Exploring the Maps
A journey through the unexplored Panzer Dragoon world, looking at how previously mysterious regions can be located on the maps.
As I revealed in the Comparing the Maps article, these maps can be aligned and pieced together with relative ease. Unfortunately, they still have few or no locations marked upon them. It’s simple enough to add the locations from Panzer Dragoon Saga, but in this section I’ll be examining how other Panzer Dragoon regions - which have never been firmly identified on maps before - can be located on these maps with considerable accuracy, just from the data that exists within the games.
- Locating the Frontier
- Locating the Meccania Federation
- Locating the Former Teed
- Locating Li Vis and the Empire’s Homelands
- The Great Plains and the West Sea
- The Spreading Empire
- The Events of Panzer Dragoon Orta
Locating the Frontier
One of the most referenced locations in the three Sega Saturn games is the “Frontier”. This region is depicted as being a vast expanse of harsh climates and inhospitable landscapes - the hostile places through which the Empire has been unable to extend its power. Hence the name “Frontier” itself, which generally means “the place beyond what is known” or “the lands beyond human spread”. (“What is known” and “the human spread” are apparently the Empire itself, which the “Frontier” evidently exists in relation to).
Locating the Frontier on the maps themselves is not particularly problematic. For starters, countless references throughout Panzer Dragoon Saga place all of the lands that Edge travelled through in that game in the Frontier. That defines the south-east of the largest “routes map” as lying entirely within the lands of the Frontier, which is a helpful starting point.
Beyond that, the opening sequence of Panzer Dragoon Zwei describes Lundi’s village as being a small Frontier settlement. (Official sources have confirmed that the village’s name is “Elpis”, a detail which was not noted either in the game or in its instruction manual).
As the “routes map” shows, Lundi travels west from Elpis, journeying through the lands until he comes close to the region where Panzer Dragoon Saga is set. The places that Lundi travels through seem to be vast unsettled wildernesses (with the sole exception of episode 2, which will be discussed later). From a purely logical point of view, it seems that Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s locations fall within the Frontier as well.
In regards to the original Panzer Dragoon, the “Tower Report 1” book from Panzer Dragoon Saga confirms that the Blue Dragon and the Dark Dragon came “from the Frontier”. Like the locations seen in Panzer Dragoon Zwei, the first three episodes of this game also seem to be typical Frontier regions. They are unsettled wildernesses, with the Empire having only a makeshift base at the excavation site of Episode 3.
In Panzer Dragoon, however, the player uniquely gets to travel into the Empire’s mysterious homeland, with episode 6 being set in the Empire’s capital city itself. episode 5 - the vast and verdant forest - would also appear to lie either within the Empire’s homeland or on its outskirts, as it is evidently not that far from the Capital (and the entire Imperial fleet intercepts the dragon over this location). It seems that the ruined tunnels of episode 4 form a passage from the inhospitable lands of the Frontier to the Empire’s homelands.
Looking at the larger maps, all this information narrows down the location of the Empire’s homelands to a relatively small area. The map shown below is a detail of the north-west of the known Continent.
The “Frontier” regions all lie beyond the ranges of barrier-mountains shown on the map, which have been marked with a black line. On the other hand, the Empire’s homeland seems to lie within the relative safety of these mountain ranges, neatly divided from the vast wastelands to the east and to the south.
When looking back at earlier civilisations in the real world, major landscape features like these mountains often acted as regional or national borders; it would seem that the situation is similar here in the Empire’s homelands.
Bear in mind that this black line is not by any means a definite boundary: the evidence to confirm such a specific thing does not currently exist. This line simply provides an idea of which regions are considered to be the “Frontier”, and which regions fall within the Empire’s homelands.
Locating the Meccania Federation
Just as Panzer Dragoon allows the player to visit the Imperial Capital, Panzer Dragoon Zwei features a short trip to an outpost in the Meccania Federation (during the latter half of its second episode, if you take the right-hand route). The conflict between the Empire and the Meccania Federation is part of the background story to Panzer Dragoon Zwei. Information in both Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta confirms that the Empire is eventually the victor of this small war, and that they absorb all of the Meccania Federation’s lands.
The Meccania Federation is depicted as being a nation-state, a large area that the outpost in Panzer Dragoon Zwei episode 2 evidently lies within. The location of this episode is quite easy to find on the large “routes map”; it was certainly in a mountainous region, and the route goes straight up into the mountains beyond Lundi’s village, before it descends once again and enters the forest of episode 3.
I have marked the approximate location of episode 2’s Meccania outpost on the map above; it is the white dot to the north-east of Elpis, Lundi’s home village where the game began.
The next task is to work out where the borders of the Meccania Federation roughly fall. Among the books that can be found in Panzer Dragoon Saga, “Dragon Book 1” - a diary written by Lundi which records the birth of the dragon in Panzer Dragoon Zwei - yields a useful piece of information. The book’s first lines are: “An envoy from Meccania came to purchase a grown coolia. Meccanian officers always pay well, so there was plenty of food on the table that night”. This of course shows that Lundi’s village - Elpis - was outside Meccania, and that the border did not stretch that far to the south-west.
Panzer Dragoon Orta’s Encyclopedia sheds more light on the extent of Meccania. The description of another (former) nation-state, Teed, states that Teed’s capital city was located “in the forests north of Meccania”. Looking at the map, there certainly is an extensive forest to the north of Panzer Dragoon Zwei episode 2, which is where Teed’s capital evidently used to be.
In addition, Teed itself was located “on the eastern border of the former Empire”. It’s therefore clear that the northern borders of the Meccania Federation must lie both south of the forest, and also south of the lands to the east of the forest (which were the Empire’s homelands). The encyclopaedia reference for the Meccania Federation confirms that it was located “just south of the Imperial border”, which correlates with the above information.
The last piece of data regarding the Meccania Federation comes from the description of the erkist, a mutated monster in Panzer Dragoon Orta’s encyclopaedia. Apparently the erkist is a “subspecies of the species called goraias, which can usually be found near the southern regions of the Imperial Meccania district”. (The name “Imperial Meccania district” is evidently the name that the region takes on after it becomes conquered by the Empire).
Erkists appear in episode 5 of Panzer Dragoon Orta, where they burrow through the snowfields before leaping out to attack the player. Their relations, the goraias (also spelled “goliathes” in earlier translations) were the first enemies that attacked the player at the beginning of Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s episode 2, and they did indeed act just like erkists. That area travelled through in Panzer Dragoon Zwei’s episode 2 must therefore have been in the south of the Former Meccania Federation.
Putting all of this information together, the extent of the Meccania Federation is narrowed down to roughly the location marked on the map to the left. It is not as far north as the forest, or as far north as the lands to the east of the forest; it is not as far south as Elpis; and Panzer Dragoon Zwei episode 2 is located in the south of this region.
With the Meccania Federation located as accurately as possible, the next step is to find the other nation-states mentioned in Panzer Dragoon Orta’s encyclopaedia.
Locating the Former Teed
As the above information indicated, the former nation-state of Teed was situated both to the north of the Meccania Federation and to the east of the Empire’s homelands. Teed’s capital was also in the forest to the north of the Meccania Federation, and the player actually flies over a part of this forest in Panzer Dragoon episode 5.
Putting all of that information together, the location of Teed is narrowed down quite considerably, as the map on the right illustrates.
Teed’s southern and western borders are derived from the above information, but remember that its eastern borders cannot go beyond the mountain range shown. The region just beyond those peaks is where Kyle began the adventure of the first Panzer Dragoon game, which is confirmed as being in the Frontier. The Empire had already absorbed Teed’s lands by the time Panzer Dragoon took place, as I will discuss later, so no part of the former nation-state would be considered a part of the unexplored Frontier at that time.
Locating Li Vis and the Empire’s Homelands
The final nation-state mentioned in Panzer Dragoon Orta’s Encyclopedia is Li Vis. Apparently this nation-state used to be situated beyond “the northern border of the Empire”, and the region that it existed in is also described as being a “vast desert”.
Looking at the map, the only remaining region that can fit both of these criteria is the area marked on the image to the left. The northern border of the Empire’s homelands cannot reasonably be situated anywhere else, as any further north-east would count as Frontier territory (as has been discussed above).
Although the area marked on this map may not at first appear to be a “vast desert”, remember that the scale of this map is quite considerable. After all, the endless rolling desert of Panzer Dragoon episode 2 fits into a tiny sliver of flat land - on the map to the left, it is the second white marker north-west of the “Start of Panzer Dragoon” marker. If such a desert as that can be represented by such a small portion of map, the desert north of the forest - where Li Vis is evidently situated - must indeed be vast.
Now that the rough locations of these bordering nation-states have been established, the Empire’s original homeland is narrowed down to the general area illustrated above. Li Vis is along its northern border (as described); Teed is beyond its eastern border (as described); and the Meccania Federation is to its south (as described). The ocean forms its western border, and the Imperial Capital is evidently located in the northern regions of these homelands.
The Great Plains and the West Sea
Another two locations that can be found on the maps with relative ease are the Great Plains and the West Sea. The Great Plains is mentioned in the background story from the original Panzer Dragoon game’s instruction manual: it is described as being the place where Kyle and his companions were hunting during the game’s opening sequence.
In general terms, instruction manuals are notorious for giving vague or erroneous information, mainly due to them usually receiving a lower quality translation than in-game text. However, all the names listed in this instruction manual either correlate exactly with accepted official names, or definitely denote real people or places in the Panzer Dragoon world: “the Dark Dragon” for example, or “the Sky Rider”. It even names the exact kind of Imperial ship seen in the opening sequence: it is an Imperial Battlecruiser, a very specific name which is confirmed in Panzer Dragoon Saga. For these reasons it seems that the Great Plains must be an actual intended location in the Panzer Dragoon world.
Looking at the largest maps, the entire north-eastern region of the known Continent is a vast and featureless wasteland. The area where the original Panzer Dragoon game begins is enclosed by small mountain ranges, but the wasteland evidently spills into this region; this can be seen in the game’s opening sequence, and also in episode 2. This wasteland fits the name “Great Plains” exactly, and as that opening sequence takes place on the outer regions of this vast desert it is clear that this massive region must be the Great Plains.
Another named location - the West Sea - is similarly easy to locate. Not counting the much smaller “inland sea” of Georgius, there is only one real candidate for “West Sea” on the maps: the huge body of water that can be seen to the west and to the north of the known Continent. The name itself comes from the description of the Forest of Mutation in Panzer Dragoon Orta’s encyclopaedia. This states that the forest itself - which Orta flies through in episode 2 of that game - stretches “along the entire length of the river that flows into the West Sea.”
Elsewhere in the encyclopaedia, Episode 2’s Forest of Mutation is confirmed as being located in the Li Vis area, because the enormous Yondo Worm enemies seen in that episode are apparently “only found in the Li Vis region”.
Similarly, the encyclopaedia reference for the Sea of Ash - which the player passes through in episode 3, immediately after the Forest of Mutation - says that it “extends through the area formerly known as Li Vis”. It also states that the Sea of Ash “can be found in the northwestern region of the Continent”. This information correlates exactly with Li Vis’ placing on the map above, which is indeed near the Continent’s north-western shore.
This means that - by the time of Panzer Dragoon Orta, at least - the Forest of Mutation (and its river) must exist somewhere within the confines of the map above. The West Sea - which the river flows into - can therefore only be the sea shown on this map, off the north-western coast of the known Continent.
The Spreading Empire
As was mentioned previously, the former nation-states of Teed, Li Vis and Meccania were each absorbed by the Empire, becoming extensions of its homeland. Dates are given for these invasions in Panzer Dragoon Orta’s encyclopaedia, and the map below illustrates this Imperial spread.
During Imperial Year 43 the Empire invaded the eastern nation of Teed, and in Imperial Year 45 they went on to absorb the lands of the Li Vis nation-state to the north. Much later, in Imperial Year 72 - the time at which Panzer Dragoon Zwei took place - the Empire conquered and absorbed the Meccania Federation to the south.
The original Panzer Dragoon game took place in Imperial Year 89, but the Empire’s homelands had apparently not spread beyond the barrier mountain ranges even by this time. As the larger maps show, the lands beyond the mountains are absolutely featureless wastelands (with the exception of the forest to the immediate south-east), so it would seem that the Empire’s homelands had spread as far as possible.
The black line on the map to the left is a rough approximation that shows this ultimate borderline between the Empire’s homelands and the Frontier.
Note that this protected coastal region only contains the Empire’s homelands. The Empire as a whole has definitely spread throughout the entire Continent, and it has many remote settlements and colonies out in small pockets of inhabitable land beyond this region.
A decent way of considering this would be a comparison with the real-world British Empire of centuries past. The Panzer Dragoon world’s Empire controls lands across the whole Continent, just as the British Empire controlled lands across the entire globe. Similarly, Britain itself was only ever one small island-nation surrounded by sea, in the same way that the Empire’s homelands are this small region surrounded by mountains and uninhabitable wastes.
Although the existence of remote Imperial settlements and colonies is certainly confirmed, there are unfortunately no further geographical descriptions of these places, and consequently they cannot currently be located on these maps. It is also possible that the Empire’s larger colonies lie beyond the confines of even the largest maps.
One last point worth mentioning is that, on the small “Towers map”, no Towers are shown within the black borderline on the map above: thus no Towers existed within the Empire’s original homelands, or in any of the nation-states that were absorbed into these homelands. As the Empire always had great difficulty in tracking down the location of a Tower, it would make perfect sense for none of them to lie within the regions that the Empire controlled.
The Events of Panzer Dragoon Orta
As was mentioned earlier, the location of Li Vis actually binds the above map to the events of Panzer Dragoon Orta, because both episode 2 and episode 3 of that game are set in the same region where that nation-state used to lie. However, before speculating about whether or not the episodes of Panzer Dragoon Orta match up to any landmarks on these maps, there is one immensely important point to keep in mind: the occurrence of the “Great Fall”.
The Great Fall was the geological upheaval that took place following the deactivation of the Towers at the end of Panzer Dragoon Saga. Following is an excerpt from the Panzer Dragoon Orta encyclopaedia, and it relates to the subject at hand so well that it barely needs further commentary:
… the Continent’s topography and climate began to change radically. Cartographers had much difficulty keeping up with the ever-changing landscape, and maps were constantly being rewritten. Floods caused by the melting of the polar regions resulted in large areas of land being swallowed by water, earthquakes created vast canyons and gave birth to new mountains, and the difference in temperature between the various regions of the land grew further and further apart.
So unfortunately, even though those two episodes of Panzer Dragoon Orta take place in the Li Vis region, placing them - or any other locations from that game - on these maps will be impossible. The Continent of Panzer Dragoon Orta’s time (Imperial Year 156) will be radically different to the Continent depicted in these maps. These maps show the Continent at the times of the three previous games, possibly even in the specific Imperial Years of 72, 89 and 119, when the games themselves took place.
These maps certainly form an intriguing companion to the Sega Saturn games, and they shed light on many things that would otherwise go overlooked.
All of the regions discussed above could be located on the maps with relative ease, and also - importantly - no known pieces of geographical information contradict or conflict with one another. It seems that Team Andromeda had the geography of their world planned out quite extensively before they started dropping geographical comments into the games.
The information discussed above has been fully incorporated into the annotated maps, which can be found on the main maps page. These maps are intended to be as accurate and as comprehensive as possible, so as to showcase all known details of the ever-mysterious Panzer Dragoon world.