The Chronoplast was the largest of the Time Streaming devices in Nosgoth and the only one that had the ability to transport its users through time and space. Owned and constructed by Time Guardian Moebius, the Chronoplast was hidden within the Oracle's Cave and was encountered as a playable location in the chapters Oracle's Cave and Showdown With Kain of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, with the finale - taking place in the main Chronoplast chamber - briefly revisited in Soul Reaver 2 Prologue video.
The Chronoplast was at the heart of a large time streaming complex and the personal refuge of Time Guardian Moebius. The first hints of the Chronoplast were featured in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, where Kain travelled to the nearby Oracle's Cave in Find the Oracle, seeking the advice of the mysterious "Oracle of Nosgoth" - a pseudonym of Moebius himself. Passing through Moebius's museum, Kain met "The Oracle" in his chamber, but did not progress any further.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/5]
The Chonoplast itself was seen for the first time in the latter chapters of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver as Raziel explored the Oracle's Cave in Oracle's Cave (chapter) in pursuit of Kain. Progressing beyond the museum, Raziel discovered the vacant Oracles' chamber and noted that is was "rumored to be only a facade for a much larger, more elaborate complex". By Constricting the central cauldron, Raziel uncovered the entrance to an elaborate Time-related complex and made his way through it the heart of the complex - the Chronoplast chamber - discovering several prophetic vision portals on the way.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/14][Soul Reaver/15]
Entering the grand main Chronoplast chamber in Showdown With Kain, Raziel was able to finally confront Kain and while the two battled and debated the morality of Kain's actions, Kain confirmed that he had "stole into this chamber, centuries ago" (presumably at some point after Moebius's death in the interim between Blood Omen and Soul Reaver) and had spent some time studying the complex and its visions of the past and future. Kain set the controls of the device while he and Raziel battled, and when it was activated Kain retreated through the chambers time portal into Nosgoth's past and Raziel gave chase, arriving in one of Moebius's Time-streaming chambers within the Sarafan Stronghold in the Pre-Blood Omen era centuries earlier.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/15][Soul Reaver 2/Prologue][Soul Reaver 2/1]
The confrontation between Raziel and Kain in the main chronoplast chamber was recapped in the Soul Reaver 2 Prologue[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/Prologue] and though the device was not seen in further titles it is possible that Kain continued to use it to follow Raziel's journey to the Era following Blood Omen and on to Nosgoth's early history.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/7][Defiance/1]
Design and Layout
Passing through the bare caverns of the Oracle's Cave, Moebius's museum and the Oracle's chamber, Raziel was able to open his way into the secret chambers below - a set of Time themed chambers each leading progressively further underground.
Progressing beyond the chambers of the time complex Raziel passed a large vault-like doorway and uncovered a passage with a steep curving incline which headed deeper underground. At the bottom, the corridor leveled out and entered an area of repeating curving passages tracing a figure-8 (or infinity sign) pattern, each wall clad in bricks with a bronze trim, a black and red decorative pattern and occasional hanging lamps. Initially the corridor curved right and passed between two murals of winged figures (one 'squeezed' on the inside of the curve, the other 'stretched' on the outside) before passing a pentagonal opening on the left surrounded by square or triangular decorative grid, each of which contained a 'starry' background chronoplast vision portal. After the portal the pathway continued to curve right and passed between two square pillars before curving to the left, passing more winged murals and curving left passed another portal opening on the right. These curves, 'S' bends and portals would be repeated until Raziel passed six portals, at which stage the corridor would enter a final 'S' bend which turned into a differently decorated area.
The next area was composed of much straighter passages and decorations, and was much more ornately decorated - with walls clad in a pale-green stone resembling granite and regular white marble-like stone 'window' formations surrounded by a subtle gold trim - while the black and red decorative pattern and occasional hanging lamps continued from before. A small passage way led a sort distance to the left, before sharply turning right in a zig-zag and heading down another inclined curving passage heading downwards before leveling out and straightening at an intersection with a warp door on the left - which led along short passage curving to the right to enter the Chronoplast warp gate room. The main passage continued on passed the warp door down another short curving incline before leveling out and turning to the right to meet with the door to the main chronoplast chamber - decorated with the face of on elderly man - and the final Planar portal.
The Chronoplast chamber itself consisted of large circular room with three large stepped tiers which curved around the outside of the sides of the chamber. Each of these contained several semi-circular control panels, arranged in vertical lines along the tiers; with each control panel consisting of a decorated back-plate, a large central 'pointer' needle pivoted at the bottom and five symbols arranged along the outside of the back-plate. At the north of the chamber, the second tier featured an ornate decorated entrance door, while the opposite southern route featured a starry Time portal on the third tier. The ceiling of the chamber was also decorated like a moving and flowing starry night sky like pattern with the only feature being a rotating piece of machinery in the middle with a large central sphere with four claw like parts hanging from its sides and several smaller spherical bodies. To activate the device Kain moved the pointer on a control panel on each tier to a specific position, causing the ceiling mechanism to rotate and gain momentum and finally to join with the smaller spheres.
The Chronoplast is depicted in pre-release materials and can be explored fully in 'beta' versions of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, giving a complicated developmental history of the area. The area was not initially planned to be the arena of the final boss encounter with Kain, but only the second of three - with a third and final encounter intended to take place at Kain's Mountain Retreat. In this version of the storyline, Kain would have originally accepted his fate to die at Raziel's hands and during the battle at the Chronoplast, Raziel would have gained the Shift At Will ability through a "partial victory" over Kain. After dispatching Kain at Kain's Mountain Retreat and destroying the vampire population of Nosgoth using the sounding pipes at the Pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral, Raziel would have returned to the Chronoplast and used the device to return to the past, continuing on with Soul Reaver 2's eventual plot. In this incarnation, the main Chronoplast chamber may have been depicted as a much simpler circular single tiered room, bearing several green and white rings on the floor, white 'marbled' 'pillars' and other textures similar to the retail version.
The Chronoplast Visions themselves also depict some aspects of the originally planned Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver storyline, which were adapted into later games: the missing scenes represent the final battle between Kain and Raziel at Kain's Mountain Retreat, in which Raziel would strike Kain down and use his soul to create the all-powerful Amplified Reaver(later adapted into Kain and Raziel's battle at Avernus Cathedral in Defiance[Defiance/11][Defiance/12]); Raziel striking down Ariel and using her soul to create the Ariel Reaver in order to defeat Kain (later adapted into Raziel's forging of the Spirit Reaver in Defiance[Defiance/12]); and Raziel overlooking Nosgoth from the Pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral with the Amplified Reaver after opening the sounding pipes and destroying the vampires (later adapted into Raziel looking out over Nosgoth from Janos Audron's aerie with the Fire Reaver in Soul Reaver 2[Soul Reaver 2/9]). It appears that the corresponding scenes in later titles were intentionally remodelled after those in the Chronoplast visions.
The 'alpha' developmental versions of Soul Reaver feature a much different Chronoplast area. The Chronoplast visions are entirely absent and none of the looping corridors containing them are present so the corridors leading down are much shorter and head directly to the Chronoplast area - with no warp gate present either. The main Chronoplast is also plainer consisting of plain sandy and stone textures with no mechanisms and no portal. Through the alpha development the design progressed and took elements of Kain's Mountain retreat as that level was deleted: gaining white marbled columns, ornate gold-green design elements, face designs along with stone dials and a portal for new time travel ending. None of the battle elements functioned and Kain himself was absent so the aftermath of this confrontation was still unknown.
By the time of the known developmental 'beta' versions much of the layout of the Chronoplast had been added although several features would be rearranged, altered or improved later. The earlier beta had many textures missing and the lighting effects were often incomplete - textures missing include the 'vault' door leading to the chronoplast areas, the vision portals, nearby pillars and walls and many of the curved wall textures; lighting is considerably dimmed in several areas, especially in the Spectral Realm which features a bluer hue and occasionally different colored lights in places (likely leftovers of a planned multicolored Spectral Realm) and the winged figure murals are notably in different places and less frequently seen. By this stage the main chronoplast chamber had gained its final multi-tiered structure although its 'marbled' 'pillars' were still white (these would be changed to a purple color in the retail version). Other differences include: no door, no time 'portal', no central Planar portals, an untextured ceiling mechanism, Health recharges only under the top-level arches, dials only on the top level at four spots and dials which feature a 'popped out' floating sphere in front of the backing (these are 'collapsed' into the backing in later versions). Most of the differences between the earlier beta and retail version are ironed out in the later version which is largely identical to the retail version, however some differences remain: the marbled pillars are still white, the time portal has been added but consists of a yellow-brown liquid feature, health recharges remain under the top-level arches only.[Soul Reaver]
The Chronoplast confrontation between Kain and Raziel appears as the location of the final boss battle in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver as Showdown With Kain and this confrontation is revisited and recapped in GlyphX's Soul Reaver 2 opening video, with some minor dialogue edits and more cinematic action. Several other design changes were seen between the renditions of the chamber, though it essentially maintained the same structure:
- The combat and action of the scene is drastically increased, with the former version depicting Kain simply shooting a Lightning-like attack at Raziel and progressively retreating further up the chamber and Raziel striking Kain with the Wraith Blade three times.
- The colour of the Chronoplast is changed from grey and purple tones to cream, brown and oranges, and the capping of the curved pillars is changed from a unusual face-like design to less frequent light crystal-like decorations. Several lamps can be seen lit around the chamber, perhaps accounting for the orange lighting of the room.
- The design on the entrance doorway is altered from a brown design depicting the face of an elderly man (possibly Moebius himself and a texture originally intended to feature in the City) on square double- doors to a more simplistic orange figure-of-eight/infinity sign design on an arched doorway. The entrance also gain a stairway down to the floor of the chamber where it was previously a ledge and the same is seen in the route to the time portal.
- The complexity of the room is notably increased, with a lot more 'dials' added around the outside of the chamber and the symbols on the dials of the Chronoplast vary between depictions, with each dial now ornate gold green and bronze decorations and with several gearing mechanisms visible.
- The claw-like ceiling mechanism is now lit internally, making it glow orange. The size of the piece is notably increased and more circular 'planet' structures orbit it. There is also one less claw arm, with the structure being reduced from four arms to three.
- The floor of the chamber is changed from circular 'target' design created from dark green and grey circular bands with a blue health recharge in the center to a simplertwo tome target with a dark green circle on the outside with a gold trimmed pale green or cream circle in the center with a golden infinity sign in the middle.
- The activation sequence used by Kain to activate the Chronoplast is changed - In SR1, Kain moves 3 dials, moving them all to the extreme right, to point to an infinity sigil; whereas in SR2, The 3 dials activated are in different places in the more complex layout, and the dials are only moved one space each, this time left-right-left, to different runes; with infinity sigils no longer represented on the dials.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/Prologue]
- The portal gains a gold trim, figure of eight/infinity sign top piece and side crytal decorations and the portal effect is completely reworked from a simple pulsing starry background in Soul Reaver to a 'flowing' waterfall-like effect which is initially blue and when properly activated provokes an 'explosion' of sorts, turning yellow and falling back into the portal - an effect not unlike the activation sequences seen in the Stargate franchsie.
- Much of the dialogue from the original battle is slightly rewritten or edited, though little of the tone is changed:
- Kain's line "No – I had faith in you. In your ability to hate. In your self-righteous indignation." And Raziel's response "Lies. You cannot have foreseen all of this." are removed.
- Kain's question "Gazing out across the planes of possibility, do you not feel with all your soul how we have become like gods?" is trimmed to "do you not feel with all your soul how we have become like gods?" and his subsequent justification "That is why, when I must sacrifice my children to the void, I can do so with a clear heart..." is removed.
- Raziel's line "Very poetic, Kain – but in the end, you offer no more than a convenient rationalization for your crimes." is removed
- Kain's declarations about the Chronoplast "These chambers offer insight for those patient enough to look – in your haste to find me, perhaps you have not gazed deeply enough. Our futures are predestined –" is trimmed down to "our futures are predestined" and his subsequent lines are slightly rewritten from "Moebius foretold mine a millennium ago. We each play out the parts fate has written for us. We are compelled ineluctably down pre-ordained paths. Free will is an illusion." To "Moebius foretold mine aeons ago. We each play out the parts fate has written for us.Free will is an illusion."
- Raziel's line "I have been to the Tomb of Sarafan, Kain. Your dirty secret is exposed. How could you transform a Sarafan priest into a vampire?" is rewritten as "I found the Tomb of Sarafan, Kain. How could you profane a priest by turning him into a vampire?"
- Kain's line "Can you grasp the absurd beauty of the paradox? We are the same – Sarafan and vampire. With our holy wars... our obsession with Nosgoth's domination..." is removed.
- Raziel's line "I will not applaud your clever blasphemy" is removed.
- Both Raziel's line "You are lost in a maze of moral relativism, Kain. These apparitions and portents... what game are you playing now?" and Kain's return "Destiny is a game, is it not? And now you await my latest move..." – which led into the battle in Soul Reaver are removed.
- The Elder God's warning "Be warned, Raziel – once you cross this threshold, you are beyond my influence..." is removed.
- The final epitaph read by Moebius "Where Time is but a Loop, A Loose Stitch in the Universal Cloth, A Streamer might Seize upon a Chance, a Fatal slip – And plunge the Fate of Planets into Chaos..." is removed.
Ultimately whereas the Soul Reaver area was designed by Crystal Dynamics developers as a boss arena, the Soul Reaver 2 area was designed by GlyphX and was to be used purely for a cutscene full-motion video using the upgraded technologies of the PS2 over the Playstation and thus the area was redesigned for more cinematic action. The production of the Soul Reaver 2 introductory Prologue also caused some conflict between the developer and animation studio centering on the amount of action and effects that should be present in the scene. One animator commented:
- The title "Chronoplast" is mentioned explicitly in dialogue, however it is referenced in a number of other sources, including stage directions,[Soul Reaver/15][Soul Reaver 2/Prologue][Soul Reaver 2/1] manuals,[Soul Reaver 2 manual][Defiance manual] official guides,[Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)][Defiance strategy guide] and Bonus materials.[Soul Reaver 2] The word Chronoplast is the combination of two Greek words, χρόνος (chronos) which means time and the noun πλάστης (plastis) which derives from the verb πλάθω (platho) which means to create, form or shape.
- There may be some dispute as to which chambers the term "Chronoplast" actually covers. Stage directions in Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 only clearly indicate the final chamber where the boss battle with Kain occurs[Soul Reaver/15][Soul Reaver 2/Prologue]. However earlier dialogue in Moebius's cauldron chamber references an "elaborate complex" below, which may also relate to the Chronoplast, perhaps indicating that everything beyond that chamber - all of which is decorated very differently from the plain natural stone of the Oracles cave and contains much time-related features and iconography presumably relating to Moebius.[Soul Reaver/14] Debug listings label the time-related rooms after Moebius's chamber under the Oracle's Cave entries. Only the final set of chambers leading down to the Chronoplast visions are listed under the debug listing as using the "Chrono" code relating to the Chronoplast.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/14][Soul Reaver/15]
- Under debug listings, the chambers of the time complex are labelled as "Oracle10" to "Oracle22" with the rooms numbered as "10", "13", "15", "17", "18" and "22" also listed under the "Oracle's Cave" entries in Debug menus. The rooms beyond these - comprising of the corridors leading passed the Chronoplast visions and final chronoplast chamber - are listed with the "Chrono" title relating to the chronoplast and these are labelled as "Chrono2" to "Chrono18", with odd numbers relating to vision portals and even numbers relating to bends in the corridor, with the "Chrono15" relating to the warp door fork, "Chrono16" the corridor to the behind the warp door, "Chrono 17" the warp gate room and "Chono18" relating to the final corridor leading from the warp door fork to the main chronoplast chamber door - the main chamber itself is listed as "Chrono1". The Chamber where Raziel meets Moebius is listed as "Chrono19", but it displays simply as a flat plane. Under Debug menus only two of these are listed with "Chrono1" noted under "Boss Areas" and "Chrono2" (the corridor descending to the first vision portal and first bend) under "Anterooms" in a menu beneath the boss areas entry.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/14][Soul Reaver/15]
- Though not discussed in dialogue, the Chronoplast was indicated in developer interviews to have been constructed by Moebius the Time Streamer, the second Guardian of the Pillar of Time.[OPM-SR2-Funk]
- The Chronoplast and related time complex were designed to represent a massive inverted clock tower, reaching underground rather than above. This is referenced in Ariel's description of it.[Soul Reaver/13][Soul Reaver/14]
- Developer comments indicate that Turel was summoned by a Possessed Azimuth through the Chronoplast to act as mouth-piece for the Hash'ak'gik cult, though this may also have involved the usage of the Time-streaming device carried by Azimuth.[Eidos-Shadow Man]
- At the climax of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Kain claims to have 'stolen into' the Chronoplast centuries earlier (though he doesn't specify exactly when, it could presumably be at any time after the end of Blood Omen until Raziel's return) this is how Kain learnt of Ancient Vampire history and prophecy and his own and Raziel's destinies. Developer comments and the Legacy of Kain: Defiance Comic also suggests this possibility.[Defiance comic] Similarly Moebius extensively used the Chronoplast to observe Nosgoth's various time periods but could only receive glimpses of potential futures when Raziel made a decision but could not conclusively view his path.[Defiance/1]
- Several sources are unclear on their terminology regarding the Time-stream and related devices - on several occasions referencing the term "time-streaming devices" when clearly referring to travels known to have taken place with the aid of the chronoplast but not explicitly using the "chronoplast" title (or vice versa).[Defiance comic][Eidos-Shadow Man]
- The Chronoplast may appear in the Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic, but this is unconfirmed - one panel illustrates what appears to be a confrontation between the wraith Raziel and the Elder Kain - presumably referring to either the confrontation at the pillars or the confrontation at the Chronoplast - however the background of the panel contains no detail and it is unclear which it refers to.[Defiance comic]
- The final corridors with the chronoplast visions can be notably difficult to negotiate with many repeating features, frequent cutscene breaks and few cues as to position. Arguably adding to this effect, the corridor themselves trace a physically impossible shape, repeatedly twisting back over and over with each section exactly matching the positioning of the last and forming an infinity sigil shaped layout. Possibly the only guide to positioning within the system is spectral Realm morphing, which notably increases through the corridor before dropping to a neutral state at the end.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/15]
Concept Art, Textures and Bonus Materials
- The Chronoplast at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni).
- Soul Reaver 2 Bonus Material - The Chronoplast at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Oracle's Cave
- Chronoplast visions
- Time Streaming Device (The Sarafan Stronghold)
- Time-streaming devices
- The Final Battle with Kain at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Shift At Will at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Aftermath of The Chronoplast at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Mountain Retreat at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Pinnacle of The Silenced Cathedral at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Opening the Sounding Pipes at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Behind the Classics: Amy Hennig Talks Soul Reaver Secrets at Official Playstation Blog (by Sid Shuman with Amy Hennig)
- Initial Soul Reaver plot at DCabDesign (by Boltar), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Soul Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Amplified Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Death of Ariel at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Ariel Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Alternate Aerie Exit Cinematic at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Beta Comparison - Graphics at The Lost Worlds (by Raina Audron)
- Soul Reaver 1, 2 and "3" - GlyphX / Sandman Studios rendered images at the Square Enix Forums, post #2 (by Divine Shadow)
- Soul Reaver 1, 2 and "3" - GlyphX / Sandman Studios rendered images at Nosgothic Realm post #2 (by Divine Shadow)
- chrono- at Wiktionary
- -plasty at Wiktionary
- chrono- at Dictionary.com
- -plast at Dictionary.com
- Legacy of Kain: Funk Soul Brother (Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine) (archived at Legacy of Kain Wiki)
- The most difficult design at DCabDesign (by Scarlet), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Answers to questions from the Defiance team (archived at Legacy of Kain Wiki)
- The Paradox Paradox at DCabDesign (by Strands of Night), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Initial Soul Reaver plot at DCabDesign (by Liquid Yarullin), post #10 (by Daniel Cabuco)