In this week's issue of Famitsu, a number of details about the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII-2 were made available, with a wide array of screenshots included in the bargain. The information was revealed during an interview with the game's art director, Isamu Kamikokuryo, who spoke about characters, locations, and design decisions.
Foremost, there will be other so-called main characters to go alongside the two that were on display at E3, Noel and Serah. There is some ambiguity as to what this will entail, but these characters will be joining others returning from the original game, the latter being slightly grown-up versions of their prior selves.
Kamikokuryo went on to reveal who's responsible for designing what; Tetsuya Nomura will be charged with facial designs for the characters, while the remaining elements are in the care of art directors from prior entries in the Final Fantasy series. One character, who was shown standing back-to-back with Lightning in the original January trailer, was designed entirely by another artist, Yusuke Naora.
There will also be another faction in the game, as enemies appearing in the Neo Bodham area are from neither Cocoon nor Pulse. Toshitaka Matsuda has been tasked with their design.
Kamikokuryo brought up a few other miscellaneous points concerning Final Fantasy XIII-2's design. A common pattern appearing on Lightning's shield and Serah's clothing will have significance that is to be revealed over the course of the game. Meanwhile, there was a call for submissions to design Moogles, but the staff chose to go with Matsuda's rendition in the end. Matsuda also designed Lightning's sword, various NPCs, new monsters, backgrounds, and summons that appear in a different form from the original Final Fantasy XIII.
Owing to the short production schedule, there wasn't time to do the normal array of concept art, and certain areas were based off of photographs and other resources. Kamikokuryo indicated that this was actually a positive, however, allowing for staff to more easily express their ideas. The actual maps have yet to be finalized; the staff has been given the initiative to fill them with shortcuts and other such side-quest material on a trial and error basis.
The interview did not shed any further light on release details; Final Fantasy XIII-2 is still scheduled for release sometime later this year in both Japan and North America. In light of this, a firmer date will likely be announced before too long.