I played the beginning of Final Fantasy XIII where Lightning and a stereotypical minority character whose name I have long since forgotten run through a train and I thought, “This looks a hell of a lot like the time Cloud Strife and Barrett Wallace (a completely different sterotypical minority character whose name I can remember) began Final Fantasy VII by running through a train.” Now Square Enix’s announced pre-order bonus for Final Fantasy XIII Lighting Returns really hammers that point home as Lightning has a chance to dress like Cloud if you pre-order.
This “limited” pre-order bonus for Lightning Returns will let you dress up the titular Lightning in Cloud’s SOLDIER 1st Class Uniform as well as his Buster Sword and Soldier’s Band. Additionally, Lightning will strike Cloud’s finishing animation and victory fanfare.
This sort of pre-order bonus is a great incentive for nostalgic gamers who liked Final Fantasy VII and might be okay with XIII. Additionally, Square Enix can milk some of that pre-order bonus money while doing as little original game development work as possible. And the cosplayers can now wear their Cloud costume with a Lightning wig to really ham it up during anime conventions. Though now I have to dig through my anime convention coverage to see if someone has already cosplayed this.
Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Returns is a sequel of that Final Fantasy game where a ragtag group of resistance fighters team up to fight the established organization, which again rings familiar with plot of Final Fantasy VII. Though going by the trailers, Lightning Returns looks more action based than RPG based. Nevertheless, any Final Fantasy XIII game that aims to keep Vanille and her Cloudcuckoolander personality away from gamers can be considered an improvement.
Whether you care about Lightning crossdressing as a familiar SOLDIER, Lighting Returns is scheduled for the PS3 and XBox 360 on February 11, 2014.