- “Nova Chrysalia, a world diseased by Chaos. Made up of four regions, a monorail provides transportation for travel throughout this realm. Lightning, the protagonist, begins her final adventure in this plague-ridden land devoid of hope. However, her journey won't be long, as the Chaos has bled through the soil, drawing near the world's end.”
- —Official description
Nova Chrysalia (called Novus Partus (ノウス゠パルトゥス, Nousu Parutusu?) in the Japanese version) is the main setting of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. After the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2, the Chaos of Valhalla flows into the mortal world through Etro's Gate as a result of Goddess Etro's' death and Gran Pulse and Valhalla blend to form Nova Chrysalia.
Over the next five centuries Chaos erodes the land that makes up Nova Chrysalia until only four continents are left. After Lightning awakens from crystal stasis, the world faces Apocalypse in thirteen days.
- See also: Datalog/Locations
The people call this land—which falls further under the sway of the Chaos each day—Nova Chrysalia.
In this world, there is no aging, though the people can and do die from accidents and illness. By losing the natural progression to death, they have also lost the natural propagation of life and no new children have been born in all the centuries since the Chaos first broke into the world. For the past 500 years, the world's population has dwindled and society grown stagnant.
With no changes to mark the march of years, the decades slip past as fleeting as the seasons once did. Children stay forever innocent and simple in their hearts. Some believe that God in his mercy must have taken from humanity some parts of their hearts that would allow them to truly know the horrible fate they have been trapped in. All so that they might live on forever in peace, instead of falling prey to the despair that is their only inheritance on this world...
Located in the Sea of Chaos, Nova Chrysalia comprises four continents connected by monorail and is surrounded by a lagoon whose waters fall into an endless abyss. Two of its continents are urbanized, while the other two have natural terrain. Nova Chrysalia's untamed continents feature plains, deserts, wilderness, rocky terrain, and ruins. Since Nova Chrysalia was born of Gran Pulse and Valhalla merging, parts of both remain in Nova Chrysalia in altered forms, including the ruins if Academia and the Temple of the Goddess. The architecture of the urban areas have gothic, mechanical, and fantasy elements.
Other than the world decaying, another effect of Valhalla's Chaos is the disruption of the cycle of life; people don't age and new children cannot be born, for the souls of humans no longer have a guide (Etro) to herd them between realms. Though rendered biologically immortal, people can be killed and fall ill. People's hearts have become burdened and hopeless, or been corrupted by Chaos.
Nova Chrysalia is composed of four main continents, each with a unique theme and individual architecture. Luxerion, the "divine city of light", is the largest city and acts as the capital. It is steeped in religious imagery, being home to the Order of Salvation who worship Bhunivelze. The city features a sect called the Children of Etro who fight the Order's rule and worship Etro. They are responsible for a string of recent murders where the victims had rose-colored hair, similar to Lightning, for the Children of Etro wish to kill the "evil savior". Lightning encounters Noel Kreiss here as the vigilante Shadow Hunter, and Oerba Dia Vanille, who is under the Order's protection. The main city has a gothic architecture with a mono-chrome color scheme, including a clock tower and the Luxerion Cathedral, in contrast to the Warren, a set of run-down slums. The Major Route connects the city with the Wildlands.
The other urban area, Yusnaan, is the "city of revelry" and the world's center of entertainment. Snow Villiers is the patron having lived there for many centuries and earned the people's trust. It is the smallest of the continents and features grand architecture. Lavish theatrical plays are held daily and it home to the Slaughterhouse — a battle arena. Guards surround the city to protect Snow in Patron's Palace. The Major Route connects the city with the Dead Dunes.
The Dead Dunes is a desert filled with ancient ruins and is home to a bandit group Monoculus. Likely to be the dried up Archylte Steppe from Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2, the desert contains skeletal remains of many towering beasts and monuments from the past. Ruffian is an oasis settlement where the bandits live. The Temple Ruins located underneath the sands are vast and mysterious and hold within them an ancient treasure that both the bandits and Secutors from the Order are searching for. Lightning aids Oerba Yun Fang, the leader of Monoculus, to find the relic. The ruins feature Arabian and eastern themed architecture. The Major Routes connect the Dead Dunes with Yusnaan and the Wildlands.
The Wildlands is the largest of the four continents and is of natural terrain. Containing distinct reminders of Gran Pulse and Valhalla, the Wildlands features forests, rocky crags, and ruins of both Gran Pulse and Valhalla. Wildlife roams free and small villages are scattered sparsely throughout the land. Notable locations include the ruins of Academia and Etro's Temple, unchanged from its original state. Lightning encounters the Angel of Valhalla, a legendary white chocobo, who she is charged with nursing back to full health. She meets Sazh Katzroy, who stays with his son, Dajh Katzroy, at the crash site of an airship, and Caius Ballad and Paddra Nsu-Yeul in the Temple of the Goddess. The Major Routes connect the Wildlands with Luxerion and the Dead Dunes.
Above the land floats the Ark, a structure within Bhunivelze, Hope Estheim's "new Cocoon" that floats in Nova Chrysalia's atmosphere. Here, time doesn't flow, meaning Lightning can rest, talk to Hope, replenish her supplies, reattempt battles and give Eradia to the tree of life, Yggdrasil.
As revealed in the secret DLC ending of Final Fantasy XIII-2, multiple other areas of both Gran Pulse and Valhalla were, at some stage, part of Nova Chrysalia, including the Dying World. These parts may still be present in Nova Chrysalia, but have changed so drastically they are unrecognizable.
When Noel Kreiss seemingly killed Caius Ballad in Valhalla, he destroyed the Heart of Chaos and, thus, killed the goddess Etro. Without Etro to contain the Chaos of Valhalla and the unseen realm, the Chaos flooded Gran Pulse in the year 500 AF, forming Nova Chrysalia. The world's creation awoke Bhunivelze from his crystal sleep. Over the course of centuries the Chaos eroded the land and after five centuries all that is left are four continents.
As revealed in Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-, Hope, Snow, Noel, and Sazh forged a pact to protect the people who have taken shelter in the man-made Cocoon created by the Academia, and as Snow, Noel, and Sazh dealt with the monsters, Hope tried to solve the problem of humanity becoming stagnate. Fal'Cie Pandaemonium appeared and cultivated the lands and built Luxerion and then Yusnaan where the fal'Cie established a supply chain for food and fuel. As the man-made Cocoon had begun to deteriorate, the people were left with no choice but an the exodus to the lands below where fighting the Chaos became a daily struggle. As Snow placed himself in charge of Yusnaan to oversee the supplies, Sazh left for the Wildlands after his son Dajh fell into a coma. When Hope was spirited away by Bhunivelze society fell into disarray with the Order of Salvation gaining ground. While Noel, overcome by his own despair, refused to abide to the Order and decided instead to protect the people as a vigilante, Snow pretended to concede to the Order's authority to ensure they would not control the supply plant. 150 years later Vanille and Fang awoke from crystal stasis and were taken into custody by the Order. As the world is set to end in thirteen days, Bhunivelze elects Lightning as his savior to herd souls to a new world he will create.
Lightning arrives in Yusnaan and attempts to apprehend Snow and save his soul. Being unsuccessful, she returns to the Ark and is sent to Luxerion to solve the string of murders. She learns the killers are a religious cult called the Children of Etro who believe the savior will bring about the Apocalypse, and have started murdering women with rose-colored hair to lure out the savior. The Shadow Hunter, Noel, is prophesied to kill the savior by an Oracle Drive supplied by Lumina. Lightning puts a stop to the cult's activities in Luxerion and confronts Noel who reveals the prophecy states he must kill Lightning to reunite with Yeul. After fighting her, he destroys the Oracle Drive, realizing that killing Lightning isn't what Yeul would have wanted. Yeul's spirit appears from the Oracle Drive telling him they will soon be together.
Returning to Yusnaan, Lightning tries to sneak into Snow's palace through a supply route, but Lumina destroys the path and Lightning must play the role of an actress in a play, the "Legend of the Savior", to gain entry. Chasing Snow down, Lightning discovers he has almost gone insane carrying the burden of guilt over Serah's death. Snow absorbs a massive Chaos infusion he had kept locked in the palace to save the city, and mutates into a Cie'th hybrid. After calming Snow down Lightning reasons with him and saves his soul.
In the Dead Dunes, Lightning discovers there is an ancient relic in the ruins called the holy clavis. Lightning helps Adonis by quelling a storm known as God's Wrath, which earns her entry to Monoculus. The bandits' leader, Fang, asks for Lightning's help to find the relic. In the ruins Lightning and Fang witness three murals concerning the birth of humanity and the Gods, granting them entrance to the clavis, but the Secutors from the Order grab it. Fang reveals the relic will be used by Vanille to perform a ceremony known as the Soulsong where she'll give her life to end the dead's suffering by granting them oblivion. Agreeing to meet up in Luxerion on the final day to stop the Soulsong, Lightning and Fang part ways.
In the Wildlands, Lightning hears a girl's voice telling her to find the "Angel of Valhalla". She discovers the Angel of Valhalla is a legendary chocobo that has been sighted in the area. With the help of Dr Gysahl, she tracks down the bird, but finds it gravely injured. With the help of the residents of Canopus Farms she nurses the chocobo back to health. Riding the Angel of Valhalla, Lightning is enters the Temple of the Goddess to discover the secrets of the "great Chaos", which is, in fact, the love of Yeul for Caius manifested as Chaos that binds Caius to the Chaos so Lightning is unable to save his soul. Meanwhile, Sazh despairs as his son, Dajh, is trapped in a perpetual slumber, for his soul has left his body. Lightning collects the five fragments of Dajh's soul and restores Dajh to life, saving Sazh's and Dajh's souls.
On the final day Chaos has claimed all but the Luxerion Cathedral, and Bhunivelze possesses Hope's body. Lightning infiltrates the cathedral to stop the Soulsong, but the Order tries to stop her. With the help of Noel, she enters the Temple of Light below the cathedral where she encounters Fang and together they persuade Vanille to abandon the ceremony. With the help of Snow, they dispatch the Order and Vanille and Fang guide the souls of the dead to the Ark to await rebirth. Bhunivelze steals Snow, Fang, Vanille, Serah and Noel, holding them hostage to ensure Lightning follows his command.
Lightning learns of Bhunivelze's true intentions: to cleanse the living souls of their memories of the dead to give them a free start in the new world as Bhunivelze's puppets with Lightning acting as the new goddess of death to replace the late Etro and guide the cycle of death and rebirth. Defying Bhunivelze, Lightning mortally wounds him and saves Hope's soul from his clutches. With the strength of humanity, including the dead, Lightning overpowers Bhunivelze and sends him into the depths of Chaos. In the abyss Caius and Yeul appear, stating they will become the guides for the dead and hold back the Chaos. Letting the last Yeul go, Caius, Bhunivelze and all the other Yeuls are sucked into a void of Chaos taking the remains of Nova Chrysalia with them.
With Nova Chrysalia destroyed and existing only in the new unseen realm of Chaos, Lightning and the rest of humanity depart to the new world to begin life anew.
Nova Chrysalia started out as a single island, but as the game's concept and development grew, the island developed into its final, four-island form. Much of it was designed by Isamu Kamikokuryo around the concept of a dying world, taking architectural influences from Gothic architecture, Middle Eastern and Asian motifs, and the machinery of the industrial revolution. Each of the four islands was based on different real-world locations: Luxerion was inspired by Paris, Yusnaan by Las Vegas, the Dead Dunes by Cairo and the Wildlands by Costa Rica.
When the game was announced Nova Chrysalia was known as Novus Partus. Novus Partus later became solely the Japanese name for the world.
"Nova Chrysalia" is the eighteenth track on the third disc of the game's soundtrack. It plays in various locations throughout the world after 12:00 PM.
Nova Chrysalia's Japanese name, Novus Partus, means "new offspring" in Latin.
Nova Chrysalia is made an alternate Latin word for "new", and an invented name stemming from "Chrysalis", the cocoon a caterpillar forms around itself while metamorphosing into a butterfly.
- The artwork of Nova Chrysalia present on the official Japanese site has animated water.