Lightning Strikes Twice: Square Enix Announces 'Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII'

Due out next year, Square Enix is touting this one as the sequel that will close out this chapter on the Final Fantasy XIII universe.

In the video up top, Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase makes an apt comparison between the 25-year-old series and crystals of all things--ever-changing yet always maintaining the same shape. Well, according to the official release, this unnumbered sequel is set to include new characters, world, and an all-new storyline featuring FFXIII heroine Lightning.

XIII-2 took us all over time and space, so who knows how expansive this new game will be. One interesting note: Square Enix is promising "enhanced" gameplay. According to IGN, from the scant details they were able to pry from the development team, Lightning Returns the titular heroine will be the sole playable character, but that she's have a lot of customization and control options as opposed to the more static party system of the previous games. Also: some real-time attack and block elements during combat.

On the story front, it's set hundreds of years after XIII-2 and is set on the world of Novus Partus which is comprised of four islands linked by monorail and facing a doomsday clock counting down to the end of the world in 13 days.

Square Enix also passed along some concept art from the new game featuring some of those new environments.

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You can also check out the game's director, Motomu Toriyama, talking about the lofty goals for Lightning Returns as well as its overall concept here:

We'll be on the lookout for more details on September 4th when Square Enix reveals more details about Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

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