After yesterday's teasing screens, Final Fantasy Versus XIII director Tetsuya Nomura has spilled the beans on the game's battle system. Head through the break to find out why you need Noctis as much as you need his companions.
According to a translation by Andriasang, Nomura confirmed that Noctis is a permanent party member, and that the plot requires his presence if other characters need to use magic powers. If Noctis falls in battle, it's game over.
Luckily he's a pretty adaptable chap and worth having around. Character animations, available combos and skills vary as they switch between equipped weapons, and Noctis can use a variety of weapons including swords, axes, lances and guns. As an example of the game's variety, Nomura listed hand guns, shot guns, rifles, machine guns and bazookas.
Other characters have their own specialisations but can also change weapons. Ignis is a support character, but can use throwing knives and a katana as well as magic. An unnamed scar-faced man is a bare-knuckle brawler but can wield pile bunkers and broad swords, while a blonde gunner has access to the same firearms as Noctis but with the additional power of a weak-spot exploiting aiming reticule.
You'll be able to switch rapidly between characters, too, and although this isn't required, can chain together compatible attacks to create free-form combos. A party consists of three characters, and players will be able to choose their own members later in the game. During combat, party member's faces are displayed so that you can judge their condition even when off-screen.
Magitek armour, chocobos, the "power of light", summoning and a mysterious orange gauge attached to a "new system" are yet to be explained.
Check out the Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer to view the frantic, acrobatic action for yourself.