Shortly after it was discovered that Square Enix has registered the domain name www.finalfantasy13-2game.com, they have come right out and announced that Final Fantasy XIII is receiving a direct sequel. The only details that are known about Final Fantasy XIII-2 thus far is that it features Lightning from the original as well as another mysterious character who is shown battling with her in the trailer. The game’s antagonist? A rival? One can only speculate until Square Enix releases more details. It will also feature an “evolved” battle system. Evolved from what, again, is just mere speculation. The game will release for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, though the release date has been listed loosely as “next winter”, which would lead to speculation that they’re aiming for a Christmas ’11 release.
This is not the first time that a direct sequel has been released for a game in the main series. Final Fantasy X-2 was a direct followup to Final Fantasy X starring Yuna that sought to tie up some loose ends left behind by the original. And provide fan service. There are also other titles such as Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII that attempts to expand on their respective games to varying degrees of success.
Considering that FFXIII shipped nearly 6 million units, it’s not surprising that a followup would be in order, regardless of how much it may have divided the fanbase. The thing I find interesting is that there are already two other games with XIII in their titles currently in production: Final Fantasy Versus XIII which has been in development for what seems like an eternity. Likewise, Final Fantasy Agito XIII was announced so long ago that they might as well move it to the PSP’s successor. (EDITOR’S NOTE: After this article was put in, Final Fantasy Agito XIII‘s name was announced as being changed to Final Fantasy Type-0, which will be an unrelated spin-off to the other three Final Fantasy XIII titles.)
Speaking as someone who loved the original FFXIII and who played it to completion (and then some), the prospect of receiving a sequel and so quickly after the original kinda frightens me. This isn’t to say I won’t play it (I will), but consider that the majority of FFX-2 was a copy and paste job of its predecessor. Sure, they changed the battle system completely, and a few characters got redesigns, but all of the maps and locations looked identical to the way they did before. Also consider that FFXIII‘s maps were more linear than even FFX, so all of those corridors that people hated navigating in the original FFXIII will most certainly be back.
Perhaps I’m wrong, and Square Enix will surprise everyone with an epic open world adventure, but considering that the development time of FFXIII was nearly half a decade, I highly doubt it. The trailer for Final Fantasy XIII-2 is below.