Is Final Fantasy XIII-2 in the Offing? Artwork Prompts Speculation

A gorgeous sketch, some message board conjecture, a slow news day here, and presto, wild speculation time!

So wild it's not fit to print, but I'll give it space anyway, just to splash a pretty picture around.

Someone at NeoGAF noticed the following shot of Lightning, one of Final Fantasy XIII's protagonists, on a Japanese fan page. Turns out it's an art plate, signed by FFXIII character designer Tetsuya Nomura, with the words "She must not be forgotten." That's not a translation. Nomura dashed it off in beautifully styled English.

Lightning

Square Enix reportedly sent these "art plates" out as a thanks to Japanese fans with "ultimate" status Square Enix accounts.

So. "Must not be forgotten"? Does he mean figuratively or literally? We know Lightning's not in the upcoming Nomura directed Final Fantasy Versus XIII. That game's set in the same universe, but has nothing to do with Final Fantasy XIII.

Could Nomura mean a sequel of sorts that would include her? Something, say, like a Final Fantasy XIII-2, starring you as Lightning, leading another awful J-pop band? (You know exactly what I'm talking about, Final Fantasy X-2.)

Yeah, probably not. "Versus" already works as the XIII-franchise sequel this time around, and Square Enix hasn't even committed that to a 2011 timeframe. A rumor popped up earlier this year about a possible "direct" Final Fantasy XIII sequel based on comments allegedly made by FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase, but that's the first (and last) we heard of it.

I'd guess what Nomura's really saying is just that he digs the character (he created her, after all) and that she'll maybe pop up in the next spinoff game or straight-to-disc movie.

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