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32-Minute Video of Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, the Canceled Soul Reaver Successor [UPDATE]

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[Editor’s note: we’ve added screenshots from the video to this article.]

Mama Robotnik of NeoGAF has been meticulously researching Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, the sixth and canceled singleplayer entry in the Legacy of Kain series. Today they uploaded a video containing gameplay and cinematic footage from the game, and some new info. They claim that the information they have collected has been supplied by industry sources, and that the video they uploaded comes from someone who had worked on the title.

Of the acquired Dead Sun footage, they write:

The video contains some of the opening story sequences, exploration, combat and an array of gameplay mechanics from Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun. The game was cancelled by Square Enix in 2012 after three years of development at Climax Studios, with Crystal Dynamics acting in an advisory role. The game was not projected to meet Square Enix sales projections, and was scrapped, to the enormous disappointment of staff who had dedicated a lot of work to the project. One source recalled that staff came in at weekends to continue working on the game, while higher ups already knew it was cancelled. […]

The story of Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun seems to be along the lines of the following (with some information from insider sources and some from my knowledge of the franchise): Kain and Raziel’s time-travel throughout Legacy of Kain: Defiance appears to have stabilised Nosgoth’s far future. Humans spread across the land once more, and plant life began to re-appear. The vampire monsters returned to more elegant vampiric forms, though some maintained their bestial ancestors’ hunger for souls. The vampires continued to block out the sunlight using huge ever-burning smoke stacks. The conflict between predators and prey continued as it always had done. Humans were able to regain enough control of the wilderness to re-establish trading towns, and became enamoured with worship of the obscured Sun.

The respite faded, and mass sterility plagued the human race. Asher, a human, was able to achieve a miracle and father an unborn child. From unseen machinations, a Saradin Soul-Eater vampire is sent to kill Asher and his family (with orders form on high to make the assassination purposely look like a massacre) but something goes wrong: As the vampire attempts to consume the human’s soul, a freak occurrence results in Asher taking complete control of Gein’s body – leaving Gein’s vampire spirit impotent as ghost that only Asher can see and hear.

Their journey together across Nosgoth’s future would have initially explored who sent Gein to kill Asher, and why. It would later link to the wider Legacy of Kain mythos. There would be substantial connections to The Elder God, the Spectral Realm and a mysterious vampire child. The large theme running throughout the story would be the religious beliefs of Nosgoth. Climax were instructed by Square Enix to introduce a new protagonist to the series (as Crystal Dynamics had done thirteen years ago with Raziel in Soul Reaver), but the events were to be a continuation of the established Legacy of Kain storyline.

The area shown in the video is The Wetlands. It acted as a gigantic hub, connecting the different areas in this region of Nosgoth together. Such areas would have included: “dungeons”, huge boss encounters, intense use of shifting between the Spectral and Material realms, masses of exploration, combat and hidden/earned upgradable abilities. The game was described as being intensely story focused, and inspired greatly by Soul Reaver and Zelda (to quote a source: “think if HBO did Zelda”). The game was at one point envisioned as a small project (possibly downloadable?), and then expanded to be a XBox 360/PS3 retail release (note the use of XBox button icons in the video). In its final form, the game was strongly considered to be PlayStation 4 launch title.

Of course, that game never was.

According to Mama Robotnik’s sources, Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun had been in a pre-alpha state when Square Enix decided to cancel it. Mama Robotnik claims that Psyonix’s current game, Nosgoth, is the multiplayer that was stripped out of Dead Sun; but George Kelion, the then community manager for Square Enix London, has stated that Nosgoth was always its own, separate, companion title to Dead Sun. In any case, out of that era came Nosgoth, the free-to-play, multiplayer, action-adventure game based on the Legacy of Kain series that is currently being developed by Psyonix.

We can’t embed the video of the game, so jump over here to watch it. Also click through to Mama Robotnik‘s post for more on what could have been.

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Dimi Gronnings

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With over ten years' experience as an editor, Dimi is Niche Gamer's Managing Editor. He has indefinitely put a legal career on hold in favor of a life of video games: priorities.