There’s a third option, a monumental secret concealed in the very podcast here.
This podcast contains adult language and spoilers for all five Legacy of Kain games.
00:30 – In the first game, Blood Omen, a young nobleman named Kain is killed by bandits, and offered the chance at revenge by the necromancer Mortanius. He accepts and is resurrected as a vampire. After slaying his assassins, Kain discovers that the health and sanity of the land of Nosgoth is tied to the nine Pillars of Nosgoth, which have been corrupted by a mystical madness infecting their appointed Guardians, the Circle of Nine. At the urging of the ghostly Ariel, the Guardian of Balance whose murder triggered the corruption, Kain slays eight members of the Circle. Kain then learns that he is Ariel’s successor, the Guardian of Balance – and like the others, he is corrupted. To purify the pillars and save the world, Kain would have to die so that a new guardian could be chosen. The player gets to make that choice, but the rest of the series follows on the assumption that Kain chooses himself and the Pillars of Nosgoth come crashing down around him.
01:44 – Fact check! Amy Hennig was the director and head writer for Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2, and Defiance. A little later on, she was the director and head writer on the three Uncharted games for PS3, and in April 2014 she joined Visceral Games.
02: 23 – The second game, Soul Reaver, picks up 1,000 years later. Kain and his army of vampires have conquered the world. When Kain’s firstborn vampire son, Raziel, surpasses him in demonic evolution by growing wings, Kain rips Raziel’s wings off and hurls him to a watery grave. But Raziel survives as a sort of spectre and seeks revenge, eventually following Kain through a portal into the past. Blood Omen II is a midquel dealing with Kain’s first encounter with the architects of all these plots, while Soul Reaver II and Defiance follow Kain and Raziel’s trip through the past, where they investigate the root causes of Nosgoth’s corruption and try to set things right.
05:17 – Blood Omen was directed by Denis Dyack for Silicon Knights, and written by Dyack and Ken McCulloch. That might start to explain its many differences from the rest of the series, but it’s also worth mentioning that Blood Omen was a really early PS1 game, and the abilities and boundaries of the new generation systems were just being defined at the time. In fact, it rather resembles PC RPGs of the period.
06:46 – Kain could disguise himself as a human to walk unnoticed through NPC communities. But it was a shapeshifting ability, not an armor suit. The bone armor PK mentions is also a thing.
11:12 – Paul Lukather also played President James Johnson in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
11:50 – We are, of course, referring to the essential 90s Nicktoon Rugrats. Michael Bell, who defined the role of Raziel in three Legacy of Kain games, played both Chas Finster and Drew Pickles (parents of some of the adventurous baby protagonists), while major character Chuckie (Chas’ son) was voiced by Christine Cavanaugh and later Nancy Cartwright.
12:14 – Michael Bell played the role of Groppler Zorn in “Encounter at Farpoint,” the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Another episode, “Cost of Living,” featured Tony Jay (the Elder God) as Lwaxana Troi’s hapless fiancé-of-the-week. Simon Templeman played a holodeck character in season 3’s “The Defector,” and has been married to Rosalind Chao (Keiko O’Brien) since 1989.
13:07 – Janos is played by another Star Trek veteran, Deep Space Nine’s René Auberjonois.
14:45 – We mentioned that a thousand years changed Kain. Check out the before and after:
15:56 – I probably picked that line up from the series’ very detailed TV Tropes page.
19:02 – In Soul Reaver 2, Kain tells Raziel that it’s almost impossible to change a significant moment in history, demonstrating this (to his own convenience) by challenging Raziel to not kill him at the destined moment. Indeed, it takes all of Raziel’s considerable physical strength to hold back his own arm.
It turns out that (in this series) changing history is possible only when two copies of the Soul Reaver sword exist in the same place and time. By the end of the game, it becomes clear that this is because of the Soul Reaver’s ouroboros-like history: it devours Raziel’s soul, then travels back in time. Raziel becomes the maddened entity that devours himself, forming an everlasting cycle. The sword essentially contains infinite copies of Raziel’s soul. And because Raziel and the Reaver he carries are two copies of the same entity, he can change history just by existing.
19:20 – A big subplot of Blood Omen involves the battle against the evil, conquering Nemesis sweeping across Nosgoth. Moebius (Guardian of the pillar of Time, and one of the series’ main villains) persuades Kain to travel back in time and kill the Nemesis as a young man then known as William the Just. As untrustworthy advisor to both men, Moebius has ensured that at the time of their battle, both will be armed with the Soul Reaver – two copies making it possible to change history. Just as Moebius planned, Kain’s murder of the then-innocent William gives Moebius the excuse to lead an anti-vampire crusade, leaving Kain the last vampire when he returns to his own time.
20:02 – Between Blood Omen and Blood Omen II, Kain spent about 200 years leading a vampiric crusade to conquer the world of Nosgoth. Then he ran afoul of Blood Omen II’s big bad, the Sarafan Lord, got killed, and spent 200 years regenerating. All this is established in the opening cutscenes of Blood Omen II, and essentially represents a small hiccup in the continuity, since Kain has successfully conquered Nosgoth at the beginning of Soul Reaver, which came out years earlier.
20:29 – Fans of the series should definitely check out Lost Worlds.
21:52 – My Chakan story is that I always made the Earth Swords potion, because I really liked the music that came in when you used Earth Swords. Then I would immediately fall in a hole and die, because you can’t jump as high when you’re on earth potion.
22:43 – The Chakan comic was created by writer-artist Robert Kraus. There’s a lot more information on the comic and how it became a game here.
22:48 – You can see the Dead Sun footage here. It’s definitely worth a look, and we talk about it in much more detail a little later in the episode.
26:43 – For the curious: Flynning.
34:30 – One of the most interesting little details in the series is the look on Kain’s face when Raziel surpasses him at the start of Soul Reaver by growing wings. It’s not pure rage; it’s more like recognition – an awareness that the moment has finally come, and a resignation to his predestined course of action.
37:30 – The Soul Reaver comic – just a single preview issue – was really more of a prequel than an adaptation, as it depicted Raziel, still a vampire lord, feeding on a prophetess who described to him the coming events of the game. Her version of events included incidents that never made it into Soul Reaver, and which contradict the time-travel ending we got. You can read more about it here. There was also a one-issue preview for Defiance.
38:05 – Ariel is Kain’s predecessor as Guardian of Balance, and essentially the main quest giver in Blood Omen. Early in the game, we see her murdered by an unseen assailant. Confusingly, this is not the vampire Vorador, who is seen attacking the Circle of Nine earlier in Blood Omen’s opening cutscene, but several centuries earlier in the timeline. The killer eventually turns out to be Mortanius, possessed by the Dark Entity, a.k.a. Hash’ak’gik, a.k.a. the Sarafan Lord. The moment Ariel’s lover, Nupraptor, finds her body, he’s stricken mad, and his power as the Mind Guardian extends his corruption to the rest of the Circle. Incidentally, Ariel is voiced by a pre-Breaking Bad Anna Gunn.
41:30 – Turel’s one scene in Defiance is really something to see.
42:05 – Radical Statement!
55:40 – I remember that, early in Soul Reaver, I was approaching the Sanctuary of the Clans, the seat of Kain’s power and a pretty central location for the rest of the game. In a fight with Kain’s guards, I threw a vampire into a pool of water (which burns vampires like acid). His burnt body actually sat in that pool for the rest of the game, and I’d pass it every time I returned to the Sanctuary.
58:05 – The Elder God is the giant, betentacled creature that revives Raziel as a spirit and gives him his marching orders in Soul Reaver. He’s eventually revealed to be the god Moebius (unwittingly) worships and the main villain of the whole series, having planned the extinction of the ancient vampires after they were rendered immortal by the curse of their adversaries, the Hylden. We also learn that the ancient vampires were not so morally pure as Soul Reaver 2 led us to believe: they started the war over the Hylden’s refusal to worship the Elder God.
59:35 – Behold: the Seer.
59:45 – Yes, they do.
1:01:50 – The SR2 and Defiance outtakes.
1:03:35 – Deep Space Nine’s Odo – played by Legacy of Kain actor René Auberjonois – has an odd flirtation/friendship with Mrs. Troi, beginning in the first-season episode “The Forsaken.”