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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Aiming For Open World Structure


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be the third and final chapter of the Lightning saga, where you’ll be playing as Lightning herself in an open world, which Square Enix boasts will be more active than ever. Recently, Dengeki spoke to design director Yuji Abe regarding key points and new features of the game.


According to the design director, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy originally had a steady flow of active time, but after gradual changes, this has changed. One of the biggest changes comes from an ability that allows you to stop time during play, which he feels will vastly change how the game is played.


“The gauge on the lower-left part of the screen is called GP, which is something like a convenience point system,” Abe explains. “This can be used during battle, to teleport to specific areas on the field, or to even stop time. For example, if you have a lot going on (and not enough time), you’ll be able to stop time. So, if you go ahead and use GP without any hesitation, your playthrough will surely be easier.”


“It stands for Glory Point, which can be acquired upon clearing battles,” Abe responds to Dengeki’s question about the abbreviation. “Originally, it was part of the Radiant Power (points given to the Tree of Life, Yggdrasil, to extend the lifespan of the world) but that would weigh in on the balance of the world’s life span, so we separated it so as to not cause any hesitation. Now, it can be used without having to worry about the world’s life span.”


Dengeki points out that there are players who will try to beat the game without participating in regular battles, to which Abe gives a little insight.


“I believe there will be a huge hurdle to doing that; however, Lightning will be able to level up by simply clearing key events, which will increase her parameters. Again, if you want to increase her parameters by a larger amount, you can also purchase equipment.”


In regards to equipment, Abe also mentions that it will have a huge impact on Lightning’s parameters. Furthermore, you can even purchase the most expensive gear sold at the first shop in the game, which will be good enough to last you until the last boss, but it won’t be a simple task to gather up the money to buy it.


Additionally, Abe talks about how it will be possible to grasp everything in a single playthrough, but that it will be difficult, especially if it’s your first time playing.


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII boasts fields larger than any seen in previous Final Fantasy title, including more freedom to explore. According to Abe, the two main points behind the development were that it’s okay to have some parts that won’t be seen by players on the first try, and to make all visible areas as accessible as possible.


The dungeons will have many structures that will bring plenty of differences in elevation, which will allow players to go from areas that are located to the top, all the way to the very bottom.


“Our games have never put too much consideration into the idea of ‘being able to go to areas that look accessible,’ so we’ve made it our goal to take that part a step higher,” says Abe. “Covering 100%  in those regards might be a little difficult, but I’d say that you’ll be able to go to about 90% of all visible areas.”


In addition, the game will also be played in a seamless, open world structure for the most part, with the only loading screens being when you teleport to a different location or if you’re relocated during a story event. Other than that, you’ll be able to walk your way through all the continents in seamless fashion, with another exception being the loading screen that appears when you get in a vehicle.


Lightning Returns’ battle system may look a little more difficult to some players, but it’s actually very simple, according to Abe, who says that the easiest way to put it is pressing buttons to perform attacks and to guard when being attacked. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to perfect your guarding skills in order to win fights, as it will still follow traditional RPG methods by allowing you to win fights easier as long as you’re stronger.


As mentioned in our earlier reports, you’ll also get to target enemy parts and destroy them, which results in an advantage for you and additional rewards upon winning the battle.


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