It just seemed too crazy to believe when the first details popped up; Last week, Kotaku reported that Japanese publisher Square Enix had registered the site domain for something called finalfantasy13-2game. It sounded like.... but that couldn't be, right? Surely, this was some sort of trick or prank. Square wasn't really considering developing a sequel to a sequel that wasn’t as especially well-regarded as other sequels in the franchise… were they?
But, sure enough, the site registration was legit and the game in question is totally real. Andriasang reports that, at a press conference last night in Japan, Square Enix revealed that a sequel to last year’s Final Fantasy XIII was well into development. The newly christened Final Fantasy XIII-2 continues the adventures of Lightning and her team of RPG vagabonds in a brand new adventure, utilizing the long-in-development engine (and, probably, some of the art assets) that powered the original game.
And because Square doesn't have to spend all of that extra time developing the engine, players won’t have to wait nearly as long to get their hands on this newest iteration of the game. According to Square Enix, Final Fantasy XIII-2 (which, in case you haven't guessed, is a game title that is just as terrible to type out as it is to say with your mouth) is on track for release in Japan this year on both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 (no need to wait for Microsoft's E3 Press Conference to get the news). That crazy-quick turnaround for this game’s development doesn’t just apply to the Japanese release; Joystiq reports that Final Fantasy XIII-2 should be available in English-speaking territories by “next winter.” Even if that means an early 2012 release date, that's a pretty short development cycle for a Final Fantasy game.
In addition to announcing the game, Square showed off the very first trailer for XIII-2 at the event itself. Technically, the full, high-resolution of the trailer was supposed to launch on the game's official site this Thursday, but that didn't stop the internet from shooting bad footage of the trailer and posting it online first.
So, can you guys glean any details about this Final Fantasy XIII sequel from the trailer? Here's what I noticed; Armored Ass-less Chaps. That is the worst. The worst.
For the most part, though, we really have no clues about how XIII-2 is going to go down. No real sense if the game is a continuation of the events set into motion at the end of XIII-1, or if this is a brand new adventure that has little in relation to the previous game. We don't know how (or if) the gameplay has changed, if the linear level layouts of the original game have been altered or kept in place, or even how many hours of the game will be devoted to a tutorial of the battle system (hopefully, less!). It doesn't really feel prudent to make any assumptions as to how this new game will differ from its predecessor, if at all.
But I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope hope hope that the game features Lightning as the leader of a J-Pop supergroup that uses the power of pop music to save the world from the sins of mankind or Armageddon or God. It worked so well the last time.