The Yggdrasil Tree is a recurring plot element of great relevance and significance that appears on every game of the series, which is not strange since the original name of the games contains Sekaiju (World Tree), which is usually translated as Yggdrasil.
No matter the game, it is depicted as a huge tree that is somehow linked to the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. However, its role changes from game to game.
Etrian OdysseyEditIn the first game, the Yggdrasil Tree is a major plot element, but the player only learns about it as the explorers are nearing the end of the game.
The great tree is the central point of research of the Yggdrasil Project. Named after the legendary tree of life, it was designed as a system that would clean the planet's atmosphere and restore its climate, making it once again a place suited for life. Still, the damage to the planet was too severe; recovery would take ages, time that mankind lacked. Billions had died already during the process, including the scientists and their families.
Thus, the leading researcher of the project, Visil, decided to sacrifice his humanity and became a sort of living interface of the tree, granting him eternal life so he could watch over the system, and guarantee it would work for years to come.
This Yggdrasil is located in the remains of the district of Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan.
Heroes of LagaardEdit
This Yggdrasil stands right behind the city of High Lagaard and its labyrinth begins within a gate on the side of the tree, leading higher and higher until eventually reaching the Heavenly Keep, the flying castle that was once home of Ancient Lagaard's inhabitants from one thousand years ago. A scientist who participated in the Yggdrasil Project planted this Yggdrasil and lives within the Heavenly Keep as the Overlord. The highest point of Yggdrasil is the Petal Bridge. There, Bird People live within its trees and do the bidding of the Overlord. Once you reach the keep, you are no longer on the tree, but above it.
The people of High Lagaard regularly and amazingly prune and trim the tree's branches every few years due to the tree's ever-growing branches blocking out sunlight. In fact, your guild may choose to accept a quest to do so once reaching the Petal Bridge.
This Yggdrasil tree is speculated to be located somewhere in Russia.
The Drowned CityEditOn the third game of the series it is a major element of the story, having the greatest plot importance so far.
This tree is actually a great, powerful sentient being that has traveled the outer space for eons seeking to destroy the Abyssal God, an alien creature that travels the universe conquering worlds.
In order to flee from its chaser, the god landed on Earth, where it found refuge on its vast oceans. The tree, however, soon followed, landing on the planet's surface and quickly growing roots, sealing its nemesis within a labyrinth. Years later, however, the god has created a new race, the Deep Ones, and now seeks to wage war against humankind. Also, humans eventually settled on the land where the tree had landed, and there founded the city of Armoroad.
The tree contacted Seyfried, who was the ruler of Armoroad at that time. It granted him knowledge about the Deep Ones, and asked him help in facing this threat. The king agreed to help in the battle and, in order to keep the aliens existence a secret, with the help of Yggdrasil he sunk part of the city to become what would be eventually referred to as the Deep City.
With the help of the great tree, the king obtained great technology, allowing the city to prosper even underwater, and developing highly intelligent robots. However, the battle was harsher than they thought; the deep ones were already advanced enough and started heading towards Armoroad. It would take years to the king to be able to defeat the aliens, and his mortality might get on its way. For such, the tree allowed him and his followers to upload their minds on robotic bodies, allowing then to effectively live forever and keep battling the Deep Ones for as long as needed.
However, this came with a price: their new bodies were the result of technology granted by Yggdrasil, and as such the tree was able to control to some extent the mind of the king, forcing him to fight endlessly against the Deep Ones and removing, by any means necessary, anyone who got on their way, even his own sister (who also found a way to live forever in order to meet her brother again, but at the price of her own humanity, turning her into a half alien and causing Yggdrasil to see her as a threat as well). This casts a shadow of doubt on the tree's true intentions.
This Yggdrasil tree is speculated to be located somewhere in the Pacific Islands or Oceania. Possibly Indonesia.
Legends of the TitanEdit
On the fourth game, the Yggdrasil tree once again has a great impact on the game's plot, and serves as the main motivation of the explorers.
For ages, the huge tree referred as Yggdrasil has drawn the curiosity of the people living in the city of , surrounded by legends and speculation. However, there has never been a way to reach it, as an immense valley stands in the way leading toward it. That changed one day however, when an unknown Skyship crashed close to the city domains, leading the city engineers to study it and ultimately build their own Skyships, finally giving a chance to reach the tree looming in the horizon. The Count that rules the city started gathering explorers on the city, giving the ones deemed worthy an Skyship, in hopes that someday someone would find the secrets of the tree.
However, as the game progresses, they will discover that the mighty tree holds a dark secret no one would ever imagine.
This ancient tree, similar to the one on the first game, was created with the purpose of cleansing the world of its miasma, saving it from a nearly inhabitable state due to the pollution created by mankind. However, while succeeding in the task, the tree eventually started corrupting itself, and eventually mutating itself, becoming the giant titan-like being called the . The creature would eventually release the pollution back into the world, and cause those around it a disease that causes plants to grow on the victim’s body, eventually causing the death of the victim. This illness was dubbed the "Titan's Curse". A few remaining humans, along with the three servitor races they created (the , and the Hollows), managed to seal the creature's essence into the depths of the Forgotten Capital, returning the tree to a dormant state.
Years later, a misguided prince would set a plan in motion to gather the three artifacts that contain the titan's power, and once again awaken it, in hopes to save his decaying lands. Doing this would cause the death of many, as well as the end of the Servitor races that now live in harmony with the humans, and it's up to the group of explorers that, ironically, first set the plan in motion to stop the tree's revival.
This Yggdrasil tree is speculated to be located in either Australia or North America.
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl Edit
In the remake of the first game when playing Story Mode, it is established in the plot that the Yggdrasil Tree in Etria is also being corrupted of the pollution that it had absorbed over the course of it's lifetime. It would soon wreak havoc in the area by releasing the pollution back into the world, similar to the Yggdrasil tree of Etrian Odyssey IV and thus changing the plot point in the original game that the explorers that killed the Yggdrasil Core had killed an innocent life form and ruined Etria's economy. It is also established in Untold that all of the Yggdrasil trees in the world were undergoing a similar process and were highly unstable as the pollution was mutating the cores of each tree.
Frederica, one of the protagonists in Untold's Story Mode, exposes that there were seven Yggdrasil trees created and planted across the world in the Yggdrasil Project, one for each continent supposedly. This connects all of the Yggdrasil trees (except for Etrian Odyssey III's) to one universe. She also explains that a couple of the trees were equipped with a Gungnir unit, a weapon that would destroy the core of its Yggdrasil tree as a backup just in case the tree was corrupted. Consequentially, the blast of the destruction would destroy a large radius of the land around it. As an example Gotham, a city that Simon and Arthur hailed from and also was located by a Yggdrasil tree, was decimated by a Gungnir unit. The Yggdrasil in Etria is also found to have a Gungnir in Untold and a main chunk of the plot is of the party attempting to find an alternate way to destroy the core without the use of Gungnir.
In the process of destroying Yggdrasil's core, it is discovered that the Yggdrasil Tree of Etria had created the race of the Forest Folk as a defense mechanism for the core (that was also theorized by M.I.K.E.) similar to what the Abyssal God from Etrian Odyssey had done creating the Deep Ones. But it is also revealed by Kupala to the player that the purpose of the Forest Folk was to not only protect Yggdrasil, but to, when the right time came, aid in destroying it. After this, Kupala sacrifices herself to embed her soul within the player's spear and kill Yggdrasil's core.
Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight Edit
In the remake of the second game, the lore surrounding High Lagaard's Yggdrasil Tree has been largely revamped to fit the context set in EOU. Previously, there was no Yggdrasil Core in the original game. In the remake, however, a Yggdrasil Core exists within the deepest floors of the Temple of Ginnungagap where it has been sealed by the power of Fafnir for hundreds of years to prevent its rampage upon the world. This power was created by the Black Guardian, a researcher in the Yggdrasil Project. She created the hereditary titles of Fafnir Knight and Black Guardian in order to maintain the seal upon the Core for as long as it has been.
During the events of the game's Story Mode, the party unintentionally weakens the seal significantly due to an anomaly and complications with two Fafnir Knights existing at the same time, which was not supposed to occur. Thus, it is up to the party to somehow defeat the Core to prevent its destruction of the land.