Square Enix has partially explained how the real-time mechanics of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 will work.
Where Final Fantasy XIII was “story-driven” and Final Fantasy XIII-2 was “player -driven”, Lightning Returns is “world-driven”, director Motomu Toriyama told Japanese site 4Gamer, as translated by Siliconera.
What this means is that events don’t wait on the player or the story, but play out in real time. Toriyama said that “time management” will be an essential part of gameplay as a result.
As detailed during the RPG’s announcement in September, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 has a day-night cycle and gives the player just 13 days to prevent the end of the world. Some actions will delay the apocalypse, while others may hasten it.
Battle Director Yuji Abe gave further details, explaining that NPCs follow individual schedules, and different events occur depending on time of day. The day is divided into at least four distinct states – morning, afternoon, evening, or night – and while the team hasn’t yet nailed down how long one day will be, it’s expected to be somewhere between one to two hours.
As reported earlier, the RPG is designed for multiple playthroughs, and Abe said he hopes players will see new events each time they play through the story.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 is beginning to sound like one of the most exciting entries in the franchise in years; the suggestion of not being able to see all content in one playthrough is pretty bold in the current publishing environment. Also, Lightning is going to be almost god-like in her powers and you can dress her up. Amazing. Refresh yourself on all the facts by checking out the announcement and some plot details. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 release is due in 2013.