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World Map Evolution
This article is currently focused on the evolution of Soul Reaver at a world map level. Over time, I'll be adding similar comparisons for each of the major areas in the game.
The high-resolution orthographic maps on this page were generated using the Soul Reaver to Blender Conversion Toolchain.
If you look closely, you'll notice a few places where passages that should be connected aren't. This is because there are a number of locations on the map that can't all be connected together at once, due to inconsistencies in the layout. You can read more about that in the Impossible Geometry article if you're interested.
For each version of the game, I've included at least four versions of the world map:
- The Material Plane version of the game world, with annotations.
- The Material Plane version of the game world, without annotations.
- The Spectral Plane version of the game world, with annotations.
- The Spectral Plane version of the game world, without annotations.
A few extra variations are included for several maps.
I didn't include the unlinked areas in the main maps (with one exception, noted below) to avoid confusion, and because trying to annotate all of them would look very messy.
Currently, the earliest known versions of the game are from January and February, 1999. The world map layout in these is significantly different than the final version of the game, as you can see in the maps below. The most obvious differences are the addition of The Undercity and The Temple at the north end of the Human Citadel, The Turelim Clan Territory in the northeast corner of the map (where the Oracle's Cave would be placed in the final version of the game), and the extension of Dumah's territory in the north which leads to the original location of the Oracle's Cave. If you look more closely, you'll also notice that The Pinnacle of The Silenced Cathedral is present, along with The Elemental Reaver Forges. The Sound Glyph and Force Glyph areas are in different locations, and the Sunlight Glyph area is connected to the training areas near the Underworld instead of the Silenced Cathedral.
These versions of the game include a small number of test areas, which you can read about in the The Push and Test Rooms article.
The Elemental Reaver Forges
In this last alpha build, a very early version of The Mountain Retreat is included. It's not linked to the rest of the world map, but given what's known about the story (Raziel flying to the Retreat from Turel's smokestack, then flying from the Retreat to the Silenced Cathedral), I've tentatively placed it in-between those two locations.
After mid-February, there's a gap of three months before the next publicly-known prototype version of the game. By mid-May 1999, most of the world-level changes had been made. The major deleted areas are no longer present, and all of the Glyph areas are in their final locations. This the first known version to include all of the demo (Fire Glyph) areas, and a large number of test areas. The colour scheme of the Spectral Plane has also been standardized across the game world on blue/green with purple highlights in some areas.
At the beginning of June 1999, the game design was moving ever closer to its final configuration. The prototypes from 1 and 10 June include all of the areas from the 12 May prototype, but also include the Movie Rooms used to make the Chronoplast FMVs. These are the only two versions of the game known to include them.
By late June, virtually all of the unnecessary content had been removed. The only unused areas in versions from 18 June onward are the city 10 and city 11 areas, which are leftovers of the original entrance to The Undercity and The Temple, although the PC and Dreamcast versions of the game also include the push 1 test room.
The non-English PAL versions of Soul Reaver were built on 6 July, 1999, and the English version was built on 14 July, 1999, but the world maps are identical.
From mid-July 1999, one final prototype:
In late July, the NTSC (North America) version of the game was finalized.
There are several versions of the game which were produced after this date: the PC version was be finalized in late August 1999, and the Dreamcast version in early January 2000. They'll be added to this page eventually as well for comparison, but every comparison I've done has indicated that they're identical to the NTSC PlayStation release at the world level except for having better colour depth for the textures. The Dreamcast version has character/enemy models with higher polygon counts than the other versions, but the terrain geometry seems to be the same as in other versions.