Zoë Maya Castillo is the protagonist of Dreamfall, and she is slated to return as a major playable character in Dreamfall Chapters. She was born in 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 Edit
When Zoë was 4 years old her mother died; 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, 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 plauged 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.
Finding Reza Edit
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 retrieving 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.
The Dreamer Edit
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."
Dreamfall Chapters Edit
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 to Europolis.
After waking up from her coma and leaving Storytime, we join Zoë again three months later as she is meeting with her therapist. She has lost her memories of the events of Dreamfall and she has gotten used to her daily life in Propast. She has found a job, started doing campaign work for the Unity Party and she is living with Reza in an appartment on Sonnenschein Plaza.
Development EditRagnar'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, if Helena Chang is indeed her mother, 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."
- 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."