Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy

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Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy
Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy (logo).jpg
Official logo of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, depicting a deity from the series mythos.[1]
Genres Role-playing
Developers Square Enix 1st Production Department[2]
tri-Ace
HexaDrive
Tayutau K. K.
Publishers Square Enix
Creators Kazushige Nojima, Shinji Hashimoto, Yoshinori Kitase
Platforms Android, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Platform of origin PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Year of inception 2006
First release Final Fantasy XIII
  • JP December 17, 2009
  • NA March 9, 2010
  • EU March 9, 2010
  • INT December 16, 2010
Latest release Final Fantasy Agito
  • JP May 14, 2014
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 subseries stemming from the main Final Fantasy series, made in the same vein as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Fabula Nova Crystallis is a series of games featuring various worlds and different characters, but each game is ultimately based on and expands upon a common mythos focusing around important crystals tied to deities. This mythos can be freely interpreted by the teams developing the games. The series title translates from Latin as 'The New Tale of the Crystal'. The original titles in the series were handled by Square Enix's 1st Production Department.

The series, officially announced in 2006 as Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII, currently consists of six games across multiple platforms. Final Fantasy XIII, designed as the series' flagship title, was released in 2009. The series contains both standard role-playing games and action role-playing games. The creative forces behind the series include many developers from previous Final Fantasy titles, including Shinji Hashimoto and Motomu Toriyama. The mythos was conceived and written by Kazushige Nojima. Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XV (as Versus XIII) were the first ones to be conceived, with Final Fantasy Type-0 (as Agito XIII) coming later. All three games went through delays for various reasons. After XIII and Type-0 '​s releases, their respective teams used ideas and concepts from development to create additional games. For later games, other studios have been brought in to help with aspects of development.

Of the six announced titles in the series, XV is the only one yet to be released. Those released in Japan and the west have generally received a positive reception and high sales, although opinions have been more mixed over various aspects of the three XIII games. Reception of the mythos' use in the released games has been mixed: while some critics called it confusing or too similar to the lore of the main series, others were impressed by its scope and use. The series is complemented by works in related media, including companion books, novelizations, and mangas.

Titles[edit]

Games[edit]

  • Final Fantasy XIII, the thirteenth core Final Fantasy game and the first title in the series, was released in Japan as a PlayStation 3 exclusive on December 17, 2009, while it was released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 9, 2010 in North America and Europe.[3] A version of the game for the Xbox 360, Final Fantasy XIII Ultimate Hits International, was released in Japan on December 16, 2010.[4] It was released as a digital download for Microsoft Windows on October 9, 2014.[5] The game was designed to be a story-driven single-player RPG,[6] with a battle system designed to emulate the cinematic battles seen in the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.[7]
  • Final Fantasy Type-0 (originally known as Final Fantasy Agito XIII) was released on October 27, 2011 in Japan, and is being localized for the west as an HD remaster.[8][9][10] The original game features a real-time action RPG, featuring combat similar to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and a multiplayer option where online players can take control of characters during the majority of the game.[11][12] Type-0 HD features updated graphics and changes to the gameplay, such as lower difficulty and the removal of multiplayer.[13][14]
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2, a direct sequel to XIII, was released on December 15, 2011 in Japan, January 31, 2012 in North America and February 3, 2012 in Europe.[15] In response to criticism the company received for XIII '​s linear structure, XIII-2 was designed to be a more traditional RPG, with explorable towns, a nonlinear story structure, mini-games and other similar features.[16]
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, a sequel to XIII and XIII-2, was released on November 21, 2013 in Japan, February 11, 2014 in North America, and February 14, 2014 in Europe.[17] It concludes both the story of the main character Lightning and the Final Fantasy XIII story arc.[18] Lightning Returns blends several traditional RPG features, such as shops, quests and an explorable open world, with an action-oriented combat system.[19]
  • Final Fantasy Agito, a prequel to Type-0,[20] was released on May 14, 2014 in Japan on Android and iOS smartphones, and a port for the PlayStation Vita is in development.[21][22] It is being localized for a western release.[23] It is an episodic game featuring single-player and multi-player modes and a social system where the player's standing with NPCs advances their rank in-game.[24]

Upcoming titles[edit]

  • Final Fantasy XV (originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII), the fifteenth core Final Fantasy title and the third main title in the subseries, was announced in the same year as XIII and Type-0. The game is an action RPG, with a battle system very similar to the Kingdom Hearts series,[25] while also incorporating third-person shooter elements similar to Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII,[26] and enabling the player to commandeer and control enemy mechs.[27] The game also uses an open world design.[28]

Related media[edit]

The stories told in the games have been expanded and complemented in other 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. Originally released online through the game's Japanese website from September 2009 onwards, it was released in print on December 12 of the same year.[29][30] A second novella titled Episode i was published via XIII-2 '​s official website, bridging the narrative gap between XIII and XIII-2.[31] After XIII-2 '​s Japanese release, two books were released detailing events not shown or described in the game: Fragments Before, released on December 15, 2011:[32] and Fragments After, released on 21 June 2012.[33] Only Episode i has received an official English translation and release as a pre-order bonus for the game from American electronics store Best Buy.[34] Lightning Returns was also set to received a prequel novel by Benny Matsuyama alongside the game's Japanese release in November 2013,[35] however this was later cancelled due to the author falling ill.[36] Later, a three-part novella exclusive to Famitsu Weekly magazine titled Final Fantasy XIII Reminiscence: tracer of memories, was released across June and July 2014, written by Daisuke Watanabe and taking place immediately after the ending of Lightning Returns.[37]

Final Fantasy Type-0 received a manga adaptation drawn by Takatoshi Shiozawa. It became publication in the November 2011 of Young Gangan and was collected into a single volume and released on April 21, 2012.[38][39] A second manga following one of the game's secondary characters began in May 2012. The latter manga was created by Shiozawa under direct supervision by Tetsuya Nomura.[40] The manga ended in January 2014, with a bonus chapter released in February of the same year.[41][42] Two novels detailing an alternate version of Type-0 were released on April 21 and June 28, 2012.[43][44] Ultimania guide and companion books have been released for the majority of released games.[45]

Themes[edit]

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.[46] The first is a common theme of harmful interference by the mythos deities in the affairs of humans, and those humans' choosing whether to accept or challenge the predetermined fates given to them.[47][48][49][50] Nomura defined the underlying story theme as "a battle of the gods that lies behind each tale and gives it inspiration in a different way."[51] 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.[48] The games share the same mythology, interpreted differently and referred to in varying degrees for each of the game worlds.[52]

In the mythology, the god Bhunivelze (ブーニベルゼ Būniberuze?) seizes control of the mortal world by killing his mother, the creator goddess Mwynn (ムイン Muin?), who vanishes into the Unseen Realm. Believing that the mortality of the world is Mwynn's curse, Bhunivelze creates three new deities to search for the gate to the Unseen Realm so he can control both worlds. The first deity, Pulse (パルス Parusu?), is tasked with terraforming the world; the second deity, Etro (エトロ Etoro?), is discarded because of her resemblance to Mwynn; the third deity, Lindzei (リンゼ Rinze?), acts as his protector. Bhunivelze then enters a deep sleep, while Lindzei and Pulse carry out their missions. Distraught at being abandoned, Etro kills herself. Lindzei uses Etro's blood to create humanity.[53] Once in the Unseen Realm, Etro finds Mwynn being consumed by a force called chaos, which threatens to destroy reality: as Mwynn fades, she tells Etro to protect the balance between the worlds. Etro gives humans pieces of chaos as their souls, maintaining the balance through their death and reincarnation. Since then, humans have either worshiped or feared Pulse and Lindzei, and refer to Etro as the goddess of death.[48] The deities, such as Etro, hold similar roles in the various games, but are not the same characters in a narrative sense.[46]

A recurring race in the games are god-like beings created by Pulse and Lindzei to act as their servants in the mortal world. In the original mythos and XIII, the demigods are called fal'Cie /fælˈs/. They take the form of crystal-powered mechanical beings in the XIII games.[54] In the universe of Type-0, they are both semi-sentient crystals and humanoid beings living among the people.[55] The fal'Cie have the ability to imbue chosen humans with magical powers and assign them a task to complete either willingly or unwillingly. XIII and Type-0 refer to these people as l'Cie /ləˈs/ and the task given to them as a Focus. In the XIII universe, there are two possible outcomes for l'Cie: once their Focus is fulfilled, they can go into 'crystal stasis', transforming into a crystal statue, and gain eternal life, but if they fail they become mindless crystalline monsters called Cie'th.[56] In Type-0, l'Cie are branded by the crystal of their country, and given great power to fulfill their assigned Focus. Despite being given eternal youth, l'Cie can lose their memories and eventually forget their Focus.[57] The crystals also erase the memories of the dead from the population to prevent them being held back by regrets.[58] In XV, they are humans who have suffered a near-death experience and received magical powers from the Unseen Realm.[59]

A common element not related to the mythos, themes or plots of the series is the use of Latin in the games' titles or worlds, often as key words to describing themes and story points: the series title translates as 'The New Tale of the Crystal',[60] 'Agito' roughly translates as "to put into motion",[61] while 'Versus' translates as both "to turn around" and "against".[62] The 'Agito' title was kept within the Type-0 universe with both an in-universe concept and the title of its prequel.[63][64] 'Versus' was also preserved in the game, and early trailers for the game carried the tagline 'A World of the Versus Epic' at their end.[65] Commenting on the high use of Latin in XV prior to its public name change, Nomura stated that he wanted something that the majority of people would note and appreciate, as Latin was no longer a widely spoken language and had gained a sense of mystery.[66]

Production[edit]

Creation[edit]

The concept for the Fabula Nova Crystallis series originated while Final Fantasy X-2 and the original Kingdom Hearts were being completed. Wondering where to go after the completion of Final Fantasy XII, it was decided to build upon the idea of multiple games connected by a single theme. This came from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, a multimedia subseries featuring the world and characters of Final Fantasy VII. Whereas the common link in the Compilation was VII, the team chose to focus on "the tale of new crystals", with the themes and mythos connecting the games rather than an overarching narrative.[67] Another key idea behind the mythos was to make future Final Fantasy games easier to make as there would already be an established mythos to draw on.[68] Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima began creating the original mythology for the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, which took approximately one year.[69] During his work, he received creative input from game producers Shinji Hashimoto and Yoshinori Kitase, as well as Nomura, Motomu Toriyama and Hajime Tabata.[62] Nojima wrote a series bible about the mythology, explaining concepts such as the fal'Cie and l'Cie and the feelings of the gods who created them.[1][69] This bible became the basis for a video animated by Yusuke Naora's art team to showcase the Fabula Nova Crystallis story in 2011.[1]

The individual directors are allowed to freely interpret the base mythology when they create their games.[52][68] When referring to this freedom, Tabata has compared the mythos and the concept behind it to Greek mythology; a mythology with common themes and deities, but featuring a large variety of unrelated stories.[63][68] Toriyama conceived a story for Final Fantasy XIII set primarily around the mythos' deities and their direct relations to the world.[63][69] Tabata and Nomura focused more on the human side of the story:[63][70] Tabata chose to portray the divine elements from a historical standpoint in Type-0,[63][71] and while Nomura created a real-world setting in XV, referring far less to the terms within the mythos.[62][72] Nomura was also appointed as the main character designer for all entries in the series.[51] In a 2007 interview, Hashimoto compared the planning of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series to film franchises such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.[73] The development of all games connected to the mythos was handled by Square Enix 1st Production Department.[2]

Development[edit]

Final Fantasy XIII began development in February 2004 after the mythos was finalized.[69] It began as a title for the PlayStation 2 under the codename "Colors World",[74] however it was moved onto PlayStation 3 after the positively received Crystal Tools engine demo in 2005 and the delayed release of XII.[75][76][77] 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.[62] 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.[78] XIII was worked on by team members who had also worked on Final Fantasy VII, VIII and X,[79][80] Agito XIII was handled by Tabata and Kosei Ito, the respective director and producer of Before Crisis,[81] while Versus XIII '​s development was headed by the team behind the console Kingdom Hearts games.[82] XIII and Versus XIII were intended to form the core of the series, with each supporting and future game being a "facet" of XIII.[60]

Agito XIII and Versus XIII both began production in 2006,[78] and all three titles went through extensive changes and delays during production; by 2008, Agito XIII had been moved onto the PlayStation Portable,[83] then later renamed Type-0 to distance it from Final Fantasy XIII while keeping it within the mythos.[84] 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 due to lack of continued relevance.[1] Late in its development, XIII also changed from being an exclusive when an Xbox 360 version was announced, significantly delaying its release.[85] A PC port was considered, but not followed up due to platform-specific concerns and how the company saw the then-current video game market.[86] Later, all three XIII games would receive digital-only PC ports.[5] 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.[87] The game was eventually re-branded in 2011, when the game entered full production,[88] though it, like Type-0, was kept within the subseries' mythos.[89][90] The game was also moved fully onto next-gen consoles, with the PS3 version abandoned due to concerns about the console's continued viability.[90] Type-0 '​s western release was delayed due to the flagging PSP market in western territories, and was eventually announced for a western released as a high-definition port to the same platforms as XV with the idea of boosting sales prior to the latter's release.[14] Type-0 HD '​s development was handled by independent Japanese studio HexaDrive.[91]

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.[92] For these games, Japanese developer tri-Ace was brought in to help with the games' design and graphics.[93][94] The three games and their respective tie-in media are generally referred to by Square Enix as the "Lightning saga", in reference to the games' central character.[95][96] 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 both a prequel and an alternate tale set within Type-0 '​s world.[63][97] The game was co-developed by mobile game developer Tayutau K. K.[20] Agito was eventually ported to the Vita.[22] 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.[98] 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.[99] 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 titles in the series.[92][100]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) 84%[101]
(X360) 81%[102]
(PS3) 83/100[103]
(X360) 82/100[104]
Final Fantasy Type-0 - -
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3) 79%[105]
(X360) 79%[106]
(PS3) 79/100[107]
(X360) 79/100[108]
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) 66%[109]
(X360) 70%[110]
(PS3) 66/100[111]
(X360) 69/100[112]
Final Fantasy Agito - -
Final Fantasy XV - -

The subseries' mythos has received mixed reactions from gaming sites. Hardcore Gamer's Brady Hale called the series "anything but ordinary" in the variety of games it featured.[113] In an article concerning the 25th Anniversary event for the Final Fantasy series, Joystiq's Ben Gilbert called the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos "occasionally bizarre and often beautiful".[114] DualShockers' Alexa Ray Corriea, in her analysis of the series, noted that it stood out in the Final Fantasy franchise due to the negative effects of crystals on the worlds, while also comparing the mythos to the creation myth of the Emishi, an indigenous people of Japan.[48] In 2014, Jeremy Parish of USGamer said that the series was "much ado about nothing", stating that since the games shared a large amount of themes and plot points with the main series, there seemed little reason for a distinction.[77] The layout of the mythos and its terms received mixed reactions in XIII, resulting in the production team toning down their use for XIII-2.[115] Siliconera writer Spencer Yip, in his review of Lightning Returns, commented that the story and pace of the game was "muddled" by the mythos.[116] In contrast, the handling of the mythos in Type-0 was praised by RPG Site's Erren Van Duine in an import review of the title, with him saying that "elements such as l'Cie and fal'Cie are handled in much more interesting ways."[117]

Final Fantasy XIII was positively received in Japanese magazines, garnering exceptionally high scores from both Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation.[118][119] In the west, the game was praised for its graphics, battle system, and music,[120][121][122] but opinions were mixed about its story and it was criticized for its highly linear structure.[123][124] XIII also won an award for best graphics in GamesRadar '​s 2012 Platinum Trophy Awards.[125] XIII-2 received a positive reception overall, gaining perfect scores from Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation,[126][127] and high scores from most western sites. Common points of praise were its non-linear nature, improved battle system and graphics,[128][129][130] while the main points of criticism were its story and characters, which were often called weak, confusing or both.[131][132] Lightning Returns received mixed to positive reviews, with its combat being highly praised,[133][134][135] its graphics and time limit mechanic drawing mixed responses,[136] and the story and characters being cited as poorly developed.[137][138] Type-0 had a highly positive reception in Japan, with it garnering near-perfect scores in Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation.[139][140]

Sales[edit]

XIII broke sales records for the Final Fantasy franchise,[141] selling 1.5 million units in Japan on its release day,[142] and a further million a month after its North American release.[143] XIII-2 was the most purchased title of 2011 in Japan upon release, and reached second and first place in sales charts in the United States and United Kingdom respectively.[144][145][146] Lightning Returns had lower first-week sales than its predecessors, but still topped the sales charts in Japan, selling over 277,000 units in its first week and over 404,000 copies by the end of 2013.[147][148] It ranked as third and eighth in the UK and US February sales charts respectively.[149][150] Approximately 1.4 million copies were sold by September 2014.[151] The three XIII games have collectively sold 11 million units worldwide.[152] Type-0 sold 472,253 units in its first week,[153] and went on to sell over 740,000 units in Japan.[154] The title was also added to the company's list of Ultimate Hits, re-releases of lucrative titles.[155]

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External links[edit]