This video below popped up inmy YouTube feed today… Every cutscene from Legacy of Kain: Defiance. At an hour and fifty minutes, it’s not for the faint of heart, however, all “I need to the thing to make this door open” cutscenes aside, I really enjoyed this trip down memory lane with some of my favorite characters.
The complex plotting, the twists and turns, seeing who’s manipulating who, the world and its architecture, the unparalleled voice acting… It really makes me wish CD would bring this series back.
Some might say “the story’s done, there’s no need.” But I disagree. If you watch this all the way through, you’ll know the following:
The Elder is still alive. Kain is still alive. Raziel is still trapped in the blade. The Hylden are still on the other side of the veil.
Now, I’ll concede that this chapter of the story is done. But several possibilities for future content remain. What do any of these characters do now? What happens to Nosgoth and what are the repercussions to what happens at the end for both the characters and the world?
I’d love to see a new chapter unfold, with more pieces put on the chess board; more factions, more, more perils, etc.
I’d love to see a new game with a better, more satisfying combat system, far more RPG elements like spells, leveling, transformations, vampiric powers, perhaps even a party ala Dragon Age and quests and subquests and what not as you help Kain slowly conquer Nosgoth while solving various problems.
Not sure if anyone has seen the vertical slice of Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, but this could’ve been a cool foundation for a new game as well, though how Kain would’ve fit in, I’m not really sure.
Same. LoK: Defiance is one of my favourite games of all time, and it ended on such a cliffhanger… and then there just wasn’t anymore. Then they made that weird arena shooter “Nosgoth” which was such a failure… not sure what they were thinking.
Same here, no doubt! The gameplay was fun, the story was expertly delivered, and the voice acting was amazing. Switching back and forth between Kain and Raziel as their stories unfolded until they finally collided was such a cool experience.
As for Nosgoth, I never tried it. I heard it was… Okay? I guess? From what I’ve read, and maybe you’ve read the same thing, but I believe Nosgoth was originally the multiplayer component for Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, and when that whole project got cancelled, however far in to development it was, they decided to repurpose the multiplayer component as a sort of standalone experience.
Either way, it never looked particularly appealing to me. Dead Sun looked really good to me, even if you kinda have to derive a lot of what can be done from the pause screen, which shows you stuff that can be gained over time. The combat seemed a bit simplistic, but the world itself looked really good and the shift effect looked gorgeous.
Obviously it was just a vertical slice, so I’m sure there would’ve been a lot more going on with a final product had it not been cancelled, and it might’ve wound up looking and playing nothing like that slice, but it at least showed me the potential for a new LoK game on next gen hardware and that really makes me want another game in this series.
Plus, as you said, the way Defiance ended… I think I always took it as closing the book on the story and after seeing the ending again though, I’m really not sure why I thought that. It’s incredibly open ended. Characters are in a place where a lot more story can be told, plotlines can be advanced, and consequences from past decisions can be dealt with.
Regardless, even if that weren’t the case, I still feel like this world and the way stories are told in it and characters are developed… It just seems to me like it needs another chance; another sprawling story that takes place over multiple games. I don’t know if we’ll ever see that again, but I’d really like to see them try.
I too admit it feels unfinished and I honestly wish out of all the old Intellectual properties of the past decade of gaming to receive upgraded remakes and remasters and fresh coats of paint, nothing deserves it more than the Legacy of Kain saga. I truly do miss this series of games, I still have every chapter of the game (except the Blood Omens, because 1 is hard to find and 2 SUCKS SO HARD) on PS1 and 2.
Unfortunately, the original voice actor for the elder has long since passed and I doubt there’s anyone who can give a delivery quite like Tony Jay ever did. I also don’t think any of the original voice actors would probably reprise their roles, save Rene Aubernois since he’s still delivering voice over work.
I saw this, and I hate to say it, but I’m glad this version of the game never saw the light of day. I can give them credit for trying to do something exceptional and new with the story and the gameplay ideas, but it didn’t come across as a Legacy of Kain game. Namely, we are missing all the characters that make it an entry in the series, particularly the titular character Kain. It’s the same reason I can NOT bring myself to play Resident Evil 7. Yeah, it looks good, but it just isn’t an RE game. It has no mainstay characters except for tacked on references and then eventually a poorly devised DLC chapter to include some tie to the main RE series lore, but it misses the feel. If they had just marketed it under some other name, I think I would have liked it better, and perhaps they could have done much more with it. In the absence of Silent Hills, they could have really filled the hole it left and capitalized on a real opportunity.
I feel like this Dead Sun game would have been nothing more than a soulless cash in on an old IP that has a fanbase in nostalgia that would have been largely unfulfilled by the final product because it would have missed the point of what a true sequel and definitive ending this series truly deserved.
Don’t get me wrong though, this series means the world to me, but if anyone ever tries to resurrect it, I would hope they do it REAL justice and at least make Kain a clear focus to the game.
Also, @Iago407, I think you are misinterpreting a few things based on your synopsis of the ending in the spoiler tags. For one thing, Defiance as far as the timeline of the Legacy series is actually BEFORE Blood Omen 2, so play them and finish up with Blood Omen 2 instead of Defiance, the story makes much more sense. The developers themselves admitted to this as the intended order, which is weird since they released them in the order they did. However, the Hylden are safely locked away once again, Raziel is never meant to leave the blade ever again. The only unresolved thing that really gets me is the elder is still…out there.
I kinda have my own answers to these questions, but here’s one question that will keep you puzzled. Why is Vorador alive in Blood Omen 2? Because if you know the story as well as I do, you know, he shouldn’t be…and yet…
They were trying to salvage what they could out of Dead Sun’s multiplayer mode they intended to make. And yeah, it was a bad idea in so many ways.
I don’t know. Maybe some day, some very devoted fan turned developer will try and dig up this old series and maybe with a little blessing from Amy Hennig (Legacy of Kain’s best writer throughout the series) make something incredible, even if it’s nothing more than a remake. Personally, I would love to play the original Soul Reaver Remastered, and for bonus content, have an alternate ending where you play out the lost levels and boss fights they originally intended and see the original ending. I would love that so much, even though it ends horribly for Kain.
Yeah, now that we’ve had a new Killer Instinct, the Legacy of Kain series has more or less moved in to the white whale spot of games/series that I desperately want to see return. I’d love remasters, no question. Especially if they can somehow fix the jumping a bit in Soul Reaver 1 and 2 so that it feels a bit more precise. But yeah, seeing Nosgoth with next gen graphics would be amazing!
As for the first Blood Omen, I have a used copy, which works great. Depending on how much you’d be willing to spend, you can get the game used on Amazon for $20-$30 with original case, manual and disc in solid shape. I think they even have some new ones for $50-$60, which seems pretty reasonable for a game that’s been out for so long.
Oh and yeah, I also have all of them in physical copy except for Blood Omen 2. I don’t have that one at all. One play through of that game was more than enough for me lol.
Well, to be fair, the vertical slice was just showing off a sampling of what the game could be. Kain could’ve played a pivotal role in the story, much like he did in Soul Reaver, without being present through parts of the game and without being the playable character. Or maybe he would’ve been playable at various points. Who knows.
I think they were more just showing off how a soul reaver would play and what they’d like to the world to look like. But yeah, if Dead Sun didn’t have anything to do with Kain at all, it seems really strange that they’d even call it “Legacy of Kain.” I mean, if they called it “Nosgoth: Dead Sun,” I could maybe see that as a kind of cool “LoK adjacent” type of series and I’d be fine with that. I mean, so long as it had the lore right, it’s only one more step to the side than Soul Reaver was to the first Blood Omen… Kinda.
As far as the feel, I know you’re referring to Resident Evil here, but I actually thought the way the world looked both in the living and in the other world fit really well. Sure, the world could’ve been more interactive, the fighting could’ve been deeper (though that seemed to be implied in the menus) but when I compare it to Soul Reaver 1 & 2, which came out in the Dreamcast to PS2 eras, this vertical slice felt like a pretty logical next gen leap for those games specifically.
As for RE7, I never played it. While I thought that bringing it back to a house was a great idea, as soon as I saw that it was in first person, lost all interest. Resident Evil has kinda the same problem to me that Final Fantasy has. Instead of trying to iterate on its own innovations and maybe borrow some newer ideas here and there where it makes logical sense, especially when we’re talking about quality, ease of use, etc like ditching tank controls, these series that used to be leading the charge in their respective genres are now more or less reduced to chasing hot trends in the genre or outside of it and I kinda feel like it’s too their detriment.
Final Fantasy is now some sort of hackneyed western RPG where your party is borderline useless and you just zip in and out of battle, button mashing a bit, etc and much like XIII, it doesn’t feel fun or rewarding in the least. Instead of improving in the storytelling category, which I’d argue is where FF needed help the most, we still have emo “cool” guys, but now instead of a fun, turn-based game with tons of summons, spells, combos, etc, it’s just a borderline hack n slash, but that’s okay because at least I can get in the car and drive around for an hour lol.
RE7, much like RE6 before it, felt that way for me. Maybe you’ll disagree with me and that’s fine if you do, but RE6 felt more like an action game, like Gears of War. That’s okay, I guess, but that doesn’t feel like Resident Evil to me. I want a mystery, puzzles, and the feel of impending doom. RE7, from what I’m told, got some things right in terms of ammo scarcity, feeling underpowered, jump scares, etc, but again, first person is a huge turn off for me. It also gives me the same vibe as several other horror games out there, which is kinda sad.
Yeah, I still think that they could’ve done this with Kain, especially given how little of the game there actually was. I’d have to think that Kain would’ve played some sort of role. But yeah, if he didn’t, then they’re basically just using the name and that’s kinda weird.
Although, I will say this. While I love Kain and Raziel as characters, I also love the world of Nosgoth, the lore, the whole vampires versus humans motif… I do think that there’s room to tell other stories in this world that are even more Kain adjacent than Soul Reaver was and I’d be very happy playing that game provided it was good and the characters and story were well done. I saw that potential in Dead Sun.
That’s part of my feeling here with Legacy of Kain… There’s SO much potential. Vampires aren’t all over the place right now the way there were ten to fifteen years ago. Bring back Kain, resolve what can happen with Raziel, maybe even bring back the Elder (RIP Tony Jay) in some capacity as one of the chess players moving pawns around the board. Bring in new heroes and villains and create a game that draws the very best from the series (ie the characters, story and world) and build gameplay that makes people want to play and continue on and feel rewarded and not just waiting for the next cut scene.
You might disagree, but I’d love a world that’s as well realized as Witcher 3, with tons of places to go, people to talk to, quests to go on, stuff to kill, and maybe even have some sort of mismatched party of travelers with similar goals but different alignments, like Kain, his sword, a new soul reaver, a serafan knight, a young vampire that doesn’t recall who made him/her, a vampire hunter, a thief of some sort…
Maybe you can use up to four of these characters and you send the rest on sidequests that you can swtich to at any time to progress their individual stories as you progress the main plot. There could still be fatalities, combo juggling, etc, but also spells from the original Blood Omen, transformations in to a wolf, bat, and mist, skill trees to develop for each character, tons of different weapons, clothing options, armor, etc.
In short, I’d love a game that had just as deep a narrative and character development as the past games had, with a brilliant, twisting story, but I’d also love to see that depth applied everywhere else as well.
Yeah I believe he should’ve been executed by then. Aww man… Don’t make me go back and play Blood Omen 2! lol
Well, maybe I can just watch the movie version like I did with Defiance.
That would be AWESOME. I believe @TempusChaoti was the driving force behind bringing Killer Instinct back from the dead. I wonder if there was any way that he and Phil Spencer and Shannon Loftis could work their magic and maybe help fund Legacy of Kain’s resurrection at Crystal Dynamics as an Xbox One exclusive? I mean… They were able to get a year of exclusivity for Rise of the Tomb Raider, after all, so one would assume there’s a relationship there.
Neat idea, but TBH, on this specific IP, you might be asking for the wrong person. While Soul Reaver is cool, I really, really dislike the character Kain, mainly because I hated the first Kain game. Games / characters that center around being sadistic just because they can be are not ones that I want to be involved with nor help popularize.
The only way I’d be interested would be if Kain was the villain and he meets a very bad (and permanent) end.
I’m not sure where this is exactly coming from, as Kain’s objective isn’t really mindless slaughter, though I can understand if the style in which the game is presented does leave some with a bad taste in their mouth. The sequels really change the art and the cinematic experience for the better though, and Kain does become much more favorable with each passing game, but he does make a convincing villain in the Soul Reaver game. I would say that if they stayed in the same style of the first game with the overall gory tone it took, it probably wouldn’t be so great a series.
I’d say if your description matches anyone in that game, it would likely be Vorador. Now he IS a little twisted to say the least.
And being honest here, I’ve never played Blood Omen 1, but I’ve been so much a fan of the series I’ve watched playthroughs of it on youtube more than once. Not a fan of all the M-rated stuff, but the story itself is interesting on its own merit to watch how it will unfold. Played every entry in the game except that one, but started with Soul Reaver on PS1 many years ago.
However, Kain of the later games such as Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance, where he takes up the mantle of “Scion of Balance” is in some ways a very different character by that point. Every character pivotal to the story has such deep arcs and revelations that change their role completely.
Also, I don’t know how many of you know this, but Amy Hennig, the main writer of the Legacy of Kain series is also the same person who did the writing for some other very big titles such as the Uncharted series, and is currently working at Visceral on a new Star Wars game.
Well, before the original Soul Reaver was released, they had a very different fate in mind planned for Kain, but due to time, budget and release constraints, they kinda rewrote the ending to make it open ended. The game was a really ambitious project, but they didn’t have near enough time to make all of it work. There’s at least one more vampire son Raziel never gets to fight in a long deleted area of the game, Kain’s mountain retreat for the final boss battle, and a really epic final sequence that never got realized. Kain was actually going to meet his very permanent end.
EA shut down Visceral Studios a few months back actually. I don’t think Hennig is working on anything right now if I recall because of it. And even if they are still doing a SW-related project it’s not going to be the same game, knowing EA’s love for “focus testing” their products (which was happening before Visceral was shut down apparently).
Honestly at this point it would be surprising if we got a re-release of the old games (I know Steam has the old versions of most of the games, but they don’t work right on newer systems). Seems like SE is focusing more on Tomb Raider at this point, and considering how Dead Sun was canceled there’s a higher chance of a reboot or pseudo-reboot like MK9 that focuses on an alternate timeline of the LoK universe.
No problem at all! I was curious to hear your perspective and certainly appreciate it.
What about Blood Omen in PSone rubbed you the wrong way? I really enjoyed the whole top down Zelda mixed with dark vampire vibe. Obviously it wasn’t on Zelda’s level (what is, really?) but I thought that was a cool mix. I also dug Alundra back then and a few of the other Zelda clones that I thought got the formula right.
I’m assuming this answers my last question, but I was still curious if anything else didn’t work for you in Blood Omen?
I think sadistic is an apt description in some ways. He was an aristocrat that looked down on others in life, and in death, he revels in being a vampire even as he despises his curse and seeks vengeance on those that wronged him.
So you have this dichotomy; a bad man turned in to an evil monster, who must survive, but also laughs maniacally as he drains helpless, begging victims.
I’d even be hesitant to call him an antihero were it not for the fact that he was supposed to bethe hero that brought balance to the corrupted pillars with his noble sacrifice.
That is, of course, until you find out what path he chooses at the end of Blood Omen. At that point he becomes a full on villain in Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2.
However, through the course of Soul Reaver through Defiance, Kain becomes much more three dimensional as a character. He goes from someone that kills Raziel and manipulates him to valuing him deeply and seeing his own struggle against fate as a mirror of Raziel’s struggle.
I think Kain is a complex character because on one hand, you have these powers and you believe in his quest for vengeance, his quest for answers, and his quest to finally break free from those manipulating him as he delves deeper and deeper in to a historic conspiracy that threatens to destroy the world. In many ways, he becomes a legitimate hero.
But he also comes with SO MUCH BAGGAGE. He’s a monster. He’s arrogant, he does despicable things and he goes from reluctant antihero to villain with ease because of it. But I do think that he becomes even more over time, and that transformation through his whole journey makes him incredibly compelling.
But if that aspect of his personality; his arrogance coupled with his sadistic bloodlust and the joy he gets from putting his enemies down turns you away, I can totally respect that. We all have things that immediately put us off of a game.
When someone says “Fibal Fantasy VII but with a new battle system” or “it’s first person Resident Evil,” my first reaction is to say that’s not for me. It’ll have an audience. It may deserve an audience. But it’s not for me.
So I’m not trying to convert you by any means. I’m just telling you how I see Kain, because I remember not entirely loving him in the first game, but he grew over the course of several games in to much more than that original impression. At least in my opinion.
I think Kain worked REALLY well as a villain in the Soul Reaver games and I could absolutely see story potential involving him heading in that direction again. I could also see someone killing him in an epic battle that changes the landscape of Nosgoth forever.
I know this series isn’t really your thing, so I’m not trying to turn you into an advocate for something you’re not in to, but within this universe, with Kain, Raziel, the Elder, vampires, humans, the Hylden, and this dark, foreboding world, I see a ton of potential for great, multidimensional characters, epic, nuanced stories and gameplay that’s brought forward a great deal through modern inspirations that could all add up to something truly special.
I think that can all be done with a villainous Kain, a reluctant hero Kain, with Kain in the background as a twist ending or alluded to, or with Raziel and other new characters as the major focus. But that’s just me. If you’re not in to that or you simply disagree, it’s onviously all good. Again, I appreciate you commenting and throwing your two cents in!
Well, if your main exposure to Kain is through the first game or even the first few games, I can see why someone might think that.
Kain’s arrogance, his evil sounding laugh… I mean I get that Silicon Knights we’re going for an antihero, but once Crystal Dynamics and Amy Hennig took over, I think they did a great, but also necessary job of making him the villain, only to flesh him out a lot, make him more sympathetic and smooth out his rougher edges.
Of course, when I played the first Blood Omen back in the day, I saw him as a mixture of anger and revenge combined with the bloodlust of a vampire and the arrogance of a snobby aristocrat.
So I guess I never really made the connection that he got enjoyment from killing and terrorizing, much less what that meant for him as a character and me playing as that character. I thought some of the spell effects looked cool, some of the sword play was okay, the unique blood sucking animation, and how cool it was to be a wolf, mist, pass for human, etc.
But mostly, I just loved Kain’s narration. I loved listening to him explain the world, other characters, his various advantages and disadvantages as a vampire, his desire for revenge, heck, I used to love just scrolling through various items and armor and what not just so I could hear Kain talk about them.
So I can see the other side. I can see why Kain would put people off as a character, just as I can see why he never put me off a lot, and why he grew on me considerably over the course of the games to the point where he became one of my all time favorite characters in gaming.
Agree with all of this 100%, especially the last part.
Well, Soul Reaver and 2 and Defiance gave both Kain and Raziel purpose and reason, and Crystal Dynamics was especially keen on a central theme upon which every character isn’t really fitted to play the archetype of “hero” or “villain”, but at some point in their destinies, fulfilled both roles. Even Ariel, though a specter fulfills this design philosophy, and she’s considered the “pure” character. She’s the former Balance Guardian, but while she tries to maintain her role as benevolent counsel to both Raziel and Kain at some point, you have to remember, she kept Kain ignorant of the destiny he was chosen for, and what he would ultimately have to do to save the world, and of course, her own selfish ambition of being freed from her purgatory to the pillars.
If you think about it, every character has been both roles at some point, and that was the biggest theme CD writers stuck to in all the story. At one point, the elder is an ancient benefactor, but by the end, we discover his true nature as a parasite. Kain’s journey and fulfillment of this philosophy is so obvious, it hardly needs explanation. The vampires were thought to be wise and powerful guardians, but were deceived and out of fanatical devotion to their beliefs began war with the hylden. The deliciousness of the irony in every character seemed to drive this into such a complex tale of suspense, where it seemed almost impossible to trust anyone at a given time. Even Raziel has his crazy moments.
I can attest to this as well, Simon Templemen and Tony Jay are probably two favorites that spring to mind as far as the VO work. Excellent delivery. Paul Lukather is probably another noteworthy one I enjoyed. Of course, Michael Bell was the man from beginning to end when it came to Raziel’s famous lines. If you’ve ever watched the DVD extras from the Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance extras, those taped VO sessions are awesome and at times hilarious to watch. Even Tony Jay could crack a joke in that serious pitch of his.
LoK first game was a huge one for me as a kid. i believe it was my very first game where i played a guy who comes back from the dead as a vampire to get payback. i fell in love with it, i loved his voice overs and his attitude. id definitely be down for another round with it. kains actor was in dead space 3 as the unitology leader, and in uncharted 3 as the guy you have to fight at the very end so hes still around
Agreed. Those three games in particular did a lot to develop Kain as a character and make him not just more believable, but more likable and relatable as well.
On a slight aside note, I started watching the Blood Omen 2 “movie” on Youtube last night, where they tie all the cutscenes together and WOW.
First off, the graphics are somehow worse than the first Soul Reaver, which came out a few years earlier. The characters in particular, especially Kain, look horrendous. Not that it’s a big deal, but Kain has this shoulder pad that looks like it sticks out about a foot past his shoulder lol. I shouldn’t poke fun, as I’m not a game designer, but that can’t be what they intended him to look like in the beginning.
Either way, Kain is so obnoxious in this game. It’s like the writers wanted him to be kind of… bratty? I don’t know if any of them wrote on the previous Blood Omen or the first Soul Reaver, but the direction they took him in, at least at the beginning of the game (I only made it through about ten minutes so far) was a stark contrast to what he was in Soul Reaver 1, 2 and Defiance.
I think that was a major factor. Each character had their own motivations, each character felt that they were right or “just” but each character had enemies because of that. Mobius thought that he was doing right until he saw what he’d been serving the whole time (as another example).
I think the major theme that I got from the games, and the one that really excited me the most was watching characters that seemed so large and powerful at times, also seem so insignificant, yet somehow noble and compelling in how they tried to challenge and ultimately change their fates. A story that began as revenge for two of the main characters become something entirely different by the time Defiance was completed.
I thought that was a stroke of writing genius back then and I still think it’s fantastic. It could’ve simply been a situation where after Kain finally found out who was responsible for his death, he killed them and that was that. Or once Raziel finally got a hold of Kain, he killed him and that was that.
In fact, he DID kill Kain at one point. But the story didn’t end, characters kept learning more about the forces at work as the string pullers strings were revealed and players were treated to this labyrinthine tale over the course of several games that asked these massive, universal questions and then played it all out in front of the players.
As flawed as Kain can be as a character at times, both as a selfish monster in Blood Omen and Blood Omen 2, I still think that the storytelling and character development in the whole series stands head and shoulders above any other game or series I’ve ever played. That alone makes me want to see it again; to see more developed characters, more intricate plotting, more compelling questions all wrapped in to this awesomely dark, gothic world.
Ah yeah! I haven’t seen those VO sessions for a long time. I’ll have to go back and watch again. But yeah, Simon Templeman, Michael Bell and Tony Jay put on an absolute clinic in these games.