In a previous interview, you may remember that members from the Final Fantasy XIII development made a most infamous comment, claiming that making towns in high definition games was "very hard."
Speaking to RPGSite at E3 2011, Final Fantasy XIII-2 director Motomu Toriyama shared some more details regarding this common criticism, as well as what their plans were to improve on that issue.
When asked if we could possibily see towns similar to those in games like Final Fantasy VII through IX, Toriyama said, "we did take it seriously that there was a huge criticism over no towns—we know people didn’t like it and so we took that and have towns in the new one." He went on to describe the type of things that will be in said towns, such as shops, and exploration.
However, Toriyama then went on to say, "I think if we created towns in the same way as we did for Final Fantasy VII-IX, it would be quite boring, and so it is very difficult." His reasoning was that, in XIII-2, they added an AI for every NPC in the game, which allows them to act on their own within the environment. He says it's a "quite different type of town you would find in a Final Fantasy game."