Motomu Toriyama, current director on Square Enix's Final Fantasy series, said that upcoming title Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be the 25-year-old franchise's "most complete and polished game" in a recent interview with VG247.
The game, slated to release next year, pits Lightning against a "new deity" in the final battle of the XIII trilogy. Toriyama said the game "will really take care to thoroughly embody the character of Lightning herself," adding that the game is much more world-driven compared to the first title's story-driven plot.
"The world also has links to our own real world, and will see setups with the world of Final Fantasy entering into our everyday lives," Toriyama added, referencing the game's real-time 24 hour day-and-night cycle.
Toriyama said that he believes the series has withstood the test of time due to its ever-evolving experiences, changing up storylines, characters, and settings. New hardware also plays a key role; developing for the newest gaming hardware challenges Toriyama's team to push that technology to its limits, and gives them the opportunity to address gameplay elements previous hardware may not have supported.
"I do not think there are any other series out there that have such change and evolution between each title," he said. "Sometimes the level of change in a new Final Fantasy game may be quite extreme, but I feel that one reason for the continued popularity of the series among each generation of fans is down to this ideology of challenging ourselves for each new game on the latest hardware of the time."