by Joseph Leray
In the grossest news of the day, Lightning's breasts will apparently jiggle in "Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII."
In an interview with Dengeki Online conducted during a recent Japanese press event (as translated by DualShockers), Square Enix character designer Nobuhiro Goto explains that "Yes, her chest jiggles."
"Since everyone can decide what costume she'll wear you can make sure it does (laughs). By the way, since Lightning swings her arm when you change her weapon int he menu screen, that's a recommended actions for sure-fire jiggling!" he explains. "To see it even better if could be useful to equip a small shield. Look forward to it!"
It's not only that Lightning's breasts jiggle, it's the way that Square Enix is so ebulliently proud of their feat of physics. It's alienating to women players and developers and cynically, lecherously insulting to men. As a "Final Fantasy" fan and writer, I want Square Enix' PR to give me more details about "Lightning Returns"' gameplay systems or interesting fantasy world instead of providing protips for demeaning and objectifying its protagonist.
Even if I weren't concerned with Square Enix' lascivious public display, knowing that Lightning's character was explicitly designed to highlight her breasts takes the wind right out of any attempts to take "Lightning Returns," its heroes, and its story seriously.
And things were going so well for "Lightning Returns" too! The game was basking in the glow of a decent demo, Square Enix' strong E3 showing -- where "Final Fantasy XV" was announced -- and the relaunch of "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn." The general feeling was that it seemed like a souped-up "Final Fantasy X-2": a woman protagonist armed with a fast-paced Active Time Battle combat system and heavy customization options.
Sure, "Final Fantasy X-2" didn't exactly barnstorm the charts, but it's a dark horse favorite in certain fan circles and its defenders -- myself included -- are exactly the kinds of people to buy the third game in the meandering hodgepodge "Final Fantasy XIII" has become.
In other news from that event, "Lightning Returns" will also feature a "Summoner of Spira" costume based on Yuna from "Final Fantasy X." Other announced cameos include Cloud's SOLIDER uniform from "VII" and a Miqo'te cat-ear hood from "A Realm Reborn."
Square also took the opportunity to show off the Wildlands -- a new hinterlands area inspired by "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" big enough to accommodate mounted Chocobo riding. Gematsu has more details from the event and a full transcript of a Q&A session with producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Motomu Toriyama.
"Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII" will be available in North America on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in February.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter