Final Fantasy XIII-2 directors discuss battle improvements

Instant Paradigm Shift, blood damage, more.

Dengeki PlayStation has an interview with Final Fantasy XIII-2 director Motomu Toriyama and battle director Yusuke Matsui this week. [email protected] has come through with its summary of the conversation, which sheds new light on improvements made in the sequel.

Paradigms can now be switched instantly. In Final Fantasy XIII, there was a small transition scene (about two seconds long) shown during every shift (unless your character was airborne); in Final Fantasy XIII-2, it’s non-existent. The idea is to have battles flow more efficiently. They’ve also added the ability to save your paradigm combinations.

On difficulty, Toriyama said the bosses of Final Fantasy XIII-2 may be harder than those of Final Fantasy XIII, but unlike XIII, XII-2 offers an easy mode at launch, which you can switch on and off during your game. Some bosses will require strategic use of the Paradigm Shift system, he added.

New to the series, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has blood damage, or damage that cannot be healed. The reason for this, said Toriyama, is because in Final Fantasy XIII, you could win a paced battle as long as you had a healer in the party. Healers cannot restore blood damage, he assured, but there are items that can.

Battles are flashier this time around. Along with the addition of quick-time events, overall player position is being reworked. If Noel is your defender, for example, he’ll move forward and guard. Each boss fight has a special camera position dedicated to that fight.

The team wasn’t sure how to scale the game, one reason being that they didn’t know what ‘level’ the player will be when they reach certain areas. To balance gameplay, the team created a special program that analyzed their testers logs, and balanced from their results. The ultimate idea is that the player should be able to play through the game defeating only bosses. Though, as an RPG, we’d suggest you play it with character growth in mind.

Like Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 will have summons. Though, unlike the first game, they’ll be done in a different way, as the characters in XIII-2 are not l’Cie—meaning they don’t have Eidolon.

Since XIII-2‘s main party consists of two characters, you’ll utilize a captured monster character as your third party member. According to Toriyama, who’s currently trying tolevel the ultimate monster, you can make one monster inherit abilities from another monster. Each monster, even those of the same type, grows differently.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is due for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on December 15 in Japan, January 31, 2012 in North America, and February 3 in Europe.

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