomura is in this game!!

  • Tom_Phoenix

    So Lightning is now the Law Heroine?

  • I really wish they would just name something in the game that I know how to pronounce properly.

  • ff93

    I love the world and mythos of XIII. I sometimes feel like the only one…

  • Sano Tony

    not lightning again!

    i enjoyed 13-2 because serah farron looked really pretty,hot and femmine.

    if serah farron was a goddess then i would not mind.

    • Akuosa

      There are people who enjoy games for other reasons. Luckily.

  • DCBlackbird

    so lightning is job hunting on a cosmic plane now

  • Valtiel Ikari

    so Lightning will be doing some divine intervention? she’s going to kick aaaaaarse for the loooooooooooord?
    (sorry, couldn’t help to throw the Braindead/Dead Alive reference)

  • Fitzkrieg

    Points for the Blues Brothers reference.

  • Trying to get the most out of that failed Crystal Tools ehh SE? They should just use it for another title/franchise already and leave 13 alone. It’s done enough damage to the name already.

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