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Final Fantasy XIII Update

Details on Gran Pulse, monster hunting, Cactuar's girlfriend, and one of the pivotal events in the FFXIII story.

Lightning and Hope team up in Final Fantasy XIII. Famitsu has lots of details this week.

Famitsu has its promised mega scoop on Final Fantasy XIII in this week's issue. As usual, while many of the broader details were shared in recent issues of Jump and V Jump, Famitsu manages to get the specifics on such areas as Gran Pulse, the mission system, and new areas of the world.

As detailed last week, the area we've been referring to Pulse since FFXIII's announcement has another name, Gran Pulse. Why the two names? Director Motomu Toriyama tells the magazine that the people of Cocoon refer to Pulse as just Pulse. However, the people who live in Pulse refer to it as Gran Pulse, a name that suggests their appreciation for the natural world. The Gran Pulse name is the proper one, says Toriyama.

Pulse is full of giant beasts, some towering like mountains above the characters. The magazine has an interesting note about the Pulse creatures. They're actually of the same origin as Cocoon's creatures. The same type of monster looks different between the two worlds, as Cocoon's monsters evolved differently due to their enclosed environment.

Of course, there's more to Cocoon's monsters than just natural evolution. The Cocoon government has been turning monsters into weapons by fusing them with mechanical parts. An example is the Behemoth III Reformed beast from the Advent Children demo. This creature was modified for army use, but it's still a bit smaller than the King Behemoth monster you'll encounter in Gran Pulse.

Also getting major space this issue -- almost a full page! -- is the cactus-like Sabotender enemy (known in English as Cactuar). Jump showed screens of a massive Sabotender, but most of the subsequent attention appeared to be focused on the two standard-sized Sabotenders standing in front of the massive one. One of the two had a flower growing out of its head, suggesting, perhaps, a girlfriend for the classic FF enemy. Famitsu notes that the flower Sabotender previously appeared in Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon, where it gave up lots and lots of Gil. The magazine also notes that we've seen giant Sabotenders before, in FFVII and FFX-2.

Moving on to the mission system, Famitsu confirms something that Jump only implied. Rather than a general quest system, FFXIII's mission system is all about monster hunting. The missions given to you by the Cie Corpse obelisks that you find around Gran Pulse require that you defeat specific monsters in exchange for rewards. These missions are separate from the main FFXIII story.

When you take on a mission by speaking to an obelisk, you're given the location of the beast, the difficulty in the form of a letter ranking, and a mission description. The description is actually a recollection of the Cie Corpse from when it was in human form.

Finding your mission target shouldn't be too hard. In addition to a general location given in the mission screen, the target is flagged with a red "MISSION" marker above its head.

Defeating the required monsters may not be as easy as finding them, though. The mission monsters are special, powerful beasts. But in exchange for your hard work, you'll get rewards, including items. You'll be able to replay the mission over and over again, earning rewards each time.

You're also given rankings or titles of the form "Kind Rookie" as you clear missions. Screens show the rank rising during the mission result screen. The magazine speculates that you'll be able to take on certain missions only once you've reached a certain rank.

Toriyama shares a few details on the background story of the obelisks (the term obelisk is probably incorrect, but I'm going to use it until someone suggests something better or Square Enix shares an official English name). Cie Corpses, or l'Cie who've failed to fulfill their duty, wander around for a long time and eventually crystalize into the obelisk form. They wait in this state for a l'Cie to fulfill the failed mission for them.

On a sad note, Toriyama confirms that even if you do fulfill the Cie Corpse's mission, they're stuck in the obelisk form forever. As he describes it, they've already reached a state where their spirit can no longer rise.

Finally, a few details on some of the new areas that were introduced in Jump. Two new areas have come to light recently: the Yashias Mountain region, and an underground ruins area.

The Yashias Mountain area appears to be home to an ancient city, but now it serves as the nest for groups of Cie Corpses. Toriyama reveals that the city was created by a high level civilization that once lived in Gran Pulse. Players will have to learn for themselves what happened to that civilization.

The ruins area looks like it's one of the central points in the FFXIII story. It's in the underground of Boudam, the city which Lightning and all call home. The ruins were apparently lifted up from Pulse hundreds of years back, and now there is a Pulse fal'Cie waiting here

The term "ruins" is used in the FFXIII world to describe buildings and other things that were brought up from Pulse. They have a different phrase for ruins of structures that have always been in Cocoon.

According to Toriyama, when the fal'Cie in the ruins under Boudam was first discovered, an investigative team consisting primarily of PSICOM soldiers was sent into the ruins. The soldiers were viewed by the fal'Cie as l'Cie, but they were unable to cope with the weight of their assigned objective, and became Cie Corpses who now roam the ruins.

This incident was one of the reasons that the Cocoon government began its purge of the Boudam area.

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