The story, like Final Fantasy XIII, focuses around crystals. The main character, Noctis Lucis Caelum — who is part of a lineage of kings, but is not yet king himself — leads the country holding the last crystal, which is beneficial to his country’s military, political, and economic standing. Because of increasingly apparent modernization in contrast to neighboring nations (making them equivalent to a developed nation), Noctis’s kingdom has isolated itself from the outside world. At one time, all the other countries also possessed a crystal, yet lost them in warfare. They pooled their resources into weapons, granting them firearms in exchange for swords and magic. A long cold war has gone on about the use of the crystal. Recently, a peace treaty was talked about between the countries, but a group of marauders are beginning to break it.
There also exists a mythology in the kingdom of Tenebrae, an opposing country, about a goddess of death, the Goddess Etro. She is said to greet the souls of the deceased, and open the door to the afterlife. When that door opens, the released souls burst out in a streak of light that ascends to heaven. However, very few people are able to see the light, and those who can see it are given power from the Kingdom of the Dead. During their conversation, Noctis and Stella mention they can see the light, and the former wonders if they are dying.
Game’s focus is to examine the characters’ humanity and distinguish it from the fantasy setting in other titles in the series. Nomura is “trying to propose new vision of how a Final Fantasy game can be. The game’s going to be more human than the science-fiction caricature … and will focus around current world events – in that sense it’s darker”.
The world Versus XIII takes place in what seems similar to the real world, with modern technology such as cars and highways, but also contains countries with medieval elements, such as castles and armored soldiers. According to the developers, the locations in the game are based on real world locations. So far, the following replicas have been seen or confirmed by the developers: Saint Mark’s Square and Basilica (from Venice, Italy), Manchester (England), a US gas station and Shinjuku (an area of Tokyo, Japan).