The Chronoplast Visions were a set of 'portals' that showed Raziel what had already happen to him and also a possible future as a prelude to his battle with Kain in the Chronoplast at the end of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
Housed in the Chronoplast, they were a part of an underground labyrinth. Raziel stumbled upon them when descending deeper into the Chronoplast. where they were discovered at the end a long tunnel in a corridor shaped like an infinity symbol.There were six visions in total and half of them dealt with past and the other half with future outcomes. They appeared in a form of a portal with decorative sides with a starry, wavy centre.
The Chronoplast visions were added late in the development cycle and first appeared in 31st May Beta build of Soul Reaver. Prior to that, the developers used the Crystal Dynamics logo as a placeholder and used a basic brick wall texture for the portals themselves until the corresponding cutscenes were added to the disc. In order to record these events, the developers have added special rooms to capture the footage. These are entirely separate entities from the in-game levels and were mostly slightly modified by cutting off the unnecessary parts which were not in the camera's view. Three of these areas are new and represent the end-game parts of Soul Reaver which were cut from the game. The unknown location with Ariel, Kain's Mountain Retreat and the Pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral are just small portions of the areas they actually represented. However, Ariel's surrounding area is just copied from Raziel's Stronghold first open area, while the other two levels are completely new.
Raziel automatically views these as he comes across them for the first time but he can trigger them at any time. It appears that during the development there was not a clear vision in which order these should be displayed (particuarly the end-game scenes) and various order was pondered upon before settling on the final version seen in the retail game.
|First Chronoplast vision:
The first showed Raziel's 'arrival' in The Elder's Lair, after being remade as a Wraith.
|Second Chronoplast vision:
The second showed Raziel discovering the Tomb of the Sarafan .
|Third Chronoplast vision:
The third showed his battle with Kain at the Sanctuary of the Clans; specifically showing Kain shattering the Soul Reaver blade against Raziel.
|Fourth Chronoplast vision:
The fourth portal showed a future battle between Raziel and Kain, in a darkened room with Kain's symbol on the floor and Raziel armed with the Wraith-blade - This is interpreted to be Raziel and Kain's battle in Avernus, shown in Defiance.
|Fifth Chronoplast vision:
The fifth showed Raziel striking down Ariel in a darkened room (not the Sanctuary of the Clans) and the wraith blade glowing bright yellow as a result - This is interpreted to be Raziel gaining the Spirit Reaver in the Spirit Forge, by absorbing Ariel's soul; also seen in Defiance
|Sixth Chronoplast vision:
The final portal showed Raziel wielding a dark red wraith blade overlooking Nosgoth from a darkened balcony - this is interpreted to be Raziel looking out over Nosgoth, from Janos Audron's aerie, shortly after Janos' Death in Soul Reaver 2 . The Red blade being the newly imbued Fire Reaver .
Beta Movie Rooms
In the 31st May (also known as 1st June) beta build of Soul Reaver, when using a hacked debug menu, it allows full exploration of all six movie rooms, thus allowing them to be observed in great detail. The order of the visions in this version is as follows: Underworld, Pillars, Sarafan Tomb, Kain Encounter, Pinnacle and Ariel ' s scene comes strangely last, with red and black Reaver as an upgrade for enhancing the Reaver with her soul.
Movie 1 is basically an altered version of the Underworld with a non-functional Elder God's platform and the only other difference is that the surrounding wall where the tunnel leading to the Warp gate has been cut out.
Movie 2 is nearly identical to the retail version of the Sarafan Tomb, except the bottom of the spiral in the central tomb is solid and Raziel cannot fall through it in the spectral realm.
Movie 3 contains an earlier version of the Pillars throne room, which is different level Pillars 1. The Pillars actually stretch when in spectral and have half of the City's symbol on them. The surrounding two walls are also not scalable and lighting in the room is different and more yellow shaded.
Movie 4 is essentially an edited version of the first outdoor area of Raziel's Stronghold with the staircase removed, leveled floor and Ariel model. The top of the arched columns remain unchanged and even the alcove where the health upgrade is found in the retail version is present. All the textures have been replaced to a dark stone texture. It is not currently possible to trigger any of Ariel's animations.
Movie 5 takes place in the pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral, in one of the arched openings seen in the Silenced Cathedral render. This corridor is very short and leads outside, with Raziel overlooking the landscape of Nosgoth. The outer large wall is curved and two support columns on either side (one has greyish texture, the other is made out of metal with bolts).
Movie 6 is supposed to take place in Kain's Mountain Retreat and looks like a courtyard. It is unclear whether this is the entrance to the Retreat or this scene occurs further within the structure. There are two towering columns with Kain's face on each side and a small staircase leads to a gate with Kain's symbol on it.. The courtyard has three scalable walls (it is not possible to climb them, however), only one of them has an alcove which is blocked off. The lighting in the Chronoplast Vision is significantly darker, so it is possible only to see the large Kain symbol on the ground. Kain himself stands near the left side of the staircase and is almost double the size of Raziel which is possibly just a scale issue. It is possible to trigger Kain to fight Raziel and engage in battle but it is impossible to win as Kain gets stuck during battle.
The Soul Reaver alphas dated from January and February do not feature the Chronoplast Visions and the corridor leading down does not have portals for them instead being much shorter and heading to the main Chronoplast room - this is likely because they come from a build where that content was intended to be in the game and no foreshadowing was necessary.
This presents an interesting conundrum however as none of the locations seen in the later visions is found in the game despite the cut areas being present. This ultimately suggests that the movie rooms and the visions were not created from cut areas as such but were mock-ups created purely for the vision cutscenes, although some were created using assets from areas that were cut - such as 'Movie5' which seems to use textures from Turel's Clan territory.
'Movie6' is a particularly interesting case here as it uses an area that is not part of Kain's Mountain Retreat in the alphas, does not use the textures planned for Kain's mountain retreat - and yet has has many of the features of a boss battle arena, along with a fairly expansive area with many details that cannot be seen in the vision cutscene.
Furthering this the Ariel Reaver and Kain Reaver found in retail and seen in the Chronoplast Visions are not found in the alpha either - instead the Amplified Reaver discussed in interviews is present as an ability. Two Reavers which aren't present in retail Sunlight and Spirit are found in the alphas and these were adapted to create the Ariel and Kain Reavers in later builds..
- The Chronoplast vision portals can be approached in either realm to trigger their respective visions - these will be identical in either realm although the intro-outro zoom is slightly different due to spectral effects.
- Though the Chronoplast Visions appear to depict the events of future games (Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance), they actually show some Original Soul Reaver Storyline events removed from Soul Reaver before release - They show in order: Raziel's battle with Kain at Kain's Mountain Retreat (hence the Kain symbol and Kain' s missing (Blood) Reaver blade); Ariel sacrificing herself to give Raziel the 'Ariel Reaver ' to strike down Kain; and Raziel overlooking Nosgoth from the pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral after opening the sounding pipes (the red wraith blade is actually the Amplified 'Kain' Reaver ).
- It appears Crystal Dynamics intentionally remodelled the later scenes in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance to resemble the Chronoplast Visions.