Like its spin-off Final Fantasy XIII: Versus, the "true" Final Fantasy XIII seemingly exists more as a story and FMV than as a game at this point. In its defense, though, the FMV is pretty much completely jaw-dropping.
Shown only in Square Enix's TGS "closed mega theatre," the newest trailer for FFXIII has no gameplay footage whatsoever -- but it does contain a ton of new scenes and some narration to help give context to the glimpses we've seen over the past year and a half. The general noise level of the show made the narration difficult to hear, but here's what we've gathered:
Like most Final Fantasy games, XIII seems to be set in a futuristic fantasy world with aerial cities connected by mighty airships. But this world is beset by something called the "Cocoon," which appears to be ravaged by monsters -- Bahamut and Ifrit were shown, among others. To maintain the peace, or perhaps for more nefarious reasons, some people are relocated to a place called Pulse. The train seen in previous trailers apparently serves this purpose.
Lightning, the powerful woman warrior who has dominated XIII footage to date is described as having been chosen to put an end to Pulse. More of her battle on the train is shown before a dropship releases an army of yellow-clad soldiers who descend by rocket and surround her.
New characters are shown -- the mysterious blond man in a black skullcap and white trenchcoat (to date only apparently known by his shoe size, "Mr. 33cm") puts in an appearance, brawling with enemies and tossing a magic sphere into the air which resolves into the summon Shiva. Now seemingly cybernetic, Shiva transforms into a motorcycle which Mr. 33cm rides as he fires at motorized foes while riding through a massive loop. A well-aimed hit destroys an opponent's motorcycle, sending it plummeting below to explode.
The scene shifts to a more rural, scenic view as various beasts run alongside a river. The camera pans to the cliffs to reveal a third character, a young woman with pinkish hair pulled back into a pair of pigtails. It's safe to assume that she will serve as the game's requisite "jailbait" character (i.e. Yuffie, Selphie, Rikku, Penelo). From a reverse angle, we see that the pink-haired girl is looking into the sky at what appears to be a frozen or disintegrating moon.
Given how little has been revealed about its gameplay, FFXIII seems likely to be a 2009 release. But going by the trailers we've seen -- particularly this latest one -- it feels like the sort of sequel Final Fantasy fans want, full of familiar elements and unexpected twists side-by-side. Oh, and lots of very pretty graphics.