[ 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.

More maps, a few other fixes

Added brand-new, high-quality maps for the 1999-01-23, 1999-02-04, 1999-05-12, and 1999-06-01 prototypes of Soul Reaver to the World Map Evolution page. I'm in the process of creating those for every known build of the game.

Fixed a few formatting problems, and added a prerequisite pack to the ModelEx and Soul Reaver to Blender Conversion Toolchain pages that you'll need to run those tools.

 
The most extensive revelation of deleted Soul Reaver material ever

Six months ago, I promised that in 2020, we'd be revealing more deleted Soul Reaver content than had ever been uncovered in the past. Now, see what my friends and I have brought you.

I've just published these brand-new videos to YouTube. You'll be able to download them here in about a week. I'll be adding content here between now and then as well - there are lots of additional screenshots and other material to be posted, but I'm out of time for now.

You can also download some nice, high-resolution images of several different versions of the world map on the World Map Evolution page. I'm in the process of creating those for every known build of the game.

Everyone involved in this effort has brought something different to the table today.

Raina Audron and Kevin Chatmajo have extensive video coverage of different aspects of the prototypes than what you'll find here, as well as recreations of deleted cinematics.

From Kevin specifically, see Soul Reaver: The Lost World (Contenido Eliminado), Soul Reaver - Priestess Animations (Deleted Content), and Soul Reaver: Turel Animations (Deleted Content).

The Legacy of Kain Wiki and The Serioli of Nosgoth have historical and technical coverage. We've also been given a new tool for building Crystal Dynamics bigfiles (Asunder No More, a tool for converting files between versions of the game (Recombobulator), and updated versions of Only Skin Deep and the Soul Reaver PC Texture Utility.

It was a very long road getting here. Thank you to:

  • Gh0stBlade
  • Kevin Chatmajo
  • Raina Audron
  • AesirHod
  • Aevum
  • Bazielim
  • Mama Robotnik
  • Eoghan Driver
  • Cut Into Fourteen Pieces
  • Amy Hennig
  • Daniel Cabuco
  • Seth Carus
  • Darklore / The Gaming Intelligence Agency
  • Andrew Vestal and Chris Johnston / GameSpot
  • Chris Slate / PSM
  • Peter Kwon
  • Everyone Who Helped Make Soul Reaver

Some of those people made their contribution years or decades ago, but without any of them, there's a good chance this never would have happened. Thank you all.

Much of the material I've introduced was created with the help of a custom toolchain that converts Soul Reaver object and terrain models for use in Blender. That toolchain is far from finished, but it's now available at Soul Reaver to Blender Conversion Toolchain. You'll need the newest release of Soul Spiral as well, and may benefit from the hacked version of ModelEx that I made to go along with it. I also realized I never actually released the Crystal Dynamics Hash Generator, so that's available now too.

Finally, I added a few different 1080P wallpaper images to the The History of The Lost Worlds article.

 
Preview of Soul Reaver deleted content, various other updates

In 2020, The Lost Worlds will be presenting the largest revelation of deleted Soul Reaver content in gaming history. If you haven't already, check out the preview trailer over on YouTube.

I'm also announcing The Great Bigfile Hunt, which is a concerted effort to make sure all of the data files from games supported by Soul Spiral are documented properly. Please dig out your old Crystal Dynamics discs and give the new version of Soul Spiral a try with them.

 
This Dust Remembers What It Once Was, and Contact Page Woes

Soul Reaver turns 20 this month. Happy birthday to my favourite videogame :).

Last night I released an "alpha 2" version of This Dust Remembers What It Once Was (a reverse-engineering toolchain for PlayStation games) over at my personal website. It was originally written just to support decompiling various prototype versions of Soul Reaver using the NSA'a amazing tool Ghidra, but it should work to some extent with any PlayStation title, and if you have a build that includes the PsyQ .SYM file for the binary, you'll typically get back a pretty amazing reconstruction of the source code from Ghidra.

I'll be working on some new material based on the ability to decompile Soul Reaver, but it's most likely going to take awhile. If you have reverse-engineering experience and would like to be involved, please get in touch.

Speaking of which, I recently discovered that my hosting provider had basically broken the ability of my Contact page to reliably send emails to me, and they're not interested in fixing it. If you've tried to send me a message via that page in the last 6-12 months, there's a good chance I never saw it. As a workaround until I find a new provider, please use the social media contact information on the Contact page and I can send you my personal email address that way if necessary.

We've still got more fun stuff in store from those prototypes as well. More on that later.

 
New Material, Part 3

Here is another batch of content related to the ongoing series of updates covering material from prerelease versions of Blood Omen and Soul Reaver.

There are fewer additions by number in this update, but only because I'm trying to get them posted more frequently than once per month. I still have an enomrous amount of material to share.

 
New Material, Part 2

Today, I'm happy to present part 2 of the ongoing series of updates focusing on content recently recovered from the prerelease builds of Blood Omen and Soul Reaver.

There is still much more to come :). At this point, I'd estimate that perhaps 25% of the deleted material from the alpha and beta versions of Blood Omen has been covered, and I have some additional material for Soul Reaver.

 
Extensive New Material

I'm very happy to announce the addition of a huge amount of new information to the site, as well as several other key fan sites.

This year, a small group of fans (including myself) were able to obtain multiple prerelease builds of Blood Omen and Soul Reaver, some with significant differences versus the released versions of those games. Many of these builds were acquired from Gh0stBlade, who you may know from his posting of videos of alpha builds of Soul Reaver on YouTube some years ago. Others were obtained from multiple sources who would rather remain anonymous, but we are all extremely grateful to everyone involved. This was a truly worldwide effort, and hopefully it's not over yet. If you are in possession of a prerelease build of a game in the series which you are interested in selling or donating, please get in touch with me using the Contact form. In particular, we are still offering US$1000 each for the alpha builds of Soul Reaver from January and February 1999, or for alpha builds of Blood Omen from early June 1996 or prior.

The Ancient's Den and The Legacy of Kain Wiki have extensive additional coverage of this newly-uncovered material, so please check out those sites as well.

Blood Omen reached the 21st anniversary of its release last month. Appropriately enough, the prerelease versions of that game contain so much deleted material that it will be weeks or months before I've fully detailed it. I was genuinely surprised to discover how significantly that game had changed even in the five months before it was released.

For Blood Omen, the new coverage begins at a high level with Alternate World Maps, and Alpha and Beta Versions, including evidence of the original Open-World Design.

One of the most exciting initial discoveries was a playable version of The Chess Match, which is now documented in video form in that article. This is probably the most well-known example of material which was removed from the game before release. However, it is now also known that this was one of the smallest changes to the game.

  • The total number of map sections in the game in early June, 1996 was 942. By the time the game was released, there were only 585 - over 1/3 fewer. While some of this reduction took place across the game as a whole, at least three five major areas were deleted. Three of these areas appear to each have been larger than any one area in the final version of the game, and the other two were roughly the size of major areas such as Malek's bastion and Vorador's mansion. These broad changes are discussed in Alternate World Maps, and Alpha and Beta Versions.
  • Extensive partial and complete deleted areas have been discovered, as well as early versions of known areas. I have documented these so far:
  • Two previously-unknown deleted spells (Force Shield and Magic Absorb) have been revealed.
  • Earlier versions of the game featured a Five-Tier Magic Meter.
  • The dialogue originally discussed in A Traitor in The Circle has been recovered in its original form, and is now included in that article.
  • An Alternate Malek Boss Battle has been documented in video form.
  • Fourteen cinematics with temporary/placeholder music have been obtained, and are available in the Placeholder Cinematic Music article.
  • A surprising amount of evidence suggests that William the Just and King Ottmar may have originally been the same character, which would have significant implications as to the later parts of the game.
  • A variety of less-conclusive information has been obtained:
    • Lupo the Butcher appears to have been located in or near Nupraptor's keep.
    • Several homes in Stahlberg have dead Nemesis soldiers inside, as discussed in The Stahlberg Resistance.
    • At least one additional cave had a demon statue over the entrance, similar to the Flay Spirit Forge in the final version of the game. This is discussed in Mysterious Statues.

Even though I don't have as much information about Soul Reaver to disclose today, I'm at least as excited about presenting the following newly-discovered content as I am for the Blood Omen material:

Finally, I've added artwork and screenshots for Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2 from the Eidos E3 2001 Digital Press Kit, which I obtained earlier this year.

Again, please keep an eye on this space. I'm already aware of numerous additional material from these versions of both games, and just need to document it properly. There is a lot more to come.

 
More Soul Spiral updates

One more update to Soul Spiral. This one includes a large volume of filename-lookup data related to Soul Reaver 2:

  • I realized I'd never added any data for the Japanese PlayStation 2 release of Soul Reaver 2, or the PC demo of the same game. This has been corrected, with a nearly-complete set of filename-lookup data for both.
  • In the process of figuring out those filenames, I was able to discover quite a few for the NTSC and PAL releases of that game which were previously unknown, and added those.
  • I also corrected some bad data which had been introduced in version 1.8. This caused a lot of the dialogue files for that game to not be named correctly on export.
  • I made some addition progress on the filename-lookup data for Defiance.
  • I added additional filename-lookup data for some less-common versions of several games.

This is probably going to be the last Soul Spiral update for at least a few weeks. My next big goal with it is to rewrite some of the low-level code which is making it difficult to support games based on engines other than Gex.

 
Soul Reaver on the Dreamcast, part 1

I've been revisiting the Dreamcast versions of Soul Reaver, and finally figured out how the filename hashing works in them. It's different from every other version of the game, as well as the sequels. As a result, I was able to add full filename support for all Dreamcast versions of the game that I know of (including the demos, and the German beta build) to the newest release of Soul Spiral. It also adds some additional hashes for Defiance, courtesy of Andrew Fradley, and hashes for the PC demo version of Soul Reaver 2, and it will do a better job of identifying a number of uncommon versions of various games.

As part of the process of determining the filenames, I discovered that the Dreamcast version includes four pieces of music which don't appear to be present on other platforms. They appear to be specific to the Stone Glyph and Sound Glyph areas, and (like the music for the other areas) have both Spectral Realm and Material Realm versions.

 
Proper credit

In my last update, I unintentionally left out credit for the work that John Doom had done in reverse-engineering the data files for Blood Omen 2. His information was a critical resource when Andrew added support for that game to Soul Spiral. I've released an updated version of that tool which includes the proper credit, and apologize for my oversight. It also does a better job of recognizing files in most versions of Defiance thanks to Andrew. I've got support for additional Crystal Dynamics games in the works, but it's going to take awhile longer to get that implemented because of some bad decisions I made when I wrote the original version of the software.

We're still looking for prerelease versions of the games, as mentioned previously, and are willing to pay for them if necessary. In particular, while donations would be greatly appreciated, we're currently willing to pay US$1000 each for original discs (i.e. sent to reviewers) containing versions of Soul Reaver from April 1999 or earlier, as long as we don't already have them. I know there are at least a few of them out there, and given the age of the discs, it's critical to preserve them properly so that the contents aren't lost. I have the equipment and software to do this.

 
 
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