[ Legacy of Kain: The Lost Worlds ]

"Time fades even legend..."

- Kain, describing the Soul Reaver

 

Every great story is pared down from a larger concept. The reasons vary, but the result is the same - a catalogue of the things that might have been.

This website is dedicated to preserving the deleted and altered material from the Legacy of Kain series of videogames. It is also a repository for the tools that are necessary to explore the remains of those Lost Worlds.

Because of the nature of the material discussed here, there are frequent plot spoilers for all of the games in the series. Even sections about earlier games in the series may give away the secrets of the later episodes.

A few long-overdue updates

It's been almost four years since I had a chance to post new content here, but I'm pretty excited about some things that we have in the works. There will be more to come over the next two years.

Among other things, I've been working with Andrew Fradley and Eoghan Driver on additional functionality for Soul Spiral, and version 1.8 of that tool has been released today. Here are the highlights:

  • Andrew spent a bunch of time adding support for the .bgx / .big files used in Blood Omen 2 and Mad Dash Racing, so it's now possible to extract most of the content from those games (except for the GameCube version of Blood Omen 2).
  • I spent a bunch of time reverse-engineering the compression algorithm used in Akuji: The Heartless, Gex: Enter the Gecko, Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, The Lighthouse Demo / proto1 early demo versions of Soul Reaver, and Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour. It should now be possible to successfully unpack all content from the data files for these games.
  • Complete hashed-name lookup tables for Akuji: The Heartless, Gex: Enter the Gecko, Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, and Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour.
  • Nearly-complete hashed-name lookup tables for The Lighthouse Demo early demo versions of Soul Reaver.
  • Most of the remaining hashed-name lookup table data for all known versions of Blood Omen, Soul Reaver (except Dreamcast versions), and Defiance has been added.
  • The fingerprinting mechanism is now much more reliable, and recognizes an enormous variety of files which previous versions did not.

I discovered Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour while looking through old PlayStation demo discs, and did not realize until that time that it was made using the Gex engine. It appears to be a fork of the version from either Akuji: The Heartless, or Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, and does not appear to incorporate any of the extensive changes made to the engine for Soul Reaver and later games. I was very surprised to look in the credits and find that it was directed by Glen A. Schofield, who would later go on to direct Blood Omen 2 and serve as executive producer for Dead Space (one of my favourite series for that generation of consoles).

We're hoping to add support for additional titles and versions in the months ahead.

If you're interested in helping us out (not just with Soul Spiral, but with other tools and content), and are in possession of prototype/prerelease versions of any of the following games that you don't mind selling (or donating/lending/etc.) to us, please get in touch with me using the Contact form. Versions for any platform would be extremely helpful. We've managed to collect a number of them already, but know that there are others out there.

  • Soul Reaver is obviously the big one, because it was the original inspiration for the project. We know that there are at least two alpha builds of this game in the hands of collectors, from January and February 1999.
  • Any of the other Legacy of Kain games would of course be of interest
  • Akuji: The Heartless
  • Any of the Gex series
  • Mad Dash Racing
  • Pandemonium and Pandemonium 2
  • Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour
  • Whiplash
  • Any other titles based on the Gex or Mad Dash Racing engines, except for Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider series. Fans of Tomb Raider have that area covered very well, and we don't want to get in their way.
 
Another update to Soul Spiral

Andrew Fradley has made some further updates to the list of filename hashes for Soul Spiral, so it can now correctly identify content in the bigfile for the NTSC Air Forge demo of Soul Reaver 2 as of version 1.7. Thanks Andrew!

 
Updates to Soul Spiral and Only Skin Deep

Andrew Fradley and I (but mostly Andrew) have been doing a bit of work on Soul Spiral and Only Skin Deep. The former can now correctly identify content in the bigfile for the various Air Forge demos of Soul Reaver 2, and the latter can now handle the VRM texture files from the NTSC version of that demo (not the PAL version yet).

 
An assortment of new content

Here's a batch of articles I've been meaning to post for awhile, but which to my dismay until now had slipped through the cracks for various reasons:

I've also updated the Nosgoth Community Day article to include some additional ways that the new game is referencing previous entries in the series (it's at the very end of the page). Since I'd already collected them for that update, I've added downloadable versions of the symbols for the human classes in Nosgoth to the Symbols article (the vampire class symbols are already there, as they're the clan symbols for Dumah, Turel, and Raziel).
 
Nosgoth - A new game that is really going to be released

Along with 15 other members of the fan community, I recently had the opportunity to visit Square-Enix's London studio for a preview of Nosgoth. You can read all about it in Nosgoth Community Day.

I've also added a placeholder section for the cancelled title Dead Sun.

There have been a number of other really interesting things that I've gotten stuck finding time to post here for the last year, and I am hoping to have them ready in a week or two. Stay tuned.

 
Further updates to the Dark Prophecy articles, and the possibility of a new game

After another unreasonably-long delay, I'm happy to present two additional chapters in Divine Shadow's series on The Dark Prophecy: Hylden Armour Wraiths and Earth Elementals. Please note that the delay is entirely my fault - DS had the work done in the fall of 2012, and I just haven't had time to get it ready to post since then.

In addition, Raina Audron wrote to me with some very interesting news: the evidence is mounting that a new Legacy of Kain game is nearing release. As most fans are aware, there have been quite a few rumours over the years that a new game was in development, and we know that at least one of these (The Dark Prophecy) was a genuine work-in-progress which was canceled. What makes this time different is that a domain name (warfornosgoth.com) has been registered (although it is only hosting a blank page as of this writing), and technical information in Valve's Steam software as well as AMD patches make reference to the game (alternately referred to as "War for Nosgoth", or simply "Nosgoth"). This is not an official announcement or a guarantee that the game will actually be released, but it will be interesting to see if it makes an appearance at E3 later this month, or at PAX in late August/early September.

For further discussion on this potential new game, please see this thread over at the Eidos forums, or this thread over at the Nosgothic Realm forums.

For anyone who's curious why I've been too busy to update TLW more frequently, it's because back in March of 2012 I switched careers from systems engineering to information security. It's been really great to be able to use my reverse-engineering and hacking skills professionally, but it hasn't left a lot of time for other things. Fortunately, I've always intended TLW as more of a historical account, as opposed to a news source :). There are a number of things I've been meaning to add for some time, though, and while it may take longer than I intended, they will appear sooner or later.

 
Previously-Unseen Footage of Turel's Territory

Brazilian fan Thiago Paulino tipped me off to a fantastic discovery - a previously-unknown video of Soul Reaver which contains footage of The Turelim Clan Territory which (to my knowledge) does not appear anywhere else. You can find some screenshots and download the entire video in the Video Demo - 1999-03-16 article. Thank you, Thiago!

A few people have also written in to let me know that the PC version of Soul Reaver is now available from GOG.com. This is great news if you've been trying to find a legitimate copy of the game and coming up empty.

 
More Dark Prophecy Articles, Soul Reaver Beta Comparison, And More

After a longer-than-expected delay, I've posted the next two articles in Divine Shadow's series on The Dark Prophecy: Ariel, and The Seer.

I'm happy to present another guest author - Raina Audron, who many of you already know of thanks to her involvement in numerous fan-projects. I had noticed Raina's comparison screenshots of pre-release/beta versions of Soul Reaver awhile ago, and she greatly expanded on this concept to provide a fantastic amount of detail. The result is a seven-article series! You can get started with the Beta Comparison - Introduction article, which links to the other six.

Thanks to Umah Bloodomen from the Eidos forums, I've been able to add a second variation on the text in the Early Versions of The Story article and some scans of the brochure she emailed me that hint at the deleted content.

Stefan Paker noticed that one of the Soul Reaver 2 videos from the old version of TLW was missing - the one that shows the remains of the Possession and invisibility abilities, The Full Ring Menu, and some of the graphics debugging options. It's been re-added to the appropriate articles.

 
Additions and Corrections

I just added some information on the very useful and amazing patches produced by the Russian Legacy of Kain community to the Running Blood Omen on Windows XP and Vista and Running Soul Reaver on Windows XP and Vista articles.

I've also applied some minor corrections to The Dark Prophecy section that went live today.

 
The Dark Prophecy and TLW's 10th Anniversary

The Lost Worlds is celebrating its 10th anniversary today!

In one of the most extensive updates to TLW since the release of Defiance, I am proud to present an incredibly well-researched new section courtesy of Divine Shadow - The Dark Prophecy, a sixth entry in the series which was in the works during the mid-2000s, but cancelled. While you may have read some of this information elsewhere (probably in Divine Shadow's own forum posts), I guarantee that this section contains material you haven't seen anywhere else. Incredibly, this is just the beginning - there is still more to come!

I've decided to take a chance and set free a piece of Legacy of Kain series history that's been sitting in my collection for almost as long as this site has existed: the pair of Blood Omen Scripts that were given to me back in 2002. Hopefully the (anonymous) benefactor who provided them approves.

The Technical Documents section has finally returned (only five years later than I planned). This is a small archive of information from the early days of TLW, but a number of people had asked for it to be brought back online. Andrew Fradley contributed a brand-new article for the revived section: Soul Reaver 2 Gex Engine Notes.

Andrew Fradley has also released an alpha of a brand new version of ModelEx, which can read the models from Soul Reaver 2. Yes, you can now export the areas and characters from that game too :).

As a special bonus, I have released the source code to all of the applications I've written over the years related to the Legacy of Kain series. This is mostly of use to other hackers, but also serves as the best documentation I know of regarding the proprietary file formats that they handle. The source code is in a big bundle in the Source Code Collections article, and the source code for numerous applications of Andrew's (released and unreleased) is also posted there.

While I was getting the code together for that, I used it to build new releases of the Blood Omen 2 Control Station, The Eye of RAW, Only Skin Deep, Quintessence, the Soul Reaver PC Texture Utility, the Soul Reaver 2 Trainer, Soul Spiral, and The Sound of Her Wings. All of this software should run correctly on any version of Windows® now (as long as the .NET Framework is available for it) - including the 64-bit version of 7, which I know was a long-standing complaint in the case of at least two of those applications. I did the same thing for the old and new versions of ModelEx as well.

Jenny Pans contributed a high-quality recreation of the Soul Reaver as it appears in in-game artwork in the original Blood Omen. You can find it (in raster and vector formats) in the Blood Omen - Miscellaneous Artwork article.

Josh Modva mentioned a very impressive reimagining of Raziel, created by Tsvetomir Georgiev. This appears to just be a piece of (extremely high-quality) fan art, but if a Square-Enix executive happens to see it and greenlight another game as a result, I won't complain.

One last contribution from Divine Shadow - he discovered that Tension Studios' website has a couple of the cinematics from Defiance in very early draft form, with temporary textures and other elements. This is a rare opportunity to see what a game with high visual polish for its time looked like in its early stages!

By now, most of you will have already seen Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, but if you haven't, it is another outstanding action/adventure title by former Legacy of Kain series director Amy Hennig. Unlike most series which reach a third episode, Uncharted isn't a simple rehash of the original installment. Each sequel has been markedly different than what came before it, and Uncharted 3 is no exception. You'll see echoes of the earlier games (as well as a few of the Kain series), but this is most definitely a true sequel and (unlike games released by certain notorious publishers) not what would have been sold as an "expansion pack" back for half the price of the original game back in the 1990s. However, the new elements are woven into the game so well that I think if you play through this one, then go back to the first two, you will find yourself missing things you didn't even realize were new in 3.

I have been asked by another anonymous party not to disclose the reason that I am mentioning the new console release NeverDead, but I am going to discuss that game anyway even though I can't tell you why I am doing so. Gameplay-wise it seems to me like a cross between Batman: Arkham Asylum and Devil May Cry / Bayonetta, with bits of Vanquish thrown in. From a genre/style, and humour perspective, it reminds me again of the aforementioned Vanquish, but mostly the cult Japanese films Tokyo Gore Police, The Machine Girl, and Helldriver. In fact, I'm actually a little bit surprised that that genre seems to have registered enough on Konami's radar that they financed an entire game in that same general style. If you like very fast action and dark, quirky comedy, I highly recommend this one - especially because unlike most games in this genre, it's not table-poundingly difficult on the "Normal" setting.

PS: The menu bar on the left side should finally be a little easier to read.

 
 
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