The Castle That Never Was is a location found in Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and flashbacks in Kingdom Hearts III. This grand castle was the headquarters of Organization XIII and floats in place above The World That Never Was.
The Grey Area
The Grey Area (闇と光を紡ぐ庭 Yami to Hikari o Tsumugu Niwa?, lit. "The Garden that Interweaves Darkness and Light") is a room 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.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, it has been revealed that the castle has a room with a 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.
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.
Each of the members of the Organization have individual bedrooms in the castle. 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.
Kingdom Hearts II
Nothing's Call (虚無への誘い Kyomu e no Sasoi?, lit. "Invitation to Nothingness") is 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.
This is also the area where Roxas fought Saïx when leaving the Organization in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
The castle has a number of dungeons somewhere in 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 (歪みを貫く柱 Yugami no Tsuranuku Hashira?, lit. "Distortion-Bridging Pillar") is 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 (黄昏から望む場所 Tasogare kara Nozomu Basho?, lit. "Place Viewed from Twilight") is a location in the Castle That Never Was. It is a stairway leading to the next floor of the castle. 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), Zexion and another member discussed the Superior's frequent visits to the Chamber of Repose and the discovery of Castle Oblivion here.
Hall of Empty Melodies
Hall of Empty Melodies (虚ろなる旋律の空間 Utsuro-naru Senritsu no Kūkan?, lit. "Space of Empty Melodies") is a large room in 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 his Riku-Ansem form, to help Sora. At this time, Maleficent and Pete also arrive in the castle. Xigbar appears to confront Sora, before eliminating all of the Heartless so he can take on the boy 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 re-entered after this event.
Naught's Skyway (虚空を辿る道 Kokū o Tadoru Michi?, lit. "Road Following Empty Space") is an area in the Castle That Never Was. It is a small outside path in a high section of the castle.
This 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
Proof of Existence (存在の証 Sonzai no Akashi?) is a room in the Castle That Never Was. Sora, Donald, and Goofy pass through here after reuniting with Kairi and Riku. The former was uncomfortable in the room, even 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 (sans the Superior 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 three 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 (混沌の狭間 Konton no Hazama?, lit. "Ravine of Chaos") is an area in the Castle That Never Was, accessed through Proof of Existence. It 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 (惑わしの空間 Madowashi no Kūkan?, lit. "Bewildered Space") is 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. 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") is an area in the Castle That Never Was. It is an exterior passage which leads to Xemnas' 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 appearance.
Ruin and Creation's Passage
Ruin and Creation's Passage (破壊と創造の回廊 Hakai to Sōzō no Kairō?) is 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
The Altar of Naught (虚空の祭壇 Kokū no Saidan?, lit. "Altar of Empty Space") is an area in the Castle That Never Was. It is a giant tower that is high above the rest of the castle. 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 is a strange, wavering illusion of the Memory's Skyscraper that Xemnas draws Sora into for a battle. 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
This room, known to Organization members as The Round Room, and 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 thirteen throne-like chairs that are rather tall in height, each occupied by a member of the Organization.
Tetsuya Nomura himself has stated in an interview that the height of each throne is just a gameplay mechanic.
-During the meetings, the members of Organization XIII are sitting in chairs. Is the height of these chairs determined by things like their skills and abilities?
Nomura: No, the height of the chairs is not fixated, they move. That is to say, the height is up to each person. The leader, Xemnas, is always the highest and to be at the same height as him would have a pretty bad feeling, so the other members wouldn't do that. (laughs)
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 there to save Sora's unconscious body, but Young Xehanort appears before Riku can reach him. Mickey then appears, using the Stopza spell to freeze time, however, Young Xehanort who has power over time, breaks free and throws Mickey to the other side of the room and confronts Riku. After the fight Riku finds himself confronted by hooded figures appearing on the thrones along with Young Xehanort, "Ansem", Xemnas, Braig and Master Xehanort, who then rises Sora's throne in order to pull his heart into darkness to make him his final dark vessel. King Mickey and Riku attempt to rescue Sora, but are stopped by Xemnas and "Ansem". When Master Xehanort casts a spell into Sora's direction, Lea appears, blocking the attack and saving Sora in the process, prompting Isa to attack Lea. This distracted "Ansem" and Xemnas long enough for Riku and Mickey to break free. Despite this, Ansem's Guardian appears and captures Riku and Mickey. Donald and Goofy appear through the use of a star shard, freeing Riku and Mickey. Xehanort's new Organization XIII then vanish, allowing Riku, Lea and the others to return to the Mysterious Tower with Sora.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Delusive Beginning lays near the bottom of the Castle that Never Was, just inside the large spinning ring. It is composed of four 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
The Walk of Illusions is 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
Fact within Fiction is 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
The Verge of Chaos 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
The Sanctum of Time is 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 himself and Riku from Where Nothing Gathers to the Sanctum of Time in a similar fashion to how "Ansem" made a facsimile of the End of the World in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Xemnas made a facsimile of the World That Never Was in Kingdom Hearts II. 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.
Kingdom Hearts II
|Power-Ups||AP Boost||Ruin and Creation's Passage||On a small ledge on the third landing.|
|Synthesis||Mythril Crystal x 2||Naught's Skyway||On the landing at the bottom of the ramp that leads up to the Hall of Empty Melodies entrance.|
|Ruin and Creation's Passage||On the fourth landing when entering from Naught's Approach.|
|Mythril Gem x 2||Nothing's Call||Left of the entrance to Crooked Ascension.|
|Naught's Skyway||Along the wall, near the entrance to the Hall of Empty Memories.|
|Mythril Stone||Ruin and Creation's Passage||On the second landing when entering from Naught's Approach.|
|Orichalcum x 3||Nothing's Call||On a small ledge at the top of the first ramp when entering from the Brink of Despair.|
|Naught's Skyway||On a tall ledge in the middle of the map.|
|Ruin and Creation's Passage||On the same landing as the entrance to the Altar of Naught.|
|Special||Cosmic Belt||Twilight's View||On the same landing as the Save Point.|
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
|Dawn||Naught's Skyway||Need Glide Level 3.|
|Twilight||Ruin and Creation's Passage||Need LV3 Glide. Above the entrance.|
|Ruin and Creation's Passage||Need LV2 Glide. Above the second to last platform.|
|Twilight's View||Need LV2 Glide.|
|Proof of Existence|
- In Proof of Existence, the number XI is in front of Demyx's tombstone, even though his rank is number IX. This mistake was left uncorrected even in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. However, it could be that Demyx's tombstone was flipped over, as IX when flipped is XI.
- Countless Heartless are seen in the castle during cutscenes, but do not appear during gameplay. Pureblood Heartless do appear at the Dark City, however.
- 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.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, the player can access Where Nothing Gathers with a cheat code. If accessed, the location's name is displayed using the font of the world.