Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Developers Give Lightning A Send-off

By Sato . November 20, 2013 . 1:32pm

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be coming out tomorrow in Japan, and the game will, at long last, provide a conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy featuring Lightning and her cohorts. To commemorate the occasion, key Square Enix developers shared their thoughts with Famitsu magazine in a recent feature.


Producer – Yoshinori Kitase: “Lightning’s story will now be entering its climax. The upcoming game features a social media function, that can be used for laidback communications. You’ll be able to share your thoughts and hints on fights through Facebook and Twitter, even from within the game. This will be like the last festival before entering the new generation, so let’s get the game when it comes out and celebrate all together!”


Director – Motomu Toriyama: “Lightning’s story that started with Final Fantasy XIII will finally be coming to an end. This makes it the first trilogy of the Final Fantasy series, and we’ve come long way with her. To me, it’s like a happy, yet sad feeling, kind of like a father who is walking his daughter down the aisle covered in flowers at the wedding.”


“In this game, you’ll get to thoroughly create Lightning any way you want. The costumes range from wedding dress-like dresses to sharp boyish suits, and much more. The way Lightning looks when she ends the story will be up to you fans, so please make your very own Lightning. It would bring me great pleasure to be able to see all your different Lightnings out there, so let us all celebrate Final Fantasy XIII’s grand finale, together.”



Game design director – Abe Yuji: “While there is the main story, players will also have the freedom to do as they will in the game. As of late, games have been divided between the categories of ‘JRPG’ and ‘Western RPG,’ but I believe that we’ve made something that offers the better parts of the two. Depending on the in-game day, the gameplay is well divided, so please play any way you prefer. Even after beating the game once, there will be many things left to discover on your second or third try, so it’d bring me pleasure if you could start with Easy Mode, then see the rest of the world for yourself.”


Art director – Isamu Kamikokuryo: “And the Final Fantasy XIII series will be coming to an end just like that. This will be the last stage of Lightning and friends’ long journey. The game’s world has many cities and locations, so I recommend you to walk around while using the map to explore areas. Similar to traveling in real life, if you first look at the map and travel while imagining what you’ll be seeing, it may give you a different outlook on things.”


“The element of time is an important factor in the game, so knowing how to best use it while possibly visiting unexplored areas might be something similar to an actual journey. The map will be a powerful ally to you; however, walking around while being lost can also be a lot of fun!”


Main character designer – Tetsuya Nomura: “I recall feeling a very strong reaction when I first finished drawing Lightning. I felt that a great character had been born. It’s not often that I feel something like that. From there, I felt that if the development team could do a good job in taking care of her, she would become a long-loved character like Cloud, and it’s already been about 8 years since then. Perhaps, if after 5 or 10 years go by, and people can still say that they like her, such popularity will be evident.”


“Lightning’s long fight will finally be coming to an end, and she’ll be able to get some rest, so it kind of feels like a daughter returning back to her parents’ home. I’d like to thank you all for looking over us up until now. From now on, it would bring me great pleasure if you all remember the protagonist by the name of Lightning.”


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII comes out tomorrow in Japan and February 2014 in North America and Europe for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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  • DrakeClawfang

    “To me, it’s like a happy, yet sad feeling, kind of like a father who is walking his daughter down the aisle covered in flowers at the wedding.” – somehow I thought if Toriyama ever mentioned Lightning at a wedding, he’d be the one at the altar waiting.

    • delmar

      Is it just me or was that statement really creepy?

      • Gemlit

        It’s just a childish remark. Drake is subtly saying “If Toriyama likes her so much, why doesn’t he marry her.” However, Toriyama is saying that he’s the father of Lightning and was totally invested in her.

        I guess it can be creepy to one who isn’t really dedicated to creating characters for a long amount of time. However, to me, it isn’t.

    • Vesperion

      The guy that ever gets married to lightning is in for a rough life

      • Aoshi00

        I could take it like snow, she could slap me around and call me Susan lol.. So Lightning is his waifu/daughter lol… I just want commander hope to be paired up with her, but Toriyama made him a damn kid again :p

      • AndyLC

        If there’s any man fit for Lightning, it’s Kain Highwind.

  • Shady Shariest

    “She was a mighty ship all rite… Sailed from main games to cameos without much of a flinch” – The Pirate Cosplaying Janitor.
    Edit: Joke made with no disrespect to the developers or the characters… It is something like this that pushes me towards game development, personally… Not only creating worlds and characters, but to feel them…

  • malek86

    I don’t think there’s ever been a FF character Squenix has been attached to so much in the past. And I don’t know if there will be ever again.

    • Bur

      I really hope not.

    • Lynx


      It was pretty obvious in the mid 00’s.

      Dare I say, he was much more worse than Lightning.

      • Tell me about it.

      • MrRobbyM

        I feel like SE loves Cloud like a father and son relationship yet their relationship with Lightning is like a materialistic mother and daughter.

        SE with Light is all like “Try THIS on! Now this! Now this! No, wait, THIS!”

        And that’s how Lightning Returns was made.

      • revenent hell

        Well, correct me if im wrong, but, is not Lightning their girl version of Cloud?

        Makes sense they would make her so loved giving how much they overplayed on FFVII and Cloud (even though Im a raging fan of the game im not really that unaware of what’s/what was going on)

        Hell still is. When they created Eclair (for some reason I really like that more than Claire haha) they wanted a female cloud character with strawberry blonde hair. I distinctly remember reading that.
        Overall it doesn’t surprise me they wanted to play her out as much as possible giving her origins

      • malek86

        I wouldn’t really say so. Cloud was popular, but like any other FF character, he was pretty much forgotten once the next FF came out. It was only a long time later that he was recovered from the bin and put in new movies and stuff (and notice that none of the Compilation games had him as main character).

        So they weren’t really attached to him, they just reused him as a sort of return to relevance bid.

        With Lightning, you get the feeling that the FF13 games will just keep dropping in sales, and yet they keep using her… from the start. They have done nothing else for almost 6 years now. It’s like they planned this without even seeing if the character really stuck first.

  • SirRichard

    A bit too invested there, Toriyama.

  • X14

    But it’s okay!
    Lightning for Kingdom Hearts 3.

    • I wouldn’t mind it, but I think we should see Lightning a little later than that.

      People are already groaning about Lightning being shoved down their throats and all.

  • CptPokerface

    Screw the haters- i enjoyed the xiii series for what it was. Here’s hoping the XV series manages to bring this crazy, fragmented fanbase together again and we can actually enjoy ourselves again.

    • DivinePhoenix69

      Couldnt had said it better myself honestly. I really enjoyed the 13 series despite its flaws and all the hate it got. LR looks to be the best one yet. Lets see what Square has in store for us with XV.

    • Yan Zhao

      The first game left a lot to be desired and really could’ve been a lot better, while I personally liked it for what it offered, the hate for it is completely justified and I certainly wouldnt try to defend it, cause it IS a flawed game. 13-2 was vastly improved though, and I really liked that game. Hope 13-3 will deliver.

      • CptPokerface

        Of course. I wouldn’t try defend it’s flaws either. When I say “haters” I really mean those FF purist die-hards who just can’t fathom people actually liking the games, and just go out of their way to flame and harass. The type of person who likes to label others as “real” fans or not, basically.

        • Tiredman

          I am a die hard, pardon, was a die hard, fan of Final Fantasy all the way up through 12. Then Squeenix started screwing up a lot of other series I really liked, as in royally screwed up. Then they did it to Final Fantasy, and I got mad. But since then, I have come to the conclusion that Squeenix, for the most part, just isn’t the company I remember, so they are no longer my favorite company and aren’t even close to my top 3 favorite either. They have lost their former identity, the one I appreciated, respected, and thoroughly enjoyed. They don’t seem to want the old one back, so I moved on.

          I will snag FF 13-2 when I can find a copy for $10 since I am not paying $20 since when I buy it I won’t be able to stop myself in snagging the arena dlc since arena’s are one of my favorite things of Final Fantasy starting from part 6. I felt rather betrayed when they took Gilgamesh out of the game and made him dlc only. I was debating on buying it when it hit around $40 until I learned about all the arena dlc and I said F*CK this. That was one of the reasons 13-2 ranks so badly with me.

          As for 13-3, I will wait till it is a budget game as well. Squeenix has given me no reason to trust them again and pay them $60. They have ruined every series I ever loved that they created and blame it on us gamers because we didn’t buy their pieces of crap. They always assume they are right, hence them consistently making graphics the focus over story and gameplay.

          Oh well, I have moved on, but I wanted to explain where the hatred comes from. Squeenix created this mess and did nothing whatsoever to fix it. They keep plowing and doing things their own way and expect us to buy their games….it doesn’t work that way. The way to be successful is to make your fans happy, not pretend they don’t exist and create whatever you want even though there has already been an outcry against it.

          • CptPokerface

            That’s perfectly fine. You and others saw changes you clearly didn’t like and took your stance. I’ve come to understand people’s reasoning behind their dislike for it, and you know what? I can actually agree.

            But even still, people like myself and others still found something in the series that we liked. I’d never try to convince someone to have a change a heart over this because well..peoplr feel strongly about it. Just let those who actually do enjoy it do so peacefully, you know? As long as people can do that i can respect their stances on the series 100%.

            Like i said, i hope XV and KH3 brings this fanbase closer again.

          • Tiredman

            The reason folks try to change others minds is because they want the good games back and the only way to do that is for the new games to be unpopular. Sure, you may like it, but folks will try to make you not like it, or at least stand with them against it in order to bring back the games that were a lot better than the new ones.

            I would have to ask, have you played the other ones, and if you have, would you say that FF 13 is better than them?

            If no, but you enjoyed it anyway, do you want Squeenix to think that game was alright. Do you want them to do a half a$$ed job of making a world, meaning their world has almost no living beings, its nearly soulless, to do very little effort creating a leveling schematic, to make a crappy weapon leveling system, and so on? Would you rather Squeenix thought that was what you wanted, or the grandiose fantasy worlds of past games with tons of meaningful npc’s that brighten the world they are in, air ships, understandable stories,and so on?

            The only way to bring back the games you like is to make a company understand you don’t like their new games as much. If you buy them, thinking, it is kind of fun, not as fun as past ones, but fun enough…….this puts you into a downward spiral where the company will keep removing stuff until they can get away with the bare minimum and still make a mint.

          • CptPokerface

            Given the amount of people who are vocally against the direction that they see FF going, is there really even a need to try and convince others to go make some stand?

            I’ve played almost every major FF title except 7 and 8. I’m the type of person who can’t really pick favorites. I don’t make these hierarchy’s for video games, because I’d be sitting for days trying to put everything in order. I looked at each game, saw what it offered, gave it a shot, and liked something about each of them. Maybe the ONLY game out of the whole series that I could say was better than another was V over III because V did everything III did but better. But that’s only my opinion.

            I’ll be perfectly frank with you. I completely understand all the points your making, but at the end of the day I’m not about to sit and think about the numerous possibilities me buying one game can have on the company as a whole. Gaming is my number one most favorite hobby and keeps me sane in the search for jobs and school and all of the other crap that life throws my way. I think about enough things at once as is; I’m not about to add the future of SE and Final Fantasy on that list. Like any reasonable person I want them to succeed and make great games but if they don’t then that’s that. I won’t be buying them.

            For those that feel the same as you, I encourage you to make your voices heard and I hope you see some change in SE that you like. My whole thought process behind me getting a game is very simple- If I like it, i’ll get it, if i don’t, I won’t. I don’t have the time or the energy to sit and think about how my decision to buy one game will have some grave impact on the quality of any other future titles. I don’t work for SE. I can’t say what will or won’t get them to make the games the majority wants because I’m not in the development team. I’m all for people making their voices heard but ultimately it falls on them to listen, and theres no guarantee that they’ll get the message.

            I judge each game by my own standards and if they meet them, I get them, period. If i start adding other peoples standards into my own then I’m probably never gonna be able to buy a game again and enjoy them as I do now. If they’re smart they’ll listen to you guys and all will be well. If not well..I’ll still be looking for any game I think is good in the meantime anyways. It’s as simple as that.

          • Tiredman

            Thats your choice =) and I am the same in regards to judging games, I don’t care about reviews and junk. All my opinions are from actual buying of previous games in series.

            I started playing with the original FF on the nintendo back in the 80’s, I think it was. I was like 9 at the time. I loved Secret of Mana, and so many of Square’s other games. So when they release something like XIII, I beat it, I will probably play it again because it bugs me to not have completely finished the game, meaning optional junk. But XIII is not the future of FF I want, so I voted with my wallet on the follow up games. My purchases of 13-2 and 13-3 shall be either budget or used, preferably budget since I still prefer actually buying my games from the store, and Square will know that I, and others like me, aren’t willing to give them all the money they want for their XIII style of FF games.

            I guess after you have watched the company that was your favorite for 15 years start to decay and shift to making games of a type that alienates you and their other fans, watching it happen for a decade wears you down and makes you feel annoyed, and grumpy.

          • CptPokerface

            Now, see, I can understand that. My history with FF is admittedly pretty fragmented. I was only able to get into it really when they re-released I and II on the GBA all those years ago, and I had to settle for playing the others through emulators and such. I tore my hair out for the PS FF games..they come in so many parts. The only games in the series I actually beat were X and Xiii-2, and I got to the end in III, IV, V, and VI.

            I haven’t really experienced the feeling of having a series go completely downhill in my eyes So i can’t totally relate. I bet it’s an awful feeling. Hard to leave anything that’s been as close to you as this behind when it’s not to you taste any longer.

            I hope XV brings us all back to what we all love the most about the series. And if it still doesn’t, maybe it’s time to pass the torch onto another series. Bravery Default could be that series. Or maybe it could be another new re-imagining of FF we would never even dream of.

            It’s a bit idealistic I know but..when it comes to gaming I can’t help but to remain optimistic.

          • Tiredman

            Already have Default ordered. I just finally booted up my copy of Fire Emblem on my 3ds last night. Fun, though hard, game so far. As for finding other games, I miss my console games a ton. But, I have found other games to scratch the itch somewhat, such as the Zeboyd games on xbox live, and now on steam too. Also, handheld in general. If you are a handheld gamer, I highly recommend playing Super Robot Taiisen OG Saga : Endless Frontier. Fun game, hilarious ending.

            Also, since you played the old school FF’s and enjoyed them, I highly recommend Dragon Quest 7, the ps1 version, not the 3ds version, assuming it leaves Japan. Its a game you could easily put a 100 hours into if you try to do more than just run through the story. The main reason I recommend it is because it is such a unique game. The story telling in it is just so captivating, as it is all broken up into self contained mini stories that are all ultimately part of the over all story.

          • CptPokerface

            I actually had Dragon Quest IV and IX on the ds and loved them. IV was a lot like how you described 7 with different chapters focusing on different characters.

            I liked how people in different regions had different accents and personalities. IX had a really deep class system that i loved. Sadly i lost them both moving around with my family.

            Always thought how funny it was how damaging spells were had names like Kafizzle..

    • Ric Vazquez

      *Epic Salute*

    • Gholla20


      I’ve enjoyed the entire XIII story and I will proudly say that Lightning is my favorite FF character of all time.


  • fairysun

    Don’t worry. You can always release a DLC to add more continuation to Lightning story.

  • delmar

    Oh Square. You should have left it as one installment instead of making a story that was a mish mash of concepts, designs, and story plots. I will never understand how you could go from a solid story with one of the main themes of “we are not in servitude to a higher being, we control our fate” to “I am in complete servitude and you’ve decided our roles and fate”.

    • revenent hell

      Oh, see, for as much as I hated the games the stories are stellar. Really. After reading them I thought ” Oh, that’s really cool!” Its just for some such as “us” the games didn’t play out the story as well as they should have.
      But the stories are solid,interesting and very well thought out….. At least when I read them :)

    • KoRLumen

      We haven’t seen the ending of LR yet, so we’ll see if that’s where they’re really going with this.

      If it IS that, though, it’s saying something completely different on its own – a tragedy, if you will. I mean, poor friggin Snow.

  • Man, oh man, people are going to have a field day with Toriyama’s statement.

  • negineBIT
  • KingGunblader

    The way Lightning Returns is shaping up, it may well be the best game in the trilogy. I’m seriously excited to play it, get lost in the world for 100+ hours and finally bring this crazy saga to an end.

  • revenent hell

    Back in the days before wiki’s and knowing about game guides I remember getting lost over and over again. Haha I even remember finding those secret Islands or “lands” and thinking how awesome it was I found it simply because I wanted to search everything I could reach in the world I was in.
    I think with things being so at our fingertips now a days its nice to be reminded of the time where it took more than a google search to figure out what I wanted to know… I’ll thank the art director for that.

  • leingod

    Lightning kinda… sorta…. grew on me a bit, but I’m still glad they’re done with FFXIII

  • RegReach

    No way we dont see her in kh3

  • kangms872

    Long live Lightning!

  • Loli Summoner

    Its sad that it ends here,Its strange but I feel sad I won’t see lightning in new games anymore.I think I feel this way because she has been in 3 games now? games I really liked and shes like everywhere in the ff community,she just really grow on me ya know.I’m going to cry on the ending on ff13-3 I bet I will…I love you Lightning!!! forever my fav ff character.

    • Vash bane

      yeah she’s in my top 5 as well

  • DS23

    Uh, bye femme Cloud, I guess. Though it doesn’t feel like it’s time to say bye since the third game isn’t out in the west yet…

    • CptPokerface

      It’s out in Japan so yeah, the time is right for them. We’ll have our time in a few months.

  • Ric Vazquez

    As long-time fan of FF fan of many years I still like it despite it’s flaws and will continue to support the Final Fantasy franchise for as long as I live…or until they make it entirely for mobile -_-

  • prinnywin

    I don’t hate the XIII series. Far from it. But I’m glad it’s over.
    I’m glad that it’s time for a new Final Fantasy to be born.

    Even if said FF was ‘remade’ from a previous project.

    I’m glad a new Fantasy awaits us.

  • Vash bane

    i never read anything like this before. quite interesting.

    that must be one heated discussion below …. dem paragraphs.

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