‘Final Fantasy XIII-2′ Confirmed For PS3 Release ‘Next Winter’

There been a flurry of activity in the past week on the “Final Fantasy” front. First, the “Final Fantasy XIII-2” registered, apparently for Square-Enix. Then just this morning, “Final Fantasy XIII-2″ was formally announced for an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in Japan, a direct sequel to last year’s “Final Fantasy XIII.” Mere hours later, an update on the PlayStation Blog confirmed the sequel, which will feature an “evolved” battle system from last year’s game, and its PS3 release “next winter.”

Take care not to confuse “Final Fantasy XIII-2″ with the planned console spin-off “Final Fantasy Versus XIII” and the upcoming PlayStation Portable RPG “Final Fantasy Type-0” (formerly “Final Fantasy Agito XIII”). It’s hard to keep track, I know.

I didn’t particularly enjoy the changes in pacing made for “FFXIII,” which put much of the game’s focus squarely on story development (read: cutscenes) and combat. The battle system is strong, and surprisingly deep, but there’s no world to explore and discover; instead, you follow a series of linear paths from one story point to the next, killing anything that gets in your way.

Hopefully “XIII-2″ will stay truer to the roots of the series in that regard. There’s not much to talk about yet beyond what Sony officially revealed, though there’s a leaked Japanese trailer online… for now. No gameplay of course, but that’s “Final Fantasy” for you.

If gameplay is what you’re looking for, there’s also a new trailer for “Final Fantasy Type-0″ online. That game is said to keep the same basic mold as “Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII,” a great PSP game that effectively distilled the series’ core gameplay into a portable experience.