Legacy of Kain
Legacy of Kain is a series of video games developed by Crystal Dynamics. It follows the quest of the Vampire Kain, and his former lieutenant, the Wraith Raziel in the world of Nosgoth, as Kain seeks to undo his apocalyptic decision to damn the world, and Raziel desires to seek revenge and uncover his mysterious destiny.
- At the beginning of the game,a young human, Kain, enters the local tavern as he passes through town: Barkeep: "The tavern’s closing - best be on your way, stranger!"
Kain: "What, no mug of ale for a weary traveler from distant Coorhagen!? I can reward you well, for I am of noble blood!" Barkeep: "I stay open for no man in these dark times.
Things come with the night that no sane man would welcome." Kain: "And so I left - cold of heart and soul. Forced to the road, and the long, bitter night. "
- "Vae Victis - suffering to the conquered. Ironic that now I was the one suffering. Not anything as pedestrian as physical pain.<brRather the cruel jab of impotent anger - the hunger for revenge. I didn’t care if I was in Heaven or Hell - all I wanted was to kill my assassins. Sometimes you get what you wish for.
The Necromancer Mortanius offered me a chance for vengeance, and, like a fool, I jumped at his offer without considering the cost. Nothing is free. Not even...revenge."
- After being killed and waking in his mausoleum: "I woke to the pain of a new existence, in a dank womb of darkness and decay"
- "Reputed to have been ripped from the chest of the greatest vampire who ever existed, Janos Audron. The heart of darkness Restores vamperic unlife. Life, is precious yanos discovered as it was torn throbbing and bleeding from his own body"
- "Their sneering faces were forever etched upon my memory. I had crossed death for this moment. My mind was empty save for one thought; I would kill."
- While holding Nupraptor's severed head: "Alas, poor Nupraptor. I knew him well... Well, not really."
- "Worms and maggots fed upon his festering skin, the scent of tainted blood seeped through the wounds upon which they feasted. Pity, such a waste-- good blood gone bad."
- "Life without blood. What a travesty!"
- "The winds carried screams from the west... I could not help but smile. Someone in this world was suffering more than me."
- Upon encountering Vorador's brides: "Their charms were visible through the gauze of their clothing, yet beauty such as theirs delivered only death."
- Upon examining the Soul Reaver: "Time fades even legend... and the origin of the Soul Reaver has been lost long ago.
But its purpose remains - to feed on the souls of any creature it strikes. Kindred, this blade and I. "
- "You will have the blood you hunger for..."
- "Strange, isn’t it Kain? That one cannot quite accept that which sustains him: you in your death and me in mine.
But death cannot reign in a world without life and soon you will find the quest ahead of you is yours and yours alone... I can assist you no longer"
- "You are the tragic hero"
- "There is a Magical operation of maximum importance: the Initiation of a New Aeon. When it becomes necessary to utter a Word, the whole Planet must be bathed in blood."
quote originally from Magick, Liber ABA, Book 4, written by Aleister Crowley
check . Blood Omen epigraph.
- "That you awoke at all is a miracle. When we found you, there was but the barest thread of life left in you. We nurtured it, fed it, and now you rise and walk again."
- Umah: "Tell me, since you remember your name, do you also remember your nature?" Kain:"Of course."
- "So I see. Kain, the Disruptor, the pebble in the pond who destroys all he touches."
The Sarafan Lord
- "Bathe them in fire. Let them learn, as they writhe in the flames and their bones dissolve, the futility of their actions.The vampire and all of his kind shall be razed from the land. This world will be made pure by my hand. I will give you the peace you seek, Kain..Your death beckons you."
- "Did it not occur to you that perhaps my cause, and not yours, is the cause of right and justice? That your ambition to rule this world is but the youthful craving of a petty noble, who has gained too much power, but never enough?"
- "I sentence you to the hell of your own making - a prisoner for all time."
- Marcus points at Kain and uses his gift. Kain clutches at his head, but shakes off the influence with ease : Marcus:"What? Impossible!" Kain: "What manner of creatures have you been practicing on? Dull mortal fools, with their minds full of commerce and dung? My mind is far too strong for your powers."
- "From the shards of tattered dreams, I rose - unwilling... Tossed upon tides of pain that flowed and ebbed and left me searingly awake. And more revoltingly - alive .. It was then I saw her, for the first time."
- "My mind was in fragments like shattered glass."
- "Strange how one's life casts a shadow far beyond one's own understanding. Here, in this alien vault, I discovered a being whose existence was entwined with mine, far more than I could ever imagine."
- "Cowards and traitors deserve no second thoughts, only their complete annihilation."
- "I have lived long enough to dispose of you."
- Kain walks away from the gate as it explodes and collapses behind him, destroying the Hylden already in Nosgoth. He considers what the future will hold. : "Umah... What was it she said to me in that fateful moment when she took from me the Nexus Stone? How would my rule differ from that of the Sarafan Lord?If you had lived, Umah, you would have learned the difference.You should have trusted me... The war was over, and yet there was another battle to be fought. The cruel masters of Nosgoth, the Sarafan - now leaderless - still had to be put down. There were cities to be rebuilt, and order to be restored. And a new rule, my rule would then begin.To the victor go the spoils. At last, Nosgoth would be mine."
- Raziel: "Kain is deified. The clans tell tales of him, few know the truth. He was mortal once, as were we all. However, his contempt for humanity drove him to create me and my brethren.
I am Raziel, first born of his lieutenants. I stood with Kain and my brethren at the dawn of the empire. I have served him a millennium.
Over time we became less human and more . . . divine. Kain would enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift.
Some years after the master, our evolution would follow, until I had the honour of surpassing my lord. For my transgression, I earned a new kind of reward. Agony.
There was only one possible outcome, my eternal damnation. I, Raziel, was to suffer the fate of traitors and weaklings: to burn forever in the bowels of the lake of the dead."
Kain:"Cast him in!" Raziel:"Tumbling, burning with white hot fire, I plunged into the depths of the abyss. Unspeakable pain, relentless agony, time ceased to exist.
Only this torture and a deepening hatred of the hypocrisy that damned me to this hell. An eternity passed and my torment receded, bringing me back from the precipice of madness.
The descent had destroyed me, and yet, I lived." Elder God: "Raziel. You are worthy."
- Kain: "...and that is why, when I must sacrifice one of my children to the Void, I can do so with a clear heart." Raziel: "Very poetic, Kain.
- Raziel: "Am I reduced to this? A ghoul? A fratricide?" Elder God: "Elevated, Raziel. Not reduced."
- Raziel: "These apparitions and portents... what game are you playing now?" Kain: "Destiny is a game, is it not? And now, you await my latest move..."
The Elder God
- To Raziel, as the earth shakes beneath his feet: "This world is wracked with cataclysms. The earth strains to shrug off the pestilence of Kain's parasitic empire.
The fate of this world was preordained in an instant, by a solitary man. Unwilling to martyr himself to restore Nosgoth's balance, Kain condemned the world to the decay you see.
In that moment, the unraveling began...now it is nearly played out. Nosgoth teeters on the brink of collapse. Its fragile balance cannot hold."
- "Deep in Nosgoth's northern wastes, the hushed silences embrace an ancient enigma."
- "Beware - those blind with rage are by destiny ensnared."
- "Far in the eastern mountains, a stifled titan stands in mute surrender - unwilling host to a parasitic swarm"
- "Kain refused the sacrifice. The Pillar of Balance, corrupted to its core, stands as a monument to his blind ambition.
Now these pillars serve only to bind me here -- my prison and eternal home, thanks to the avarice of your master, Kain..."
- "Like a corpse in a shallow grave, corruption rises to the surface... Beyond these Pillars, the defiled victim mutely screams its outrage."
- "Raziel - Redeemer and Destroyer, Pawn and Messiah. Welcome Time spanned soul, Welcome to your destiny."
- "Where time is but a loop, A loose stitch in the Universal Cloth, A Streamer might seize upon a chance, a fatal slip And plunge the fate of planets into chaos..."
- Elder God: I know you, Raziel. You are worthy.
- Raziel: What madness is this? What pitiful form is this that I have come to inhabit? Death would be a release next to this travesty!
- Elder God: You did not survive the abyss, Raziel. I have only spared you from total dissolution.
- Raziel: I would choose oblivion over this existence!
- Elder God: The choice is not yours.
- Raziel: I am destroyed!
- Elder God: You are reborn. The birth of one of Kain's abominations traps the essence of life. It is this soul that animates the corpse you "lived" in. And that, Raziel, is the demise of Nosgoth. There is no balance. The souls of the dead remain trapped. I cannot spin them in the Wheel of Fate. They cannot complete their destinies. Redeem yourself - or if you prefer, avenge yourself. Settle your dispute with Kain. Destroy him and your brethren, free their souls, and let the Wheel of Fate churn again. Use your hatred to reave their souls - I can make it possible. Become my Soul Reaver, my angel of death...
- Raziel: Show yourself, creature!
- Melchiah: Do you not recognize me, brother? Am I so changed?
- Raziel: Melchiah?!
- Melchiah: Yes, brother. You should have stayed where the master sent you, Raziel. You will find Nosgoth less pleasant than you remember.
- Raziel: What has become of my clan? Answer me, little brother, or I shall beat an answer from your horrid lips!
- Melchiah: Everyone is afraid, sibling. You awake to a world of fear. These times of change are so... unsettling. Do you think I feel no revulsion for this form? Do you believe for a moment that our Lord would risk his empire upon an upstart inheritance?!
- Raziel: Enough riddles! What are you saying?
- Melchiah: You are the last... to die!
- Zephon: The prodigal son! There is no returning for you, Raziel.
- Raziel: Zephon. Your visage becomes you. It's an appropriate reflection of your soul.
- Zephon: And you are not his handsome Raziel anymore, his precious firstborn son turned betrayer. You have missed so many changes, little Raziel. Look around you. See how the humans' weapon of destruction has become my home - indeed, my body. A cocoon of brick and granite from which to watch a pupating world.
- Raziel: A crevice in which to cower, only scuttling from the shadows to devour a victim already ensnared in your cowardly trap. But you've made the mistake of leaving me unbound, and it is you who must succumb to my will.
- Zephon: Will, instinct, reflex action... the insect mind finds little difference. I warn you, brother: as my stature has grown, so it is matched by my appetite. Step forward, morsel!
- Rahab: Raziel...
- Raziel: Rahab. You have adapted well to your environment, for one so maladjusted.
- Rahab: Do not mock me, Raziel. You, of all of us, should respect the power bestowed by a limitation overcome. Kain said you would come.
- Raziel: You speak with the murderer?
- Rahab: You would do well to mind your blasphemous tongue!
- Raziel: What more did he tell you?
- Rahab: That you would destroy me...
- Raziel: I will indeed. But tell me, before I tear your soul from its moorings: do you know what we were before Kain spawned us?
- Rahab: Human.
- Raziel: Sarafan, Rahab. The antithesis of all we ever believed.
- Rahab: Does it matter? We were lost. He saved us.
- Raziel: Saved us? From what?
- Rahab: From ourselves.
- Dumah: Unbound at last! I thank you, brother.
- Raziel: Your thanks are premature, Dumah. I have not forgotten whose hands bore me into the abyss.
- Dumah: The centuries in limbo have honed my strength. Not even Kain is my equal.
- Raziel: Even the strongest vampire is vulnerable.
- Dumah: We shall test your thesis, Raziel.
- Raziel: My blood-thirst has been superseded by an even darker hunger. I will consume your soul before this day is done...
- Kain: At last. I must say I'm disappointed in your progress, I imagined you'd be here sooner. Tell me . . . did it trouble you to murder your brothers?
- Raziel: Did it trouble you when you ordered me into the abyss?
- Kain: [chuckles] Eternity is relentless, Raziel. When I first stole into this chamber, centuries ago, I did not fathom the true power of knowledge. To know the future, Raziel. To see it's paths and streams tracing out into the infinite. As a man, I could never have contained such forbidden truths, but each of us is so much more than we once were. Do you not feel with all your soul how we have become like gods? As such, are we not indivisible? As long as a single one of us stands, we are legion. Our futures are predestined. Mobius foretold mine eons ago, we each play out the parts fate has written for us. Free will is an illusion.
- Raziel: I found the tomb of Sarafan, Kain. How could you profane a priest by turning him into a vampire!
- Kain: How could I not? One must keep his friends close, Raziel, and his enemies even closer. Who better to serve me than those whose passion transcends all notions of good and evil?
- Raziel: The Sarafan were saviors, defending Nosgoth from the corruption that we represent. My eyes are opened, Kain. I find no nobility in the unlife you rudely forced on my unwilling corpse!
- Kain: You may have uncovered your past, but you know nothing of it. You think the Sarafan were noble? Altruistic? [laughs] Oh, don't be simple! Their agenda was the same as ours. You nearly had me, Raziel, but this is not where or how it ends. Fate promises more twists before this drama unfolds... completely.
- Moebius: Raziel. Redeemer and destroyer. Pawn and messiah. Welcome, time spanned soul. Welcome. To your destiny.
- Raziel: Ah, my ancient "benefactor". And I dared to hope we had parted ways forever. Your silence was refreshing while it lasted. No doubt you have a conveniently inexpressible reason for your presence here?
- Elder God: Do not be insolent, Raziel. I am eternally present, here and everywhere, now and always. I am the still centre of the turning Wheel, the hub of this world's destiny.
- Raziel But perhaps not so omnipotent as you'd have me believe. Your hold on me appears to be tenuous. I no longer seem to need you - yet I'm guessing you still need me.
- Elder God: This impudence is unworthy of you, Raziel. Do not forget that you have a task to fulfill here. You are indebted to me.
- Raziel: "Indebted"? You would have me show gratitude for a gift I didn’t ask to be bestowed?! Do you forget that you forced me to inhabit this vile carcass?!
- Elder God: I restored you to yourself, Raziel. It was Kain who destroyed you - the very enemy you just let slip through your grasp. Do not fail me, my servant.
- Raziel: I serve no one – not you, not Kain, and not your lackey Moebius!
- Elder God: Moebius is my good servant. I have many.
- Raziel: And if I tell Moebius that he’s worshipping a giant squid, do you think his faith will falter?
- Elder God: You have grown wilful, Raziel. But beware: to embrace a serpent is to invite poison into your heart. Kain is a sinuous beast; he will seduce and deceive you. You pride yourself on your free will, yet you let that degenerate deter your resolve.
- Raziel: I harbor no illusions about his integrity, nor anyone else's. In fact, I am beset by manipulation on all sides. I merely seek the truth.
- Elder God: These are the fathomless truths, Raziel. The agony of birth and death and rebirth – this is the Wheel of Fate, the purifying cycle which sustains all life. Vampires are an abomination, a plague which leeches this land of its spiritual strength. They obstruct the flow of life and death. Their souls stagnate in their wretched corpses. But the Wheel must turn. Death is inexorable and cannot be denied. Your destiny is irresistible, Raziel. You are my Soul Reaver, the scourge of the vampires, reaper of their apostate souls. Remain steadfast. End the vampires' parasitic curse, and restore Nosgoth. Kain's blood belongs on your hands.
- Raziel: Kain indeed deserves to die, for condemning me to this repugnant form. But if and when I kill him, it will be for me alone to decide.
- Elder God: Kain destroyed you without a flicker of remorse. He tore the soul from your noble corpse, and after you had served him faithfully for a thousand years, he discarded you in the Abyss on a jealous whim. Remember your rage, Raziel... let it guide your hand.
- Elder God: Raziel, the failed assassin. You had Kain at your mercy, but lacked the courage to fulfill the act. And now you see the wasteland wrought by the tyrant’s hand - by his selfish decision to preserve his own life, even when it meant sacrificing the whole world. This is the fate of Nosgoth, as long as Kain remains alive.
- Raziel: An ironic condemnation, given this guilty scene. One would think you'd torn down the Pillars singlehandedly. What are you trying to obliterate as you drag your loathsome body through this chamber? And why, as Nosgoth descends into madness and misery, do you appear to thrive? Things in this world, I am learning, are rarely what they seem. You, apparently, are no exception.
- Elder God: I am the engine of life, the source of Nosgoth's very existence. I am the hub of the Wheel, the origin of all life, the devourer of death.
- Raziel: Or maybe you're just hungry. Could it be as simple as that? Wouldn't that be poetic irony? The great adversary of the vampires turns out to be the biggest parasite of them all!
- Elder God: Do not test my patience, Raziel. I made you, and I will unmake you if I become so inclined.
- Raziel: As your agent, I am beyond death.
- Elder God: There are fates worse than death, Raziel...
- Raziel: Oh, I see you now as you truly are - a cancer. A spooling parasite burrowed deep in the heart of this world.
- Elder God: Go now. Play out your pitiful rebellion, and take your place among the destroyed, the used and the damned. But know this: you are mine for eternity. You have always been, and will always be, my Soul Reaver.
- Elder God: Do you see? However far you stray, you will always return to me. Surrender, Raziel.
- Raziel: Never! (slashes the Elder God with the Soul Reaver, but it has no effect)
- Elder God: (laughs) Your efforts are wasted, Raziel! That weapon you bear, however endowed, remains only a wraith blade. It cannot touch me.
- Raziel: I will not be your prisoner--
- Elder God: You have no choice. Your task is fulfilled. Kain has been cleared from the board, and this chamber made ready for my more malleable servants. There is nothing more for you to do.
- Raziel: I refuse to bend my will--
- Elder God: It has always been my will you have satisfied, never your own!
- Raziel: You parasitic fraud! You are forced to imprison me because I possess free will!
- Elder God: You possess nothing! As you are undying, your soul cannot be returned to the Wheel. But it may console you to abide here in eternity, with me.
About Legacy of Kain
- I don’t know how many people know this, but initially, it wasn’t actually a sequel to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain at all – our original proposal was a concept for a new IP we named “Shifter,” loosely inspired by Paradise Lost. The protagonist was essentially a fallen angel of death, a reaper of souls hunted by his former brethren, and now driven to expose and destroy the false god they all served.
- The Shifter concept was the genesis of the game that would become Soul Reaver; the core ideas were all there. The hero was an undead creature, able to shift between the spectral and material realms, and glide on the tattered remains of his wing-like coattails. We conceived the spirit realm as a twisted, expressionistic version of the physical world. The hero was bent on revenge after being betrayed and cast down by his creator – like Raziel, he was a dark savior figure, chosen to restore balance to a blighted, dystopian world.
- There were so many different inspirations, it’s hard to just name a few…
- As I mentioned earlier, the original idea was very loosely inspired by the rebellious angels of Milton’s Paradise Lost. The spiritual structure of the world was based on the philosophy of Gnosticism, the belief that the cosmos is ruled by a malevolent “pretender” god, that humans are prisoners in a spiritual lie, and that mankind’s struggle is a fight for free will in the face of seemingly insurmountable Fate.
- We wanted to give Nosgoth’s dystopian future a decaying 19th-century industrial aesthetic, while the look of the spectral realm was inspired by the twisted architecture and disorienting angles of 1920s German Expressionist cinema.
- Regarding the dialogue, we obviously took a cue from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, with its florid language and ornate monologues. We wanted to carry a similar style into the sequels. I also drew inspiration from the dense, literate dialogue of historical dramas like A Man for All Seasons, Becket, and A Lion in Winter.
- Our biggest challenge, hands-down, was getting the data-streaming working, to allow us to have a seamless, interconnected world with no load events. I think we were one of the first developers to tackle this problem (along with Naughty Dog, on Crash Bandicoot). It proved to be way more difficult than we had initially anticipated – if I recall, we were still struggling to get the textures to dynamically pack correctly, just a couple months before release. We ultimately got it working by the skin of our teeth, but I wonder if we would’ve embarked on such an ambitious plan if we’d known how difficult it was going to be!
- Our second challenge, of course, was figuring out how to store two sets of data for the spectral and material realms, and how to implement the real-time morph between the two environments. Our initial plan was over-ambitious, involving texture-morphing as well as geometry-morphing, but we realized pretty early on that our texture memory (and time) was too limited to achieve this. We came up with the idea of leveraging the 3DS Max animation timeline to attach spectral values to the vertices in the geometry – i.e., frame 0 was the material world, and frame 1 was the spectral realm (or vice versa; I can’t remember for sure). This way we could alter the x,y,z coordinates of each vertex, as well as its RGB lighting values, to create a twisted, more eerily lit version of the physical realm.
- Our ultimate challenge, though, was schedule and scope. Conceived as an open-world, Zelda-esque 3D adventure game, Soul Reaver was incredibly ambitious. Crystal Dynamics’ Gex engine gave us a leg-up on the 3D technology, but in essence we were writing a game engine from scratch, while developing a new IP. These days, a developer wouldn’t think of attempting such a thing in less than three years (minimum), but Eidos wanted the game in less than two. In the end, we shipped Soul Reaver in under 2.5 years, but not without some unfortunate eleventh-hour cuts which still pain me today. The scope of the game was definitely too ambitious, but if we had shipped the game that Fall, instead of that Summer, I think we could have reduced the scope of the game more elegantly.
- To hit the August ’99 release date, we had to cut the last few levels of the game, and end on a cliffhanger that set up Soul Reaver 2. Originally, Raziel was going to hunt down and destroy all of his former brothers as well as Kain – and then, using his newly-acquired abilities, he would’ve activated the long-dormant pipes of the Silenced Cathedral to wipe out the remaining vampires of Nosgoth with a sonic blast. Only then would he realize that he’d been the Elder God’s pawn all along, that the purging of the vampires had devastating consequences, and that the only way to set things right would be to use Moebius’ time-streaming device to go back in time and alter history (in the sequel).
- I hope it’s remembered as a well-constructed game with an original vision and an engaging story, and as groundbreaking in terms of what we were able to achieve on the PlayStation at the time. Our approach to voice acting and performance was also innovative for the time, the way we brought the actors in to record their dialogue together rather than in isolation. The performance capture process we use on Uncharted today – where we involve the actors as collaborators, and have them play the scenes together on the stage – owes its origins to the techniques we established for Soul Reaver fifteen years ago.
- Amy Hennig 
- http://www.dark-chronicle.co.uk is a definitive source for Legacy of Kain info