Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy
|Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy|
Official logo of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, depicting a deity from the series mythos.
|Genres||Role-playing video game|
|Developers||Square Enix 1st Production Department|
|Creators||Kazushige Nojima, Shinji Hashimoto, Yoshinori Kitase|
|Platforms||Android, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
|Platform of origin||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|Year of inception||2006|
|First release||Final Fantasy XIII
|Latest release||Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
|Official website||Official portal|
Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy (ファブラ ノヴァ クリスタリス ファイナルファンタジー Fabura Nova Kurisutarisu Fainaru Fantajī ) is a series of games developed and published by Square Enix. A spinoff from the main Final Fantasy series, made in the same vein as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and the Ivalice Alliance, Fabula Nova Crystallis is based on various worlds and different characters, but each game is ultimately based on and expands upon a common mythos that can be freely interpreted by the teams developing the games. According to Square Enix, the only connection between the games' settings is a "vague crystal theme".
The series, officially announced in 2006 as Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII, currently consists of six games across several platforms. The series' flagship title, Final Fantasy XIII, was released in 2009. Of the six announced titles in the series, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy Agito are the only ones yet to be released, while Final Fantasy Type-0 has yet to be released in the west.
Creation and development
In April 2004, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima began creating the original mythology for the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, which took approximately one year. During his work, he received creative input from game producers Shinji Hashimoto and Yoshinori Kitase, as well as directors Motomu Toriyama, Tetsuya Nomura and Hajime Tabata. Nojima wrote a book on the mythology, explaining concepts such as the fal'Cie and l'Cie and the feelings of their creators, the gods. This book became the basis for a video animated by Yusuke Naora's art team to showcase the Fabula Nova Crystallis story. Tabata has compared the mythos and the concept behind it to Greek mythology; a mythos with common themes and deities, but featuring a large variety of unrelated stories. According to Kitase, the individual directors may freely interpret the base mythology when they create their games, as was the case for Toriyama, who conceived a story for Final Fantasy XIII set primarily around the mythos' deities, while Tabata and Nomura decided to use the mythos as the basis for stories about the people of their worlds. Normua also opted for a setting similar to the real world, an idea that originated during the development of Final Fantasy VII. In a 2007 interview, Hashimoto said that the Fabula Nova Crystallis series was planned out in a similar fashion to film franchises such as Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings film series.
Final Fantasy XIII began development in early 2004 as a title for the PlayStation 2 under the codename "Colors World", however it was moved onto PlayStation 3 after the positively received Crystal Tools engine demo in 2005. The two original titles in the series were XIII and Versus XIII. Agito XIII was conceived later, when Tabata was looking for a new project after finishing Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. Originally titled Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII, the three titles were announced at E3 2006, with Agito XIII being a mobile phone title similar to Before Crisis and the other two being PS3 exclusives. Agito XIII and Versus XIII both began production in 2006, and all three went through extensive changes and delays during production; by 2008, Agito XIII had been moved onto the PlayStation Portable, then later renamed Type-0 to distance it from Final Fantasy XIII while keeping it within the mythos. The reason was that, in the view of Square Enix, the game had little to do with the world and story of XIII: the title change also resulted in the 'XIII' numeral being dropped from the series title. Late in its development, XIII also changed from being an exclusive when an Xbox 360 version was announced, significantly delaying its release. As early as 2007, Square Enix considered re-branding Versus XIII as the next numbered entry in the franchise due to the rapidly growing scale of the project. The game was eventually re-branded in 2011, when the game entered full production, though it, like Type-0, was kept within the subseries' mythos. The game was also moved fully onto next-gen consoles, with the PS3 version abandoned due to concerns about the console's continued viability.
After the release of Final Fantasy XIII, the creators wanted to expand on the game's setting and tell more stories about the characters, so the game eventually received two sequels: XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. The three games and their respective tie-in media were generally referred to by Square Enix as the "Lightning saga", in reference to the games' central character. Alongside that, Tabata, who still liked his original concept for Type-0 as a mobile game, resurrected the project in the form of Final Fantasy Agito, which acted as an alternate tale set within Type-0's world. In an interview shortly after the re-reveal of XV, Nomura said that, even though the game's story would have a definitive end, sequels were being considered. Another rumored entry in the series, Final Fantasy Haeresis XIII, was seemingly confirmed to have been discarded when its trademark expired in 2011 and Square Enix did not renew. While there was speculation that the series would come to an end with the development of Lightning Returns, Kitase repeatedly stated that, while Lightning Returns was the end of the setting and characters of Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels, there was still room for further games in the series.
Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy XIII, the first title in the series, was released in Japan on December 17, 2009, as a PlayStation 3 exclusive within the territory. It was released in North America and Europe on March 9, 2010, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. On December 16, 2010, Final Fantasy XIII Ultimate Hits International was released in Japan as an Xbox 360 exclusive. It features English voice acting with Japanese subtitles and an "Easy" mode. The game was designed to be a story-driven single-player RPG, with a battle system designed to emulate the cinematic battles seen in the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
Final Fantasy Type-0 (originally known as Final Fantasy Agito XIII) was released on October 27, 2011 in Japan. After it had switched from mobiles to PSP, the game was designed as a real-time action RPG, featuring combat similar to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, a game from the same director for the same platform. The game also features an online battle system where multiple players take on in-game opponents. It has yet to be officially confirmed for release in the west.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released in Japan on December 15, 2011. The North American English version was released on January 31, 2012, while its European counterpart was released on February 3, 2012. The game was done in the fashion of a more traditional RPG, with explorable towns, a nonlinear story structure, mini-games and other similar features: these changes were mostly due to criticism the company received for XIII's linear structure.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, a sequel to XIII and XIII-2, was announced on 1 September at the 25th Anniversary Event in Japan, set to conclude both the story of the main character Lightning and the Final Fantasy XIII story arc. Originally announced for a 2013 release date, it was released on November 21, 2013 in Japan, and it will be released in February 11, 2014 in North America, and February 14, 2014 in Europe. Also announced is an Ultimate box set which contains all three XIII games, an action figure of Lightning, CDs of selected music and a special art book. Lightning Returns blends several traditional RPG features, such as shops, quests and an explorable open world, with a combat system is more akin to an action RPG, dispensing with menus and instead opting for commands mapped onto the gaming controller.
Final Fantasy Agito, a story set within the universe of Type-0, was announced for Android and iOS smartphones in September 2013, set for release later the same year. The game was designed to be released in installments, similar to Final Fantasy Dimensions. It alternates between single-player and multi-player modes, employs a turn-based battle system revolving around player-created combos, closely linked job and leveling systems, and a social aspect whereby performing the right interactions with NPC characters increasing the player character's overall standing and rating.
Final Fantasy XV (originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII), another official title in the series, was announced in the same year as XIII and Type-0 (then Agito XIII). The game is an action RPG, with a battle system very similar to the Kingdom Hearts series, while also incorporating third-person shooter elements similar to Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII.
The stories told in the games have been expanded and complemented in other forms of media. Final Fantasy XIII had a small book of short stories titled Final Fantasy XIII - Episode Zero, telling of events prior to the game's start. As a pre-order bonus for XIII-2, there was a second novella, Episode i was released, telling of events immediately after the game's ending and bridging the gap between the two games. After XIII-2's Japanese release, Square Enix released two 200-page-plus book: Fragments Before which relates events before the game's start that are hinted at or partially seen: and Fragments After, which shows events that happened during and after the game, tying up loose story threads. Only Episode i has received an official English translation. All three books were written by Jun Eishima. Lightning Returns was also set to received a prequel novel by Benny Matsuyama alongside the game's Japanese release, however this was later cancelled due to the author falling ill. Final Fantasy Type-0 inspired two manga adaptations: one was eventually collected into a single volume and released in April 2012, and a second unrelated manga following one of the game's secondary characters. The latter manga was created under direct supervision by Nomura, was started in the same year as the release on the first manga's compilation and is set to end in 2014. The game also inspired two novels telling an alternate story.
While the settings, continuities and plots of the games are unrelated to each other and vary greatly, there are many common elements and themes which tie them together. The first is a common theme of harmful interference by the gods in the affairs of humans, and those humans' attempts to challenge the predetermined fates given to them: this theme is explicitly used by Kitase to describe the underlying narrative of XIII and its sequels. The second unifying factor is the structure of the Fabula Nova Crystallis universe, which is divided in two: the mortal world (the land of the living) and the Unseen Realm (the afterlife, called Valhalla in the XIII games).
The games share the same mythology, interpreted differently for each of the game worlds. In the mythology, the god Bhunivelze (ブニベルゼイ Buniberuzei ) seizes control of the mortal world by killing his mother, the creator goddess Mwynn (ムイン Muin ), who vanishes into the afterlife. Under the impression that the necessary mortality of the world is a curse left by the goddess, Bhunivelze creates two new divine beings to search for the gate to the Unseen World so he can defeat his mother and control both worlds. The first deity, Pulse (パルス Parusu ), is tasked with terraforming the world to reveal the gateway. He creates the second deity, Etro (エトロ Etoro ), to aid the first, but he unwittingly makes Etro in the image of his mother and gives her no powers, discarding her. Instead, he creates a third deity, Lindzei (リンゼ Rinze ), whom he charges as his protector and tasks with trying to force the door between the worlds open. Bhunivelze then enters a deep sleep, while Lindzei and Pulse carry out their missions, creating the fal'Cie // to aid them. The fal'Cie take the form of crystal-powered mechanical beings in the XIII games and semi-sentient crystals in Type-0. Etro, given no powers or mission, falls into despair and kills herself in a final attempt to have her creator's attention. Once in the Unseen Realm, Etro finds Mwynn being consumed by a dark force called chaos, which threatens to devour the worlds: as she dies, the goddess charges Etro with protecting the balance between the worlds. By that time, Lindzei used Etro's discarded blood to create the first humans. As they were destined to follow her in death, Etro gave humans pieces of chaos that form their spirits to maintain the balance that is kept between the worlds. Since then, humans have either worshiped or feared Pulse and Lindzei, and referred to Etro as the goddess of death.
A final common theme is the l'Cie //. The l'Cie are humans who are marked by the fal'Cie with a magical brand, granting them numerous magical abilities and assigning them a "Focus", a task to complete either willingly or unwillingly. In the XIII universe, there are two possible outcomes for one who is branded as a l'Cie: once their focus is fulfilled, l'Cie can go into 'crystal stasis', transforming into a crystal statue, and according to legend gain eternal life, but if they fail they become mindless crystalline monsters called Cie'th. In Type-0, l'Cie are branded by the crystal of their country, and must obey the will of the crystal or the orders of their commanders. Despite being granted eternal youth, they are cursed with the gradual loss of their memories and any true goal in life. Although they have not been referred to as such, l'Cie appear in XV: they are humans who have suffered a near-death experience and received magical powers from the Unseen Realm.
|Final Fantasy XIII||(PS3) 84.87%
|Final Fantasy Type-0||(PSP) 80.00%||-|
|Final Fantasy XIII-2||(PS3) 79.08%
|Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII||-||-|
|Final Fantasy Agito||-||-|
|Final Fantasy XV||-||-|
Final Fantasy XIII was positive received in Japanese Magazines, garnering exceptionally high scores from both Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation. In the west, the game was praised for its graphics, battle system, and music, but opinions were mixed about its story and it was criticized for its highly linear structure. The game received an award nomination at the Spike Video Game Awards for Best RPG of the year. It also broke sales records for the franchise, selling 1.5 million units in Japan on its release day, a further million a month after its North American release, and eventually going on to sell over 6 million units worldwide.
Its sequel XIII-2 also received a positive reception overall, gaining perfect scores from Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation, and high scores from most western sites. Common points of praise were its non-linear nature, improved battle system and graphics, while the main points of criticism were its story and characters, which were often called weak, confusing or both. The game sold over 697,000 units during its initial release in Japan, becoming the best-selling title of 2011 in that country. The game was then the second best-selling title in its release month in North America, and the best-selling title in the United Kingdom. The game has sold just over 3 million units worldwide as of January 2013. The two XIII games together have sold 9.7 million units.
Type-0 had a highly positive reception in Japan, with it garnering near-perfect scores in Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation. The title sold 472,253 units in its first week, and went on to sell nearly 700,000 units. The title was also added to the company's list of Ultimate Hits, re-releases of high-selling titles.
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