A Leaked Look At The Cancelled Legacy Of Kain: Dead Sun

Cast your mind back to 2013, when Square Enix announced the first new Legacy of Kain game in a decade. Well. Sorta. Nosgoth is set in the same universe as the vamp ‘em up series, but a free-to-play multiplayer game rather than the usual singleplayer murder adventure. Well!

Turns out, according to whispers and rumours, Nosgoth was the spun-off multiplayer side from a Legacy of Kain game cancelled in 2012. Made by Climax Studios, it was to be named Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun. And now you can watch half an hour of leaked footage which, if not real, would have been a monumental effort to fake.

It’s the result of years of digging by NeoGAF forum poster ‘Mama Robotnik’, who’s chatted to lots of people and turned up a load on the game’s development, its story, and what might have been. It would’ve been an open world-y sort of a game, with a hub leading to dungeons and so on.

Mama Robotnik’s research only mentions Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, granted, but I’d be jolly surprised if PC weren’t planned too. And besides, even if not, don’t PC folks want to know what happened to the series?

I won’t recap the thread, so do give it (and the replies from folks who say they worked on it) a good read. Here’s the gameplay video, which is logos and menus for the first 80 seconds:

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  1. ran93r says:

    Well I would have played that. It’s a shame that it got cancelled, I would love to see a proper single player game again.

    I tried Nosgoth out and I would love to think that it could ignite interest in the franchise enough to see another proper game as I would gladly take a full Crystal Dynamics Kain game over their current raiding of tombs.

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    Wowbagger says:

    Another fail from Square-Enix misreading the user base. Instead of releasing a fully fledged LoK game we will rip out the multiplayer assets and make it F2P. Arseholes.

  3. Viroso says:

    I’m surprised it looks like it would be cool. An open world that’s more interesting than what games usually do, the platforming seems awesome and the soul eater a character to keep you interested.

    But it’s a shame seeing stuff like highlighting the path, constant upgrading, derivative combat and endless crappy enemies. Soul Reaver didn’t need any of that to be an awesome game, Dead Sun would have been an awesome game if it had taken after Soul Reaver in those points.

    • Razumen says:

      I dunno, I kind of remember enemies and combat in Soul Reaver being rather repetitive and bland, but it’s been a while. It’s also possible that this game would have a lot more enemy variety and more interesting combat later on that this short video could never hint at-unfortunately we’ll never know.

      • Viroso says:

        It was repetitive, and bland, mostly because of how one on one fights played out. But the cool thing about is that enemies were fewer, stronger and the best of all, could only be killed with fire, water, light or impalement, and you couldn’t always use thos things whenever you wanted to. It was less about quantity of enemies and mroe about the quality of fights. Which is cool, but the quality itself wasn’t that great.

  4. commentingaccount says:

    If only this had been made… Sigh.

    Dunno if it would have been any good(Could have been another Blood Omen 2… *shudders*), but it’d fit the series better than the insult known as Nosgoth.

    • kud13 says:

      I honestly don’t get the mounds of hate for BO2. LoK as a series could never make up its mind about what kond of game it wanted to be, gameplay-wise, as every single iteration tried something new. The series’ trademark was it’s amazing story + dialogue (due to the spectacular voice actors). Sure, BO2’s story was weak. But in terms of gameplay, it was one of the most coherent ones in the entire series. It also did immersion incredibly well in Meridian-it was the only game in the series (besides the original) where you didn’t just murder everything in sight as soon as you saw it. I liked BO2, despite its story flaws and the nonsensical fact that Vorador was alive again. It’s combat was also decently well done, without becoming a spectacle fighter (which is what happened in Defiance–ever so often I want to replay it, but then I think of the angel golems…)

      It also did the puzzling decently well, with some clever ideas, since it didn’t have the Soul Reaver’s “different types of reavers as keys” crutch and had to actually get creative.

      • manwejml says:

        Wrong on all counts. Blood Omen 1 knew exactly what kind of game it wanted to be. It was essentially Mature Gothic Zelda. The same goes for Soul Reaver 1. It pioneered the 360° character movement with full camera control in an era of shitty tank controls. That game had a huge open world that would morph in real time without a single loading screen in it. It was years ahead of its time and redefined the third-person action-adventure genre. After that it all went downhill, the series never innovated again. Soul reaver 2 had the same gameplay, only half the game was missing on release. There were no power upgrades, barely any dungeons, nothing, only different coloured soul reavers. A lot of content (if not most of it) was clearly cut for budget reasons. Blood Omen 2… was just a turd really. Tank controls, tens years too late. Horrible story, dialogue and presentation. No open world, only linear “levels” separated by loading screens. Again ten years too late. As for Defiance it just tried to emulate what was cool at the time (Devil May cry, and that telekinesis fad we had for a while), and lost its soul (no pun intended) in the process.

  5. Turkey says:

    This does not bode well for the Daikatana reboot.

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      I think ANY reboot, no matter the quality, would exceed the original Daikatana.

  6. Mordio says:

    This doesn’t look too bad , but it looks so very different from the other LoK game …

    I guess they thought that it had been so long since the last game they needed a complete break, like Soul Reaver was.

    But Soul Reaver was the second game, not the sixth . And that main character does not look like a new Raziel. Or maybe he looks to much like a new Raziel, I guess.

    And the gameplay looks taken straight out of arkham with some prototype in it. Not sure that’s what I want in my LoK.

    Also, the colours are weird. And the underworld looks mega weird. It does not look like the one I’m used too.

    Maybe it should have been its own game. I just don’t know . Maybe I don’t wan’t more LoK :(

  7. grable says:

    I would have played this! Now granted it did remind me of the other types of games in this “open world” genra, (assasins, batman, etc) which ended up looking a bit generic at times. But i can live with a bit generic shit if there is something to hold it up. Which the main character and the story telling actually did, it really made me want to play this.

  8. Jackablade says:

    The female armour with one bosom exposed is a little peculiar.

    • jonahcutter says:

      A single exposed breast has typically been a reference to the Amazons who, according to their mythology, removed one of their breasts to facilitate their war-making. This sometimes get portrayed in art/literature as a single exposed breast.

      Supposedly even Roman women athletes sometimes competed with an exposed breast in reference to the Amazonian myth.

      • KeyboardSmash says:

        Oh nice, that was really interesting. Cheers.

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        Maltose says:

        I thought the exposed to breast was to help them draw a bow. But the evil lady uses a crossbow…

  9. Cinek says:

    Overall I’d be hyped on a new LoK game, but… that combat… after seeing it for a few seconds I’m totally content with their decision to scrap this game, I would do the same.

    • Jalan says:

      We’d all be overjoyed if the rights issues to Blood Omen were resolved and it got a proper re-release.

  10. Monggerel says:

    More like Leagcy of Cocaine, right?

    …no. Actually that’s lame. 90s lame. Lesur Sut Larry lame.
    what have they done to me

  11. kud13 says:

    I am very much an LoK fanatic, but I can’t say I love this game.

    As a 3rd person action-adventury platformer, it looks neat enough (although the signature Arkham “align the char, click “strike” and watch him launch across the room to hit” combat feels a bit out of place), but as an LoK game… Too much visceral gorm, crazy brooding. Not enough epic story, and destiny, and time being akin to a flowing river, and the protagonist is a very ragged excuse for a saviour.

    Although if this was a spin off based on some Hylden soul-eater – I could tolerate it, I guess.

    But really, I just want a sequel for Defiance. I’m willing to buy it at full price, if you release on PC. Come the F on, squeenix! Is that too much to ask?


    Okay, fine. Then at least release BO1 on GOG.

    • Razumen says:

      It’s a 30 minute video, showing a straight 30 minutes of the game, I think it’s impossible to say whether or not this has an epic story, or how the protagonist develops, or how well the realm shifting really works, much less whether it’s “loveable” or not. Dismissing it out of hand on such a small snippet is a disservice, and I for one think it showed enough promise to be a decent entry in the series.

      • kud13 says:

        It’s a 30 min “vertical slice” presentation, of a kind usually done to showcase the game to the publisher. It’s aimed at showcasing what the game is “really about”.

        LoK games to me have always been about Story. With a capital “S”. The gameplay was iterated on endlessly, as the series tried to find itself, but the Story was consistently great.

        From this demo, I don’t see a great Story–I don’t even see what’s there to make me think there may be a great Story. I see a set-up for a tale of a brand-new character, who finds himself not quite dead, yet haunted by a ghost of…himself? who is a monster (presumably, Hylden), doing things which don’t really fit the existing canon… the main char is obsessed with his family (whom he killed???) and with his new, monstrous nature. Neither of these themes strikes me as particularly novel, or interesting, or fitting in what I want of an LoK game.

        In addition we get derivative combat, visceral gormy finisher moves (which lack the deadly elegance of the previous games, where Raz could jump up, and the do the soul suck while he gently floats down), and a level of “mature content” that seems there for the hell of it.

        On their own, none of these are deal-breakers. But as a cumulative whole, I don’t see the end product being a good LoK game. It may well have been an interesting game, and I’d have surely played it if it was released on PC, but I don’t see anything in these 30 minutes that would make me scream “insta-buy, this is what I’ve always wanted!” and I loved the series since BO1 before it even went 3D

        • Razumen says:

          There’s no indication at all that this is purely a presentation video, for one thing it’s way too long, and another, it only shows one area of the game, the wetlands, the large expansive ‘hub’ area that would link the rest of the world and dungeons together. If they were pitching something, it would have to be a lot shorter and showcase a lot more of the games planned content. Not to mention the fact they didn’t need to ‘showcase’ the game to a publisher as they already had one.

          I don’t think you really even watched the video that much, the protagonist is killed by a Saradin Soul-Eater vampire, who is ordered to kill the protagonist for unknown reasons (though it is likely linked to the mass loss of fertility amongt humans, and the fact he manages to father an unborn child before his death). The vampire kills him and eats his soul but something goes wrong and he finds himself “possessed” by his former victim – they are in fact not one and the same person. You’re right, it’s not a great story per se, but only a setup, a setup that looks pretty interesting and worth the benefit of a doubt to becoming something more.

          The linked to forum post states that this game is based on a world changed from the actions of Kain and Raziel, directly: “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 game was described as being intensely story focused, and inspired greatly by Soul Reaver and Zelda”

          Maybe the video didn’t do a great job at selling all of this, but that was not likely it’s point-if anything it was probably just a video of development progress playthrough that someone had managed to save and release.

          • kud13 says:

            I’ll watch it again when I get home, but…

            1) I am 95% sure I saw the words “vertical slice” bin the menu, which is the option that was launched. From following other games’ development, those word means just what I said they do- a showcase of the game, either as promo material, or to the publisher, as a sort of progress report.

            “Soul-eater vampire” is a big WTF moment, esp since as of the end of Defiance, all the vamps are still dead, save Kain, and the timeline was changed to be BO2–i.em, young Kain builds an army, then Sarafan lord stops him, then he wakes up and gets revenge, cue the annihilation of humanity and the stuff that leads to SR1.

            On that note, we COULD place this in the years whilst the young Kain slumbers after being beaten by the Sarafan Lord–as we don’t really know what happened in the wider world and how far did the nu-Sarafan’s reach go-did they take over Willendorf? What about the old Lands of the Nemesis? But then (again!) we have the issue of Vampire Hunters, who seem to be like Moebius’, while Moebius himself is killed good at the Ned of defiance when Raz feeds him to the EG… I just don’t see it making sense without some retconning.

            And yes, the game did not convey the “come back to this obstacle later with more powers” thing well. As for Nosgoth’s religion, in BO2 we had some kind of a Church (and the Avernus Cathedral even earlier, ofc), but I don’t recall if there were ever any details (well, and then there was the cult of Hash’a’ghik + the Spirit Forges and their wraith operators)

  12. theoriginaled says:

    Honestly Im getting a prequel vibe here which Im fine with. I think they wrapped up the whole arc pretty nicely with defiance and nothing more needs be said there. The stick and move combat works for me, he doesnt strike me as the kind of character that could just wade in and toss out blows, and I see the potential for a really stealth play being built in there sneaking around and stealth killing enemies instead of alerting them all looks like it could be viable. Shame it was never given a chance.

    • kud13 says:

      Um, wut?

      How was Defiance “finely wrapped up”? Kain became Scion, but Vampires are still gone, we don’t know how Vorador came to be alive again, young Kain needs to get the Reaver, and overall, the timestream isn’t made any better. Kain still has his destiny to fulfill, the EG is still plotting, and the only thing we don’t worry about are the Hylden, b/c they’ll be dealt with in BO2.

      And a prequel to what? In which timeline? The one-breast-bare-lady doesn’t look like she’d make Sarafan ranks-which means she must be part of Moebius’ mob. Which would put this contemporary to the ending parts of BO1, or later, post the Pillars exploding. If it’s an SR1 prequel–then how does it make sense? Raziel’s soul was undying, b/c he was destined to become the soul in the Reaver- and human Raziel is long dead at this time, since he died during the Sarafan crusade, just as Vorador did his “Scourge of the Circle” routine.

      So once again, the only thing that makes sense is Hylden hiding out, pretending to be a particularly twisted vampire. As the Hunters speak of other vampires we actually CAN’T be post the Pillars-go-boom moment, b/c Vorador is already dead then, leaving Kain the last of his kind.

      So: a spin off, with a Hylden soul sucker. Cult of the Sun could actually be a Lost City thing. It could be a BO2 “prequel” I suppose, if the protagonist eventually mutates into the Sarafan Lord and overthrow the Young Kain. But I somehow doubt they’d go that route.

      • KeyboardSmash says:

        Ahh man, you just totally rekindled my inner LoK fan. And you are right, the original series is definitely far from finished. Soooo many unanswered questions.

  13. EhexT says:

    Wow this looks terrible. From the pointless profanity to the pointless tits it screams inept developers trying to be “edgy”. Didn’t think I’d be glad Legacy of Kain didn’t get the game it was supposed to, but holy crap, thank giant octopus god that piece of crap never got released.

    • Razumen says:

      I think it looks good, who cares if it has cursing and nudity in it? I’d take it if it meant another LoK game.

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        PedroTheHutt says:

        From the looks of it it would’ve been LoK in name only.
        Its mood and style have little in common with previous Legacy of Kain games and as others have noted, it looks more like a prototype of Shadow of Mordor than anything else, which in itself is a needlessly juvenile totes edgy re-imagining of Tolkien’s mythos. They even share the same lame killed-wife revenge plot.

  14. jonahcutter says:

    Reminds me a bit of Shadows of Mordor with it’s streamlined, open-world movement and Batman-esque combat. Considering those titles’ successes, it’s too bad they didn’t stick with it.

    And I wonder if some of the Shadow of Mordor team saw this and thought, “Hmm…”

  15. Mordio says:

    Somewhat relevant, an older post by the same Mamarobotnik about cancelled LoK games : link to neogaf.com

    It’s extremely interesting and it highlights why the story of LoK is such a wondeful mess. And what a great job Amy Hennig did at tying all those games together ( though obviously, she couldn’t patch all the holes made by BO2 )

  16. plugav says:

    That world looks pretty and might have been fun to move around in. The rest, however… It wouldn’t have passed my “will I be ashamed of playing this?” test. And I’ve played BloodRayne.

    • EhexT says:

      I can tell you why it’s so cringe-inducingly juvenile: According to a quote by an inside source it was supposed to ape the HBO style. Thanks HBO and Game of Thrones for turning everything into tits and cursing for no reason.

      Because why have deep and complex plots about time travel, the nature of souls and rebirth if you can replace that with tits and cursing.

      • Razumen says:

        It doesn’t have to be either or you know, and who cares if there’s some nudity in it, whoopdyfreakingdoo. There’s far worse things that have been done with violence in games that would make me a lot more uncomfortable than a pair of bared breasts

        • EhexT says:

          Nudity, like violence needs a reason to appear in story. Just because games are bad at one doesn’t mean they should get a free pass on the other. They’re not having nudity because it’s appropriate and necessary for the story, they’re doing it because marketing told them to or their understanding of mature is at the 13 year old level.

          • Viroso says:

            You know the one breast out armor doesn’t bother me at all. It makes me think about what kind of culture they have, the vampire hunters, it feels like there’s a reason for it unlike most female character design in games. They didn’t pluck this one breast out thing out of nowhere.

          • Razumen says:

            You don’t know there’s no reason, there probably is. It’s already been suggested here by jonahcutter that it may be “isimilar to how the Amazons who, according to their mythology, removed one of their breasts to facilitate their war-making. This sometimes get portrayed in art/literature as a single exposed breast.” Also, the breasts are simply there, they don’t appear to be taking pains to sexualize it or even draw excessive amounts of attention to it, so it’s very possible there’s some sort of cultural more in the game for such an outfit.

  17. PerspectiveDesigns says:

    I actually liked the nudity. It wasn’t titillating at all, instead it felt sort of alien and foreign and seemed unique.

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      Keymonk says:

      That was my feeling too, I was so taken aback by it. It was rad.

  18. Kaeoschassis says:

    Not sure I’m gonna watch this. It isn’t going to happen, so what’s the point? I’m not THAT much of a masochist…

  19. 7vincent7black7 says:

    This shows so much promise. How could they cancel this like that without at least first releasing a video similar to this and seeing the gamers reaction to their progress?! If tehy had done that they would have made so much money from continuing on this. This would have been a game I would have been willing to even pre-order.

  20. KenTWOu says:

    It looks so bad on so many levels. Vast empty areas scream underdeveloped level design. Enemies are placed too far from one another, fights look weird and meaningless because of that. Your character is absolutely weightless, he jumps too high, moves too fast and climbing/gliding animations feel weird and out of place. There is not enough interactivity, not enough challenge, you can’t get the feeling that he is actually there, he is moving through this world.
    But the most irritating thing, they obviously tried to make a gritty game with a serious tone, but the game is so inconsistent because of contradictions between its visual style and its gameplay feel. The scale is broken, everything is so tiny, so gamey, so pointless and bland. Icons over enemies heads are huge, smoke and wind effects are overblown, souls look like flying bubbles instead of people silhouettes. It’s a broken mess.

    • Razumen says:

      Dude, it wasn’t even close to being finished, I’m sure a lot of things in the video would have changed before release.

      I think it looked fine, the vast wide open hub area looked great, and the combat made him look super agile and swift, like a vampire is supposed to be. Of course it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of challenge because it’s just a gameplay demonstration, these kind of things are always played on the easiest difficulties.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Man, it was a vertical slice! You can’t change/improve these things so easily at that point, you need to redo the whole concept. Yeah, let’s put more enemies here and there to make the game more crowded and fights feel right, let’s put more polygons here and there to make it more detailed and beautiful. Except the game was probably made for PS3/X360 hardware, and it had very expensive ‘switch realms’ mechanic. The mechanic alone is too ambitious for old-gen consoles, you need to keep two different levels in a small chunk of memory. That’s the main reason the game looks so unpolished. There is not enough memory for additional effects, animations, NPCs, etc. They need to develop this game for the next-gen consoles only. And I was talking about challenge not about difficulty levels, you can’t improve the game running/jumping/climbing using difficulty levels.

        • Razumen says:

          Exactly, it was only a small vertical slice, it’s impossible to say how well the game’s challenge scaled later on compared to what is essentially the first 30 minutes of gameplay. I do agree that it was probably a bit too ambitious for the 360/PS3, though the article does mention they were considering moving it over to be a PS4 launch title-unfortunately their team was too small and it didn’t happen.

          • KenTWOu says:

            Razumen, I’ve read your other posts in the thread, it seems like you are a fan of the series. Players are super sceptical these days, so I’m glad you’re able to think positively in this stinky situation. I mean, they cancelled the game you are/was interested in. But I think you don’t understand the concept of vertical slices. If the game looks weird on that stage of development, it will look weird after release. I’m pretty sure it would be something clunky and unpolished like Remember Me or Enslaved OTTW. And Dead Sun has a bigger scope, so it will be even more clunky and unpolished. That means low sales, probably cult/underrated gem status. So who made a decision to cancel the game was right.

          • Razumen says:

            Well, I don’t think it’s that clunky, since it was far from finished (the original forum post states that there were several other hubs, not to mention dungeons that weren’t done yet) I think its a fair bet it would have improved a lot before release.

            As for it being a vertical slice, it can only be considered that for the fighting and shifting mechanics, not for the rest of the game, as the video only shows segments from the world’s first hub.

            I think a lot of people here are looking back at the older titles with a bit of rose tinted glasses-they were great games, but they had their issues too and compared to what was in this video were not that much better on release.

  21. Chizu says:

    I would have played this, but I dunno that the amount of swearing is necessary, it was not necessary in the previous games. Not sure what they are trying to do with that.

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      Keymonk says:

      That struck me too – I don’t mind the swearing as much as the fact that it was basically just ‘fuck!’ ‘fucking vampire’, etc. Fuck fuck fuck.

  22. oMASZ says:

    Hi this is our petition to finishing Legacy of Kain Dead Sun link to change.org