UPDATE: Square Enix has confirmed a winter 2012 release for Europe and an evolved battle-system to boot.
Amidst rampant hype and years of thumb-twiddling from fans, Final Fantasy XIII was finally released last year and divided opinions worldwide. Regardless of the questionable quality, Square Enix made oodles from the multimillion-selling FFXIII so are developing another game set in the same universe. No, not Versus or Agito but a direct successor, side-stepping the now convoluted numbering convention. Final Fantasy XIII-2 has been announced with only the logo to serve as information about the game. From it, you can see Lightning is back with the introduction of a new unknown character but that’s about it. The story comes from Kotaku who pointed out Square’s fondness for tipping convention with their numbered Final Fantasy releases. None of the main games follow on from each other but Final Fantasy X received a sequel called Final Fantasy X-2 and since XIII was made by the same team, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise for that to get a sequel too.
The news will no doubt be as divisive as the game itself with those burned by a mediocre experience of Final Fantasy XIII clashing with fans who accepted its problems and loved it. I didn’t finish so am unaware of the greatness it’s said to possess after 12 hours of playing but I do have around eight hours under my belt and that was enough for me. In that time I got to see some stunning graphics and sampled an innovative battle system but became soured by the story and repetitiveness. One day I’ll surpass the point of tedium and get to the excellence beyond but hopefully the sequel won’t have to contain one long tutorial segment at the beginning and drop players straight into the best bits, leading on to even greater things.
From the outset, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is set for both PS3 and Xbox 360 release, so no allegations of PS3 exclusivity to be smashed at this year’s E3 then. And no lengthy wait either as it’s scheduled to be coming sometime this year. I’m cautiously optimistic…