[ Legacy of Kain: The Lost Worlds ]

Cobbled Road

article by Divine Shadow



[ Cobbled Road [1/3] ]
Cobbled Road [1/3]
[ Cobbled Road [2/3] ]
Cobbled Road [2/3]
[ Cobbled Road [3/3] ]
Cobbled Road [3/3]



The screenshots appear to show a cobbled road passing through a jagged canyon. There appears to be limited plant life in the area, with what might be weeds or faded grass to each side of the cobbles, some bushes and a single blackened tree. The sky above is grey and appears to be dominated by a cloud of smoke or dust. There appears to be a large rock present, which in one of the screenshots Kain is standing on, possibly to get a better view of the area.

At the terminus of the cobbled road is a small staircase leading up to an unknown structure. The building appears to be assembled of large grey stone bricks, with enormous thick grey pillars (possibly made of rock or iron) providing structural support. Between these two pillars are doors possessing a wooden texture on the outer side, and what appears to be an ornate golden texture on the inner surface. Surrounding these doors is an angular grey (or possibly faded gold) frame, with lit hanging torches present on both sides. One of the screenshots shows us what might be a tall barred window behind one of the large pillars.

In one screenshot we can see the inner wall of the building, which appears to be textured like red sandstone. Another screenshot shows that just inside the building, there appears to be an angular structure of unknown purpose.

Kain himself appears to be identical to his Defiance appearance, and is wielding the Reaver. The GUI (also identical to that of Defiance) shows that Kain's magical meter is full but his blood level is not.

[ Annotated Image 1 ]
Annotated Image 1
[ Annotated Image 2 ]
Annotated Image 2
[ Annotated Image 3 ]
Annotated Image 3


Story Speculation

A possibility is that the Cobbled Road area is a linking path between the Pillars of Nosgoth and Malek's Bastion. A number of observations support this: The smoke or dust-filled sky as seen above the ruined Pillars appears to also be present in this area suggesting a shared locality. The road appears to be of archaic and obsolete construction (when compared with modern roads of the era seen in the cities of Avernus and Willendorf in Blood Omen), suggesting it may have been created in a bygone era in which the bastion received many visitors. The road also cuts through rocky terrain, and the map and cutscenes of Blood Omen confirm a mountainous area must be traversed to travel between the Bastion and the Pillars.

The building is interesting and a number of possibilities exist for its purpose. It could be dug into a mountain (its sandstone inner walls would suggest a rocky interior), and may have originally been a cave that has over the decades been turned into a more elaborate complex. Kain may need to pass through this building in order to continue following the cobbled road.

Another possibility is that Kain can enter the structure and obtain a new power or spell from it. Consider that in some of the discovered concept artwork, it is confirmed that Kain's "dire" wolf form was intended to return. How would this have been achieved? Would Kain still possess this power from his acquisition of it in Blood Omen? Or would it have been among the many abilities he lost in his devastating defeat by the Sarafan Lord in Blood Omen 2?

In Blood Omen, Kain obtained the Wolf Form ability in a cave shrine north of the Pillars of Nosgoth. With the Cobbled Road presumably leading to Malek's Bastion (located in northern Nosgoth), this unknown building could be The Dark Prophecy's reimagining of the Wolf Form shrine. Kain may enter it, solve the puzzles and obstacles within, and reobtain the ability to transform into a wolf.

The structure has a number of features that provoke discussion on its history and origins: The building is held up by gargantuan stone or iron pillars, and grass or moss appears to have grown over part of the entrance. These observations would suggest the place is of significant age, and constructed with advanced architectural and materials knowledge, possibly the work of the Ancient Vampires or Hylden. If this building does indeed house the Wolf Form ability for the enhancement of Nosgoth's vampires, then it would certainly serve the agenda of the Ancients, and lend weight to the idea that they are its builders.

Though the structure lacks the features atypical of Ancient architecture (such as the ornate details present in Janos' Retreat in Soul Reaver 2, and the Vampire Citadel in Defiance), this could be rationalised in two ways: firstly, the shrine could have been constructed during the Ancient and Hylden War as a place for the Ancient Vampire soldiers to enhance themselves with wolf transformation powers. In this scenario, the limited resources of the ongoing war would explain the building's nondescript appearance. Alternatively the Ancients could have built the shrine after the war had ended, as an intended place for the human-vampire hybrids of Nosgoth to enhance their abilities and better protect themselves. The simple and functional design of the structure would be a consequence of the increasingly-limited resources of the dying Ancient race.

A final possibility for this structure is that it could contain a Reaver Forge of some description. With concept art confirming the presence of at least one Reaver Forge in The Dark Prophecy (see Dragon Statue Reaver Forge), it would follow the mythos and traditions of the series for further Forges to be present.

Regardless of the purpose of the building, we can speculate that Kain's journey along the Cobbled Road would have been an eventful one. In all three screenshots, Kain is depicted has having taken some damage, with his blood meter just over half full. This could be due to adversaries present in the area.

There are various pieces of concept art of demonic and possibly mutated creatures, each detailed in their dedicated essays. It could be possible that Kain must fight through these creatures during his journey from the ruined Pillars to Malek's Bastion. If we consider that this area may be very close to the collapsed pillars (as indicated by smoke or dust clouds blanketing the area in the screenshots), then the entire path may be irradiated with the magical fallout from the explosion. Such fallout could be responsible for mutating humans into monstrous creatures, and for weakening the dimensional boundaries allowing demons to enter Nosgoth. We see both of these processes in detail in Soul Reaver 2's future time period, and The Dark Prophecy may have followed the precedent.

Overcoming the challenges and enemies of the Cobbled Road, Kain would have eventually reached its terminus and arrived at the base of Malek's Bastion. It seems very likely that this may have been the area called "Base Tower One".

Speculative Map

[ Speculative arrangement of this area in relation to others ]
Speculative arrangement of this area in relation to others
[ Speculative progression through the game world ]
Speculative progression through the game world



The images were gathered from the online portfolio of Jason Muck in November 2008, and were among the very first media discovered from the cancelled game. It is these screenshots that revealed the existence of The Dark Prophecy and prompted the search for more material.

Jason is a former Ritual Entertainment staff member, and was employed as an Environment Artist between January 2004 and September 2005. Jason has recently worked on Red Dead Redemption and its expansions, and now works as a Senior Environment Artist at Big Huge Games. His portfolio is available to view online (as of February, 2012), and relevant screenshots are preserved here for historical reference:

[ Jason Muck's Portfolio [1/2] ]
Jason Muck's Portfolio [1/2]
[ Jason Muck's Portfolio [2/2] ]
Jason Muck's Portfolio [2/2]


It is worth noting that over a year before this essay was written, Jason's website was redesigned and one of the released images was removed for reasons unknown. This image was however saved before the redesign and is included in the above screenshots.

Elsewhere on the site, Jason provides us with some insight into his role on The Dark Prophecy and its development timeline:

Environment Artist on Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy - PS2, Xbox, PC CANCELLED

Ritual Entertainment - Jan 2004 - April 2004

Responsible for modeling, texture mapping, and lighting in-game environments while following art direction and maximizing target platform memory limitations.


Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy: Xbox, PS2 CANCELLED

These are screen shots from the playstation 2 version of Legacy of Kain : The Dark Prophecy. It was canceled after about 3 months of production work. These are the levels I worked on including modeling, texture mapping, and lighting. On this project I was not responsible for actual texture creation but working from a library provided by our texture artists. I would then model out the level, create props, map textures, and apply the lighting. All lighting was vertex based and applied in Max.


LEGACY OF KAIN THE DARK PROPHECY: Environment Artist, Texture UVs, Lighting, 2004, CANCELLED


The screenshots for the Cobbled Road area were originally published under the filenames LegacyofKain14, LegacyofKain19 and LegacyofKain20. Following the redesign of Jason's website, the images were renamed TechDemo01 and TechDemo13. These filenames would suggest that the game and this area was playable in a technical demo by the time of cancellation.

Please note that the name used in this essay for the presented locale, the "Cobbled Road" has been chosen for the essay as all three screenshots of this area feature such a road as a focal point. Whatever official name this area may have had, if any, is completely unknown.


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