- Legacy of Kain is the iconic vampire action game series from Crystal Dynamics that brought remarkable story-telling and narrative with groundbreaking voice acting alongside exceptional hack-and-slash gameplay mechanics.
- The Legacy of Kain IP changed many hands, going from Crystal Dynamics to Eidos Interactive and then moving to Square Enix and finally the Embracer Group.
- Crystal Dynamics has displayed interest in reviving the series and conducted a secret playtest of a new project which fans believe to be Legacy of Kain’s much-awaited return. It could be the studio’s chance for redemption after Marvel’s Avengers.
Legacy of Kain is a dark fantasy action-adventure series from Crystal Dynamics. The games chronicle an epic vampire narrative filled with themes of vengeance and defying fate, rightfully earning their place among PlayStation 2‘s greatest hits. Since the last entry; Legacy of Kain: Defiance in 2003, the series has laid dormant for over two decades and deserves a long overdue resurrection.
Crystal Dynamics worked on multiple projects for Square Enix, including the modern Tomb Raider games and Marvel’s Avengers, before being sold to the Embracer Group in 2022. They also bought the rights to Legacy of Kain and have shown interest in reviving it as per the fans’ wishes. This statement, coupled with the secret playtest of Crystal’s new project has the fans convinced Legacy of Kain is returning.
The Legacy Of Kain Series Was A Master At Storytelling
Legacy of Kain is a legendary series that introduced a dark and gritty fantasy world filled with gothic environments and rich lore. Although the games possess satisfying and smooth gameplay mechanics, the series’ renown came from its masterful storytelling, narrative, dialogues, and peerless voice acting. The gameplay and characters saw some changes over the series but its plot narrative and writing remained unmatched.
Legacy of Kain is among the few vampire games that effectively depict the character trope. In terms of story, there are two different storylines set in the same world. The first is the Blood Omen route, which followed Kain, a vampire anti-hero on his quest to exact vengeance while slowly relishing in his newfound abilities. The second is the Soul Reaver route, which is set 1500 years later and follows Kain’s lieutenant Raziel.
Soul Reaver took the series to new heights, with an improvement of story themes and gameplay. Raziel’s quest for revenge and self-discovery was handled with perfection. The series’ strengths lie in the deep and meaningful story of this fantasy setting that tackles strong concepts of revenge, redemption, and shaping your destiny. Alongside comes the series’ magnificent voice acting and dialogue writing, something that brought comparison to Shakespeare‘s works.
In terms of gameplay, the series has always been a hack-and-slash with intense action along with a strong focus on puzzle-solving to navigate environments. The first game, Blood Omen started as a 2D top-down perspective but all subsequent games became third-person. The recurring gameplay elements include unique weapons like the Soul Reaver sword and claws at your disposal to decimate enemies in adrenaline-fueled action combat.
Soul Reaver’s most ingenious mechanic was how it presented two different sides of the world; the material and spectral plane. You could switch to either of the planes to navigate the environments that incorporated the concept with finesse. Material plane allowed you to interact with physical objects like levers and boxes, but you lost health as you’re a wraith. The Spectral plane allowed phasing through certain obstacles and regenerating HP.
With two different protagonists and their specific stories, their lives intertwine and culminate in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, which connects many dots to make the story more complete. Although it had an excellent story and served to join two narratives, it sacrificed somewhat in terms of presentation and gameplay mechanics. We have not received a new entry ever since, and patiently await the day this legendary adventure makes a comeback.
How There’s Hope For Legacy Of Kain’s Revival
Legacy of Kain series indeed houses exceptional titles that are sure to please anyone giving it a try. Thus, the series must see a modern resurgence, and since the developer is working on multiple new projects, we have considerable reason to speculate it might be happening sooner than later. This ties into how the IP has changed hands multiple times in history and what the present owners are planning with the concept.
It all started with Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen. Developed by Silicon Knights and published by Crystal Dynamics, the two studios soon went their separate ways and Crystal started work on Soul Reaver. This prompted Silicon Knights to hit Crystal with a lawsuit, accusing the company of stealing ideas. The dispute was settled with Crystal Dynamics earning the rights to the series. Unfortunately, Silicon continued to fall from grace afterward.
Crystal Dynamics became the new owner of the IP. Soon afterward though, Crystal agreed to an acquittal by Eidos Interactive, and so did the Legacy of Kain IP. Crystal crafted multiple projects under Eidos like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex spinoff, and further Legacy of Kain games. The next stage was the transfer of the IP to Square Enix after it acquired Eidos.
Square Enix held the IP for a considerable time yet no attempts were made to revive the series. After Crystal Dynamics and certain other assets of Square Enix were sold to the Embracer group, Legacy of Kain finally reached the hands of its present owner. And now, both the Embracer Group and Crystal Dynamics are eager to bring back the series.
Crystal Dynamics was given a lot more freedom, and the developer’s interest in reviving its legendary classic was reciprocated by the new heads. With the team in agreement, now it was time to test the viability of the project. For this purpose, a survey was released to gauge fans’ interest in the series revival, and it received a whopping 100,000 positive responses, to which Crystal replied they heard the fans loud and clear.
A heads-up for all Legacy of Kain fans.
Crystal Dynamics is sending out a survey asking fans what they'd like to see most if the series was brought back.
They're asking if you'd like a Reboot, Remake, What Genre, & more!
— Jawmuncher (@Jawmuncher) September 30, 2022
This blessing of news was followed by the announcement of a secret playtest of Crystal’s new project. This reveal had the fans speculating a new Legacy of Kain is on the way and is being tested to live up to the admirer’s expectations. For now, we’re not sure if Crystal wants to create a remake or remaster of an older title or a new entry to the series.
Crystal Dynamics’ Chance At Redemption
Fans of this classic have been eager to see a resurgence for a long time now. This survey is a quite recent event, which shows people’s interest has not faded with time and still burns brightly. Thus, delivering what fans most want to see would be an excellent opportunity to clear Crystal Dynamics’ name, as the developer’s reputation has taken a serious hit lately.
This is primarily because of Marvel’s Avengers. Under Square Enix, Crystal created the horrible superhero cash-grab lacking any sort of refinement, uniqueness of gameplay, versatile content, and overall quality. The game was an absolute blunder and the poor reception that followed caused the game to be closed for good. This was also one of the reasons Square Enix gave away its assets including Crystal Dynamics.
Although the studio has crafted excellent games like the modern reboots of the Tomb Raider series, the scars of Marvel’s Avengers run deep. Learning from mistakes is important and thus, fresh management is also a chance for a fresh start. And an excellent Legacy of Kain game is the perfect first step. The company has multiple equally viable options to choose from. It could follow Nixxes’ example to bring back its classics.
The first thing to mention is a remake of the originals or a reboot of the series. Both hold considerable risks of not being as good as the original, but if handled with care and dedication the project can truly shine considering the dedicated fanbase. A remaster is a viable approach as although the games are available on PC and their visuals were groundbreaking for their time, they certainly need a much-deserved visual glow.
Most of the fanbase fell in love with the originals and wish to see those stories make a return. That is why they have resorted to remastering old games. However, considering we’ve not seen a project in ages, a brand-new entry to the series would be just as appreciated. At this point, I’ll be more than happy with whatever they plan to create, as long as it remains faithful to the strengths of the series and delivers a memorable adventure.
What’s more, a good Legacy of Kain project might pave the way for the revival of some more classics by the developer. The Tomb Raider series received a reboot, but the originals were a work of art too. Most important is Gex, Crystal Dynamics’ mascot Gecko and its crazy adventures would be a delight to experience once again. All in all, I hope the Legacy of Kain soon receives the resurrection it so rightfully deserves.
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