TGS 2008: Final Fantasy XIII Trailer Impressions

Square Enix teases us with a bit of Lightning in their short but tantalizing trailer.


TOKYO--It's rather heartbreaking that Square Enix doesn't let the press photograph or videotape the events that unfold in its darkened Mega Theater on the TGS show floor. We'd prefer to show you the delights that unfurl rather than describe them to you, but in lieu of such eye candy, all we can do is type up some words and hope they do the CGI scenery some justice. One of the many trailers that we saw today was for the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy XIII, the upcoming role-playing game in the beloved series. We didn't come away knowing much more than before, but we wanted to give you a glimpse into our collective mind's eye.

Land of the Lost.
Land of the Lost.

The teaser begins from above. We watch a multicolored bird travel along its flight path, while below, the landscape whizzes by. The scene looks almost prehistoric in nature, which is further enhanced by a bit of jungle atmosphere and the sight of a number of lizard-like creatures slowly meandering forward. And looking on, we see a character previously seen in Final Fantasy XIII trailers, a girl with red hair tied in pigtails. She gazes into the valley as the creatures lumber on.

The montage continues with other equally thrilling sights. Airships, a series staple, cross the sky. However, the ship we close in on is one of the most gargantuan ones that we've yet seen in a Final Fantasy game. It is highly detailed, its metallic design covered with gears and moving parts, and the mechanical monstrosity fills the entire screen as it flies ahead. We then move to a quieter moment in which a beautiful blue humanoid rises from the sea, strumming a harp. The soundtrack slows while we see the harp strings glisten and the various hues of blue and aquamarine shimmer on the screen.

And then another image, this time a familiar one: Bahamut, or a creature very similar, rising in his fiery glory, in possibly the most dramatic presentation yet for the mythical dragon. Again, we cut to another scene, this time featuring an enormous blue machine made of crystal. This tells us we're in the Cocoon, the city at the heart of Final Fantasy XIII, and the crystal is the sentient entity that protects the city from harm. In the trailer, the crystal is under attack by scorpion-esque walkers shooting what look like wired anchors toward it as if to tear it down. And then we cut to a flurry of acrobatic moves involving Lightning, the game's beautiful, ruddy-haired female star. We also see a motorcycle zoom past on a pathway of ice.

The next shots close in on a legion of troops as they emerge from a castle-like structure, led by a shrouded woman who appears to be their young commander, or even a queen. However, this queen was obviously not content to rule with her bourgeois wiles; she was a capable young woman, and her face was both youthful and intelligent. The teaser ended with a shot of the pigtailed girl lounging with a blond man in a cap and sporting a goatee--the same man we've glimpsed in prior trailers.

Stubble is scary. So is the gun.
Stubble is scary. So is the gun.

The trailer ended with a pronouncement that Final Fantasy XIII will be on store shelves in 2009 on the PlayStation 3. Xbox 360 owners needn't worry about their exclusion in this regard; that version of the game isn't being released in Japan, but is still on track for its American release. We have our fingers crossed that the next time we see Final Fantasy XIII, we see the game in action, but until then, we'll have to settle for short looks at pretty scenes. GameSpot will bring you more information on all of the iterations of Final Fantasy XIII as it becomes available.

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