The Oracle Drive appears to be some kind of recording apparatus from ancient times.
The Oracle Drive (予言の書, Yogen no Sho?, lit. Book of Prophecies) is a device created by the Farseers in Final Fantasy XIII-2 that also appears in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. In ancient times, the seeress Yeul would transfer her visions of the future into it, and they would be preserved as prophecies. When a future generation would discover the Drive and its memories, the accuracy of its recordings could be proven: the device and its data could be dated, and at least two of its visions were recent history.
Oracle Drives are ancient image capturing devices found across the breadth of Gran Pulse. They appear to hold the visions seen by the Paddraean seeress. Images that depict the future as seen from that time have been proven to be accurate.
An Oracle Drive was discovered near the Paddraean Ruins by Hope and his team of researchers. Due to the appearance of several gates in the area, the scientists are focusing on the relationship between the drive and the paradox effect.
- A Research Director's Notebook
What was the ultimate purpose of the Paddra Oracle Drives? The dominant theory is that they were archiving device for preserving images of the future. These 'archives' appear to consist of broken fragments of the seeresses' prophecies.
To gain a clear picture of the timeline, it will be necessary to amass a large collection of these images and then piece them together.
We have noted that the ancients stopped recording visions after a certain point in history. Did the process of recording to the Oracle Drive become an empty ritual? Was some other means found to preserve the prophecies? Or did the visions of the future grow so terrible that the Farseers thought it best they never be seen?
These devices can record a vision of what is to occur in the future and play it back for others. They are uncovered in ruins that once belonged to an ancient people called the Farseers. This tribe was ruled for generations by the seeress Yeul, who possessed the ability to see the future, and they labored to record the visions with which she was cursed.
The images which are recorded within an Oracle Drive are sure to come to pass, if the current path of history is followed. If the future that is depicted in an Oracle Drive is somehow changed, then any alternate futures that might arise are then reflected in the Oracle Drive.
Noel was a Guardian serving the seeress Yeul and a traveler through time. he knows better than anyone alive the unseen sorrows that can arise from changing the future. Is that why he seeks to protect the prophecy shown on the Oracle drive? Or is it simply that, more than anything, he wants it to be true?
One of the possible questions in Captain Cryptic's Confounding Quiz reveals that the Oracle Drive is a piece of technology left by the ancient fal'Cie and the Academy referred to it as a sensory perception device before it was given its official name. The fal'Cie seen in Paddra Ruins and the Oracle Drive cooperate to play back memories, and presumably work together with the seeress to record them. In the "Ortlinde's Bloom" fragment, it is said the fal'Cie channels the visions of the seeress and records what she sees. In the "Spinning Moonstone" fragment entry, Mog says fragments are made of the same crystal that is inside the Oracle Drive, and that is how they can hold memories. Moogle Hunt's animation is the same as that shown when the Drive communicates with the Paddra Ruins fal'Cie to activate its display.
In the "Pathos Jewel" fragment entry, Maqui explains the crystal resonates with the thoughts of nearby people and reconstructs them in its atomic structure. The memories are recorded by injecting energy into the crystal to freeze the structure into place; if one concentrates on thinking something and then runs a current through the crystal lattice, it is possible to trap the images from inside someone's head. Maqui says scientists have even figured out how to date the recordings.
As revealed by the 200 AF incarnation of Yeul, the Oracle Drive was a device used by the people of Yaschas Massif long ago so that Yeul could transfer the images of possible futures into it. Although the device became obsolete when the Guardian Caius became immortal, allowing the seeress to implant her visions into him, the Oracle Drive still contained images already seen and remained intact up to Noel Kreiss's time of 700 AF.
In 10 AF, the Academy unearthed the Oracle Drive during their excavation of the Paddra Ruins in Yaschas Massif. When Serah, Mog, and Noel arrive to that time, meeting Academy leader Hope Estheim and his assistant Alyssa Zaidelle, Hope is pestered by the latter to show them the Oracle Drive.
As Noel pretends to be unfamiliar with the device, Hope explains the Oracle Drive before showing several centuries old images of Ragnarok saving Cocoon, and Lightning fighting to save Cocoon as a l'Cie. There is also an image of Lightning fighting Caius in Valhalla, though it is blurred due to the paradox affecting the area that allows Fenrir's premature presence.
Traveling to Oerba in 200 AF to negate the paradox, Serah and Noel find an Oracle Drive and inspect it, displaying images of the true events on the Day of Ragnarok, showing Lightning alongside the others on Gran Pulse. Caius appears through the Oracle Drive and attacks them until Yeul tells him to stop, as history has already been changed. After returning to Yaschas Massif in an alternate timeline at 1X AF, Serah and Noel not only see a clear vision of Lightning fighting Caius, but also one of Caius indirectly destroying Cocoon in 500 AF.
In Academia in 400 AF, Serah and Noel discover the proto fal'Cie Adam attacking the populace that Hope had created it to protect. They travel back in time to the Augusta Tower in 200 AF, where they encounter Adam, learn of its creation by Hope, and are forced to fight. Serah, in frustration, shouts to Hope that "your machines are driving me nuts." Hope witnesses Serah's outburst on the Oracle Drive and abandons the project, resolving the paradox and changing the past.
Eventually, while Noel and Serah detour to Noel's time in a Dying World in 700 AF, they find the Oracle Drive of that time, and learn the era's Yeul had left behind her vision of Noel's adventure across time, and the two of them reuniting.
It's an Oracle Drive. It records the future. Yup. Whatever they see in it, they know it's a future that's bound to happen.
Five hundred years after the merging of Valhalla and Gran Pulse into Nova Chrysalia, Oracle Drives are still around. In Luxerion, the Oracle Drive is said to be connected to the recent murders in the city. As Lumina explains, people who view the Oracle Drives believe the future is fixed and must be acted out. Noel claims an Oracle Drive shows the Shadow Hunter killing the savior and bringing peace to the world, as according to the assumptions formed from the recording, the savior's appearance would spell destruction. Noel becomes obsessed with the Oracle Drive's prophecy, as it also contains a vision of himself reuniting with Yeul. Although Noel wishes he didn't have to kill Lightning, he believes it necessary to make the prophecy come true.
When Lightning awakens from crystal stasis and becomes the savior, she arrives in Luxerion and Noel stalks her until they meet face-to-face. They duel, but when Noel gains the upper hand he realizes he can't kill Lightning, because it's not what Yeul would want him to do. Noel destroys the Oracle Drive to free himself from the hold its prophecy had on him, but Yeul's spirit appears from the Drive and tells Noel they will see each other again soon.
Later, Lumina tells Lightning the Oracle Drives' prophecies were but "pretty fakes", and Hope echoes this sentiment when Lightning wonders whether it was right to stop Noel from killing her. However, it is implied the Oracle Drive's final prophecy is fulfilled when Noel departs to the new world with Yeul.
- In Captain Cryptic's Confounding Quiz, it is revealed that due to the discovery of the Oracle Drive, Lightning's feathery belt became popular among the Academy scientists in 10 AF.
- In Zenobia's fragment entry, it is said the moment Zenobia was summoned through a crack in spacetime by the Proto fal'Cie Adam, and became the harbinger of death for the seeress Yeul, was 'seen' and recorded within an Oracle Drive.
- In the "Extraordinary Egg" fragment, it is revealed that Snow Villiers sporting a Pulse l'Cie brand had been sighted on an Oracle Drive. The researcher who recorded the fragment entry wonders how Snow became a l'Cie since Pulse fal'Cie are known to want nothing to do with human affairs, thus believing Snow asked to be branded.