Dengeki PlayStation (via Andriasang) encountered producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Motomu Toriyama, who talked a bit more about the episodic nature of the game and perks for those who have played the previous game.
If you've got a save file from Final Fantasy XIII handy, you'll net some bonuses: special monster decorations and a higher success rate at the game's special gambling area. Each episode will be at most three hours, it was revealed, and an auto-saving system will be added for the sequel, though it won't replace being able to save at any time. That would just be silly.
And if you make your way through the whole game and want to take another go, there will be a New Game Plus mode that adds exclusive unlockable items and monster decorations. Monsters really are more festive in Gran Pulse and Cocoon than we remember.