HMCS Bitter was a secret location that can be accessed in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, resembling a large sailing ship and often interpreted as a pirate-based scene. The Bitter area remained undiscovered in the game until a project to recreate Blood Omen in 3D uncovered it in early 2010. Legitimate access to the area was discovered in 2020.
HMCS Bitter was an obscure area of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain that was largely undiscovered until years after release. The area remained unknown to the general public until 2010 when the Blood Omnicide team discovered the area in game files as part of their project to recreate Blood Omen in 3D.. At the time the area seemed to be cut off from the rest of the world and required a walk through walls cheat to access.
When questioned about the Bitter in 2017, Denis Dyack responded suggesting that it was still technically possible to enter the area through the triggering of secret switches - although he declined to elaborate further on the background or purpose of the area:
In 2020 the switches that opened the way to the Bitter were finally uncovered by fans in the Land of the Nemesis, Ziegsturhl, Malek's Bastion and the region southeast of Willendorf. These areas had literally represented the four corners of the World map in the Blood Omen alpha, but the map had been reshuffled in development leaving different areas as the corners in the retail version. Each switch was invisible, off the playable area and technically unreachable, but all had subtle pathing to the switch which allowed an Energy Bolt to travel through and activate it.
Directions and layout
The Bitter can be accessed legitimately through activation of four hidden switches - found in the Land of the Nemesis, Ziegsturhl, Malek's Bastion and the region southeast of Willendorf - or can be entered in game with the aid of walk-through-walls cheats (requiring gameshark codes or the PC trainer to access). The secret doorway leading to Bitter is hidden out of view behind "Capt'n Bitter's Sudz" in central Vasserbünde. Walking through the back of the building takes Kain to a different area within "Capt'n Bitter's", a short corridor leading to a teleporter pad which sent Kain to the deck of HMCS Bitter.
This first area consisted of a large Sailing ship with many smoking cannons in a large expanse of Water, surrounded by minor ship debris and identified as HMCS Bitter on its side. Kain arrived on a teleporter near bow of the ship on the main deck, which was covered liberally in Heart of Darkness artifacts and several 'pirate' enemies of varying classes (four Scimitar swordsmen, two Butchers and three Expert knife throwers) . Progressing along the to the quarterdeck, a second teleporter could be found behind the ship's wheel which led to the second map area.
Using this teleporter sent Kain to the deck of a largely destroyed ship, surrounded by major ship debris and trapped within a lagoon-like area. the remaining deck area above the waterline and a nearby rowboat contained a chest, four Font of putrescence artifacts and a single expert knife thrower. Several assorted Fonts of putrescence and Implode artifacts were hidden in the cliffs around the sides of the lagoon, and at the top of the lagoon there was a beach-like area with several lit torches which contained several Heart of Darkness artifacts, gold chests and further 'pirate' enemies including two more expert knife throwers, a gravedigger and a miner. Once completed, Kain had to backtrack to return to the rest of Nosgoth. [Blood Omen]
- Due to the presence of a sailing ship (or ships) and crew, the possible aftermath of a sea-battle and several enemies apparently in the process of burying Treasure chests (or corpses), Bitter is often regarded by fans as depicting a scenario involving Pirates. The two areas could be considered to represent Bitter and a ship sunk by it; or Bitter itself, before and after its destruction. In a 2020 stream Denis Dyack confirmed that the two maps were intended to represent a time jump, with two time periods of the same ship.
- It is unknown what caused developers to remove access (this part of the game is still present, just access has been blocked) to Bitter, it is possible it was just considered 'out of character' with the rest of the game.
- When activated within the HMCS Bitter areas, the map still interprets the player as within the Vasserbünde area.[Blood Omen]
- In both Bitter areas, the sails of the ship can be stood on and protect Kain from Water damage.[Blood Omen]
- HMCS is a real-world designation for ships in the Royal Canadian Navy and stands for "Her Majesty's Canadian Ship" - a reference to the developer Silicon Knights, who are based in Canada.
- In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, there is a similar (albeit much smaller) ship in an almost identical location within Nosgoth and this may be evidence that Crystal Dynamics was aware of Bitter.[Soul Reaver]
- The initial teleporter pad leading to the 'Bitter' areas notably carries the design of one of Moebius's Time-streaming devices and this may be taken as evidence that the Bitter set-pieces were intended to represent events in a different time-period. However, several similar teleporters appear throughout Blood Omen; and at no stage is any official comment ever given on their usage and purpose. Ultimately it is unclear if these are related to Time, or are simply a different design for regular Teleporters
- HMCS Bitter at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Blood Omen incredible secret at the Square Enix Forums (by Rusminin)
- 14 years after release, a massive explorable pirate ship is found in Blood Omen: LOK at the NeoGAF Forums (by Mama Robotnik/Divine Shadow)
- Vasserbünde at Dark chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Blood Omen Legacy of Kain Deep Dive 2 Part 2 at YouTube, by 'The Quantum Tunnel' (with Denis Dyack)
- 14 years after release, a massive explorable pirate ship is found in Blood Omen: LOK (page 2) at the NeoGAF Forums (by Mama Robotnik/Divine Shadow), post#52 (by Mama Robotnik/Divine Shadow)