Square Enix has announced the concluding chapter to the story of Lightning, who’s jounrey has so far impacted events in both FF XIII and FF XIII-2, in the shape of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

In a move which should please Final Fantasy traditionalists the new game looks set to open out the adventure to allow players more freedom to roam as was the case in earlier entries into the series, though the central idea, that the hero is on a quest to ‘save a doomed world from complete destruction world’ does sound faintly familiar to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Even to the point where Square Enix have confirmed that ‘certain areas, missions, and people will only be available during selected periods.’

It seems combat will receive a similar overhaul with Square Enix confirming a new battle system that ‘gives a level of direct control over the action unlike any Final Fantasy game,’ while we can take from the mention of ‘expansive environments featuring a rising and setting sun’ that the world will be one in constant flux.

Intriguingly there’s also mention of a ‘connected experience’ that links unique features in the real world to those in the in-game world but no more clue than that as to what we might expect.

‘We are pleased to reveal that Lightning is returning as the playable character in this title, and are excited to see how fans react to the more direct battle system and expansive environment that can be explored at will,’ said Producer Yoshinori Kitase.

With Game Director, Motomu Toriyama, adding: ‘Increased levels of player freedom, customisation and connectivity with the real world, will ensure that this concluding chapter will be an exhilarating finale to Lightning’s story.’

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is due for release in 2013 for PS3 and Xbox 360.