I’m so excited that Animal Cove is finally out of soft launch. It’s already been featured in the Apple App and Google Play stores, the community seems to be excited about it, and I think it’s KingsIsle’s most promising mobile game yet. Additionally, I now have a lot more people to theorize with! In this post, I’ll be throwing out some crazy Animal Cove theories that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. For this post to make sense, you’ll want to be familiar with the Animal Cove storyline. You can catch up with my recaps if need be:
- Part 1: Where am I?
- Part 2: Mysteries of the East
- Part 3: The Park Entrance: Interesting Seeds
- Part 4: The Park Entrance: Flower Power
- Part 5: Inside my Crystal Ball
You’ll also want to read my spiral connections post here.
Let’s get started!
Special Animal Origins: A Bumpy Road
Animal Cove is focused around special animals. Although talking animals are “normal” in other games, this isn’t the case in Animal Cove. For starters, Elias explicitly tells us that these animals are special and Inspector Kemp called your sanctuary “irregular” during his inspection. Talking animals that dress up and have human-like hobbies are NOT the norm. So why and how did they get like that? Well, that’s a bumpy road.
I initially thought that it was because all the animals were originally human. However, that didn’t seem to hold up when I revisited the character bios. Winston says that he’s been traveling the world since he was a wee pup, and Amanda shares that she grew up in a zoo. During her time in the zoo, Amanda encountered internet fame when she “was just a baby.” Amanda certainly is not a baby or young anymore. So, we know that she was a panda for most of her life.
After I thought the human theory was debunked, I started thinking about how normal animals could potentially become special. I immediately thought about that magical volcanic gas. Perhaps exposure to the gas could create animals with human-like personalities? After all, we know that special animals existed before the “big trick” in 1915. Those cranes by the pond were playing with Gunther’s chessboard. It seemed like a good theory, but once again, it’s debunked by Winston and Amanda’s character bios. Neither of them had been on the island (and therefore exposed to the gas) prior to Elias bringing them there.
So then I started thinking about memory loss and time travel. In fact, Bunny’s character bio specifically states that she’s an “accidental time-traveler.” Additionally, Dez doesn’t even know how or why he’s on the island. Perhaps that magic show in 1915 caused humans/animals to travel through time, lose their memory, and become scattered throughout the globe? But then I remembered that Amanda spent YEARS in the zoo and Winston spent YEARS traveling the world. Time travel is instantaneous … the timeline wouldn’t make sense. The only way that time travel would be an option is if Amanda and Winston were babies in 1915 and THEN time-traveled to live out their animal lives elsewhere. HOWEVER, Amanda mentions her mom in her bio. A baby wouldn’t be left at an amusement park with no parents or guardian. If Amanda is special, can talk, and time-traveled, the same would be true for her mother (who should’ve been present with her). We know Amanda’s mom was at the zoo while she was growing up, but she wasn’t deemed special or brought to the island by Elias. Therefore, unfortunately, the time-travel theory also wasn’t perfect.
No matter which way I spin it, I can’t for the life of me put the origin of the special animals together. I’ve even thought about whether the animals have implanted false memories (which is unlikely), each animal got their special-ness differently, or it’s just random. Things just don’t fit together nicely yet – there’s too much contradicting information. Despite that though, I keep coming back to the whole “they’re all humans” theory. Even though there are some inconsistencies, I still think that’s most likely and I’m going to explain why.
We know that the island’s special animals have human-like hobbies, accents, and clothes. The simplest explanation for that is that they were, in fact, human at one point. It’s not just a hunch either. Flora’s character bio reads as follows:
“Prior to coming to the island, I don’t know where I was … or IF I was. I was just a seed locked in a strange box. I remember Franky’s name and how to speak, so I was probably something before I was a seed. But I don’t really know.”
The key part of that description is “I was probably something before I was a seed.” I think that’s as close of a clue as we’re going to get to “I used to be human” at this point.
If my thought process is correct and humans were turned into animals by the magician, time-travel HAS to be involved. That’s the only way they’d still be alive! Once again, this is backed up by the fact that Bunny’s character bio explicitly states that she’s an “accidental time-traveler.”
Elias Knows More
Trust me, Elias knows way more than he’s letting on. For starters, how does he even know about the talking animals? He doesn’t have the ability to hear them … only you can. Winston’s character bio also confirms that Elias had plans to build a special island paradise before he even met the dapper dog. So, that begs the question – why is Elias so unphased by everything? He’s not surprised by talking animals, he’s not surprised by any of your island discoveries, and he’s not surprised by you. In fact, he was SEARCHING for someone who could talk with animals. How would he know such a person even exists? On top of all that, it’s implied that Elias is somewhat familiar with the spiral. Those boxes of decorations that Dez found contained banners with the Ravenwood school symbols on them. Winston pointed out that they looked new, so they’re definitely not from the old park. Elias had plans to reopen the park using those decorations. That can’t be a coincidence. And why is he so focused on putting all the special animals in one place? It’s almost like he’s dead-set on rounding them all up. But for what? Is it truly just for an island getaway? Something fishy is going on …
Is Dez Gunther?
At one point I thought Dez and Gunther were the same person. (Potential) evidence:
- They both like games (Gunther-Chess and Dez-Videogames)
- Gunther pointed out that the cranes by the pond were angry at him. Dez got chased out of the park by arrows (SOMETHING doesn’t like him)
- He was the only animal that was already on the island
- Having a current animal be the connection to the island’s past seemed like KingsIsle’s style
- Dez has had some similar dialogue to Gunther
However, Dez is a TERRIBLE liar and his character bio didn’t seem to indicate that the journal looked familiar to him. What I do know is, Dez is absolutely terrified of the island and wants you to stay far away from it. I think Dez was directly involved with what happened in 1915, but I’m not sure if he’s Gunther or not.
The Park is a Gateway
If the crystal ball is the “spiral’s eye,” then think of the park itself as the spiral’s soul. If you read my Deeper Connections post, you’d know that I think the island’s volcanic gas is actually mana. We already know that mana is used to power wizard spells in the spiral, but I also think it’s giving the island its magical properties. In Wizard101, our character is said to come from a distant realm without magic. I always assumed it was earth. But then how and why is this island on earth giving off mana? Well, it’s a gateway to the spiral. I think Merle Ambrose is well aware of this mana pocket and uses it to find and transport promising students to the spiral. I mean, have you ever considered HOW Ambrose brought us to the spiral? There are no spiral doors on earth that I’m aware of. I also think Ambrose sent guardians to the island to make sure its power never fell into the wrong hands – Francisco and Flora. They’re the only two non-animals you’ve encountered and they were already on the island … locked in a box. Francisco constantly blabs about protecting the island from unseen threats, but he may not be so crazy after all.
The biggest piece of evidence to all of this? If you read Francisco’s character bio, you’ll see that he calls himself the “Guardian of the Gateway” and the “Protector of the Island.” He also shares that he’s stood vigil and watchful over the island. Additionally, Francisco is the only character we’ve actually seen use magic and the plants he conjured were described as “otherworldly.” Other worlds, magic spells …. seems like these plants definitely originate from the spiral.
Putting it all Together
I know some people are skeptical about the magician being Malistaire, but I think there’s enough evidence (and hope) to stick with it for now. Without further ado … here’s my crazy Animal Cove theory.
*Takes place after Slyvia Drake’s death, but before the Wizard101 first arc.*
Long ago, Merle Ambrose sought to build a place where he could travel to and from earth undetected. He found an inhabited island, infused its volcano with mana, and used it to power a magical spiral pattern on the floor. This would be his gateway. To make sure this power never fell into the wrong hands, Ambrose sent two guardians to keep watch on the island – Francisco and Flora. All was well for quite some time. However, the island was eventually discovered by some budding entrepreneurs. They wanted to build an amusement park on the island and since Francisco and Flora didn’t deem them dangerous, construction started rather quickly.
Meanwhile, in the spiral, unable to cope with his wife’s death, Malistaire Drake tears the Death School away from Ravenwood and begins his quest to bring Sylvia back from the dead. Remembering that there is a powerful mana source on earth, he becomes determined to travel there and harness it. What he didn’t know was that an amusement park was being built in the very same place. Trying to take advantage of the situation, Malistaire offers himself up as a magician (the perfect disguise for a wizard) and suggests that the stage be built near the mana fissure. The park owners agree, and soon the park is scheduled to open in 1915. But resurrecting the dead is anything but simple. Malistaire wants to do a little “practice” and see how the mana reacts. This leads to some park employees being turned into talking animals … a very unfortunate side effect to Malistaire’s failures. The park groundskeeper, Gunther, actually stumbled onto two of these failures when he went looking for his missing chessboard. They were the two cranes by the pond.
By now, Ambrose’s magical guardians have started to notice that something is off. Malistaire, aware of who they are from his teaching days, turns them into seeds and locks them in a box so he can continue with his plan uninterrupted. Getting increasingly impatient and unstable, Malistaire decides to hold a “big trick” on the park’s opening day. During the hyped magic show, Malistaire attempts to harness all of the mana within the volcano to bring back his dead wife. He fails, and in a desperate last-ditch effort, attempts to mind control the attendees. Gunther is writing in his journal while this is all happening. He slowly goes mad … writing “The magician. The guardian. The chosen one. He speaks, we listen!” However, the volcano is not reacting well to everything that’s happening. Malistaire quickly uses the gateway to flee just as the shockwave engulfs the island turning everyone into talking animals, spreading them throughout the globe, and transporting them to the future. Most of the island is destroyed in the process. Now aware of what happened, Ambrose reaches out to resourceful billionaire entrepreneur Elias Vim. With the gateway destroyed, Ambrose tasks Elias with finding these special animals, uniting them, and finding someone who can put everything back to how it once was. You.
Years later in 2018, you’re on a boat on a peaceful day. That’s when you see the opening cutscene occur. Although the shockwave that hits you isn’t as powerful as the one in 1915, it grants you the ability to talk with special animals.
Yeah, I know it’s pretty crazy and I’m 99% sure the details are wrong. However, maybe I do have something remotely resembling the big concepts? There’s definitely time travel, okay?!