The Department of Death (DOD) is the organization Manny works for during Year 1. It is a very large business, which organises travel packages to the underworld for new souls, and is seen as a company that sells travel packages to newly dead clients. It is notable for being the only way for souls of the dead to gain passage on the Number 9 express train as the first stop in the Land of the Dead.
Employees of the Department of Death had led a bad life, and to get through to the ninth underworld, they need to pay off their debt. One way of doing so is by working as a reaper. Thus, it greatly helps a reaper to have good salesmanship skills.
It appears that the Department is divided into various sub-departments that are split based on type of soul; Manny's department only deals with human souls and he mentions an animal and a plant department.
Role in gameEdit
The Department of Death is the first area the player starts out in. It is where Manny Calavera works as a reaper to pay off his debt and were his office is, and several major characters are first revealed. It is seen only in Year 1 and Year 4.
Salvador Limones and then Manny Calavera discover a deep web of corruption within organised by Hector LeMans: Souls who deserve tickets on the Number Nine are being tricked into walking while Hector keeps their ticket for himself. The Lost Souls Alliance attempted to end the corruption within the Department of Death so that souls can get the travel packages they deserve.
In a blog post on the Double Fine website, Tim Schafer revealed that the D.O.D. is based on a real building: 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco . The building appeared in the reference books used by the team during the design of the game and the style of the building inspired much of the architecture in El Marrow and Rubacava. The real building contains the offices of Tim Schafer's doctor, dentist and optometrist, and is where Tim once had a root canal procedure done.
Much of the art deco style to El Marrow and including the DOD headquarters contributes much to the subtle allusions to Grim Fandango's influences. Primarily old gritty detective movies and novels.
A lot of the workers find it funny to stick their empty beer bottles down the message tubes. This angers the demon who maintains the system because the machines are delicate, plus he resents the salesmen's lack of respect.
Since the travel packages seem to be depended on a customer's life, it is not made clear what exactly is the role of an agent on this and how one's selling talents affect the package. Although the outcome seems to be mainly decided by the computer on how a customer conducted his life, professionally, successes and failures are attributed to a seller's personal talent; a customer's badly conducted life seems not to be an excuse for a bad sale. The most likely explanation is that policies are available given how good a person was in life, and how much money they were buried with. For example, the soul could elect to spend more on a cruise to the afterlife rather than taking a car or walking, if the person had merited it in life, and the salesman's job is to convince them to do so.
The Aztec God Mictlantecuhtli was previously the head of department but has subsequently moved, as mentioned by Manny when he inspects the statue of the god in the DoD lobby.