Final Fantasy XIII-2 is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming Japanese RPGs and is a rare direct-sequel to a Final Fantasy game, in this case the original Final Fantasy XIII released at the tail-end of 2009. The Final Fantasy XIII-2 release date is set for January 2012.
The only other game to hold the honor is Final Fantasy X with Final Fantasy X-2.
The game takes place five years after the conclusion to the first game, and sees Lightning, the protagonist of the FFXIII, disappearing into an unknown world. Her younger sister Serah Farron, a returning character from the original title, and a young boy named Noel Kreiss attempt to find Lightning and star as the game’s main characters.
The developers promise that XIII-2 exceeds the original “in every aspect” and will offer not only an evolved gameplay experience, but a much more non-linear and open title than the first game.
The combat system uses a variation on the classic Active Time Battle (ATB) system (that had a bar emptying at differing speeds before that character can act) as well as the Paradigm Shift system. Quick Time Events are used to deal greater damage (called “Cinematic Action”) and you can control certain enemies via the “Feral Link” bar, which fills up while attacking a tamed monster that you can recruit for your party, and allowing them to attack your enemy. Instead of enemies appearing on the field, they now appear randomly around you when you get close. If you can time the Mog Clock that appears on the screen just right with a battle encounter and defeat of the enemy, you’ll be given special penalties or rewards based on the time it took you to complete the battle.
The Live Trigger system allow the player to choose from different choices when speaking to an NPC, with various dialog trees to follow allowing for lots of variety in speaking to non-player characters. These choices will not effect the branching story or multiple endings, but instead just allow for more unique and fun conversations throughout the game. These selections will change each time you replay the game, allowing for variety and replay value.
There is also an Anomaly System that gives you certain puzzle-like problems to solve in a void between dimensions. Solving it will subsequently solve a known paradox in the “real” world, allowing for access to new areas and various rewards.
Here is a look at some gameplay footage of Final Fantasy XIII-2 from Comic Con 2011.
Here is the E3 2011 trailer for Final Fantasy XIII-2.
And this video offers much more details on the upcoming title and an in-depth look at the game in action.