Zoë Maya Castillo is the protagonist of Dreamfall and co-protagonist of Dreamfall Chapters. She was born in January 2199 as the daughter of the bioneer Gabriel Castillo and Helena Chang. She is the owner of Wonkers the Watilla, whom she has had since she was four, and is a black belt in an unspecified martial art.
Zoë is a strong-minded and strong-willed young woman, who regrets some of the actions she is forced to take on her journey but fights for the greater good, both of humanity and to save Reza Temiz.
Prior to Dreamfall
Zoë Castillo was born in India. When she was 4 years old she was told her mother died, and Gabriel bought her Wonkers to provide some comfort in this time. She went to primary school in London, and although she has since lived all over the world—often in the African continent—Zoë kept her English accent for the rest of her life. She was 10 years old when the Collapse occurred (2209). Her residential subsection was shut down for several days and Gabriel was anxious to protect her, so she did not witness much of the chaos.
Zoë later enrolled at Cape Town University, taking a Bioneering degree - "my beautiful and talented daughter following in my footsteps," as her father teases - with a steady boyfriend, the journalist Reza Temiz. But a couple of semesters later, she started to feel plagued by a loss of direction and an emptiness in her life she was unable to fill. Soon, she dropped out of university, broke up with Reza and moved back to live with her father in Jardin des Roses, Casablanca. She spent most of her time either lingering idly in her room and watching TV, taking long showers, and drinking coffee, while occasionally going to the gym to train with Jama Mbaye, or visiting her friend Olivia DeMarco. As she told Reza, she had enough money to go wherever she wanted and do whatever she pleased, but there was nothing she wanted to do.
At the beginning of Dreamfall, Zoë is lying in bed, deep in a coma. She begins narrating events beginning two weeks earlier, saying that all those who know the truth are either dead or have vanished off the face of the earth.
Zoë is one morning broken out of her prolonged period of apathy when a strange Static interference appeared on Screen of her room. Zoe saw a vision of a little girl and a Black House in a wintry landscape. The little girl kept repeating: "Find her, save her." To begin with Zoë waved it off as viral marketing, but the interference began to recur more and more frequently on several other screens she would pass, with the strange girl starting to call her by name, pleading with her to "find" and "save" April Ryan."
Zoë had little time to dwell on it, as soon afterwards she was caught up in Reza's disappearance. She retrieved a package from JIVA for him, and discovering a dead woman in his apartment, and that the EYE was out in force, looking for him, Zoë followed his trail to Venice, Newport, where she was attacked by Marcus Crozier and the Twins, and forcibly hooked up to a Dreamer Console. This sent her 'dream presence' first to the Winter, then to Arcadia, where she found the huge caves inhabited by Grubbers and eventually found her way to the Journeyman Inn. Searching for a way home, Zoë's mention of the name "April Ryan" to Minstrum Magda caught the attention of Brynn and he kidnapped her, bringing her to April to be questioned. April was sympathetic, but little more - thinking Zoe was a fellow Shifter, she tried to help unlock Zoe's powers with hypnosis, but this simply sent Zoë back to the waking world, back to Stark.
With Olivia's help, Zoë continued on Reza's trail to WATI City, Japan, the home of WATI, where Reza had been in contact with a man named Damien Cavanaugh. Infiltrating the main corporate building, Zoe met Damien, who explained the dire truth behind Project Alchera, WATI's latest development. He claimed that there was some kind of interference in the software for Project Alchera, DreamNet but he was unable to trace it. In a multi-tiered operation with Damien's help, Zoe implanted a Data Worm in the DreamCore, Eingana, but was almost caught by WATI security. She was saved by the appearance of the little girl on an elevator's Screen. The girl sent her elevator up to an eerie garden inhabited by a bloated, monstrous man, Alvin Peats, who taunted Zoe, claiming that Reza was dead before she managed to escape the clutches of his "pets" - the Twins.
Hiding out at Damien's apartment while the information from the data worm was decrypting, Zoë began to feel drawn to him but decided to try using the Dreamer again, voluntarily this time, as Peats had complained that he could not read her dreams. Before that, she shared a kiss with Damien, so he'd not forget she liked him. But this time she emerged in a crowded Arcadian marketplace, where she was arrested by the Azadi as a witch and hauled off to Friar's Keep. She was interrogated by Kian Alvane, but Zoe's lack of magic ability convinced him she wasn't a threat. With help from April and Crow, with whom April had been reunited, Zoe managed to escape, but was shocked and angry at April's continued refusal to help.
With Crow by her side, and with Brian Westhouse's help, Zoë took a Cloudship to the Dark People's Library to speak to the White Dragon for her advice and assistance. The White of the Kin could tell that Zoë was a 'dream presence' in Arcadia, and knew that she was "stuck in life", that she needed faith in herself and her goals. With the White Dragon telling her "faith will send you where you're needed the most", Zoë vanished and reappeared in the swamplands, just in time to witness April's apparent death at the hands of the Azadi soldiers and Kian's arrest. As the Azadi razed the rebel city, Chawan and Brynn used a magical powder to send Zoë back to Stark.
Zoë woke alone, but found a message from Damien saying he traced the interference to Russia, to what turned out to be an abandoned doll factory. Beneath it, Zoë discovered a hidden laboratory and a data cube detailing experiments with the dream drug Morpheus conducted on a young girl, Faith, who died during the procedure. Heading home to Casablanca, Zoë found Helena Chang, the head of JIVA, waiting for her. Chang told Zoë that Faith's residual soul or influence was the cause of the Static, and confessed that JIVA had created Faith for WATI. Reluctantly, Zoë agreed to go into the Winter one last time and allow Faith to die.
When she met Faith for the third and final time, Faith said that Zoë had completed her mission and saved April, according to a White Lady whom Faith had spoken to. She also said that Zoë was her sister, as they shared the same mother. Resting her head on Zoë's lap, Faith finally passed away, but back in the real world, Helena Chang had injected Zoë with an overdose of Morpheus, saying she could not allow Zoë to wake up, and remarking how much Zoë looked like her father.
While Zoë lay in a coma, slowly fading away, her father, who was sitting by her bedside, was visited by Reza Temiz, apparently alive and well. But Zoë, watching unseen, tried to warn her father "that is not him". Just afterwards, Zoë appeared in the Storytime, greeted by the Vagabond. He said that she was welcome in the Storytime, and that she was a Dreamer. Saying they had little time, he asked Zoe to tell her story, to "begin at the beginning". Zoë began retelling the story she had just narrated, starting with: "My name is Zoë Castillo, and I think I might be dead."
Zoë returns as one of 3 playable characters in Dreamfall Chapters. The game finds Zoë stuck in the Storytime, where she must "learn to control the very fabric of dreams and confront her own past" before she can rejoin her journey in the waking world.
Zoë in the Storytime
After months spent saving Dreamachine users who have become trapped in the Storytime and are now forced to live out their nightmares, Zoë, exhausted, turns to the Vagabond for an explanation. He tells her that it will not only get worse, but that eventually the problem will spin out of control and start to threaten all of existence, unless Zoë awakens and puts a stop to it. Despite her uncertainty, Zoë eventually agrees; she asks him if she will see him again, and he assures her that they will meet again one last time "just before the end" and parts with her, imploring her to try to remember everything once she wakes up.
Using her powers, Zoë manages to get in touch with her subconscious. Before she can wake herself, she is confronted by a manifestation of her inner doubt, taking the form of her younger self, who attempts to block her from waking. Zoë manages to make peace with the manifestation, and then brings her coma to an end.
Zoë in Propast
Three months after awakening, Zoë has made a new life for herself, getting back together with Reza, moving with him to Propast, finding a job, regularly volunteering for a political campaign with the Unity party, making new friends, and speaking to a therapy in order to come to terms with the world she’d left behind. She is also an amnesiac: while she has successfully reconstructed a partial version of the events that led to her coma, based on second-hand accounts, she remembers nothing of her investigation into Reza’s disappearance, let alone Arcadia or Storytime. Nevertheless, she carries on, one day at a time.
On July 24, 2220, after a therapy session with Dr. Roman Zelenka, visiting Reza at The Hand that Feeds, and a shift at work, Zoë is assigned a task by Baruti Maphane of the Lea Umińska campaign. Zoë is to approach Queenie, a community leader within Propast, and make an appeal for her endorsement. Despite her own ambivalence towards her chosen candidate, Zoë makes her pitch, and Queenie, not unreceptive, agrees to give her endorsement in exchange for a favor: help locating Hanna Roth, a young member of her community whose disappearance concerns her. Zoë agrees.
Zoë searches for a friend of hers, Nela Vlček, whom she believes may have knowledge of Hanna’s whereabouts. She eventually finds Nela embroiled in a discussion with one of her compatriots from Europolis’ Marxist party, Manifesto. When Nela sees Zoë, she is not at all happy, and refuses to speak with her. Things do not improve at her next destination: returning to Unity campaign headquarters, Zoë witnesses Baruti being threatened by Mr. London and his thugs. Once London leaves, the two friends process what just happened before once again parting ways. Calling it a day, Zoë returns to her apartment and Reza.
A week later, on July 31, Zoë, asleep, is dreaming. In the dream, she is in a place called the Purple Mountains, where she meets a non-human creature who calls himself Abnaxus, accompanied by a different creature whom Abnaxus identifies as Oular-pala, chief of Oular. Abnaxus leads Zoë to a third being, Lux, whom he describes as the First Dreamer. Lux lies asleep in his deathbed, and Abnaxus notes that if Lux dies, then time and the universe as everyone knows it will cease to exist, as the universe itself is the dream of the First Dreamer. Zoë awakens.
Zoë heads out for an appointment with Roman Zelenka. Outside Roman's office, she meets Nela, who has had calmed down since they last met and relays to Zoë what information she has about Hanna Roth. After her appointment with Roman, Zoë meets up with Baruti, who asks her to do some investigating about possible corruption within the party. After getting the necessary equipment from Mira and Wit, local electronics purveyors, she gathers the necessary data from Wire nodes around the city.
Zoë also continues her search for Hanna; by tracking members of her gang, the Dragonflies, she eventually finds Abby, Hanna’s ex, in one of Propast’s underground alcoves. While Abby does not know where Hanna is—they’ve had a falling-out over Abby's use of the Dreamachine—she tells Zoë that she is probably at her secret hideout, spooked and laying low after she began suspecting that her most recent employers were looking to “get rid” of her. Following Abby's clues, Zoë is finally able to track down Hanna. Although initially skittish, the young Dragonfly eventually confides that she has to keep a low profile because some very dangerous people are after her and asks her to tell Queenie that she is fine and is "working on it". Zoë also learns that Hanna has been having similar dreams to her.
Returning to Queenie's, Zoë conveys Hanna's message to the community leader. Queenie thanks Zoë for her help, agreeing, as part of her deal, to grant her endorsement, before giving her a cryptic warning, telling her that she is not "all here", explaining a part of her is lost in dreams and she needs to wake up and remember.
Zoë returns with the gathered data to Mira. Mira finds that it is as bad as Baruti feared: Lea Umińska has been meeting in secret with Konstantin Wolf and WATI, and has agreed to deregulate the use of the Dreamachine if elected. Zoë, concluding that this information cannot be kept secret, chooses to share it with people in a better position to do something with it. However, days later, she discovers that the conspirators are actively working to prevent the information from getting out, and have, in the short term, succeeded.
After receiving a call from Nela, who asks to meet her, Zoë travels to the Souk. Nela, visibly on edge, gives Zoë a package and asks her to hold onto it for safekeeping before saying her good-byes and leaving. Zoë, concerned, follows Nela, and witnesses as she detonates a bomb in front of EYE headquarters, killing herself and others and injuring Zoë. Amidst the chaos, an unconscious Zoë is dragged away to safety by Falk Friedman.
Zoë, in a hospital room bed, twitches slightly in her sleep...
Weeks after Nela's suicide bombing, Propast is under heavy lockdown by the EYE and Manifesto has been condemned as a terrorist organisation. Citizens are ordered to stay inside, and only allowed limited trips outside to pick up essential supplies. Zoë, meanwhile, has mostly recovered from being caught in the blast of the bomb, though a skin graft shows her face to still be somewhat scarred from the ordeal. The lockdown, however, has effectively left her alone and isolated her from her friends and her job, and to make things worse, her apartment's fuel cell breaks during a power outage, forcing her to head outside for a new one.
Outside, the streets are practically devoid of civilian life and crawling with heavily armed EYE operatives. With a monitoring EYE droid as a forced escort, Zoë makes her way to Pandemonium, where she meets Mira. Before Zoë can explain the reason for her visit, Mira hands her a Dreamachine, left there a month ago by "German jager in a suit" who asked Mira to fix it, claiming that it was Zoë's and it should be given to her when it was ready. Mira further warns that since it is a fully licensed Dreamer, WATIcorp may be able to use it to surveil and track Zoë. After some further talk of the actual reason for Zoë’s visit and the fate of the data on Umińska—which Mira promises to help disseminate, as soon as the time is right—Zoë leaves.
On her way back to the apartment, Zoë runs into Queenie's assistant, who says that Queenie wishes to talk to her. After the assistant disables Zoë’s EYE escort, Zoë steps onto Queenie's boat, where Queenie tells her that she is happy to see her once again, and revealing that she is planning to leave Propast very soon. She then discusses recent events in Propast with Zoë, with particular emphasis on Nela’s bombing. Zoë professes Nela's innocence, and Queenie agrees, explaining that the device was not meant to be lethal and that Nela was used. Zoë asks her how she knows this, and Queenie tells her that she knows because Hanna, who had assembled and delivered the device without knowing what it was for, told her. Queenie states that Hanna is now Zoë's best bet for finding some way to connect the bombing with the Syndicate. Queenie then brings up what she considers a more pressing matter: Zoë's lost memories. Zoë answers that she now knows how to bring them back: with the Dreamachine. Queenie warns Zoë to be careful, telling her that she is "fading" and must wake up soon. She promises Zoë that if both of them make it out of the ordeals that wait ahead alive, they will meet again.
Back in her now-lit apartment, Zoë considers whether to use her new Dreamachine. Despite her apprehension, she eventually puts it on and enters the dream trance.
Zoë once again finds herself in the Purple Mountains with Abnaxus, who cryptically tells her that she must be "here" and didn't truly come through. He is interrupted by the sudden arrival of a very confused Crow, who is despite everything happy to recognize Abnaxus and Zoë. Zoë is happy that she also recognizes Crow, but she realizes that the last time she had this dream, he was not in it, wondering why and how he has appeared now. She then tries asking Abnaxus why she didn't make it across, and he explains that the connection is too weak and she is "only half-dreaming" and she soon needs to be "all-here" or it will be too late. Abnaxus then points out that she did manage to bring Crow over, explaining that he will be the key, but before he can say any more, what sounds like gunshots suddenly ring through the dream.
Zoë quickly shuts off the Dreamachine and finds Falk Friedman standing before her with his gun drawn. However, it soon becomes apparent that he is not there to hurt her, but to protect her from approaching EYE operatives. Zoë escapes her apartment and runs into Hanna, who appears in the elevator and tells Zoë to follow her. The two of them get outside, and Hanna, wanting to get off the streets as quickly as possible, leads Zoë into the Propast underground through a nearby entrance.
Inside the underground, an expansive series of tunnels which runs under all of Propast, Hanna explains that if any evidence of WATI's connection to the bombing exists, it must be found in Mr. London's nearby warehouse, which is where she had obtained the explosive Nela used. The warehouse, located deeper underground, will also likely hold the unlicensed Dreamachines Zoë needs, making it their most logical destination. The two women are then greeted by Abby, who hands Zoë the package that Nela had given her before her demise, and explains that she had been shadowing Zoë at the time and saw as it was abandoned in the chaos of the explosion. Zoë examines the package, but the only item inside is a Watilla badge, now superficially damaged. After Abby stays behind to create a distraction for any pursuing EYE operatives, Zoë and Hanna press forward.
As Zoë and Hanna continue deeper into the tunnels, Hanna confesses about her abilities, and how she can peek into different worlds via dreams. Hanna also explains how the bomb used by Nela was meant to have contained an EMP, but was instead rigged with a small anti-matter chamber—a move, they conclude, to discredit Manifesto, as well as getting martial law declared so everyone will stay inside, hooked to their Dreamachines. Their journey is interrupted as Zoë realizes that something on her is starting to beep faintly: the damaged Watilla badge, which is apparently receiving a signal from somewhere in the tunnels.
Tracking the signal with the badge, the duo discovers that it comes from an old Wire access point from before the Collapse. Examination reveals that it is still active and using old protocols, meaning that while the Syndicate does not know about it, Zoë's IRIS cannot properly connect to it, either. Fortunately, Nela's badge acts as a key, and Nela's garbled last confession begins playing.
After clearing Manifesto and Ribas from any involvement in the planned EMP attack, Nela explains had independently discovered the truth about the device, and how the attack was nothing but a false flag operation by WATICorp. Nela goes on to explain that, in her despair about the unchecked power of the corporations, she chose to through with the attack anyway, in the hopes that the resulting investigation would lead back to WATICorp and lead to actual change.
Zoë is shocked and disheartened to learn the truth, and she decides not to share this information with Hanna, afraid she will only blame herself further. Instead, she tells her that the message only confirmed WATIcorp’s complicity in the attack.
Resuming their journey towards the warehouse, Zoë explains to Hanna that she had forgotten about the other world until just recently. Hanna, still finding it all a bit hard to take in, asks if it really is all about these parallel worlds. Zoë affirms it is; there is something wrong in going both in both worlds and it somehow threatens the Dreamworld, and in turn reality itself. She knows WATIcorp and the Dreamachine are responsible for the disruption in this world, but she will need to visit the other world again to truly get to the bottom of things.
Eventually, Zoë and Hanna find Mr. London’s warehouse, but before they can enter, they discover approaching EYE operatives. Hanna chooses to stay behind and draw them away while Zoë looks for the necessary evidence inside.
Zoë explores Mr. London’s warehouse, only to find out that not only have Mr. London and a group of his henchmen chosen this day to torture a disloyal gang member inside the warehouse, but the warehouse itself is outfitted with an active alarm system, preventing her from leaving with any goods without having the criminals on her in seconds. However, with a combination of resourcefulness and luck, Zoë is able to escape with the evidence against WATIcorp as well as an unlicensed Dreamachine.
Zoë reunites with Hanna and shows her the evidence she was able to find: the antimatter chamber and the receipt for the bomb with WATIcorp's name on it. Hanna then guides Zoë out of the tunnels towards Pandemonium.
Inside Pandemonium, Zoë explains the gravity of the situation to Mira. Impressed with their efforts, Mira offers to run an analysis on the anti-matter chamber to compare it to the bomb as well as check if she can repair Nela's recording. Zoë also explains that she plans to use the unlicensed Dreamachine to enter Dreamtime again. She asks Mira for one last favor, that she get the data on the corrupt parties to The Hand that Feeds. Mira promises that she will see if she can get it to Sully through the access points in the tunnels.
Zoë lies down on Mira's sofa, and explains to Hanna, Mira, and Wit, that while it make look like she is just sleeping, she should be someplace else, so it is important that they neither try to wake her or disconnect the Dreamachine. Zoë puts on the Dreamachine and activates it, but to Hanna and Mira's surprise, she disappears into thin air.
Zoë in Arcadia
Zoë awakens in Marcuria, specifically inside the Journeyman Inn. There, she quickly finds Crow, who had made a shelter for himself in the now-abandoned building. After comparing notes, the two friends agree to attempt to contact the rebels and see if they can provide information on the Oular, the Purple Mountains, or Abnaxus’ whereabouts. However, much like the first time she visited Arcadia, it is the rebels who find her.
Separated from Crow and taken to the Enclave, Zoë is eventually able to explain who she is, and she is let go. While the rebels offer their assistance, it is a familiar face, Blind Bob, who provides it. Explaining that he once knew Abnaxus, and even occasionally used his home for shelter, he gives Zoë the key to Abnaxus’ home and explains how to get there.
Back in Marcuria and reunited with Crow, Zoë makes her way to Abnaxus’ abode. Once inside, she is found by another familiar face: Brian Westhouse, who had spotted her going inside and set out to investigate. With Brian’s help, Zoë is able to decipher Abnaxus’ writings, and learns that not only the location of the Purple Mountains, but also of the soul-stone taken from Lux by the “Warlock Klax”. Brian suggests the text may refer to Roper Klacks, the local former magician and current entertainer.
With Crow’s help, Zoë finds Klacks, who is about to put on one of his Fingerlings shows. He informs her that his soul-stone was taken by the Yaga, a magical creature living in the Riverwood. Stealing an Elgwan, Zoë and Crow embark in that direction.
At the Riverwood, Zoë and Crow encounter Ben-Bandu who confirms what Klacks said, and adds that the wizard, as well as the Gribbler, both worked for the Yaga. He bids Zoë good fortune as she continues on her way. After making her way deeper into the woods, and into areas rich with dream energy, Zoë arrives at the Gribbler’s former house, which now belongs to the Yaga. The house comes to life and attacks Zoë; fortunately, with her Dreamer powers once again available to her, Zoë is able to enter the house and into another realm.
Alone once again in a realm reminiscent of the Storytime, Zoë searches for the soul-stone, as she is taunted by voices around her. Eventually, Zoë faces the source of those voices, the Yaga themselves. Explaining that it is the only thing that sustains them, the Yaga initially refuse to give up the soul-stone. However, they ultimately admit that keeping it would be in vain: Zoë needs the Stone if she is to save Lux and the totality of existence. They hand over the Stone, bid Zoë to go to Lux, and to remember them. Zoë is then returned to the Riverwood.
Zoë reunites with Crow, and the two make their way back to Ben-Bandu; however, he is not alone, as another Banda, The Mole, has joined him. Impressed by Zoë's continued survival after her encounter with the Yaga, and aware of the Dreamer’s role in events to come, she gives Zoë further directions to the Purple Mountains and lends her her Leapfur, so that she may make her journey quickly.
The next day, Zoë and Crow arrive at the Oular city, which now consists of rustic nests build in the shadow of much grander structures. She eventually finds an Oular who doesn’t run away when approached, and manages to traverse the language barrier and explain that she is searching for Abnaxus. The Oular takes Zoë on their back and carries her to the Venar.
After obtuse explanations regarding the Oular, their kin the Yehte, why Zoë is necessary, why he contacted Zoë the way he did, and why Crow was necessary, Abnaxus takes Zoë and Crow to the sleeping Lux, who is safeguarded by an Oular elder. Zoë establishes contact with Lux, who wordlessly explains not only that Zoë has brought the Yaga with her inside the Dreamstone, so that they could be reunited with the Dreamer, but also that she must join with Lux and carry the first Dreamer with her. Although initially resistant, Zoë accepts her destiny, and merges with Lux, accepting the Dreamer’s power and responsibilities as her own.
Zoë’s consciousness returns to the Oular city, where she informs Crow that she can no longer stay: she needs to wake up. She vanishes.
Zoë in Mumbai
Zoë wakes up, not in Propast, but in Casablanca, in her hospital room. She is greeted by Wonkers, who tells her that she needs to return to sleep. Ignoring the Watilla, Zoë explores her surroundings. Faced with mementos of her life before the coma, she begins to realize that the details are wrong: they describe a life that wasn’t hers. The room begins to flicker and lose definition. Wonkers disappears. She is not in Casablanca at all, but in some all-white chamber made to look like it. After exiting, she discovers the identity of her captors: JIVA.
As she explores the JIVA facility, Zoë uncovers evidence suggesting that the company has been collecting data on her for far longer than she imagined—possibly since before her birth. Soon, however, she realizes she’s not alone: the facility is under attack by WATICorp soldiers, who are not only searching for her but also killing everyone else. Zoë manages to avoid the attackers, only to run into her parents. Helena releases a sleeping gas, knocking Zoë, the WATI soldiers, and Gabriel Castillo unconscious.
Zoë wakes up and finds herself trapped inside a pod; the WATI soldiers are still down, while Gabriel is handcuffed to a console. Only Helena is free, and she explains her plans, including how Zoë, Faith, and her other sisters enter into it.
For thirty years, Helena had worked on a way to harness dreams in order to shape reality. To that purpose, she and her then-husband Gabriel birthed Zoë as the first of several attempts at creating Dreamers. After Zoë was considered a failure and Gabriel expressed a desire to quit, she allowed him to leave with their daughter and to raise her. Subsequent attempts at creating Dreamers were made, but all met with failure. It wasn’t until Zoë was hooked up to a Dreamachine in Newport that Helena realized her daughter’s true potential.
(WATI’s connection to JIVA and Helena stemmed from a mutually beneficial, if fraught, working arrangement, which has now turned into open conflict. Helena also explains that the company has had Reza brainwashed ever since his disappearance, and have been using him as their unwitting agent since.)
Helena further describes how Zoë, after being placed in her coma, was transported to JIVA’s Mumbai facilities, where she remained since. However, at some point, her Dreamer powers manifested, and she created a physical projection, entirely herself but not, which lived her life in Propast while her original body remained asleep. Helena, taking notice of this, kept track of Zoë in Propast via Zelenka and Friedman, and attempted to manipulate her return to Arcadia, where she would, if things went according to plan, absorb “a primal source of dreaming energy” and fulfill her potential. Now that Zoë has achieved this, Helena plans to make her interface with Eingana: while Zoë connects Dreamtime with reality, the processor will begin making changes in the observable universe, effectively rebooting the world. Helena activates Eingana, and Zoë once again begins dreaming.
Zoë returns to the Storytime, where she encounters Crow. Crow, after an encounter with Brian Westhouse—The Prophet—has obtained access to his memories, and as he leads Zoë through the man’s story, Zoë learns how he came to take in the Undreaming, what he intends to do with it, and how he can be stopped. At the end of the journey, Zoë and Crow meet another familiar face: April Ryan. Zoë apologizes to April for not saving her, but April explains that she did: she was trapped, and Zoë helped free her and allowed her to be reborn. Zoë leaves Crow behind with April and wakes up.
Awake but still trapped in her pod, Zoë realizes that Eingana has blurred the line between reality and dream, allowing her to access her Dreamer powers. She frees herself and Gabriel, overpowers Helena, but before she can do anything else, she notices something happening: a shift to Arcadia has been opened, and at its center stands a blue-haired woman.
Zoë steps into Arcadia and the center of the Azadi Calculating Engine, Eingana’s Arcadian counterpart. There she finds Kian Alvane, and she shares what she knows with him: he must take the Silver Spear of Gorimon from The Prophet and use it to stab Roper Klacks, releasing The Undreaming. Kian accepts this mission and leaves.
Not long after Kian’s departure, Zoë and Saga are joined by Anna and Ferdows, Arcadian humans who are seeking to disable the operational Engine. Zoë, realizing she knows just the right person for the job, beckons Ferdows across the shift, where she puts him into contact with the best programmer she knows: Wit. Wit explains to Ferdows how he can program a virus with which to infect the Engine, and, after the engineer returns to Arcadia—followed soon by the closing of the Shift—the energy connecting the two worlds dissipates, as the Engine is deactivated.
Although the link between Stark and Arcadia has been severed, there is still danger at hand: suddenly, Brian Westhouse, now merged with The Undreaming, appears inside the JIVA facility, and he begins attacking Zoë’s parents. Zoë, using her powers, establishes a link to The Undreaming the way she’d done with Lux at the Purple Mountains. Both Dreamers speak to the Undreaming, which has taken the form of a humanoid being akin to Lux, and convince it that much like Dreams cannot exist without Nightmares, Balance demands both Dreaming and Undreaming. The Undreaming accepts this, and joins Lux. Zoë is returned to Stark, unconscious.
Zoë in Casablanca
When Zoë awakens, she is back in her Casablanca hospital room—the real one this time. Beside her is Gabriel, who apologizes for his role in everything going on with Helena and explains everything that has happened since she fell unconscious a week earlier. The information she’d uncovered had been sent to the right people, who in turn brought it to light. WATICorp’s involvement in the Propast bombing has been made public, and the company, in turn, has ceased production and promotion of the Dreamachine, which means Zoë is now useless to them.
Zoë expresses that now that everything’s over, she doesn’t wish to return to Propast, and instead wants to remain in Casablanca. Gabriel happily agrees. However, before she can return home, there is one person she must face: Reza, alive and freed from his mental conditioning. How their long-overdue conversation went is unknown.
Almost nothing is known of Zoë’s future, although Dreamfall Chapters reveals that she became pregnant some five years after the events of the main story, that she spent at least part of the pregnancy in Casablanca, and that she had a single daughter—or so Saga suggests. Saga also states that Zoë ultimately lived “a long and fulfilling life” and at some point passed on the Dream. She is survived by her daughter, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Ragnar's first real imagining of the game that would become Dreamfall came in mid-2001, code-named Unification - and then, later, Static//The Longest Journey. "Unification featured a 16-year old Asian-American protagonist named Mica who went on a search to find her missing boyfriend, and a large corporation manufacturing a powerful and mysterious device linked to dreams.'" Mica was obviously an earlier conception of the 20 year-old Zoë Castillo, who is herself Eurasian.
Ragnar was to write several proposals for a follow-up to TLJ, but central to all was the idea of a new, female protagonist. In one of these versions the player took control of the protagonist over various periods of her life: as a child and teenager, as an adult, and in old age. "Conceptually, this was intriguing, but it was a bit esoteric, and it would have been difficult to pull off well."
In early 2003 Ragnar submitted two pictures for the second and third installments of the TLJ saga: The Longest Journey: Journey’s Crossing and The Longest Journey: Journey’s End. Journey’s Crossing was "for all intents and purposes" Dreamfall, and concerned a 17 year-old Shifter called Zoë Alvarez who studied nanotechnology and lived with her father. It took place 10 years after TLJ and would revolve around her search for April.
One or two differences (this younger Zoë was spoiled and lived in the privileged gated-community of Summertown in rural England) were ironed-out around the time Dag Scheve came on board as Ragnar's co-writer in the Spring of 2003. "Interestingly enough, in those early drafts, Zoë was quite geeky and something of an 'accidental magician': strange things had a tendency to happen around her, something that was supposed to be reflected in the gameplay." In fact, this was to make up part of a gameplay mechanism involving her learning of magic spells over the course of the game. "This mechanism was, for a variety of reasons, cut relatively early on, though the essence of it lingers: Zoë has powers that have not been explained. Yet."
As production on Dreamfall Chapters progressed, Zoë’s appearance went through several changes. A teaser image of the character released during the original Kickstarter pitch met with unfavorable reactions, both due to the shape of her face and the decision to add a nose stud to her design. Her design was subsequently tweaked several times, with considerable fan input—including a June 2014 Facebook poll in which fans voted on which hairstyle she would sport—and was one of the last things to be finalized: a July 2014 trailer for Book One featured final or near-final models for all characters except for Zoë, who was the subject of still more tweaking before the game actually came out.
- Ragnar Tornquist - Dreamfallen part (ii), in which I talk about the long(est) journey from idea to reality
- Marek Bronstring - Dreamfall: from sketch to 3D model (archived; pictures no longer visible)
- The name Zoë Castillo: Ragnar: "Her name is very meaningful" Dag: "Well, Castillo obviously means castle. And it's sort of, like, she.. This is too much for me to try to explain right now.. It really is." Ragnar: "Well put! There's a lot of thought behind their names."