Legacy of Kain is an action-adventure gaming series whose developers have been Silicon Knights and Crystal Dynamics while Eidos Interactive has remained the primary publisher. The series is set in the fictional land of Nosgoth and revolves around the two protagonists, Kain and Raziel, and their attempts to prevent the eventual decay of Nosgoth. The series' plot is far from linear and can be quite confusing due to the amount of time traveling and paradoxes in it. This intricate plotline enables the series to present its major themes: Destiny vs. Freewill, Manipulation, and the Questioning of Morality.

The series consists of five games as of yet. All are in 3D third-person perspective except the original game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, which is a top-down game. There were two distinct series initially Blood Omen and Soul Reaver. The former focused solely on Kain's adventures while the latter on Raziel's. However, in the latest game, Legacy of Kain: Defiance, the player plays with both Raziel and Kain, thus merging the two series into one.


The basic background of the story, though introduced fairly late, reaches far into the past, before any of the games' stories. Initially in Nosgoth, there were two major races: the Ancient Vampires and the Hylden. Both had a humanoid appearance. The Vampires were powerful magicians and the Hylden were very technologically advanced. At some point, the Hylden refused to worship the Elder God and his Wheel of Fate. To the Vampires, who worshiped the Elder God and his Wheel fanatically, this was blasphemy. The Elder God then played upon the Vampires' anger and urged them to start a war with the Hylden. Thus started the thousand years war.

Using powerful magic, the Ancients were able to erect the Pillars of Nosgoth and banish the Hylden into the Demon Dimension. However, just before their banishment, the Hylden were able to curse the Vampires, making them immortal and giving them the blood thirst. Cut off to the Wheel of Fate by their immortality the Vampires could no longer feed the Elder God. Despite their pleas, the Elder God turned his back upon vampires. And though the Pillars had banished the Hylden, they needed to be maintained and since new Vampires were not born, the Pillars chose humans to be their guardians. Eventually, under Moebius the Time Streamer and Mortanius the Necromancer, the humans overthrew the Vampires and the Pillars belonged now to humans. A Vampire prophecy here foretold that the Scion of Balance would return the Pillars to vampires. Another prophecy foretold of a final battle between the Vampires and the Hylden. Each would have a savior. To this end, the Vampires had made the Soul Reaver, a powerful weapon to be used by the vampire guardian to defeat the Hylden.

Many years after these events does the series start. Blood Omen follows the story of Kain, who is not only the Scion of Balance, but also the person who will lead to the demise of Nosgoth. A large part of the series focuses on Kain's efforts to prevent this. Soul Reaver introduced Raziel, a lieutenant of Kain that was killed and turned into a wraith serving the Elder God. Raziel's search for his true destiny and attempts to assert his freewill are also a large part of the series. Each game of the series features either Raziel and/or Kain as they struggle with these dilemmas and are manipulated by a myriad of characters with vastly different motives.

Published GamesBearbeiten

Blood Omen: Legacy of KainBearbeiten


Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was released in 1996. It was the only game in the series to be developed by Silicon Knights and published by Crystal Dynamics. It also holds the distinction of being top-down, taking between 50-70 hours to finish and being very similar to the RPG genre despite not having level-ups or shops. The game's voice overs were praised by IGN as being uncommonly good.

The story of the game revolves around Kain, a nobleman who is murdered and turned into a vampire by Mortanius. Kain meets with Ariel's ghost at the Pillars and is told of the corruption that has taken place in Nosgoth and the Pillars themselves. Under Ariel's guidance, Kain begins to restore the Pillars by hunting down and killing all of its guardians.

Legacy of Kain: Soul ReaverBearbeiten


Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was released in 1999 and was the first game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive. Crystal Dynamics and Eidos would continue to develop and publish all of the other games in the series. The game was unlike Blood Omen in many ways. It was third-person and in 3D. The engine, logically, was completely different too. The storyline was completely different and initially, only vaguely related to the original Blood Omen. Also, the gameplay had changed significantly as the new protagonist, Raziel, also brought new abilities such as realm shifting.

The game's plot is set far into the future of Nosgoth, more than a millenium after Blood Omen. Kain rules over a decayed Nosgoth and Raziel and his brethren, also vampires, loyally serves him. Following Raziel's evolution, which preceded Kain's, Kain had Raziel cast into the Abyss. Raziel awoke in the underworld to the Elder God, who claimed to have resurrected Raziel and made him into a devourer of souls. The game then follows Raziel's journey as he seeks revenge against his brethren and Kain.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2Bearbeiten


Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 was released in 2001 and was a direct sequel to Soul Reaver. Although there were significant improvements to the game engine and the graphics, there was little difference in the gameplay. IGN noted the lack of replayability, but praised the 12-16 hour gaming time the game required. The game's combat system and addition of a map and compass were were looked at positively.

The story of the game continues immediately from the end of Soul Reaver. However, Kain and Raziel travel back to the time of the Sarafan and the corruption of the Pillars. Raziel is again searching for the truth about Nosgoth's demise and his destiny and in this game, Moebius, Vorador, and Janos Audron play a significant role. Large parts of Nosgoth's history is revealed, including Raziel and Kain's. The game's story also shows a dramatic, although gradual, change in Raziel's perception of the Elder God as more of an antagonist than anything else. The Elder God himself becomes increasingly aggressive and assertive.

Blood Omen 2: Legacy of KainBearbeiten


Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain as released in 2002 and was a sequel to Blood Omen. The Crystal Dynamic team that worked on this title was different than the Soul Reaver series team. The game was criticized for its plethora of technical issues, bad collision detection, mediocre graphics and special effects, and repetitive gameplay. However, the defensive capabilities of the combat system, the dark gifts, hard bosses and storytelling were praised. Again, the 15-20 gameplay time was a positive too.

Although it is a sequel to Blood Omen, Blood Omen 2 can't exist without Soul Reaver 2's ending. It is only then does all of Nosgoth's past, present and future change. The game's premise is that after Blood Omen, Kain raised an army, resurrected Vorador, and tried to take over Nosgoth. However, since the pillars were weakened, a Hylden named Hash'ak'gik slipped though from the Demon Dimension and has managed to resurrect the Sarafan and start a new genocidal war. At the climax of the war, Kain is defeated and thrown of the cliff, presumably to his death. Hash'ak'gik, disguised as the Sarafan Lord, keeps the Soul Reaver for himself. 200 years later, Kain wakes up and allies reluctantly with The Cabal in order to exact his revenge.

Legacy of Kain: DefianceBearbeiten


Legacy of Kain: Defiance was released in 2003 and consolidated the Soul Reaver and Blood Omen series into one by making both Kain and Raziel playable. Crystal Dynamics reacted to the negative reviews of Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain by bringing back the puzzles of the Soul Reaver series, tying together the two stories coherently, improving graphics significantly and improving the combat system. Comparisons were made between the presentation of Defiance and Devil May Cry 2. The hybrid set/revolving camera technique was greatly critisized as well as the confusing look of the Spectral Realm. However, the combat system was praised, although there were collision detection problems again. Critics and fans alike responded excellently to the dual character scheme. The storytelling, as usual, was highly praised.

Defiance picks up not too long after Soul Reaver 2 and Kain has traveled into the past to clear up some issues with Moebius. Raziel is initially trapped in the Spectral Realm by Elder God but eventually escapes. The two cross each others paths often and attempt to restore Nosgoth. Raziel, in his search for the truth about Nosgoth's past, is constantly being manipulated since he is the only one who has freewill. The story does come to a conclusion of sorts but the series itself doesn't seem to have concluded properly.

Canceled GamesBearbeiten

Legacy of Kain: The Dark ProphecyBearbeiten

Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy was a canceled game that was to be the sequel to Defiance. It was produced by by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos. Work had started in 2004 but six months into development, the game was canceled and remained unannounced. Although there were no official announcements made, rumors had spread about a canceled game. In 2008, a post by user DivineShadow on the Official Eidos Forums revealed that the websites of artists Aaron Hausmann and Jason Muck and animator Ranjeet Singhal had posted screenshots of the cancelled game, which was called The Dark Prophecy. These screenshots showed new environments depicting both Ancients and Hylden structures and Kain fighting demon enemies. Although the game is most definitely canceled, neither Eidos, nor Crystal Dynamics made any official comments on it.

Possibility of a SequelBearbeiten

A sequel to the game has been anticipated since Defiance's release in 2003. However, several issues have since made it less and less likely for a sequel to appear. Several key members of the series have either left Eidos or passed away. Amy Hennig, former Legacy of Kain series writer and director, left Eidos Interactive soon after the release of Defiance. Richard Lemarchand, a game designed who also worked on the series, left. Tony Jay, who voiced Elder God, and Kyle Mannerberg, a Crystal Dynamics employee, both passed away. Subsequently, there have also been two waves of layoffs at Crystal Dynamics, further stripping the series of key members. The canceling of The Dark Prophecy along with the increasing priority of Tomb Raider were clear signs that Eidos was shelving the Legacy of Kain series temporarily, if not permanently.

Since Square Enix's acquisition of Eidos Interactive (and Crystal Dynamics too since its parent company was Eidos Interactive) and the disappointing sales of Tomb Raider: Underworld, there has been renewed interest in the Legacy of Kain series. In March 2008 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was re-rated by ESRB and confirmed for a PlayStation Network and PSP release. In early October 2009, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was also rerated by the ESRB and a release on the PlayStation Network and PSP was confirmed. Finally in the 2010 festive period Crystal Dynamics released Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light which featured a DLC character pack enabling Raziel and Kain to be used as playable characters for the first time since Defiance (as well as featuring a large amount of humorously editied previous Legacy of Kain dialogue). These events clearly signalled a revived interest in the series and with comments by Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada that his company planned to revive certain game franchises by rebooting them expectation was high for the 2011 E3 event.

In the run-up to E3 2011, several gaming sources reported on rumours of an E3 return and possible reboot of the series, including unconfirmed reports of a survey website testing the favourability of various titles for the series. However at E3, there was no news regarding the series and Crystal Dynamics have subsequently confirmed that they are currently committed to other projects including the Tomb Raider reboot and will not be developing a new Legacy of Kain for the forseeable future. There is currently dispute amongst fans as to whether the wording of Crystal's confirmation implies that Square-Enix have moved the franchise to another developer.

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