Realistically, of course. We can't go backwards and Square Enix certainly has no intention of resurrecting dead mechanics.
Chances are, Final Fantasy XIII-2 will be very similar to FFXIII, with a few upgrades and alterations here and there. The most we could possibly hope for is the addition of towns, but even that might be a stretch. So what do you want? The fans have been forced to reassess their priorities when it comes to this franchise, as FFXIII was a departure in so many ways, and the company in question is hell-bent on "progression." …or at least, that's what they call abandoning winning formulas and attempting to cater to a completely different audience.
Personally, I just want FFXIII-2 to feel more like an RPG, and I can deal with the rest. For instance, let me switch my damn characters in combat and let me fully equip those characters. I also want more control in battle; I want to be able to pause the action in order to plan strategies, and get rid of the small drawbacks; i.e., letting enemies move during the initial animations of a Paradigm Shift. …that's called cheating . You can keep all the rest of it, although we could all do without the uber-linear 20 hours to start. I mean, I don't mind a linear path for the sake of in-depth storytelling and character development but even so, there's a reason the first part of FFXIII felt too tedious. I didn't mind it too much, but still…
I'm just wondering how the veteran fans feel. By now, they must know they'll never get the good ol' days back, and they'll just have to accept and make allowances. I suppose the question is, what are they willing to tolerate and what do they dare hope for? It's a little sad that we have to phrase the question this way when talking about the next Final Fantasy , isn't it?