- The following article is based on a subject that has not been officially named in any official Square Enix material; the current title is merely a placeholder.
- “Let's go to the sea, before the sunrise. The city lights go out one by one. The stars fade... Then the horizon glows, almost like it's on fire. It's kinda rose-colored, right? First in the sea, then it spreads to the sky, then to the whole city. It gets brighter and brighter, till everything glows. It's really... pretty. I know you'd like it.”
- —Tidus describing his Zanarkand to Yuna
Dream Zanarkand is a location in Final Fantasy X that exists far out on the sea of Spira and is known as a city of light that never sleeps. In the English localization, Zanarkand is pronounced [ˈzɛ.ˌnɑ˞.kənd].
Dream Zanarkand is a reproduction of the real metropolis of Zanarkand before its destruction, created directly from the memories of its former inhabitants; its buildings, citizens and lifestyle are replicated from the fayth's memories to exist eternally as an image to its former glory. It is located somewhere near Baaj Temple but cannot be easily accessed by anyone living in Spira and its whereabouts are only known by Sin.
A thousand years before the game's start the cities Zanarkand and Bevelle were in a war, which became to be known as the Machina War. Unable to stop Bevelle's armies, the leader of Zanarkand, Yu Yevon, sacrificed his people by turning them into fayth in order to preserve the metropolis in a dream state at the height of its power, and to summon a creature of unspeakable power to defend it, which was to become known as Sin. Yu Yevon only gave the creature two objectives: to defend Dream Zanarkand and destroy large cities or cities that rely heavily on machina to prevent mankind of ever attaining the means to discovering Dream Zanarkand.
In the world of Final Fantasy X the life essence or energy is represented by pyreflies and the act of summoning allows the summoner to manifest pyreflies that naturally exist in all planes of life in Spira, into almost any form they wish. This is how Dream Zanarkand and all its inhabitants are born. The fayth summoning Dream Zanarkand reside on Mt. Gagazet, the Ronso's holy mountain, and only summoners on pilgrimage ever cross its peak and witness the sight of hundreds of fayth summoning at once.
Despite being a replica of the Zanarkand of ancient times, there are some differences. As Dream Zanarkand is located far out on the ocean, it is surrounded by water on all sides and its inhabitants believe it to be the entirety of the world, having no knowledge whatsoever on the lands beyond. Thus Dream Zanarkand, unlike the original Zanarkand, is a peaceful place that knows no war. The world of Spira is infested with fiends, but in Dream Zanarkand the encountering of fiends is rare: in the game Tidus says that if a fiend ever showed up, it was a big deal.
Despite having been prevalent practices in the original Zanarkand, the rites of sending the dead, summoning aeons and the making of people into fayth, do not exist in Dream Zanarkand. Dream Zanarkand retains the original Zanarkand's love of the sport blitzball. "Hymn of the Fayth", which in the original Zanarkand used to be a song sung in defiance of Bevelle in the Machina War, is still known in Dream Zanarkand, although its original meaning has been lost.
Although not stated outright, it is possible that the citizens of Dream Zanarkand are made in the image of the people who used to live in the original Zanarkand; as the cityscape is born of the fayth's collective memories, it may mean that the citizens are as well. Dream Zanarkand appears stagnated in its ways, with no notable technological advancement having taken place during the entirety of its existence. Even if the inhabitants are mere dreams of the fayth, it is shown that once the fayth have given them form they develop a mind of their own and their souls can ascend to Farplane upon death.
Tidus, the protagonist of Final Fantasy X, is a citizen of Dream Zanarkand. His father, Jecht, was a famous blitzball player who went missing ten years ago while he was out on the sea. Tidus's mother was devastated and some time after her husband disappeared she passed away, leaving Tidus orphaned.
Tidus followed his father's footsteps and went on to become a star player in the Zanarkand Abes, the blitzball team his father used to play for. He is mentored by Auron, a man with a mysterious past who one day showed up in Dream Zanarkand and has been looking out for Tidus ever since.
At the start of Final Fantasy X, Tidus lives comfortably in a boat-house and has become famous all through-out Dream Zanarkand as the star player of his team. He makes his way to the stadium where the Jecht Memorial Cup is to be played on that day, but during the game a gigantic wave emerges over the city and destroys the blitzball stadium. Bizarre events take place as Tidus experiences the slowing of time and meets a young child who appears to know him. Auron picks Tidus up from the stadium's main gate and takes him to confront this giant wave that scatters the city in creatures known as Sinspawn. Tidus and Auron fight their way through the hordes of Sinspawn on the highways of Dream Zanarkand until they get to the seaborne monster, which sucks Tidus up into a core of light.
After Tidus is taken from Dream Zanarkand by Sin and is left floating ashore in Baaj, Dream Zanarkand is not visited again although Tidus speaks of it constantly, hoping to find his way back home. Tidus finds that in the world he ends up in no one has recollection of his Zanarkand, and everyone talks of it as a holy place that was destroyed a thousand years ago, and little by little Tidus gives up hope of ever going back.
Tidus joins summoner Yuna on her pilgrimage and as they cross Mt. Gagazet to reach the ruins of the original Zanarkand, they come across Fayth Scar. Tidus falls unconscious and finds himself in his home back in Dream Zanarkand. The child he met during the time Sin attacked Dream Zanarkand is revealed to be Bahamut's fayth, who tells Tidus the story behind Dream Zanarkand.
Bahamut works as the spokesperson for all the fayth in asking for Tidus to defeat Yu Yevon whose spirit resides within Sin, as over the course of the millennium the fayth have grown tired of summoning Dream Zanarkand and simply want to rest. Tidus promises to try, even with the knowledge that if the fayth stop dreaming he will disappear.
Tidus, along with Yuna and rest of her guardians, eventually defeat Yu Yevon inside Sin's core. As Yu Yevon's spirit is put to rest, it stops summoning Dream Zanarkand and the fayth are set free. Their souls finally depart to the Farplane, the pyreflies used to manifest Dream Zanarkand scatter, and the city of light and Tidus fade from existence.
"Prelude" is played when Tidus is meeting his fans outside his home. "Tidus's Theme" is played on the Overpass while Tidus is walking to the stadium. The heavy-metal track, "Otherworld", is played during the FMV of the blitzball match, while "Run!!" is played during Sin's attack.
- ↑ Scenario Ultimania, pages 316-317.