Final Fantasy XIII Trailer Impressions

We check out the trailers to three games bearing the Final Fantasy XIII name.

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TOKYO--At the DK Sigma 3173 event in Tokyo, Square Enix showed off trailers for its trio of Final Fantasy XIII games. The following is a roundup, but after the end of the trailers, there were a few surprise announcements. In particular, Final Fantasy XIII for the PlayStation 3 was confirmed for a 2009 release, and a playable demo will be bundled with the first shipment of Final Fantasy VI: Advent Children Complete (Blu-ray). Final Fantasy Agito XIII has been announced for the PSP, with no word on the mobile-phone version's status.

Final Fantasy XIII

For the most part, Final Fantasy XIII's trailer consisted of CG cutscenes that were shown in previously released videos. To recap what's been revealed so far, the story of FFXIII involves a large, floating, circular city called the Cocoon that's protected by machines and monsters created by a sentient crystal. The people living in the Cocoon are afraid of the outside world, which is called the Pulse, and the Cocoon's holy government exiles anyone suspected to have been influenced by the outside world.

The new trailer shown at this event confirmed that the tall blond man and the reddish-brown-haired girl who were seen in previous trailers will be friends with the game's protagonist, Lightning. One scene in the trailer showed the three characters walking together in an icy area, at which point they suddenly found themselves surrounded by soldiers with guns. As the three members braced themselves for battle, Lightning actually showed some signs of anger on her face, which is probably the first time that she's revealed any emotion in the trailers.

In another scene, we saw the reddish-brown-haired girl being escorted by soldiers who carried a cybernetic-looking object in front of her that looked a bit like a white coffin. The girl was wearing a white robe with her hands attached together, rather than the usual savannah-like outfit from previous trailers. As she walked toward a battle plane together with the soldiers, a blond-haired lady in a military outfit came out of the plane and walked toward her. We're assuming that she's some sort of commander or general working for the Cocoon's holy government.

Final Fantasy Agito XIII

Originally announced for mobile phones, Final Fantasy Agito XIII's storyline has remained somewhat fuzzy up until now. Previous trailers hinted that the game takes place in an academy and that it involves crystals. With the PSP version now announced, we were shown a better trailer that gives us an idea of the Agito world, and as it turns out, it's more than just a school story.

The new trailer started off with a brief look over the map of Orience, which is the name of FF Agito XIII's world. According to the narration, the four main countries of Orience have been in peace, thanks to a treaty that they've been respecting. But things took a change when a country known as the Milites suddenly decided to mount an invasion. Using its latest technological weapons, the country cut off the magic powers of Peristerium Suzaku, rendering its people powerless and forcing them to give in and break contact with the crystal. (Peristerium Suzaku is apparently the name of the location that we've seen in previous trailers. From the narration, we're assuming that it protects the other countries or something along those lines.)

The trailer showed a scene that looked like a Nazi speech from World War II, in which the leader of the Milites stood on a platform and zealously gave a speech to his soldiers in the middle of a street. As he raised his hands, the buildings on the side of the street suddenly rocketed up into the air and flew away. They turned out to not be buildings, but rather flying war vessels headed out for invasion.

The screen then changed to the world map again, with arrows showing how the Milites have rapidly started to conquer various areas of the Orience. The narration then told us that, given the grave situation, Peristerium Suzaku decided to assemble a small, elite team of warriors to free its capital city.

After the map scene, the screen surprisingly changed to in-game footage from the PSP version, which looked pretty solid and of high quality. The screen layout looked very typical of the usual Final Fantasy role-playing game, with a command menu and party-status window on the bottom. A gray-haired girl in a school outfit was seen attacking an enemy, followed by another battle scene in which three characters fought as a party against giant mechs. There was also a scene that looked like a monster summons, in which the player character went off the screen and a black knight appeared on a horse (probably Odin) to attack the enemy.

The trailer ended with a scene in which teams of soldiers wearing gray robes assembled together, each one holding a different weapon. The screen went pitch black, and the words "PSP version coming" appeared.

In another piece of video footage, the developers revealed that Agito may have seemed like a school game up until now, but you'll end up controlling more than just the student characters. There wasn't any specific mention of the game's release period or how far its development is just yet, although it was mentioned that they barely completed three characters to show them off for the battle scenes in the trailer.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII

The trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII was nearly the same as the version shown at Tokyo Game Show 2007, albeit with some new cutscenes that included a few seconds of real-time rendering by the PS3's game engine.

The trailer opened with the words, "This is a fantasy based on reality," before cutting to a car moving at high speed along an empty freeway in a futuristic city. Riding in the backseat of that car was a spiky-haired young man in black leather, looking outside the window in a bored manner. There was a radio broadcast that could vaguely be heard, telling us that the world had been in a cold war for the past few hundred years, a war that is expected to end soon with a new treaty and talks on how the crystal's powers will be shared.

In some new, additional scenes, we saw our main hero together with three other guys around his same age, somewhere in their late teens or early twenties. They seemed to be pretty buddy-buddy with each other. In a scene that took place on a dusty plane, one of them with blond hair had fun with our hero, laughing and putting him in a headlock. The blond-haired youngster also got headlocked by another guy who has slick black hair and a rough shave, wearing a T-shirt and a short-sleeved leather jacket. An intelligent-looking guy who wears glasses and has a hairstyle similar to FFVIII's Zell was seen in the background, sighing as he watched his friends act childishly. In another scene, the smart-looking guy was driving everyone in a car at night, and they were all having some kind of argument. In one of the last scenes, they were all looking at a building from far away, and we noticed that it was actually the City Hall in Tokyo. Given that some of the scenes from previous trailers also looked similar to areas in Tokyo (the Shinjuku district where Square Enix is located, in fact), we're left to assume that the game takes place in an alternate reality.

In the last scene, we got to see some real-time renderings with the PS3. It was simply a scene in which our hero walked up some stairs to meet a blond girl in a dress, so we didn't get to see how much action the engine can actually handle. But the graphics looked quite on par with the prerendered CGs, and we're looking forward to seeing more in-game scenes in the future. The trailer ended with the words "For PlayStation3 Only" followed by "Worldwide" appearing on the screen.

In separate video footage, the developers showed off some real in-game screens in which they moved the spiky-haired hero around a few locations in development. The game seems to run in third-person perspective, and we saw the area from previous trailers where the hero fought against a horde of soldiers in front of a building. Apparently, you'll be able to move around that area as well as the street that faces it. We also saw the hero walking around a rocky landscape, and to our surprise, a coliseum, which the developers referred to as "Olympus."

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