Cocoon. A paradise crafted by the inscrutable fal'Cie some thirteen centuries past.Game trailer
Cocoon is a floating continent in the world of Final Fantasy XIII. It floats in the sky above the land of Gran Pulse (known simply as Pulse to the people of Cocoon) like a low-hanging moon. Cocoon's altitude from Gran Pulse is about the arm's length of the fal'Cie Titan, and it is about the size of the real world North America. Although Cocoon has the appearance of a small planetoid, it is hollow and its inhabitants live inside of the shell, making it similar in concept to a Dyson sphere. Cocoon is a futuristic paradise filled with highly advanced technology which protects it against the supposed intruders from the planet below. It is ruled by the Sanctum.
Three years later in Final Fantasy XIII-2, the Sanctum has been replaced by a new provisional government led by the Academy. Many of Cocoon's former inhabitants have migrated to Gran Pulse, while others remained in Cocoon.
From her lofty seat, the world of Cocoon has long enjoyed tranquility. The interior of her spherical shell supports several sprawling cities and a population numbering in the tens of millions. Although a variety of dangerous beasts prowl the wilds, advanced technology and the protection of the world's fal'Cie keepers ensure residents a peaceful and prosperous existence. Travel to the lowerworld of Pulse is forbidden, but given their deep-seated cultural fears of the place, Cocoon citizens would not even think to venture beyond the paradise they know.
II. Lindzei's Nest
And lo, the viper Lindzei bore fangs into the pristine soil of our Gran Pulse; despoiled the land and from it crafted a cocoon both ghastly and unclean. Lies spilled forth from the serpent's tongue: 'Within this shell lies paradise.' Men heard these lies and were seduced and led away. O cursed are the fools who trust a snake and turn their backs upon the bounty of Pulse's hallowed land! For those who dwell in that cocoon are not Men, but slaves of the demon Lindzei. Ye who honor Pulse: rise unto the heavens, and cast down the viper's nest! :-- Author unknown
Cocoon is a massive sphere, constructed and set in the sky by the powerful and enigmatic beings known as the 'fal'Cie.' Up until 0 AF, it was a floating paradise that was home to several million people. Now, however, the broken shell rests on an immense crystal pillar, bereft of the power source that once kept it aloft. The interior of the sphere has deteriorated, forcing the population to relocate to the land below.
Cocoon was built by the fal'Cie many centuries ago under the premise of protecting humanity from the savage world of Pulse. Its current population numbers in the tens of millions. Cocoon is a colossal sphere on whose inside shell people live.
Cocoon is home to many futuristic cities, such as the floating capital of Eden, the port city of Palumpolum, the beach town of Bodhum, and the carnival city of Nautilus. There are expansive highroads located in the Hanging Edge, the exotic nature reserve of the Sunleth Waterscape, and ruined city of Bresha located on the outer-rim of Cocoon.
Six centuries ago a great war between Cocoon and Gran Pulse was waged called the War of Transgression, which is responsible for the large crack in Cocoon's outer shell which exposes its interior.
The people of Gran Pulse believe Cocoon to be a false paradise built by the devil Lindzei, who lured people to live there with sweet promises only to enslave them and steal their souls. Gran Pulse inhabitants see the people of Cocoon as impending intruders and the source of evil in the world; as Oerba Yun Fang puts it, "Cocoon's a floating nest of vipers ready to strike". Similarly, the people of Cocoon are made to believe Pulse is an aspect of hell, and its forces are poised to invade their beautiful world.
Cocoon is an artificial world built and powered by the fal'Cie, who are responsible for running everything from the artificial sun, Phoenix, in the center that provides the world with light and warmth and controls the weather, to cultivating the land and providing food and water, to keeping the world of Cocoon floating within Gran Pulse's atmosphere. Eden is a floating city from where the rest of Cocoon is governed. Distant landmasses are visible on the skies of Cocoon beyond the cloud coverage, and the nocturnal "starry skies" are, in fact, the lights of far off cities.
It is mentioned in the Datalog that Cocoon has over eight million fal'Cie. The fal'Cie Eden maintains Cocoon's complex operational systems, and is itself powered by fal'Cie Orphan that resides in a deep sleep in Orphan's Cradle, an alternate dimension created by Eden.
Cocoon is a sacrificial vessel of millions of human lives maintained by the fal'Cie to use as their means of summoning the Maker back to the world. The fal'Cie provide the humans a "paradise" with the intent to summon the mythical beast Ragnarok to destroy the fal'Cie Orphan. With Orphan destroyed, Cocoon's operational systems would fail and the floating continent would fall from the sky.
The fal'Cie plan to call the Maker, the god who created both the fal'Cie and humans, back into the world for the world to be reborn, by opening Etro's gate by sending a surge of human souls through it. The fal'Cie believe they can achieve this by sacrificing Cocoon and all its inhabitants. The fal'Cie themselves are unable to destroy Cocoon due to having been specifically created to maintain it and being unable to defy their core programming, so they need the help of Pulse l'Cie.
Cocoon's true purpose as the fal'Cie's "farm" for human souls is not apparent to its citizens, most of whom never question their masters' benevolence. The fal'Cie have two main goals in regards to their "farm": they don't want humans to ever leave Cocoon, and they want to stop any human conflicts from escalating into war, which could result in population drops. The fal'Cie's wish to cultivate humans for a sacrificial purpose may be the root cause for the high level of militarization within Cocoon, which at first may appear unnecessary seeing as Cocoon is touted as a peaceful utopia; the fal'Cie seek to keep the humans under tight control to suppress any possibility of the people warring among each other. The military presence is explained to the public by exaggerating the threat of the lowerworld, which also works as a deterrent for anyone wishing to leave. Although the citizens are under totalitarian rule as they cannot elect their own government, the world of Cocoon is filled with frivolous pastimes for the humans to engage in, diverting their attentions from seeking the undercurrent truth behind Cocoon's existence.
The fal'Cie-orchestrated animosity toward the lowerworld turns out to be a double edged sword as people become so afraid of Pulse any lowerworld presence triggers a chaos that can quickly escalate into violence. The fal'Cie thus come up with the concept of Purge whereupon anyone to have come in contact with lowerworld entities is removed from society. Although seen as severe and unfortunate, the public view it as a necessity.
The fal'Cie's plans for Cocoon's destruction become to materialize when two Gran Pulse l'Cie come out of crystal stasis within the Bodhum Vestige. As the Pulse fal'Cie within the structure is discovered it brands more servants for itself and Cocoon falls into chaos. The town of Bodhum is quickly Purged, but the fal'Cie Barthandelus, who rules Cocoon in the guise of Galenth Dysley, ensures the Pulse l'Cie remain safe within Cocoon, their Focus to summon Ragnarok to destroy Orphan. Oblivious of the fal'Cie's master plan, the l'Cie wander Cocoon while evading their pursuers, eventually finding their way to the Fifth Ark where Cid Raines, Barthandelus's l'Cie servant, explains to them the fal'Cie's true purpose for Cocoon.
The six Pulse l'Cie destined to destroy Cocoon flee to Gran Pulse in the hopes of changing their fate, but, manipulated by Barthandelus, the l'Cie return to Cocoon, charge through Eden, and make their way into Orphan's Cradle to protect Orphan. Orphan is awakened, and when it reveals its true colors as an enemy of Cocoon, the l'Cie see no way out of fighting it. After Orphan is destroyed the floating world begins to fall from the sky, but Oerba Dia Vanille and Oerba Yun Fang transform into Ragnarok and build a pillar from the ground up by crystallizing both Cocoon and themselves. The world is saved as the shell of the now crystallized Cocoon remains supported by the crystal pillar.
Final Fantasy XIII Gaiden Shōsetsu: Yumemiru Mayu, Akatsuki ni Otsu describes the events of Cocoon's fall from the inside. Citizens take refuge in gravity control facilities that have been hacked to withstand the planetoid's plummet. The cities' evacuation areas escape the adverse effects of the acceleration with the Antimatter Manipulation Principle tech at its maximum output. However, in parts of the cities not subjected to gravitational control, buildings crumble as if bombed and roads ripple like waves, seas gush, and mountains come apart and fall towards the sky.
Serah Farron returns to Cocoon with Noel Kreiss and Mog. They arrive in the Bresha Ruins at 5 AF, where a war machine called Atlas had arrived from the future to wreak havoc. Noel reveals the time Atlas comes from is when the crystallized Cocoon falls, but is unaware one of the factors in its fall was Royal Ripeness in the Sunleth Waterscape in 300 AF, caused by a Faeryl in the Archylte Steppe swallowing an artefact that enabled the Miniflan it sucked in to wind up in Sunleth Waterscape. Killing the Faeryl to digress Royal Ripeness into Mutantomato, Serah and Noel defeat the fused flan to undo its role in Cocoon's fall.
After learning of Cocoon's fate through the Oracle Drive in 10 AF, Hope Estheim uses the Academy's resources to minimize the damage Cocoon's fall will cause. Hope concludes a new Cocoon must be made, and begins a centuries long project to do so. Caius Ballad exploits this in a plan to crash the new Cocoon with the old one in the year 500 AF. Noel, Lightning and Serah stop Caius from carrying out his plan, and with the crystal holding Vanille and Fang removed in time, Cocoon falls while Hope's new Cocoon, called Bhunivelze, rises. Cocoon's crystallized remains become part of Nova Chrysalia after the chaos of Valhalla bleeds into Gran Pulse and merges the realms.
- Bifrost Forest (unvisitable) Mentioned in XIII-2 Brain Blast quiz; multi-colored artificial forest registered as a Sanctum heritage site.
- Bodhum (XIII)
- Euride Gorge (XIII)
- Eden (XIII)
- Fifth Ark (XIII)
- Gapra Whitewood (XIII)
- Hanging Edge (XIII)
- Lake Bresha (XIII)/Bresha Ruins (XIII-2)
- Nautilus (XIII)
- Orphan's Cradle (XIII)
- Palumpolum (XIII)
- Pulse Vestige (XIII)
- Sunleth Waterscape (XIII, XIII-2)
- Vile Peaks (XIII, XIII-2)
Behind the scenes
The crystallized Cocoon is presented on The End screen, making up the Final Fantasy XIII logo. A Cocoon-like image is also present on the map of the Archylte Steppe on Gran Pulse in Final Fantasy XIII. In turn, Cocoon is absent from the Archylte Steppe's sky in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
The worlds of Cocoon and Gran Pulse display contrasting musical styles in Final Fantasy XIII. Composer Masashi Hamauzu has explained that Final Fantasy XIII was intended to be a long game, which in itself provided challenges. He felt it was important for there to be variety to the sound design to maintain players' interest over a span of time, and that is why the themed motifs are reintroduced here and there as a kind of obbligato.
The concept of Cocoon as a floating post-scarcity utopia may be based on a literal take on the term (浮世, Ukiyo?, lit. Floating World) referring to the hedonistic, pleasure-seeking lifestyle of Edo-period Japan. The term ukiyo is also an ironic allusion to the homophone "Sorrowful World" (憂き世), the earthly plane of death and rebirth from which Buddhists sought release, which is similar to the fal'Cie's true purpose for Cocoon.
The concept of Cocoon with a hard shell and the world on the inside, may allude to the concept of a world egg, a motif from many creation myths. The Greek version of the myth, the Orphic Egg, is often depicted with a serpent wrapped around it. In Final Fantasy XIII Cocoon was created by Lindzei, whom old Pulsian tribes described as a serpent or a viper. In the Japanese version of the world egg myth everything was once one entity in an egg-like chaos that contained the seeds of creation. Breaking of the world egg symbolizes the creation of the known world, perhaps similar how the fal'Cie wish to "break" Cocoon to herald the birth of a new world.