New info on Final Fantasy XIII, Versus and Agito from IGN and NeoGAF

At time of writting:

11 hours until Tokyo Game Show begin

~ Pre Tokyo Game Show Article ~

IGN has translated an interview with Fabula Nova Crystallis character designer Tetsuya Nomura (Kingdom Hearts series, Final Fantasy series,…). The interview includes much new information about Final Fantasy XIII:

September 23, 2009 – We already played Final Fantasy XIII’s Tokyo Game Show demo at the Final Fantasy XIII Premiere Party event earlier this month. But you weren’t expecting Square Enix to be totally quiet about the game as Japan’s biggest gaming event approached, were you? Sure enough, Famitsu came through today with a massive update on the game.

The big focus of the Famitsu story is Serah Farron. Serah is Lightning’s younger sister and Snow’s fiancee. It appears that Serah and Lightning lost their parents in their youth, and the two now live together.

FFXIII lead character designer Tetsuya Nomura offered a few comments to the magazine about his design decisions for both Serah and another recent character announcement, Hope.

On Serah, he said that much of the character details are still a secret, and thus he can’t share too much about how her design came to be. However, he was able to say that one of the reasons Serah’s hair is wavy is that he wanted her silhouette to match up with that of Lightning (the two characters do have similar hair).

On Hope, Nomura revealed that director Motomu Toriyama had something to do with the character ending up being blond. Back when nothing had yet to be set for the character, Toriyama suggested making the game’s main character blond. Lightning ended up being pink blond. They decided to give Hope blond hair because they thought that, among the party members, the color would fit him best.

Toriyama and producer Yoshinori Kitase shared some additional background details on Serah in particular. Serah, revealed Toriyama was the first Pulse l’Cie in Cocoon. After she became a l’Cie, a variety of occurrences or incidents started taking place. He wouldn’t get into specifics.

The trailer that was shown at the Premiere Party event suggested that Serah is on good terms not just with Lightning and Snow, but with Vanille as well. They actually meet for the first time during the game, Toriyama told Famitsu However, they get along well because their ages are similar.

Toriyama also shard some background on the trailer’s opening. The trailer opened with a romantic scene of Snow and Serah against what appeared to be a fireworks ceremony. This ceremony is actually the largest event in Serah’s town. She resides in a resort town that’s visited by many tourists. Snow and the Nora crew live there too. When they’re not fighting against the government, they manage a beach house.

While giving our first in-depth look at Serah, the trailer also provided our first brief glimpse at a new character — a black-haired girl who appeared at the end of the trailer. Asked if this character would be important, Toriyama would only say that details would be announced in the future. However, he suggested that there are hints about the character in the information revealed during the Premiere party.

The two did manage to touch a bit upon the gameplay side of things. Did you think Vanille’s fishing rod-like weapon was odd? Then wait until you see Snow’s weapon. Apparently, that long coat Snow is always seen wearing is his weapon. The coat has a slot for special patches which can be swapped out to give it special powers. In terms of the game’s storyline, the coat is something that was made by Nora using technology from the government.

One area of the Premiere Party (and TGS) demos that struck us as odd was the missing launch command from the battle menu. In the original Advent Children demo, you were able to select a launch command to launch your foes into the sky. Toriyama explained that this move has been made to occur automatically in order to make the game more user-friendly.

This isn’t strictly gameplay-related, but we have a feeling people are going to spend a good amount of time on it. There’s a bit more to Sazh’s afro than just a giant mass of hair. The afro actually shakes as the character walks. Additionally, Kitase revealed that the game’s engine has wind parameters that effect the environment. When the wind blows, the trees will shake, and so too will Sazh’s fro.

It looks like Square Enix still has plenty left to share on Final Fantasy XIII even after the recent announcement of a December 17 Japanese release date. We, of course, have no complaints!

From Neogaf we have even more information about Final Fantasy XIII as well as Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII:

Serah’s hairstyle is derived from another title’s actress.
Hope was designed during the audition for motion capture.
Hope’s the only person allowed to call Lightning, Light-san. Even the dev staff is required to call her Lightning.
The menu screen for the TGS demo will still have an important menu selection still hidden. Can’t talk about the secret at the moment. Important aspect related to 13’s system.

Sazh summon is NOT Ifrit. (This was missunderstood by a lot of people)

FF Versus XIII
New information blowout will be after the new year. I want to let some information out soon, but the dev team is telling me, not until quality’s improved further.

FF Agito XIII
Might release information before versus. The battle is very different from before. It’s different from Crisis Core and is more or less like an action game.
FF Agito XIII will not be shown at TGS. 

Source: IGN and NeoGAF

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