The area known only as "The Ark" lies at the core of New Cocoon, built by Hope in times past.
Hope guides Lightning in her endeavors from this space, within which time has ceased to pass.
The Ark (天の箱舟, Ten no Hakobune?, lit. Ark of Heaven) is a location in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. It was built by Hope Estheim inside Bhunivelze, his "new Cocoon". It is a timeless zone where Lightning can rest and interact with Hope. The location is key in prolonging the life of the world: inside the Ark is Yggdrasil, the "holy tree of life", and completing quests in Nova Chrysalia strengthens the tree, enabling it to prolong the life of the world.
Lightning returns to the Ark every day at 6 AM to rest, talk to Hope, give Eradia to Yggdrasil, and restock her items.
An object within the Ark called the 'Book of Conquests' records Battle Scores from bosses and Last Ones. It allows the player to challenge defeated enemies in their most powerful forms. These battles offer no rewards and are purely for sport and practice.
In New Game+, a blue hourglass, the Crystal of Atonement, appears in the Ark from the second day onward. Examining the hourglass and confirming the player's choice twice will immediately suspend their current game progression and rewind time back to the first day, keeping equipment, stats and certain items, but sacrificing memories of all quests completed, functioning as a New Game++.
Following the creation of Nova Chrysalia, the planetoid Bhunivelze remained afloat in the planet's atmosphere, gaining a ring, with the Ark being an area within it. 169 years prior to the events of Lightning Returns, the God Bhunivelze took Hope Estheim, regressed his body to when he was 14 years old, and used him as a vessel. He then implanted "Hope" within the Ark where time doesn't flow.
In Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories- it is revealed Antimatter Manipulation Principle technology can control Chaos, but research into this use was never completed as the researchers disappeared one by one. Though not directly stated, it may be that the Ark was where the research took place, and that it utilizes AMP technology to control Chaos and halt the flow of time.
Upon awakening from her crystal slumber and failing to apprehend Snow Villiers in Yusnaan, Lightning is teleported back up to the Ark where Hope introduces her to the world and her role as savior. After talking with Hope she is teleported down to Luxerion.
Periodically, Lightning encounters visions of Serah Farron in the Ark, reminding her of what her reward will be should she be successful in saving souls, though she notes she doesn't feel the connection with Serah that she had expected. Sometimes when Lightning is teleporting in or out of the Ark she is taken to a place said to reside inside her heart where she can talk to Lumina without Hope overhearing them.
On the final day, Lightning discovers the truth about Hope, realizing his soul wasn't entirely in his body, and that the Hope she was relaying with was half-possessed by God in order to monitor her. When she returns to the Ark, Mog greets her instead of Hope and offers to help her with the final battle by selling her items.
The Ark is a large circular area contained within the artificial moon of Bhunivelze, which has a circular hole with a view of the sky, similar to Cocoon, after which it is shaped. Within it is Hope's computer, which he uses to monitor Nova Chrysalia, the Chaos, and most importantly, Lightning. Yggdrasil, the tree of life, lies beyond the circular platform.
Every day at least one new treasure chest appears in the Ark, containing different objects depending on the day and the playthrough.
|First Time||New Game+||Subsequent Playthroughs|
|Proof of Overcoming Limits|
(enables Limit Break)
|Mighty Material x10||4,000 gil|
|3||Arise||Gold Malistone x5||4,000 gil|
|Mighty Material x15||4,000 gil|
|5||Esunada||Platinum Malistone x5||4,000 gil|
|6||Bronze Malistone||Sword Polisher x5||4,000 gil|
|7||Amazon Warrior||Shield Polisher x5||7,000 gil|
|8||Army of One||Silver Malistone x10||7,000 gil|
|9||Heartstealer||Gold Malistone x10||7,000 gil|
|10||Decoy||Platinum Malistone x10||10,000 gil|
|11||Martial Monk||Sword Polisher x10||10,000 gil|
|12||Quake||Shield Polisher x10||10,000 gil|
|Mythril Malistone x5||50,000 gil|
|14||Silver Malistone x5||Adamant Malistone x2||100,000 gil|
The Ark is the only place where EP can be exchanged for items.
|Item||EP Cost||Available From||Available Until|
|X-Potion||1||First Day||Final Day|
|Mega Remedy||1||First Day||Final Day|
|Phoenix Down||1||First Day||Day 5|
|Warrior's Potion||1||First Day||Day 10|
|Holy Water||1||First Day||Day 10|
|Regen Potion||2||Day 6||Final Day|
|Phoenix Wing||2||Day 6||Final Day|
|Reraise Potion||3||Day 6||Final Day|
|Hero's Potion||2||Day 11||Final Day|
|Crusader's Potion||2||Day 11||Final Day|
"The Ark" is the sixth track on the first disc of the original soundtrack and acts as the location theme for the Ark. The track contains soft, angelic, lullaby-fashion vocals, alluding to the rest the area serves as and its connection to God. "Meeting You", the twenty second track on the third disc, contains elements of "The Ark", and replaces the vocals with a soft violin tone. The track is also featured in the final boss theme, "Almighty Bhunivelze", and in the game's ending theme.
"The Ark (Soundtrack Exclusive Ver.)" is an arrangement of "The Ark" exclusive to the PLUS version of the game's soundtrack which prominently features a ticking clock, an allusion to the game's story aspect.
"The Ark" is a rearrangement of "Hope's Theme" in Final Fantasy XIII-2, which at the same time was of his theme in Final Fantasy XIII. It acts, therefore, as Hope's musical theme and his leifmotif throughout Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
The exterior of the Ark appears as a part of the background element of the Field Music Sequence "The Dead Dunes" for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Noah carried seven pairs of each clean animal species and one pair of each unclean animal species, each pair a male and female, into a giant ship called the Ark. The Ark was built by God's command to survive the deluge He sent to purge the world from the sins committed by mankind. Similarly, the Ark guards Lightning from the flow of time and the world's coming destruction.In the Bible,
Within Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2, the Arks are said to contain hordes of beasts to act as training grounds for the l'Cie. They are rumored to have been created by Bhunivelze to store weapons for the battle with his mother, Mwynn, likely alluding to how Lightning and Hope are also, in a way, his "weapons".
- The top of Hope's computer resembles Etro's gate, a recurring motif in the trilogy.