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As the Vortex species are organized along the structure of an insect hive, the drones seem to serve a role similar to worker ants. Their goal is to expand and maintain the hive, gather food, and serve their progenitor; the Vortex Queen.
They will also act as defenders of the hive should an intruder actually manage to get through the Tube and into the hive itself.
They are technologically a very sophisticated species, understanding the theories of physics and how to apply them in science and engineering. They know how to generate electricity in an aquatic environment and make machines that even surpass current human technological understanding. Such devices include energy weapons that can operate underwater or over interstellar distances, powerful tractor beams that can harvest oceans, and generated wormholes that can span hundreds of light years, connecting worlds with one another.
In one possible future in which the Vortex had taken over the planet Earth they had even mastered anti-gravity machines that could cancel out gravity. They must also have developed time travel technology at this point as they were able to send two drones back in the past to retrieve two of the defeated Asterite's globes and bring them back to their time. Later on they even sent back two warrior drones to capture the enemy of their kind; a young dolphin who had destroyed the original hive on planet Vortex and attempted to stop the creation of a new hive on Earth.
Next to their technological knowledge the Vortex also seem to specialized in organic modification of themselves and other creatures. They are apparently even able to combine machines with living tissue, or make machines that are almost organic like. Such creations include the Vortex Jellyfish and the various Vortex Worms that appeared in the second Ecco game as well as the amoeboid scavengers in the Vortex future.
Unlike most alien invaders depicted in various stories, animation, games, and movies, the Vortex do not necessarily fit the description of conquerers. While they have attacked other worlds in the past, the goal was never territorial expansion, but rather to gain the resources to continue the existence of their own species and maintain their world. They are militaristic in nature however and will engage in conflict with those who would deny them what they want or those who they possibly perceive as a threat to their own species. Among the victims were the people of Atlantis from the planet Earth with whom they fought one or more wars with in the past.
It was only after the events of the first game that the Vortex decided to relocate to Earth and restart their species from there. This was possibly because of the damage their mother ship sustained in the fight with Ecco. Other reasons could be because their hive on the Vortex homeworld was destroyed and Earth already provided better feeding grounds and resources.
In one possible future the Vortex had completely conquered Earth and like their own homeworld seemingly having covered its surface with massive installations and machinery that reached from the ocean floor towards the stars. As outside the suggested presence of the Atlanteans, no humans make an appearance in the first two Ecco games, it is unknown what their fate was. Most likely they were either enslaved or exterminated with most of the rest of Earth's indigenous species when the Vortex moved from the oceans to the land.
However Ecco soon defeated the Vortex in the present. Their species was mostly rendered extinct after this second victory over them and their queen. Only her and a few others were able to survive the destruction of the second hive by reverting to their larval state. They travelled to the City of Forever to use the Time Machine and regroup in the past. However this attemptt failed when the Vortex Queen was unable to dominate the creatures of the time period in which she arrived, instead being forced to integrate into the life cycles of the Earth. Through interbreeding this gave rise to exopods and anthropods such as insects, ararchnids, and crustaceans.
It is possible that there are still Vortex on the original homeworld, but with the loss of their food supplies and their queen they are condemned to extinction unless they find a way to produce food on their own once again.
There is no creature on Earth with which the Vortex Drones can be compared with, though they share similarities with anthropod species such as insects, arachnids and crustaceans, having a carapace, a segmented body, and multiple limbs. They can survive the loss of parts of their body, including their head, and these lost parts will most likely regenerate given enough time.
Interestingly enough Vortex Drones on the planet Vortex and Vortex Drones on Earth have a different carapace colors, with the original species being green to dark green of color, and the Earth ones being light blue to blue. Though this could possibly be due to the change in graphical styles between Ecco 1 and Ecco 2.
In the few cases in which the drones engaged intruders or aggressors in combat they could survive the loss of the majority of their bodies, with their heads acting autonomously and continuing to pursue and attack their opponent.
Vortex Drones most likely are sterile,having no ability to reproduce amongst individuals, and instead relying on a massive Queen entity which serves as the center of their hierarchy. They could possibly come from eggs or be produced asexually.
In the story, the similarity between the Vortex and the athropods of Earth is not a coincidence as these species are actually the somewhat degenerate descendants of the Vortex, coming into existence after the Vortex Queen attempted to alter history by going back into Earth's past to establish a new hive.
All these species eventually evolved from the Vortex Queen as it was forced to intergrate into Earth's biosphere and traces of their origin such as the hive hierarchy survived in species such as ants.
Vortex creations, fauna & flora
- Hive turret
- Vortex Dragon
- Vortex Jellyfish
- Vortex Worm
- The Machine
- New Machine
- The Vortex Drones seems to take a lot of inspiration from the art of the Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger, whose necronomicon art books also inspired the titular creature of the science fiction movie "Alien", which also seems to be a source of inspiration for the Vortex hives in Ecco 1 and Ecco 2.