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Legacy of Kain Dead Sun (cancelled) – Story information

Mama Robotnik

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I’ve done two threads on this game already; one in 2013, with artwork and UI graphics, and another earlier this year with two videos. Also, this thread about all the cancelled games in the series is relevant if you haven’t done the background reading!

Over the last few years I have found a lot of assets from the game. What really eluded me however, was the story. Given the importance of plot in this of all franchises, I really wanted to know how the cancelled game connected to the wider Legacy of Kain mythos.

A source has contacted me, one who has been very helpful in the past and whom I have absolutely verified the legitimacy of. They were able to shed some light on the story of Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun:

The vampire lord Kain, at some point after the climax of Legacy of Kain: Defiance (the final released single-player game in the franchise), travelled back in time to murder his younger self. The result of this time-travel suicide was the alternate timeline seen in Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun.

Kain himself would have not appeared in the game directly at all. There would be some vague hint that part of him existed, and he and Raziel would be alluded to as myths from prehistory, but according to my source, the Kain that we know from the previous games would be entirely absent.

This lore information is very startling, and clashes massively with the established story of the series. Kain’s constant fight to survive in a world that hinges on his demise, and the rules of time-travel and timelines that were so beautifully written by Amy Hennig and her team in Soul Reaver 2, appear to be disregarded. Also the idea of a Legacy of Kain game, apparently without Kain, seems misguided.

One thing to keep in mind however is something an earlier source mentioned to me a few years ago - that Climax Studios had been directed by Square Enix to keep their story distant from the lore of the earlier games. This might explain the reason for the strange story direction - I wonder if keeping Kain out of the game directly might have been something that was non-negotiable?

The recent source also added that the story for Legacy of Kain : The Dark Prophecy (cancelled way back in 2004) would have been a much more direct sequel, continuing Kain’s story directly after Defiance. Former Crystal Dynamics staffer – and extremely helpful Q&A provider - Daniel Cabuco, has confirmed that The Dark Prophecy would have seen Kain descend into the Hylden prison reality, to learn more about the mysterious race before its descent.

Finally, the source offered some commentary on the cancellation of Legacy of Kain : Dead Sun. Though other sources earlier alluded that production was mainly suspended for budgetary reasons, the current source says that there were quality problems with the game – and after tens of millions was spent over three years – Square Enix pulled the plug. The company was reportedly happy with the art and audio, but had significant issues with design and narrative. So I am told.

And that’s it. If you worked on the game (or any other) and would like to get some information/art/anything else out there, please PM me and I’ll be glad to help!

I have a few concept pieces to post, some already on the internet (new to GAF) and some more recent finds. I'll try and post them into the thread over the next few days.

UPDATE - New Concept Art and renders a few posts below.
 

Sibersk Esto

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Not a fan of that plot point about Kain. Killing himself goes against his character and everything he was trying to achieve.
 

chandoog

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Yeah, no, that plot sucks and directly contradicts Defiance's ending, the last thing Kain says is "Hope", then going back and killing himself would just shit on Raziel's sacrifice.
 

Mama Robotnik

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Yeah I agree. The last scene of Kain at the end of Defiance does not click with this planned plot direction.
 

Ralemont

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I would have been pretty angry to reach the end of Dead Sun and find no Kain.

Dark Prophecy seems like the next LoK game I would have wanted.
 

Voror

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Yeah not a fan of that direction at all. Dark Prophecy still sounds like the one I'd have liked to see as it would have been a direct continuation.
 

NoFaceNico

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Sep 8, 2014
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I'm starting to read through the 10 cancelled games thread. The story behind this series is unbelievable.

I plan to get into the Legacy of Kain series in the next month or so. I've had Blood Omen in my backlog and I bought the Legacy of Kain collection back when Green Man Gaming had the Halloween sale. I have a weird fascination with dead IPs.
 

theSlacker

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Mar 21, 2010
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I feel justified in my continued dislike of the idea of any more LoK sequels.

I really need to go back and complete all the Legacy of Kain games. Not the first one though....that is too far back. I'll get the footnotes. lol.
The first one is one of the better ones, especially in gameplay. Only thing really bad about it is the loading times.
 

Zetta

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I really need to go back and complete all the Legacy of Kain games. Not the first one though....that is too far back. I'll get the footnotes. lol.
Gotta play the first one, its too damn good to pass out. Thank you for all the info Mama Robotnik, this help with the cancellation because I would have been piessed with that plot.
 

keltickennedy

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The first one is one of the better ones, especially in gameplay. Only thing really bad about it is the loading times.
Gotta play the first one, its too damn good to pass out. Thank you for all the info Mama Robotnik, this help with the cancellation because I would have been piessed with that plot.
Really? Like the top down one? How long would you say it takes for a playthrough?
 

BibiMaghoo

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That is an abomination...

If that is the direction they wanted to go with the story, then I'm glad it was cancelled. Sucks for those who lost work of course, but I'd rather they not make all the previous story pointless.
 

Rezbit

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Apr 1, 2007
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Wow making Kain go back in time to kill himself would have just taken a massive dump on the previous story.

Don't get me wrong I really want more LoK, but not if the story isn't going to be the same quality.
 

Cardon

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Awesome work as always Mama Robotnik.

I'll echo the comments by others in this thread that the supposed plot anchor for the game, that of Kain killing his previous self and being absent from the game , sounds a bit odd. I thought the central hook of Dead Sun souunded interesting with the character duality, but having a LOK game without even a Kain cameo is just wrong.

One question for you Mama, by chance do you know who the actors were for the main characters in Dead Sun were? It's been nagging at me since the gameplay surfaced earlier this year as I somewhat recognize one of the voices but can't place my finger on it.
 

FunkyPajamas

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Yeah, no, that plot sucks and directly contradicts Defiance's ending, the last thing Kain says is "Hope", then going back and killing himself would just shit on Raziel's sacrifice.
Exactly. Besides, if the report mentions that Kain and Raziel would be alluded to as "part of pre-history myths", then that means that Kain would have time-traveled to a time after the events of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, which begs the question, why? Nosgoth was already in shambles by that time. And even if Kain were to travel back to the events of Blood Omen and kill himself then, what would that achieve?

:( I want another game in the series, but not like this.
 

Kukawaki

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Thank Gods for your investigations Mama!

Legacy of Kain without Kain could work... not like this though :(
 

Mama Robotnik

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Awesome work as always Mama Robotnik.

I'll echo the comments by others in this thread that the supposed plot anchor for the game, that of Kain killing his previous self and being absent from the game , sounds a bit odd. I thought the central hook of Dead Sun souunded interesting with the character duality, but having a LOK game without even a Kain cameo is just wrong.

One question for you Mama, by chance do you know who the actors were for the main characters in Dead Sun were? It's been nagging at me since the gameplay surfaced earlier this year as I somewhat recognize one of the voices but can't place my finger on it.
I don't know, sorry!
 

Melkezadek

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Man, I know people think it was better left dead, but I feel they could've done something really cool with it. Flashbacks to what happened with Kain after Defiance and onward, and to the present of the player character.

I think it could have been badass if done right. Shame really. Gives me Witcher 3 vibes.
 

Taker34

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I absolutely love your threads Mama Robotnik and I think we're all happy to see such informative threads about LoK once in a while.

Regarding Dead Sun: It's a shame they have cancelled the game. I still feel like this was a missed opportunity, simply because the gaming market needs a good vampire themed title. The tiny glimpse of soundtrack we heard in the released videos sounds phenomenal and the gameplay doesn't look too shabby either. After all we're talking about a spin-off rather than a direct sequel. So I'm not even mad about the supposedly lazy plot in Dead Sun. Blood Omen 2's gameplay was repetitive as hell, yet I love it because the art, music, atmosphere, game design and characters were executed so well.
I just hope SE finally takes a risk and gives CD the freedom to create the next LoK. Looking at the many cancelled Kain games, it would be wiser to finally release a game with a possibility of profit, instead of wasting millions for prototypes and years of wasted dev time. Not to mention that the mainstream fan base was successfully destroyed.

So what could SE do to prevent further fruitless projects like Dead Sun? How about using a proven and popular concept! One game series in the LoK franchise was much more successful than the others - it was Soul Reaver for the PS1. I firmly believe that a Soul Reaver 3 would be widely recognized and could be huge if marketed correctly. That spectral/puzzle solving element wasn't copied by other games in the recent years, so it would feel very fresh. Even a remake would be a good start to see whether it even makes sense to keep this IP alive.
But we'll never know because after over 12 years we're still left with absolutely nothing.
 

Mama Robotnik

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Thanks for all the nice comments!

So what could SE do to prevent further fruitless projects like Dead Sun? How about using a proven and popular concept! One game series in the LoK franchise was much more successful than the others - it was Soul Reaver for the PS1. I firmly believe that a Soul Reaver 3 would be widely recognized and could be huge if marketed correctly. That spectral/puzzle solving element wasn't copied by other games in the recent years, so it would feel very fresh. Even a remake would be a good start to see whether it even makes sense to keep this IP alive.
But we'll never know because after over 12 years we're still left with absolutely nothing.
I appreciate your passion for the series! But I don't think Soul Reaver 3 is the correct solution for a few reasons:

(1) The "Soul Reaver" story ended in Defiance.
(2) Continuing on a story from the last game in the series - Legacy of Kain Defiance, released twelve years ago - would be alienating for new players, especially with so much unresolved.

I'd advocate the following possibilities myself:

(1) Re-release of Blood Omen, remade as a digital download game for all formats from PSN, XBLA, Steam, iOS, Android, etc. This is the first game in the series, its a 2D overhead zelda-esque game so it shouldn't be anywhere near as expensive as a massive AAA production. Its the foundation of the Legacy of Kain story, and would serve as a vital introduction to modern players as to what the world of Nosgoth is all about.
Certain gameplay elements could be updated of course, such as the cumbersome menu system, the loading times, and perhaps increasing the depth of the combat system.
The Blood Omnicide fan project has some nice ideas as to how the original game could be look with a modern engine.



(2) Soul Reaver was by far the most financial successful of the games, and is still a very solid game today. A remake/remaster would be a great idea - its still a very compelling story in a fascinating post-apocalyptic fantasy world. They could add additional value to the package by having two modes: (1) a remake of the original Soul Reaver; and (2) a remake with all of the cut content and the original intended (false) ending.
Any remake/remaster would be a great opportunity to excise most of the block puzzles. Fanartist SaitoMaks gives us an idea of what it could look like:




(3) The "Doctor Who" option - the distant continuation. Set the next game either in the very far future or the very far past, so that for new players it is effectively a new franchise, but the further you delve the more continuity presents itself. I call this the "Doctor Who" option as this is exactly the approach that show took when it came back on the air. It introduced itself effectively as a new television program, and over time reintroduced many many aspects of its 50 year history. This wouldn't please old fans who want immediate story continuation, but would result in a game for new and old fans that may be (or may not be) financially viable.

(4) A HD collection of Soul Reaver 1, 2 and Legacy of Kain Defiance. Again, cheaper than an AAA release but might reinvigorate interest in the franchise.

Just a few ideas.
 

Mama Robotnik

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Yeah but this bollocks is the bollockiest.
Just to emphasise, sources from a good few years ago said that the publisher wanted Dead Sun to be disconnected from the events of the earlier games. I have wondered if this is a possible reason for the strange time travel explanation for Kain's absence?
 

vio

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I`d go for reboot that stay very similar in design to first Soul Reaver. With improved combat, something at God of War level. And don`t mess with Raziel`s design. I was never fan of playing with Kain.
 

Jocchan

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(3) The "Doctor Who" option - the distant continuation. Set the next game either in the very far future or the very far past, so that for new players it is effectively a new franchise, but the further you delve the more continuity presents itself. I call this the "Doctor Who" option as this is exactly the approach that show took when it came back on the air. It introduced itself effectively as a new television program, and over time reintroduced many many aspects of its 50 year history. This wouldn't please old fans who want immediate story continuation, but would result in a game for new and old fans that may be (or may not be) financially viable.
This approach was already taken, at least partially, by the first Soul Reaver.

Distant continuation in the far future with a new protagonist, but as you play you find out more about the history of Nosgoth, and Kain (who, in the beginning, could have been any despot without a backstory).

It's probably what I'd like most for a new entry in the franchise: you start playing as a new character, learn about the Elder God, and eventually meet up with Kain, who has been fighting the God for a long time, but was still missing *insert MacGuffin here* to set his plan in motion. Useless to say, the missing cog has something to do with said protagonist.
That's it. Sprinkle a few distant references to previous entries here and there for additional world building and to keep long time fans happy, and you're set.
 

Rap2thaMoon

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Dead sun is pretty much dead huh? So how is the future of the series now days. I know that Nosgoth exists but it's a multiplayer game and i also know that Crystal Dynamics talked about the series and on the chances of a new game, or i might be wrong. None the less i do hope that there is a future for the Legacy of Kain series.
 

Vinterbird

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This approach was already taken, at least partially, by the first Soul Reaver.

Distant continuation in the far future with a new protagonist, but as you play you find out more about the history of Nosgoth, and Kain (who, in the beginning, could have been any despot without a backstory).

It's probably what I'd like most for a new entry in the franchise: you start playing as a new character, learn about the Elder God, and eventually meet up with Kain, who has been fighting the God for a long time, but was still missing *insert MacGuffin here* to set his plan in motion. Useless to say, the missing cog has something to do with said protagonist.
That's it. Sprinkle a few distant references to previous entries here and there for additional world building and to keep long time fans happy, and you're set.
This option is also the absolute only viable option if a game should be made. You can't throw out a new game in a dead franchise which has had no significant release in a decade and expect it to make any kind of money.

It would have to be a reboot or a so seperately placed entry that it would be a fake reboot.
 

Mama Robotnik

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This approach was already taken, at least partially, by the first Soul Reaver.

Distant continuation in the far future with a new protagonist, but as you play you find out more about the history of Nosgoth, and Kain (who, in the beginning, could have been any despot without a backstory).

It's probably what I'd like most for a new entry in the franchise: you start playing as a new character, learn about the Elder God, and eventually meet up with Kain, who has been fighting the God for a long time, but was still missing *insert MacGuffin here* to set his plan in motion. Useless to say, the missing cog has something to do with said protagonist.
That's it. Sprinkle a few distant references to previous entries here and there for additional world building and to keep long time fans happy, and you're set.
I think its probably the best way to go for a new AAA game. I hope fans understand that a direct continuation from exactly where Defiance left off is absolutely not financially viable - the story that was going to be Legacy of Kain The Dark Prophecy is never going to come about.

Still, Nosgoth's timeline is incredibly rich. Developers could pick a multitude of settings to start a distant continuation. A few examples:

-A human living in Nosgoth's forgotten history, trying to live his/her life while the god-like Ancients and Hylden battle their soul war. The Elder God senses that the time of the old races is coming to its end, and whispers to the human protagonist ways to accelerate the end of the war.

-Vorador prequel - the adventures of the first human vampire. The era would be a few decades into human rule of Nosgoth, the Pillar Guardians are still trying to understand what it means to rule a world that is recovering from the wars of fallen gods. Enter Vorador, a human turned into a vampire by necessity of the dying Ancients as a way of preserving their bloodline. (Denis Dyack actually expressed an interest in this path about 15 years ago)

-Early Kain Empire era. Play a newly-recruited vampire to one of the clans, as the Vampire Empire is conquering the planet. For some reason, the protagonist is different to the rest of his/her vampire kin, and fights to hold on to their humanity - as Kain himself did in his fledgling incarnation.

-Post Soul Reaver era. Play a human in the post-apocalyptic era in which Nosgoth is on the very edge of collapse. The Hylden are returning, time-travelling Ancients are emerging having followed Kain's timestream, and the Elder God is preparing for a huge Soul buffet - it will consume enough souls to allow it to detach itself from Nosgoth, and be so engorged that it can sustain itself through the long journey between dimensions - to latch onto a newer, fresher world, to begin its parasitism again. You have to stop it.

That's me just throwing ideas out, but I like to think they could all work as distant continuations.

This option is also the absolute only viable option if a game should be made. You can't throw out a new game in a dead franchise which has had no significant release in a decade and expect it to make any kind of money.

It would have to be a reboot or a so seperately placed entry that it would be a fake reboot.
Agreed.

Though I think there is room for Blood Omen / Soul Reaver remaster, to generate interest in the mythos.
 
Aug 24, 2015
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I always really like the franchise, I tried to replay those games on pc, but they age didn't fit them well. So I kept my good memories =p.

A shame this one got cancelled, it looked awesome.
 

Ushay

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Man, Soul Reaver was one od the best games I ever played on PS2, probably the best.

Would be amazing if it ever came back.