The Castle That Never Was (in Japanese: 存在しなかった世界, Sonzai Shinakatta Sekai) is a flying, high-tech grand castle that is both home to Organization XIII and their main headquarters, and it first appeared in Kingdom Hearts II and later reappeared in both Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. It is also found floating in place at the heart of the homeworld of the Nobodies, just above the world's Dark City.
Sora and his allies with the help of Ansem the Wise, entered the Castle and defeated the Organization XIII and their leader Xemnas on their turf.
- Nothing's Call (in Japanese: 虚無への誘い, Kyomu e no Sasoi, lit. "Invitation to Nothingness"):
- The lowest known area of the Castle That Never Was, acting as a sort of "basement". It appears to be the only entrance into the castle for people who are not members of the Organization. Sora, Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey enter the castle here. While Sora is calling out for Kairi, King Mickey silences him, reminding him that they are in the stronghold of the enemy. He rushes off to find Ansem the Wise. They are soon attacked by Nobodies but make it to the next area.
It is also here where Roxas fought Saïx when leaving the Organization in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
- Soundless Prison (in Japanese: ソンドレス プリソン, Sondoresu Purison):
- An area that has number of dungeons somewhere within the lower sections of the castle. Here, Kairi and Pluto are imprisoned in one of the cells. Kairi is briefly visited by Saïx, who explains to her that she will be the bait used to make Sora slay more Heartless in the plan to complete Kingdom Hearts. However, Naminé appears through a portal in the cell and helps Kairi and Pluto escape. Strangely, the bars of Kairi's cell were far enough apart that she could have easily escaped before being freed by Naminé. However, it could be possible that the Organization foresaw this, and placed a barrier over the bars to prevent this.
This area is not accessible in Kingdom Hearts II, and is only for storyline purposes.
- Crooked Ascension (in Japanese: 歪みを貫く柱 Yugami no Tsuranuku Hashira, lit. "Distortion-Bridging Pillar"):
- An area of the Castle That Never Was. It seems to be a giant elevator that ascends and descends without actually appearing to do anything. While inside, Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku may be attacked by either Samurai or Dragoon Nobodies if going down to Nothing's Call or up to Twilight's View, respectively.
- Twilight's View (in Japanese: 黄昏から望む場所 Tasogare kara Nozomu Basho, lit. "Place Viewed from Twilight"):
- It is a stairway leading to the next floor of the Castle That Never Was. Sora can meet a Moogle here and synthesize new items. According to a flashback in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (which takes place before Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts II), Zexion and Xigbar discussed Xemnas's frequent visits to the mysterious Chamber of Repose and the discovery of Castle Oblivion here.
- Hall of Empty Melodies (in Japanese: 虚ろなる旋律の空間 Utsuro-naru Senritsu no Kūkan, lit. "Space of Empty Melodies"):
- It is a grand hall within the Castle That Never Was. A large platform makes up the room with large walls facing either side of it.
Several primary events happen here in the final battle involving Sora, his companions, and the surviving members of Organization XIII. Here, Sora, Donald, and Goofy encounter Saïx, who informs them that due to the completion of Kingdom Hearts, the Organization no longer needs them. Kairi then appears on an overhead balcony and leaps down with Riku, in the form of the Seeker of Darkness, to help Sora. At this time, Maleficent and Pete also arrive in the castle.
Xigbar eliminates all of the Heartless so he can take on Sora himself, but the ensuing battle culminates in Xigbar's death. Sora, Donald, and Goofy head off to the upper level of the room, where Sora has an emotional reunion with Kairi and Riku. Sniper and Assassin Nobodies appear during navigation through the room once it is reentered after this event.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, this room is where Roxas must complete Mission 10, Mission 71, and Mission 33.
- Naught's Skyway (in Japanese: 虚空を辿る道 Kokū o Tadoru Michi, lit. "Road Following Empty Space"):
- An area that is a small outside path within a high section of the Castle That Never Was.
This outdoor stairway is where Mickey finds DiZ, who is revealed to be Ansem the Wise, being attacked by Nobodies. After they are defeated, the two walk off with Ansem's encoding machine. Sora and his companions pass through here in order to find King Mickey and Ansem the Wise.
- Proof of Existence (in Japanese: 存在の証 Sonzai no Akashi):
- A tomb-like chamber in the Castle That Never Was. Sora, Donald, and Goofy pass through here after reuniting with Kairi and Riku. Kairi felt uncomfortable in the room, saying it felt like a graveyard. The passage through the room was blocked, and Sora was forced to defeat Luxord and Saïx by entering their portals before they could pass through.
The room was characterized with panels on the floor representing the members of Organization XIII (excluding Xemnas and Xion), indicating their title, weapon, and rank by going from left to right. The panels of the Organization members who had died were colored red and damaged. By the time Sora and his friends arrived, most of them were in this state, with only 3 panels left undamaged; those of Luxord, Saïx, and Roxas. Zexion's panel was so damaged it was unable to show his weapon. After Roxas left the Organization, his panel was most likely destroyed, but as Roxas lives on in Sora, his panel is still blue.
- Havoc's Divide (in Japanese: 混沌の狭間 Konton no Hazama, lit. "Ravine of Chaos"):
- An area in the Castle That Never Was, accessed through Proof of Existence. This outdoor area appears to be Luxord's chamber or a place he prefers spending his time at. The area is sloped and leads to a steep drop downwards.
Here, Riku reveals that DiZ is actually Ansem the Wise. Luxord appears, traps Riku, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy in his cards, and challenges Sora to a duel. After a close fight, Sora defeats Luxord, who fades into darkness, freeing Sora's friends from Luxord's cards. The area remains accessible after Luxord's death, but it is only occupied by his Nobodies, the Gamblers. To get a ton of Munny for items you want, it's best to revisit this area as often as possible and win against them.
- Addled Impasse (in Japanese: 惑わしの空間 Madowashi no Kūkan, lit. "Bewildered Space"):
- An area in the Castle That Never Was, accessed through Proof of Existence. The chamber is large in size, with a clear view of the Kingdom Hearts moon through it's huge, darkly colored, translucent glass window. It bears a small resemblance to the Grey Area, minus furniture.
This area appears to be where Saïx stays, due to his presence, and the fact that when Sora and his companions arrive, they see Saïx looking up at Kingdom Hearts (which relates to his moon element). Here, Sora and company battle Saïx and emerge victorious. Saïx is fatally wounded, and fades into darkness while asking Kingdom Hearts where his heart is. Also here, Riku reveals that Roxas is actually Sora's Nobody after the battle. Defeating Saïx opens the exit out of Proof of Existence. Returning to this room, the player will find that it is mostly populated by Berserker Nobodies.
- Naught's Approach (虚空を目指す道 Kokū o Mezasu Michi, lit. "Road Aiming for Empty Space"):
- An area in the Castle That Never Was. It is an exterior passage which leads to Xemnas's tower. Here, Kairi and Naminé escape from the prison cells of the castle and are confronted by Saïx on the stairs, but are saved by Riku.
Later, Ansem the Wise and King Mickey set up Ansem's machine so he can digitally absorb Kingdom Hearts. Sora, Riku, Kairi, Donald, and Goofy make their way up to the area after viewing them from Havoc's Divide. Ansem realizes that the machine cannot contain Kingdom Hearts and monologues what a fool he is. Sora and his friends arrive, as does Xemnas, who has a "heart-to-heart" with his former teacher. Ansem tells Xemnas his plans will fail, and apologizes to Roxas and the King before being engulfed by his exploding machine. The explosion damages Kingdom Hearts and restores Riku to his normal body.
- Ruin and Creation's Passage (in Japanese: 破壊と創造の回廊 Hakai to Sōzō no Kairō):
- An area in the Castle That Never Was. It is the biggest area in the castle, with numerous platforms floating in the air. Invisible paths can be used to reach each platform and eventually navigate to the other side.
Sora, Riku, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey make their way across, battling Nobodies on the way. Kairi spots endless Heartless streaming in through the windows towards them. Maleficent and Pete appear and send the group to take down Xemnas, Maleficent reminding Sora and King Mickey that the castle will be hers. Sora tries to help them, but King Mickey dissuades him.
- Altar of Naught (in Japanese: 虚空の祭壇 Kokū no Saidan, lit. "Altar of Empty Space"):
- A giant tower that is high above the rest of the Castle That Never Was. Xemnas often comes here to speak to Kingdom Hearts.
Sora, Riku, Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey arrive to see Xemnas lamenting over how his plans have failed, asking the group why they hate the darkness, and telling them to find more hearts. They refuse and then converse about how Xemnas cannot show emotions.
Xemnas battles Sora, but is defeated. Xemnas fuses with Kingdom Hearts, and the group engages in another battle against him. He is defeated again and apparently fades into darkness. Trapped in the world, the group seem helpless, until Naminé opens a portal to Destiny Islands. Naminé and Roxas join with Sora and Kairi at long last.
Everyone passes through except for Sora and Riku, who end up trapped when a giant Nobody dragon flies in and slams into the side of the tower. Sora and Riku slide down the tower which tilts sideways. Riku spots an odd aircraft and hops onto it, Sora following. They fly after the dragon as the tower collapses.
- Memory's Contortion (in Japanese: 記憶の歪み Kioku no Yugami):
- A strange, wavering illusion of the Memory's Skyscraper that Xemnas draws Sora into for a battle away from the Castle That Never Was. This area was for battle purposes only, but can be accessed after battling Xemnas through the use of cheat codes.
While he was being faced by Riku, King Mickey and Sora, along with Kairi, Donald and Goofy, Xemnas dragged the latter Keyblade wielder to test his strength. After a very long fight, Sora manages to defeat Xemnas in his own illusion, and go back to the Altar of Naught, where the others were worried about him.
- Where Nothing Gathers' (in Japanese: 虚無が集う場所 Kyomu ga Tsudou Basho), also known as the "Round Room" (円卓 Entaku, lit. "Round table"):
- The pale pearl white-colored throneroom within the Castle That Never Was. This chamber, which is inaccessible by any means other than by Corridors of Darkness, is a circular room containing marble throne-like chairs ranging in height, where the Nobodies of Organization XIII can gather and discuss developments and for Xemnas to give out orders. There are 13 throne-like chairs that are rather tall in height, each occupied by a member of the Organization.
The seats are arranged in a circle, with Xemnas at the prominent seat. At Xemnas's left are the odd-numbered members, and to his right are the even-numbered members, increasing in numerical value up until number 13, Roxas's seat. The "fourteenth member", Xion, has no throne, as she was neither a true member nor even a real Nobody, but a replica, meant to fuse with Roxas, thus the reason for the group's name remaining as "Organization XIII". At the time of Kingdom Hearts II, the thrones were in the following order, from highest to lowest; Xemnas, Xaldin, Marluxia, Xigbar, Saix, Axel, Luxord, Larxene, Roxas, Zexion, Lexaeus, Demyx, and Vexen.The throne room appears again in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance with Riku appearing into there through a Corridor of Darkness. He see unconscious Sora, but Young Xehanort appears before Riku can reach him. Mickey then appears, using Stopga spell to freeze time, however, Young Xehanort who has power over time, breaks free and throws Mickey at other side of room and encounters Riku. After that hooded figures appears to thrones, highest one being Master Xehanort. He then rises Sora's throne in order to split his heart apart. Ansem, Seeker of Darkness and Xemnas on it, subduing King Mickey and Riku to keep an apparently comatosed Sora in their possession. When Master Xehanort shoots the spell, Lea appears, blocking attack and saving Sora in process. Donald and Goofy appears too, freeing Riku and Mickey. Master Xehanort and his new army then vanishes away and Riku, Lea and others return to the Mysterious Tower with the comatosed Sora.
- Grey Area (in Japanese: 闇と光を紡ぐ庭 Yami to Hikari o Tsumugu Niwa, lit. "The Garden that Interweaves Darkness and Light"):
- A chamber in the castle that serves as a lounge for the Organization's members, as well as the place where the members receive their mission briefings from Saïx.
The room is wedge-shaped, with one wall made entirely out of a giant window, out of which Kingdom Hearts can be seen floating in the distance. The room has couches and tables spread around it, and Organization members are often seen lounging about between missions. There is also a Moogle here, dressed in the Organization coat, that allows Roxas to synthesize panels and access a shop that uses Heart Points as currency.
In the back of the room is a hallway which cannot be entered in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, but in several scenes in the games, Saïx or Roxas can be seen coming out of the hallway.
- Computer Room (in Japanese: コムプター ルーム Komuputaa Ruumu):
- In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, it has been revealed that the castle has a room with an advanced computer that seems to contain information on all the Organization projects, including the Replica Program and Castle Oblivion. Xion accesses the computer after she begins questioning her existence, which leads her to Castle Oblivion. Xemnas, Xigbar, and Saix find out about this later in the game.
In the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days novel, this room is said to be Saïx's study room.
- Library (in Japanese: リブラリー Riburarii):
- In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, it was revealed that the Castle contained a library filled with literature on various subjects. One book the player's attention is drawn to is one seen being read by Axel, titled "The Truth about Naminé", composed by Vexen. This one, unvoiced cutscene in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days has been the library's only appearance.
In the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days novel, this room is said to be in Castle Oblivion, and was Vexen's research room.
- Bedrooms (in Japanese: ベドルームス Bedoruumusu):
- Each of the members of the Organization have individual bedrooms within the Castle That Never Was. All of the bedrooms are practically identical. The rooms are white with metal-like walls, with a single bed with the headboard shaped like the Nobody symbol and a window showing the heart-shaped moon of Kingdom Hearts; they all seem to be above the clouds as the empty black sky is seen through each window as well. The position of the bed is up to the member who has the room as Xion's headboard is next to the window while Axel and Roxas's beds have the head board on the wall in-between the window and door.
- Delusive Beginning (in Japanese: デルシブ ベジニング Derushibu Bejiningu):
- Laying near the bottom of the Castle that Never Was, just inside the large spinning ring is a comprised of 4 hallways connecting to a circular central chamber, two connecting at the ground floor, two high above. In the central chamber rests an energy beam housed in an impenetrable shield that damages enemies of the Organization. It must be destroyed by entering the shield through a portal and using a Reality Shift on it. This will cease its attack, destroy the shield, and create a walkway to the upper levels.
- Walk of Illusions (in Japanese: ワオク オフ イルシオンス Waoku ofu Irushionsu):
- A long, straight bridge leading from the outer edge of the castle to the castle itself, across the open area beneath it. The large spinning ring and several support beams can be seen from the walk.
- Fact within Fiction (in Japanese: ファクト ウィシン フィクティオン Fakuto wishin Fikution):
- A large, open area level with the top of the castle's spinning ring and in view of the mechanism that spins it. It consists of several high-walled passages and thick metal pipes. Along one passage, beams of purple energy move back and forth that damage anyone who crosses them. Near the end of the area is a large circular platform where many enemies spawn. After a flight of stairs, there is a lift that rises seemingly magically to higher floors.
- Verge of Chaos (in Japanese: バエルジ オフ チャオス Baeruji ofu Chaosu):
- An area that is primarily a large, slightly curved balcony. The only way out of it is to take the elevator back to the lower levels, or to use Flowmotion on the massive pipes attached to the walls. Several other, smaller balconies sit on the wall with no way on or off but through Flowmotion. Eventually up the wall, one reaches another small balcony attached to a larger one by a staircase. A narrow bridge off this area connects to the multi-turreted tower on the side of the castle, that can be traversed by using Flowmotion on a large pipe. The roof of this tower is also considered a part of the Verge of Chaos.
- Sanctum of Time (in Japanese: サンクタム オフ ティミー Sankutamu ofu Timii):
- An area visited only during the final battle with Young Xehanort. After revealing his ability to move even within a Stopza spell cast by Mickey, Young Xehanort transports Riku and himself to the Sanctum of Time in a similar fashion to how Ansem, Seeker of Darkness transported Riku to the facsimile of Kingdom Hearts in the final battle of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories. The battlefield is a large circular area with several cogs and clockwork devices integrated below the floor as well as atop pillars on either side of the battlefield, and it is surrounded by six different colored hourglasses. The area as a whole resembles a fractured ring dial. Peculiarly, the poles sticking out of the ground cannot have Flowmotion used on them.
The Castle That Never Was (Part 1)
The Castle That Never Was (Part 2)
- In Proof of Existence, the number XI is in front of Demyx's tombstone, even though his rank is number IX. Marluxia's rank is XI. This mistake was left uncorrected even in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. (However, it could be his tombstone, just flipped over, as IX when flipped is XI.)
- Countless Heartless are seen within the castle during cutscenes, but do not appear during gameplay. Pureblood Heartless do appear at the Dark City, though.
- In Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, Master Xehanort sits atop the elder throne while Young Xehanort sits on Marluxia's former seat. The latter seat is later empty (the one next to Roxas' former seat where Sora is seated). Whether this was intentional or simply a graphical glitch is unknown.
- The nickname of Where Nothing Gathers is actually the name of the legendary royal table of Arthurian lore.