Square Enix has a very bad habit of showing games way too early. Its latest reveal, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, is only 30 per cent finished. Meaning? It's 70 per cent unfinished. So unless Square Enix works faster than it has in the past, it could be a while before, wait for it, Lightning strikes again.
Until then, let's busy ourselves with reading about Lightning Returns! That game does sound interesting.
During the recent Lightning Returns presentation, Square Enix continually remarked how the game was "World Driven". There was even a slide at the presentation that actually said "World Driven". What does "World Driven" mean? Well, the way you interact with the in-game world affects said in-game world. For example, the world of Lightning Returns is slated to end in 13 days. So, depending on your actions, the game can actually end before those 13 days peter out. According to recent Japanese game magazine leaks, the game builds towards a happy ending to Lightning's saga. (There does, however, seem to be a bad ending if, say, the 13 days run out!)
Time is a key motif throughout the game. Kotaku previously posted that the game has Lightning trying to save humanity before the doomsday clock runs out. One day in Lightning Returns is one to two hours in real life. Before you start doing the maths on how many hours there are in 13 days, Square Enix is supposedly saying that it won't take tens of hours to clear once and that the game is being developed so players can clear it multiple times. As mentioned above, it is possible to finish the game before those 13 days end.
What's more, some players might take longer to finish the game as time can apparently be lengthened after, for example, a player topples an enemy in a quest.
Combat sounds action oriented — the Japanese magazine leaks describe it as being "close to action" with an ATB gauge. That was, of course, part of the battle system in Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2. In Lightning Returns, timing also seems to play a role in combat.
As previously revealed, the in-game character control is far more dynamic. So, Lightning can do things like hang off ledges, pull herself up, jump, duck behind corners. According to the Japanese magazine leaks, she can also hide behind objects.
The world of Lightning Returns does sound intriguing. Apparently, Lightning will apparently come across a series of murders. It's unclear how major this plot line is or how it plays into the game. What's more, people don't age because of what's happening to their world. Time marching forward is underscored by clocks apparently throughout the game; yet, time stands still in the ageless characters. This sounds like a fascinating contrast. Stay tuned.