Square Enix Summarizes Final Fantasy XIII Before Lightning Makes A Return

By Sato . October 4, 2013 . 12:02pm

We still have a few months to go until the release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, and Square Enix have shared a short video recapping the main events of Final Fantasy XIII to refresh our memories for the upcoming third game in the series.



At the start of the video, Lightning and Sazh are seen disguised inside a train. The two have their own objectives, as they both ride the train that is used to deport the cursed ones to outside countries. In order to get to their destination, they’ll need to take out the guards of the PSICOM (Public Security and Intelligence Command), who control the train.


Sazh asks Lightning what her reason is for being there, to which she replies that it’s for her younger sister Serah, who has been cursed by the deity, known as Pulse. Although Lightning wants to save her, Sazh explains that those who’ve been branded as the l’Cie become monsters unless they complete their mission (known as Focus), and that she does not have much time left.


At 1:13, we get a look at Snow, who had to see his loved one be taken from his reach. He has also made it his objective to find Serah. When the group unites to save her, they encounter fal’Cie, the one who chooses who becomes a l’Cie. After an unsuccessful attempt at saving her, they all become l’Cies. While they were gifted cursed powers from the curse, they don’t know about their mission.


Unless they fulfill their unknown objectives, they too, will become beasts. The only thing they can do is move forward. Due to their dangerous nature of being “cursed ones,” they are deemed a potential threat to the people around them, and are sought after by the PSICOM army.


After being cornered, Snow tries to reason with the pursuers, by telling them that the so-called l’Cie is human just like everyone else. However, this proves futile, as the treat of their existence alone is a risk that cannot be taken lightly by PSICOM.


While the entire world is against Lightning and her friends, one man named Cid Raines, Brigadier General of the Guardian Corps, sees them in a different light. Cid reveals that he had been planning to overthrow the fal’Cie, but was transformed into a l’Cie before he could put his plans into action. Cid’s “Focus” was to guide the party to where they were, and he believed that he could free them from their Focuses by killing them.


When they finally reach Serah, she had fulfilled her Focus, and had become a crystal. Prior to being crystallized, Serah tells her sister and the others to protect Cocoon.


Shortly after, Galenth Dysley, the main antagonist of Final Fantasy XIII appears. He reveals to Lightning and her friends that their Focus is for one of them to take on the form of Ragnarok and shatter Cocoon. After having been in guise of a Primarch of Cocoon, his true identity has been revealed as none other than the fal’Cie, Barthandelus.


The video concludes with Lightning’s quote before the final battle: “When we think there’s no hope left, we keep looking until we find some. Maybe Cocoon is past saving, but it’s our home. And we’ll protect it or die trying. We live to make the impossible possible. That is our Focus.”


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII comes out on February 11 in North America and February 14 in Europe.

  • yellowmage

    I don’t care what anyone says, I love this game (and XIII-2, though ever so slightly less so). The supposed linearity that got on everyone’s tits was, to me, an ingenious example of gameplay and story integration: an allegory for the standard fate of a l’Cie; no way out, no other paths, succeed or die. And the way the game opens up near the end is an indication that they will overcome that fate, which, in the end, they do.

    • CuttingEdgeMeta

      it would be nice if more people caught details like you did, and it’s entirely possible that was their intention. :)

    • DivinePhoenix69

      Agreed, it wouldnt have made any sense plot wise to have the characters freely wander around towns, inns, world maps etc when the whole point is that they are on the run cause pretty much the whole world wants them dead. Dont get why its so difficult for people to grasp that.

      • Aoshi00

        I agree with that to a certain extent. While the flow of the game was dictated by the story of an escapade, many heroes from other rpgs are also on the run, say lost Odyssey, yet that journey felt more engaging and more like a FF to me..

        even within the linear format, the story could’ve been presented better, more locations could’ve been included say in the form of flashback like firework on the beach, let player experience the world of cocoon via gameplay instead of cutscene or a datalog, which is why spira in 10 felt much more memorable. With cocoon it was hard to grasp how one locale related to the next. They could’ve let players walk around the air ship even. It really wasn’t until I read the episode zero prologue and listened to the drama CDs I started to appreciate the world, story, and characters more. While 13 2 had a smaller party, I enjoyed tremendously like chrono trigger, it was immersive. So I just felt cocoon wasn’t explored to its full potential. 13 by itself was not very enjoyable for me, but I loved the much improved 13 2 and look forward to lightning returns, not sure about the time clock like dead rising though..

        Also great summary for the first game :)

        • Happy Gamer

          We meet again Aoshii..everytime I mention lost odyssey, almost all the time you have replied to me. That and blue dragon among things. :)

          anyways, I totally agree with the engagement part. You know what’s ironic is that I got the xbox to play Japanese RPGs when they had them rolling out in the earlier cycle. We had some pretty darn good ones from mistwalker for example. Not to mention tales etc. But later we didn’t get much.

          Talking about FF, for some reaosn, I enjoyed the first game in some ways more than FF XIII-2. I felt 2’s story and flow was pretty awkward. I get people telling me it’s because it is more open ended, but that is not the case for me. It’s hard to pin point. Story wise only, it felt more coherent. XIII-2 felt really forced and weird. I personally enjoy the XIII mythos, but it kind of turned all funny after 2. But nevertheless, I am pretty stoked about part 3 :)

          • Happy Gamer

            Also, I sort of wished we could have just explored pulse as is as lightening because it was SO limited in XIII, yet had so much lore behind it. Instead XIII-2 feels like a rehash, and 3 seems even more completely redone as well. Bit of a shame, I really liked XIII’s pulse alot (or rather the world itself should I say).

          • Aoshi00

            Hiya :) yeah, the 360 had an early good run of JRPGs, LO, BD, Vesperia, and others were all great :) but even Jpn players didn’t really support it, so it’s a pity..

            That’s the main reason I found 13 boring and not engaging, Cocoon and Pulse were such intriguing ideas, but it wasn’t explored at all and people were willing to accept it’s OK to walk a straight line because they were running (and I didn’t like the datalog).. in most other RPGs or FFs up until that point, the worlds were always rich and impressionable, one could go anywhere.. that’s why Lost Odyssey was a spiritual successor of FF to me.. of course LO had heart and good music too since it’s made by the Gooch and Uematsu..

            I think that if FF13 had added just several segments w/ a couple more locations when player could walk around and interact w/ NPCs like the fireworks on the beach. For example, Lightning’s old home when they threw her a b-day party and gave her the knife, the train station to the theme park in the rain, let us control Serah when she first walked in the temple so we could feel the terror she felt (it’s in the drama CD), or move inside the airship. Just let us “control” the little things like that, then I would’ve been more engaged, instead of being frustrated by being moved to A B C D E, and btwn all those points it was just cutscenes.. I wanted to control the char and walk up to others and strike up a conversation like the Tales game or old FFs, that way you don’t feel you’re being made to watch a movie.. it’s those moments that made an RPG adventure memorable.. I just wasn’t sucked into the story because it felt monotonous to me.. walk straight, watch, walk forward, watch some more, I was like “again?”… just the story could’ve been presented in a better way. If they just threw those stories of Episode Zero in the actual game, it would’ve been perfect (those were even dubbed into the 2 drama CDs).

            w/ 13-2 & LR being added to the lore now, it’s definitely more complicated (as expected from Toriyama lol), but the open gameplay in 13-2 just felt so liberating to me because it was the 180 opposite of the first game.. so even though the story is more out there, I still enjoyed it as it has the elements that I wanted..

            I think that 13’s narrative is fine as a movie.. but to experience and to be able to connect w/ the chars’ adventure, I needed a bit more :) like places btwn Cocoon are connected by train, from the Episode 0 novel or LR, the game should’ve let player use that train or other forms of transport (like in FF8).. I just didn’t want all the storytelling to be in pre-rendered movies.. it made the locales abstract and their relation to each other vague.. I guess I just expected more from 13, than just an OK game.. because I wasn’t very thrilled w/ 12’s gameplay either.. and LO had the best of both, old school RPG :)

    • Godmars

      And the thing is the people complaining about this game aren’t complaining about the game: they’re complaining about the story.

      While FF13 certainly had issues and FF13-2 fixed *some* of them where FF13-3 actually looks interesting gameplay-wise, its the continuation of a story which as an RPG fan I found insulting that will keep me from buying any direct sequel. Has caused me to greatly question Square’s ability to even tell a story.

      FF13 was about a number of random characters thrown together and manipulated at every turn never realizing or taking their fate into their own hands. With FF13-2 repeating that cluelessness. Now its happening again in 13-3 with the biggest “plot” change being Lightning’s boobs – which shouldn’t be plot points!

    • Yvonne Tsang

      Sounds good on paper, but when it affects actual gameplay and exploration so that you’re limited to battle –> walk –> chest in a corner –> walk –> battle –> walk –> cutscene, there’s something terribly wrong. Makes sense not to be able to walk in a town freely, but shouldn’t there be some stealth gameplay if they’re trying to get around guards (and that sorry excuse of weaving clumsily around tunnels in Palumpolum does not count)? Why are ruins also straight paths? Why not actually have gameplay where they’re caught and need to escape (e.g. FFVII’s section where Cloud and co. are caught by Shinra in their HQ) that doesn’t equate to “fight through all these guards in some setting that are stationed on a narrow path so you can’t avoid them, which is what you’ve been doing since the beginning of the game”? As interesting as an allegory might be, it led to some very poor design choices and gameplay suffered because of it. I do not need to be beat over the head with an allegory for a good chunk of the game, thanks.

      Them suddenly dumping me in a vast land of space with shitty sidequests is just bland padding to the game too. I don’t mind being given something to do, but put a little heart into the scripts of the NPCs to add flavour to this opened world.

      I have no hope for LR’s plot nor script, but I hope the exploration is improved. The battle system looks quite fun too.

  • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

    Summary: “Please buy our game…we know it’s a 2nd sequel–we swear we got it right this time!”

    • Dark Zerato

      SE said that LR:FF would surpass Skyrim. Maybe people will buy it for the gameplay.


        Well, at least, for the looks of it, have a better combat gameplay than Skyrim and the lore is interesting if you read all the material from XIII & XIII-2. Just hope that this time they gave a proper resolution to the story of XIII-2… sigh, XIII has such a nice ending.

  • KrazyBean

    I understand the story of XIII…it’s XIII-2 which kinda confuses me.

    • yellowmage

      Well, that is one of the risks you take when your story involves time-travel.

      • Jordan Coleman

        Or is just terribly told and leads into a sequel even more far removed from the 1st game.

    • Kusabi

      My sentiments exactly.

  • AverageGamers

    Wow… more than 2 hours of luscious cinematic can be re-told in less than 5 minutes? Is that bad, or good?
    And I was hoping the video would cover XIII-2 as well, considering I never (or had any interest to) play that one. But I guess XIII-2 basically means: The ending of XIII was altered, a dude from the future appears and hang out with Serah to save the world, Serah died. That’s it, right?

  • Vash bane

    better than having to watch a 8 hour+ vid to understand the game(don’t have 13 anymore and…didn’t beat it).


    XIII story was alright and good by its own (the corridor world map is my only complain about the game). Xiii-2 seemed like more a “reboot” to me. they got so much bad feedback and wanted to fix the story that they pulled this whole time travel thing and messed with the game universe (they could easily make xiii-2 a prequel about fang and vanille and shut the moufh of the complainers but nah. they needed to milk the farron sister Image (specially lightning).

  • $61526767

    At first, I got confused with XIII’s story and somehow they got it to a sequel? Which clearly didn’t make any sense to me in the first place. I thought the game-play mechanics were fun too. But, didn’t much change the facts that the main story was less appealing than the original. My hopes for Lighting Returns restores my love for XIII. I do love the battle system though.

  • EinMugenTenshin

    Right, “refresh”. Thanks, it sure will come in handy!

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