The newest Final Fantasy game finishes the quest of Lightning, the protagonist of FFXIII and one of the more interesting Final Fantasy characters in recent years. Square Enix has shown footage of the game off at E3 and other recent events and it looks great. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII isn’t coming out in the US until sometime next February, but the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) has seen an advance copy. The game rating agency gave the Lightning Returns a “T for Teen” rating, but its description makes it sound more like and “M for Mature”!
“Corpses are depicted in a handful of scenes, some lying in pools of blood with notes pinned to their bodies. Female characters are occasionally depicted wearing revealing outfits (e.g., tops that show moderate amounts of cleavage), and one cut scene scene features camera angles that linger on a female character’s chest and buttocks.”
Is this a Final Fantasy game or Duke Nukem Forever?
The Final Fantasy series is known for its swashbuckling, sword and sorcery story lines and colorful, cartoonish characters and environments. It’s a model that screams “family friendly”. But even back in the Super Nintendo days, Square Enix’s flagship RPG flirted with very dark themes and violence.
Final Fantasy 7 in particular presented a dystopian future filled with corruption, genocide, and all other manner of terrible things. The game’s darkness is only punctuated by the sudden death of a main character. Oh and FF7 also had the ridiculous, and offensive, cross dressing/brothel scene.
FF7 benefited from the fact that it was populated with cutesy anime characters, which probably spared it some scrutiny from the watchdog groups of the time. The world of FFXIII is similar in many ways to FF7′s and Lightning has been compared to Cloud. Today’s technology allows for a level of realism that makes any violence or other objectionable content that much more effecting.
The full rating description from the ESRB follows below. FFXIII Lightning Returns looks like it’s going to be an excellent final chapter in the trilogy, and the ESRB ratings are pretty notorious for taking things a little too seriously. But be forewarned, “The words “a*s,” and “bastard” appear in the dialogue.”
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Content Descriptors: Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence
Rating Summary: This is a role-playing game in which players assume the role of a warrior named Lightning as she attempts to save human souls while battling the forces of Chaos. Players perform quests while exploring a fantastical world and interacting with various characters; combat sequences occur frequently and are presented in real-time format. Players use swords, axes, guns, and magical attacks (e.g., thunder/lightning, fireballs, energy blasts) to battle demons, dragons, elaborate robots, and other human-like characters. Battles are highlighted by sword slashing sound effects, explosions, and occasional slow-motion effects. Cutscenes occasionally depict characters being impaled by swords, and/or dissolving into particles. One element of the story concerns a cult-like group suspected of murdering several young girls who resemble Lightning. Corpses are depicted in a handful of scenes, some lying in pools of blood with notes pinned to their bodies. Female characters are occasionally depicted wearing revealing outfits (e.g., tops that show moderate amounts of cleavage), and one cutscene scene features camera angles that linger on a female character’s chest and buttocks as she discusses a performance with a male director. Lightning occasionally encounters drunken characters that are depicted waving mugs around, slurring their speech, and stumbling. One drunken man sends Lightning on a quest for high end booze before agreeing to a request. Lightning is also able to purchase beer and tequila at bars and consume the items to replenish health. The words “a*s,” and “bastard” appear in the dialogue.