Final Fantasy XIII-2 Primer
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For all intents and purposes, Cocoon is the center of Final Fantasy XIII’s world. It is a land brimming with technology and a clear vision of what the future could yield. In some cases such as on Cocoon, the world of Final Fantasy XIII serves as a paragon from which other societies can model themselves.
Densely populated cities like the capital, Eden (named after its patron fal’Cie), are able to operate more freely due to the power bestowed upon them by their otherworldly creators, the fal’Cie. While other cities may match Eden in sheer size, none come close to matching Eden in terms of importance and as such its defense is of paramount importance to the world at large.
Even though Cocoon was built by fal’Cie, they rarely intervene with society’s affairs. Cocoon is almost exclusively run by the Sanctum, who function as the highest level of executive, legislative, and judicial power. They also retain direct control over the military. In fact, it was a large division of their military called PSICOM (Public Security and Intelligence Command) who conducted the Purge, setting the major events of Final Fantasy XIII in motion.
More isolated and restricted areas have developed as Cocoon has evolved throughout its ages. The Hanging Edge is a vestigial of Cocoon, before the War of Transgression. It was once a thriving urban center, but was abandoned after the attacks from Pulsian forces.
Located directly beneath the Hanging Edge is Lake Bresha. It holds remnants of the old civilization. It also hosts the l’Cie closest to Snow who completed her focus - Serah. Lake Bresha’s waters are crystallized from Pulsian attacks, leaving a serene, almost complementary setting for Serah’s crystallization.
Although tourists aren't able to visit Lake Bresha safely, plenty of attractions can be found in Pulse. The City of Dreams, Nautilus, can be a source or amusement for those fond of spectacle. Tourists travel from far and wide to visit the city throughout the year. The most widely visited event hosted by the city is the Pompa Sancta, a recreation of the War of Transgression in a stylish and dazzling pageant. State-of-the-art technology, such as vibrant holographs that burst from discs that have been thrown in the air dance in flamboyant fashion. Cocoon fal’Cie are depicted as Eidolons, combining themselves with ‘Sanctum l’Cie’ in order to overthrow the villainous Pulse l’Cie. Quite the dramatic finale develops when a Pulse l’Cie morphs into Ragnarok, only to be slain by a ‘righteous’ l’Cie from Cocoon.
Cocoon also houses modest cities by the sea, such as Bodhum, the home town of Lightning and Serah. Cities on the coast like Bodhum provide the option of a tranquil lifestyle, including annual fireworks displays and an overall resort-like atmosphere. At times of peace, Bodhum can be quite the site. When everyone is at rest, it is the Guardian Corps - another important branch to the Sanctum military – who are responsible for Bodhum and Cocoon’s protection. However the Guardian Corps cannot protect Bodhum from Pulse’s most powerful forces, as the children of Bodhum witnessed an insurrection by the Sanctum when Pulse fal’Cie were discovered in a nearby village. Bodhum and Cocoon quickly turned into police states. Much to the dismay of many citizens and vacationers, Bodhum and other villages remain quarantined by the Sanctum throughout the events of Final Fantasy XIII.
All of the inhabitants surrounding the area where the first Pulse fal’Cie had been discovered within Cocoon were purged to Gran Pulse. The very existence of Pulse puts Cocoon’s society into a daze of constant fear. Any thought of association with Pulse brands the accused and stigmatizes them as an enemy of Cocoon instantly. Named after their god, Pulse’s habitat mainly consists of a vast wilderness populated with monsters at every turn. Like the Hanging Edge and Lake Bresha before it, Gran Pulse once was heavily populated, but has been reduced to nothing more than an abandoned ruin.
A linear walk through the Archylte Steppe, will bring travelers to the most expansive area in this world, the great plain of Gran Pulse. Home to nothing but the most vicious predators, only the most experienced fighters can hope to slay its demons. Each of these enemies defends the most sought after treasures and secrets on the planet.
In the northern portion of the Archylte Steppe lies Sulyya Springs, a beautifully unique environment of subterranean springs. The ecosystem here has evolved into an abundance of waterfalls. It is seldom travelled to due to its population of violent monsters and patron fal’Cie.
I addition to the banished, the born and bred,citizens of Pulse tend to live in run-down villages like Oerba. The hometown to Fang and Vanille, Oerba is stationed at the northernmost edge of Gran Pulse’s mainland. However, Oerba has become overrun by Cie’th. Like many of the locales within Gran Pulse, Oerba is in danger of falling into ruin.
This ruin becomes a reality for all of Gran Pulse in Final Fantasy XIII-2, as Serah's new friend Noel comes from a future where Cocoon has crashed into the wilderness, reducing the entire region into a lifeless wasteland. Their journey through time will hopefully lead to a reversal of this dire future.