Snow, also known as Snowfall, was a form of weather based around frozen liquid - usually water - precipitation. Closely related to rain and cold weather, snow was present throughout the series, with sections taking place in snowy environments in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance; however it was only in its first appearance in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain that snow was treated as an environmental hazard due to the vulnerability of vampires such as Kain to water.
- Name: Snow
- Category: recurring terms • Weather
- Introduced: • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996)
- Appearances: • • •
- Related Articles: Water, Rain, Warped precipitation, Blood fountains
Snow was first seen in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain where it was largely a successor to the Rainfall encountered in early chapters. Kain could first encounter snow in The Hunt for Malek as he travelled into the region north of Coorhagen and onto Malek's Bastion, encountering a frozen region in the north apparently covered in ice and fallen snow. A little while after Kain emerged into the frozen lands - usually at some point in Malek's Bastion - he would encounter his first snowfall as a vampire and commented on its ability to cause damage to vampires. Like other weather types, snowfall was governed by a certain amount of chance and timing and it could thus be encountered in many locations in the north of Nosgoth. Snowfall was only risky to Kain for a short time as he was able to discover a blood fountain in a cave nearby the Oracle's Cave which granted him immunity to the damage caused by snowfall. Thereafter snow could still fall at random intervals in the appropriate areas but it was largely harmless and was ultimately superseded by the far less predictable Warped precipitation.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/4][Blood Omen/5][Blood Omen/Miscellaneous]
Snow returned in later titles but it was largely scripted and atmospheric in purpose with no particular hazard or environmental concerns associated with it; and it was often permanently associated with a particular location or time period. Snow and snowfall could be seen in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver in several locations such as the Ash Village and the Oracle's Cave - as with Blood Omen these were locations in the north of Nosgoth, but unlike Blood Omen it continually snowed in these locations.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/12][Soul Reaver/14]. Snow returned in Soul Reaver 2 where a wintry scene complete with snowfall, grounded snow and ice was shown in all locations throughout the era of Nosgoth's early history; suggesting seasonal changes in weather conditions and a winter period for those chapters.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/7] Snow was last seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance where a similar 'winter' effect was seen some years later with all of the locations in Kain's chapters in Nosgoth's early history dominated by snow, ice and falling snow.[Defiance][Defiance/1][Defiance/3][Defiance/5][Defiance/7][Defiance/9]
- "Snowfall" is directly acknowledged in dialogue when it is first encountered by Kain in Blood Omen, with the blood fountain later referring simply to "snow".[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/4][Blood Omen/5][Blood Omen/Miscellaneous] It is also mentioned in Blood Omen manuals, where it is detailed under the "weather" section simply as "Snow" and noted that it "causes slight damage".[Blood Omen manual (Windows)] The Prima Guide only mentions snow in relation to the immunity Blood fountain and does not acknowledge it otherwise.[Blood Omen strategy guide] In further titles snow is not mentioned in guides or manuals as it has no effect on gameplay, however some scenes are accompanied by dialogue or stage directions indicating snowfall or snowy terrain - these either directly reference the snow in the scene[Defiance/1] or give other similar terms for snow and related weather or areas such "frozen wastes"[Soul Reaver/12][Soul Reaver/14] or other "frozen" references.[Blood Omen/4][Soul Reaver/12][Soul Reaver 2/7]
- Snowfall was depicted in all its appearances simply as small white circles (or squares on occasion) which crossed the screen, generally in a downward direction. The hazards of snowfall were not associated with snow on the ground which acted much the same as ordinary terrain; however snow could often be found nearby ice and water, which were more difficult to negotiate. Virtually all areas which had grounded snow were subject to bouts of snowfall.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- The Blood fountain which grants Kain immunity to snow is apparently incorrectly labelled in the Developers' level select - it is labelled as "INVR", while the fountain that gives immunity to rain is labelled as "INVS"; presumably this means the two were mixed up at some stage in development.[Blood Omen]
- The snow appearing in Soul Reaver underwent some minor changes in the course of development; apparently causing a bug in the Playstation retail version of the game where snowfall only appears below an area diagonally across the center of the screen (with the same true of rainfall). This error does not appear in other versions of the game or the pre-release beta versions of the game.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- The Ruined City of the Dumahim in Soul Reaver has the alternate title of the "Ash Village" in a number of sources, such as the Debug menus, the Prima guide and other behind the scenes sources; presumably relating to its intended "burned" appearance.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/12][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)] This has given rise to theories that the 'snow' falling in the area may not actually be snow at all, but ash falling either from the destruction of the city itself or the nearby Smokestack situated within Turel's Clan Territory. When quizzed about this connection artist Daniel Cabuco commented: "Well that wasn't a level I directly worked on, other than Dumah. It was always left pretty ambiguous. *I* thought it was snow with the buildings long burned to ashes, but I can see the case for it being pure ash. In fact I like it better when I think of it as a city of eternal ash."
- Snow has made a number of appearances in cancelled games and deleted parts of existing games, arguably making it one of the most ubiquitous environments in the series: Though not overtly seen in Blood Omen 2, concept art of the game gave several locations around Meridian snowy environments before this was changed in the retail version.[Blood Omen 2] Notably the village of Valeholm was one of these locations that appeared snowy in its concepts but was shown to be less so when visited in Nosgoth.[Blood Omen 2][NOS] Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy was also known to have included a number of snowy environments, with several screenshots indicating a return to the snowy Malek's Bastion. Finally Nosgoth although featuring relatively little weather effects in its environments does feature a number of snow-capped peaks in the background of the Provance map area.[NOS]
- Blood Omen Developers Level Select Page at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Beta Comparison - Versions at The Lost Worlds (by Raina Audron)
- The Ruined City of the Dumahim (Ash Village) at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Ash Village/Ruined City questions at DCab Design Legacy of Kain forums (by Raina Audron, post#2 by Daniel Cabuco)
- Legacy of Kain 6 - The entire first section of the game at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)