Tau Volantis is a planet of importance to the events of the Dead Space series. This frigid world was believed to be the homeworld of the Necromorphs and the Markers that create them, though the events of Dead Space 3 eventually reveal that the planet is merely another victim of the Markers, not their place of origin.
Tau Volantis was the home of an unidentified race of aliens. Long ago it was a planet of water, its inhabitants appearing semi-aquatic in nature. Not dissimilar to the inhabitants of Earth, the aliens discovered a Marker and soon thereafter began to create copies of the Marker in move to harvest its energy. They worshipped the Marker and fell under its thrall. The combined power of the Markers and the inhabitants who've fallen victim to their control triggers a Convergence Event.
However, what few may have resisted the call of the Marker created a Codex which would work in conjunction with a terraforming machine. Their efforts are only half successful: the halt of the Convergence Event deep freezes the planet into a frozen wasteland, leaving the final life cycle of the Necromorph life form, a sentient moon, incomplete and semi-dormant.
Two million years later, a faction known as the Sovereign Colonies discover the signal being perpetuated by their own Markers comes from the lost planet itself. In the face of losing the Secession War to Earth Government, the colonies send an expedition out to the planet in the hopes of finding Markers for their flagging campaign. Now an "icy backwater planet", the environment of Tau Volantis is harsh, and visited frequently by snow storms. These conditions complicate vehicular or on-foot travel for research teams and soldiers; the combination of strong winds, freezing temperatures and thigh-high snow often stalling travel altogether. When the expedition unearths the corpses of the aliens changed by the Necromorph organism, it isn't long before that expedition itself succumbs to the influence of the Markers.
When General Mahad loses complete control of the situation, the Sovereign Colonies council authorizes Scenario Five; a "first contact" scenario that entails the death of all parties involved with the expedition in a move to prevent hostiles from reaching the Earth. In an effort to save the information discovered on the alien's machine and Rosetta, Earl Serrano and his search team halve the bones into pieces to hide. Serrano's attempts to prevent the restart of the Convergence Event himself are prevented by Mahad and an accident leaves him unable to walk. The expedition is lost. Two hundred years pass; the derelict Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces flotilla float above the planet in ruins, its crew lost to the ravages of the planet and their fellow man under orders from their government.
Outposts, industrial areas, research facilities and way stations scattered throughout the frozen environment are mere remnants of what was an established settlement on the planet. The frozen Tau Volantis' terrain appears to be made up of catacombs, sweeping cliffs and caves. Research founded by Serrano suggests that the terrain of the planet have been the home of marine life.
Dead Space 3
Fragmented Marker research left behind by the Sovereign Colonies led data archaeologist, Damara Carver, to the rediscovery of the forgotten planet. Cobbling together what portions of information she could recover, Damara gathered information substantial enough for Earth Government Captain Robert Norton and Titan Station survivor, Ellie Langford to use to their advantage in the effort to destroy the source of the Necromorphs. Unfortunately, her findings became a target of interest for the Church of Unitology and she was killed in their search for the information.
Langford's efforts to reach the planet urges Captain Norton and Sergeant John Carver to enlist Ishimura survivor, Isaac Clarke's help under the advisement of Langford. Above the planet they assume Tau Volantis is the "Marker Homeworld", the origin of the Necromorphs. On the planet however, further exploration into the Sovereign Colonies fragmented data reveals Tau Volantis once was the center of a "Marker Uprising" that was subsequently halted before it could progress any further some two hundred years ago. For that reason, militarized followers of the Church led by Jacob Danik aim to stop Clarke and Langford from reaching the source and destroy all chances of true Convergence.
The planet is overrun by Necromorph lifeforms, all who appear to have adopted new ways of attacking unsuspecting victims with the use their own weapons and deceiving appearances. Wasters and Feeders are some of the hostile lifeforms encountered by survivors on the planet. The nature of the Necromorphs formed with human bodies are largely the same in behaviour and appearances as the ones previously engaged on Aegis VII, the Ishimura and Titan Station.
Further down below, however, creatures akin to the Snowbeast, and the Nexus emerge, revealing the fate of the planet's original inhabitants were the perpetrators of the "uprising" that halted the Convergence Event that required the sacrifice of their lives to stop. Though Danik is initially successful in restarting the Convergence Event, the combined efforts of Clarke and Carver result in the death of the sentient moon and the complete halt of the Marker signal.
Following the death of the Moon, Clarke and Carver eventually wake up to discover they have survived their freefall onto the planet's surface. At this point the moon, although dead and no longer broadcasting its signal, rests atop the planet's surface, remaining largely intact. The destruction of the machine seems to have no effect on the planet's weather and despite the death of the Moon, the Necromorphs inhabiting the planet still exist, likely fueled by the long-range signals of the newly-awakened Brethren Moons.
Geography and Ecology
Long before the Marker landed on the planet, Tau Volantis was presumably an aquatic planet with vast oceans covering the surface. Aside from the caverns and "cities" erected by the planet's former inhabitants, fathomless gorges and trenches runs along the ocean bed which now serves as tall cliffs and mountains. Once the Aliens activates their Machine, the whole planet was flash-frozen, plunging it into an endless snowstorm and apparently rendering the natives extinct.
Although no other species aside from the indigenous aliens have been confirmed as natives to the planet, The Snowbeast is presumed to be a local creature, though its status as a Necromorph/natural being remains unclear.
An odd point about Tau Volantis is that its atmosphere is completely breathable to humans despite its complete lack of trees and natural oxygen factories, though the Sovereign Colonies's scientists might have probably terraformed the planet somehow to provide air, or that its natural ecosystem contains oxygen within travelling air.
Formerly inhabited by its own indigenous civilisation, Tau Volantis fell to the Markers millions of years before the events of Dead Space 3 and has been dominated by Necromorphs ever since. The different Necromorph types encountered on Tau Volantis are listed below.