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Final Fantasy XIII-2: Time Paradoxes, Serah's Background Story, Blood Damage, and Chaos

Kaias and Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII-2

Despite two new trailers and a new playable build, the Tokyo Game Show showing for Final Fantasy XIII-2 left us with a whole lot of questions both on the story and gameplay side of things. Famitsu answers a few of those questions this week through interviews with director Motomu Toriyama, battle director Yusuke Matsui, and character designer Tetsuya Nomura.

Here's a summary of the Famitsu report, based off our usual source for early Famitsu leaks, Sokuho@Hokanko. Before reading, be sure and check out our earlier story, which was also based off Famitsu's feature.

Serah's Background Story

The TGS trailers show Snow and Serah together for the first time since XIII-2 was announced (it was actually our first glimpse at Snow). In the trailer, the two characters have been reunited after two years.

Serah and Noel in Final Fantasy XIII-2

Serah is the only character who remembers Lightning as being alive. Everyone else, including Snow, either says she's dead or she's turned into crystal form.

Snow believes Serah's words, though, and heads off on a journey to find Lightning. He doesn't return, so Serah heads off with Noel in pursuit of Lightning.

Time Paradoxes

Time paradoxes are a central component of the game, says Toriyama. This is true of both gameplay and story. We already saw how time travel works into the gameplay a couple of weeks back.

On the story side, Lightning no longer exists in the world due to the effects of a time paradox. As detailed above, only Serah seems to have the memory of a world with Lightning. We'll find out why this is the case as the game's story progresses.

Time paradoxes affect different areas of the world in different ways. In the Bresha Ruins area, a time paradox has caused an enemy called Atlas to appear. The way you figure out how the paradoxes have affected each area is set up somewhat like a mystery.

The time paradoxes began happening at the ending of FFXIII. Because of this, you won't be able to going back in time to before that point.

Other Characters

As detailed in our previous report, the Hope character who appears in the trailer is from 10 years after the events of FFXIII. He's 24 years old and is leader of a group called Academy. This group is searching for energy in the absence of fal'Cie (you'll recall that in FFXIII, the fal'Cie beings were the sources of all human livelihood). Because of his research, he knows that Serah is traveling through time.

Snow and Hope look a bit different in the recent trailers.

The TGS trailers provided our first introduction to Kaias, the male character from the game's first trailer. He's an enemy who has an influence on both Valhalla, the world where Lightning exists, and the regular world where Serah and friends exist. Like Noel, he's from the future.

Regarding Noel, he's from a world of few people, which is why he has a fragmented way of speaking. He's very happy to meet people. Due to the time paradoxes, his memory has become vague, she he's not sure if some major event happened in his time.

Both Lightning and Noel are shown in the trailer surrounded by a black smoke. This is known as "Chaos." It has something to do with Valhalla.

The trailers show another newcomer character named Yuru. She has deep ties with Kaias and is a major character. This character was designed by Hideo Minaba, Nomura tells the magazine. Minaba also did the designs for Hope's adult clothing.

Monster Collecting

Matsui's comments with the magazine are mostly about the game's monster raising component. They're placing a good amount of time on this area of the battle system.

The game will have rare monsters -- monsters that have a low encounter rate or are hard to capture, for instance. It seems that you won't be able to add giant monsters to your party, though.

Different monsters have different difficulties in terms of commands. Even if you fail at inputting a command, the monsters will still attack, although succeeding with a command will result in greater damage.

Battle and Character Growth

XIII-2 has the concept of "Blood Damage." Each time you're hit with blood damage, you lose a portion of your max HP. In the first FFXIII, if you had a healer in your party you could recover from damage without trouble. But in XIII-2, you can't recover from blood damage, so you have to defeat enemies quickly.

Toriyama says that the staff is currently making adjustments to areas that they feel may be too hard. However, the final version has an easy mode, and you can switch to it whenever you want.

XIII-2 gives you the ability to freely change your battle leader -- that is, the character you're directly controlling -- during battle. When your current leader dies, you'll be switched to another character (this is different from FFXIII, where if the leader died, the game ended).

In addition to taking direct control, you can also assign attack AI routines, selecting from "normal," "concentrated" an "scattered." This is part of the new "Paradigm Tune" system.

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