Square Enix hosted a live Lightning Saga marathon gaming stream on its Japanese Youtube channel not long ago. After finishing Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2 with efforts of various Nico Nico users and Square Enix employees, a special event was streamed where a small group of the whole team returned to play the first 15 minutes of Lightning Returns : Final Fantasy XIII starting with the opening CGI.
Most of the showing takes place in the same area as the E3 demo in Yusnaan where Lightning chases Snow and fights a dragon boss. It is the tutorial dungeon of the game. Unlike the E3 demo where the game ended with the dungeon boss dragon, they continued on to view a few vital exposition scenes and Lightning returns to The Ark where Hope temporarily resides. Then the team experiments with the game customization, reaching the 15 minute mark.
The entire 15 minutes can be viewed below in chronological sequence:
A lot of the important cutscenes contain spoilers to a certain degree. So far, there has been a translation of the conversation between Lightning and Hope in The Ark. More will be updated if more are translated by fans.
WARNING: If you do not want early game spoilers, do not read any of the translation.
Lightning conversing with Hope in The Ark
Translated by The Garden of Everything
Hope: Welcome home, Light.
Lightning: Hope Estheim, a boy who once shared the same fate as me and fought against it. In the beginning, he could only curse his unfortunate fate. But he quickly developed into a dependable comrade. And as he continued to move forward with unwavering determination, he even became a strong leader who guided the people and watched over their future. At least, that’s what he once was… But when I heard God’s voice and awakened from my long slumber, Hope had returned to his child form, as though he had leapt back in time. And in this familiar form, Hope – the master of “The Ark” – introduced me to Bhunivelze’s divine plan.
Hope: The god of light, Bhunivelze, is incapable of stopping the Chaos from destroying this world. So he has decided to, instead of saving this world, create a whole new one. However, there is no point in creating a new world if there are no people to live in it. This is where you, the “Savior”, come in. The Savior will release the souls trapped within this dying realm and guide them to the new world. Only you hold the power to save every soul – including Serah’s.
Lightning: So, basically, this is all a trade. If I want to save Serah, I have to play along as God’s little messenger-girl.
Hope: Only you can fit this role. However, I also find it unpleasant that he is using Serah as leverage.
Lightning: I don’t think so.
Lightning: My little sister’s life is being held in a bargain. Normally, I would never forgive something like this. But the feeling just doesn’t resound within me anymore… It’s like there’s a hole in my heart.
Hope: I…know what you mean. It’s the same with me. I can recall experiences from my past, but I can’t remember how I felt during them.
Lightning: Perhaps it’s one of those divine “blessings” from God. His loyal servants have no need for emotions. That’s why we have none.
Hope: Then… I should suppose it was also part of his plan to put me back into this body.
Lightning: I never had a choice. I was the one who led my sister, Serah, to her death. To save her, I could only agree to obey this so-called “God”. And in this way, Hope and I became servants of God. I as the Savior – guiding souls to the new world. A servant of Bhunivelze, the god of light.
Hope: Light? Lightning? What’s wrong? Umm… Are you okay?
Lightning: I was just thinking. Don’t worry about it.
Hope: Approximately five hundred years ago, stability was destroyed and Chaos flooded into the world. Despite the vastness of our world, the Chaos has managed to corner all life within a rather short amount of time.
Lightning: And when the Savior loses all strength to go on, the bell will toll for the end of the world…right?
Hope: The echoing sound will awaken Bhunivelze, signaling him to establish the new heavens and earth.
Lightning: The question is, how many souls can I save before then..?
Hope: Yes. The souls we are unable to save will disappear along with the old world.