The fourth section of the Dept. Heaven World Guide focuses on Niflheim and the demons rather than on any specific game, and provides us with background information on them. There may be minor spoilers for all three games, and Marietta's role in the series is alluded to all over the place, so take caution if you're a latecomer.
As always, I don't mind if you link to this post from everywhere on the planet, since this information's meant to be shared. But credit me for the translation, and don't repost this stuff anywhere. P-PLEASE TO BE RESPECTING MY WORK :C
An infinite chaotic realm where the power of the gods does not reach: that is Niflheim. The truth may be wrapped in riddles, but there’s no doubt that it’s a myriad of worlds where all laws are thrown into chaos, and the common sense of Asgard and the surface worlds doesn’t apply. However, it’s the eternal reality of Niflheim that the strong stand above the weak, and because of the immense power of those called the demon gods, groups maintaining a type of order are often formed. In the past, the demon god with the greatest influence in Niflheim was known as its lord, and although the people of Niflheim were always longing for the opportunity to invade Asgard, only under the control of the lord of Niflheim did this come to fruition, and out of the lord’s desire for control, “Ragnarok” began. Because the explosion of that instinctual desire was the trigger of war, the first invasions were carried out without any plans, but later both Niflheim and its directives became organized and attacked Asgard’s army.
In the end they were defeated by the arrival of the “Grim Angels” in Asgard’s army, but through the destruction of the gods, they made their true threat known to Asgard.
“Demon god” is the title of those highest-ranked in Niflheim, possessed of high intellect and a kind of ideology (ambition); combined with their absolute power, this allows them to control their subordinates and command and organize large-scale groups. They match the gods of Asgard in competence, wisdom, and viewpoint of the overall situation, but their cohesiveness differs from the gods’ in that it’s not as though the demon gods carry the same views; in fact, it seems that the demon gods are always jockeying for power between themselves. Among the demon gods’ supporters in Niflheim, it’s exceedingly rare that any actually have a friendly attitude towards Asgard, but there are cases where they will support Asgard to further their own causes.
In Niflheim, it is possible for demon gods to lose their intelligence and fall to the place of Accursed, and also for the Accursed to amass power and become demon gods. This kind of reverse phenomenon is probably only possible in Niflheim, not within the immutable order of Asgard.
Demons on the Surface Worlds
The many so-called monsters arrive from Niflheim either by arriving themselves or by being summoned to the surface worlds using forbidden curses. Other than that, there are cases where beings of the surface world become demons either by falling under a demon’s miasma or curse, or entering a contract with a demon god.
Essentially, there are no ways to cross from Niflheim to the surface worlds but by using a Hades Gate. When those of Niflheim intend to easily infiltrate the surface worlds, they should pass through this Hades Gate, but because the construction ties two separate dimensions together, even if the “conceptual distance” between the chosen surface world and Niflheim is close, it isn’t easy for the average demon god to open such a gate.
Niflheim as seen by Asgard
To Asgard, their understanding of the chaos of Niflheim is, of course, that it’s a completely unpredictable place. Therefore, Asgard considers Niflheim to be dangerous, and usually orders its angels (like the Guardian Angels) to be on guard, hinder the construction of Hades Gates, and search for signs of interference. Even at the best of times, when construction of such a troublesome gate has received interference from Asgard, it becomes impossible even for powerful demon gods to act. However, once a Hades Gate is successfully opened, not just the surface worlds, but Asgard itself will take a lot of damage.
For the surface worlds, it’s certain that Heaven’s Gate—the opposite of a Hades Gate—exists, but when those are blocked off and destroyed by Niflheim, then those worlds are considered to have left Asgard’s control and become part of Niflheim’s domain. During Ragnarok, the construction and destruction of these gates was repeated, and the surface worlds were continually plundered and captured by one side, then the other.
Species Directory 4: Accursed
“Accursed” is a general term for those in Niflheim whose bodies carry immense power; it’s a kind of title for the demons who rank just below the demon gods, not the name of a particular species. The Accursed are divided into two large groups; one is the followers of the demon gods with power close to theirs. The other is comprised of those who would be equals to or stronger than the demon gods, but are far less intelligent than them. The majority of the first type are created from the limbs of demon gods, much in the way the gods created the Grim Angels, or beings from completely different worlds who gained the power of the Accursed through contracts with demon gods, like the Archangel. The four Accursed sealed in Riviera are of the intelligent type who serve the demon gods.
Ito Shinichi’s Dept. Heaven Secret Story, part 4
Because to form the series, creating information on Asgard’s stance is prioritized over creating the surface worlds that make up the individual games’ stages, Niflheim doesn’t have many setting details and thus remains flexible; it transcends simple designations like “it’s a place with a lot of bad guys” and is becoming something like a black box, a necessary evil. While formulating each stage and creating the worldview, the setting is such an important element that if flexible parts and masked information don’t remain, actually creating new games would become incredibly difficult. If the created setting gets stretched too much, the game system might become really narrow, which I think might be putting the cart before the horse… Which is to say, Niflheim has been established as a kind of “last sanctuary” that can be used at the production’s leisure. Because it has the image of “obscuring chaos”, even if it’s pinned down that way, not even the maker has to feel bad for using it like that.
Since we’ve talked a little about demons, I’ll explain about “the enemies that appear in the games” a little bit. Basically I use the following logic to come up with the enemy designs based on the game system.
1. The battle system has limited-use weapons
2. We need a gimmick to reduce the number of uses
3. An enemy that seems like it could melt down weapons would be…
4. Slime monsters!
I decide it pretty simply. But the only reason I can use an approach like this is because of that conveniently created Niflheim. For instance, if it were very minutely established and Niflheim might have places like “a world in whose history slimes were driven away and made extinct” or “a world where slimes can only be bred by the demon god, so they’re high-class pets”, or even “a world where your wish will come true if you gather the seven slimes”, then easily creating small-fry enemies and the other enemy characters would become impossible; it may actually be pretty problematic.
Next is the section on Knights in the Nightmare. It's going to take a while--Ito's textwall for that one takes up half a page, augh.
Anyway, on to other things. The Knights in the Nightmare site now features a countdown to a site renewal in which we'll (hopefully) be getting some actual content and more information on how the hell Ito's bringing such a DS-oriented game to the PSP.
Also, for those interested, Yggdra Unison's OST (with music composed by Adachi Minako and some arranged tracks by Hayashi Shigeki) will be available for purchase on the 24th of this month.
As has been rumored across the Internets, now it's been confirmed--a drama CD for Yggdra Unison is going to be released on March 25th! According to various websites, the CD will be divided into three sections of mini-dramas--some concerning the Royal Army, some concerning Milanor's thieves, and some concerning the Imperial Army (!!!). There will also be a bonus track with short commentary by the cast.
4Gamer has the complete cast list and an image of the CD's cover, which is adorable. As expected of Kiyudzuki-sensei. About the cast, it seems as though all characters in the Royal Army will be appearing (along with the Flunky), but that the Imperial Army in its entirety will not be showing up--Gulcasa, the twins, Emilia, Baldus, and Eudy are listed, but no one else. None of the other characters seem to be appearing. And I, predictably, am saddened by the lack of Nessiah. Yes, this damn book spends quite a bit of time discussing him, and Ito seems to like talking about him in conjunction with anything Yggdra Union-related, but Miyake Junichi did an amazing job as him, and Nessiah can never get too much attention. :C
At any rate, preorders for both the OST and the drama CD are available through Amazon.co.jp, in case anyone's interested! That's it for today.