That didn't come until a few years later though (and it was mostly because of people feeling jealous their game/character isn't as iconic or easily recognizable).
As for Lightning, there was a time when character arcs where finished in one game, and not ever a span of three games that I'd argue weren't even planned from the beginning.
That's the disgusting part. Not to mention, Toriyama having the nerve to call Lightning the first female protagonist.
I was neutral till now about Lightning and the game, and I even wanted to get it of course. Now I'm just disgusted.
That doesn't really bother me. Sometimes sequels aren't planned. People just get the chance to make them and they write them in. Nothing wrong with that imo. And Toriyama is tooting his own horn a bit calling Lightning the first female protag, when she only could be considered that because of a technicality.
None of this stuff compares to what they did to poor, sweet Cloud in advent children though. They completely reversed all of his development in the later half of FF VII so that they could make a movie about his nonexistent angst.. They even admitted to it. That's just wrong. :u
I like Lightning, but I wouldn't want her to be a poster girl for the series because that's just plain dumb. All characters that were born from their own world/title need to stay in that world (unless it's Kingdom Hearts/Dissidia) as that's how it makes them unique. Putting Lightning in every game as a hint would be very upsetting.
Gilgamesh was already in multiple games and is similar to chocobos, so that's okay with me. As for Chocolina, I don't know what I would feel about her if she appeared in other titles. A part of me wants to say that she should stay in the XIII universe, but at the same time, it would be interesting if she became a recurring element in future titles.
Lightning actually does become a series mascot in the future. In future games, there are many easter eggs where lightnjng appears. In one game she eventakes chocolina'w role and sells you stuff. In another, you have to chocobo race against her, and she's even the final boss in on e game.