One of the most impressive kernels to come from TGS was the debut of a new seven-minute Final Fantasy XIII trailer. Those of us in attendance sat back in awe of the visuals, gripped by a story we couldn’t understand without an English translation. But that’s not a problem now that we have the dubbed version in our hands.

So what did we learn from the trailer?

The first and most surprising tidbit is that main protagonist Lightning has a sister, Serah. Even more, Serah is engaged to the rugged male lead Snow. The couple takes a leisurely hover bike ride at the beginning of the trailer, chatting about the news of their engagement. There words are tinged with sadness, however, as Serah divulges she has been marked as an l’Cie.

The l’Cie are central to the plot of FF XIII, and as far as we understand are individuals marked by a great crystal to fulfill a higher destiny. Each l’Cie’s destiny is specific and comes with a great cost. Although they are not explicitly aware of what they must achieve, if an l’Cie fails to fulfill their destiny within an allotted time they will die and be transformed into a type of monster. It’s not a pretty fate, so we understand Serah’s concern. 

Aside from the looming threat of a fate worse than death, being an l’Cie isn’t all bad. l’Cie’s are gifted with the ability to summon master creatures. It appears that the majority of FF XIII cast members are l’Cie, and the trailer highlighted three of the unique summons. Called Eidolons, each summon has a standard and vehicle form – one that the character can ride to amp up their attacks. We’ve already seen the impressive showing of Odin’s horse form (via Lightning) and Shiva’s motorcycle incarnation (via Snow).

The trailer introduced a third Eidolon, who bears a slight resemblance to Ifrit in terms of color and an affinity for fire. Summoned by Sazh, the newly revealed Eidolon transforms into a hotrod and spews flame from its exhaust pipes. Despite the similarities to Ifrit, this Eidolon could be an entirely new creature to the series.

So who are our heroes fighting? The world of FF XII is spliced in two, the majority being the wild and untamed Pulse, and the second a floating paradise named Coccoon. Lead by one of the lead antagonists, Yaag, an entire army has been created to deport those influenced or tainted by Pulse and to take out the l’Cie, which are seen as a threat to the entire existence of Cocoon.

What else did we see? The trailer was full of eye candy, from epic air battles to skirmishes with behemoth war machines. And there was plenty of existential dialogue and questioning of each character’s place in the world. But enough from us. If you haven’t already, go watch the thing!

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Now that a few more details about the enigmatic game have come to light, it’s getting tougher to contain our enthusiasm. The fanfare of the pending Japanese release is sure to fan the flames even more.