Crystal Dynamics' latest entry in the Legacy of Kain series, Blood Omen 2, aims to be an interactive history lesson that fills us in on Kain's rise to power. The game features a compelling story and a robust combat engine and is shaping up to be a strong entry in the series. We talked to Sam Newman, producer at Crystal Dynamics, about the game's development.
GameSpot: How did you approach developing Blood Omen 2?
Sam Newman: We took all the cool story elements from BO1 and extended them. We asked questions like "We know Kain takes over and rules Nosgoth, but how did he do that?" We borrowed some good design ideas from Soul Reaver and added our own combat and puzzle mechanics. The end result is something that Kain and Raziel fans can have fun with.
GS: How large is the team working on it?
SN: There are 20 to 24 core team members.
GS: What experience do the members have?
SN: Many, many titles. This is a very experienced team. Most notable titles include, but are not limited to, Gex 2, Gex 3, Slave Zero, Soul Reaver, Akuji, and Colony Wars 1 and 2.
GS: Is there any sharing of resources with the Soul Reaver team?
SN: Not really. Some of the same characters appear in the Soul Reaver series, so we try to maintain consistency with their art, but since BO2 and SR1 and 2 take place in drastically different time periods, there are significant differences in them.
GS: Did the fact that the game was going to be on the PS2 and the Xbox affect development at all?
SN: No. Not really.
GS: The emphasis on combat departs a bit from the gameplay of the original. What elements did you feel it was essential to keep in Blood Omen 2 when developing the gameplay?
SN: A departure from BO1 or Soul Reaver? Blood Omen 1, if you remember, was a very combat-intensive game. The puzzle solving was secondary to the story and the combat. Also, Kain is still rather young in BO2 as opposed to the aged, chitinous Kain in Soul Reaver, so we maintained his regal and arrogant style but still kept one foot in humanity.
GS: In terms of the graphics engine, was this built from the ground up for the game?
SN: Yes, BO2 is built with a new engine that has been developed internally at Crystal Dynamics.
GS: What do you feel is the game's coolest feature?
SN: Hmm, the coolest thing that isn't a spoiler...OK, when Kain is in stealth mode and has an ax, sneak up behind someone and do a stealth kill. Hot decapitation action!
GS: How does the Blood Omen 2 storyline relate to the events of Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2? Does BO2 pick up from the original Legacy of Kain?
SN: The nobleman Kain is slain by a band of brigands. He is resurrected by the necromancer Mortanius. The events of LOK: Blood Omen take place 200 years later. Kain's conquesting vampire army is stopped in its tracks by the Sarafan army. Kain himself is bested in single combat by the Sarafan lord. The Reaver is taken, Kain left for dead. Kain spends the next 200 hundred years in a hibernation-like state, recovering from his near-fatal wounds. He awakens in the city of Meridian to find the world has changed around him. The Sarafan rule, and glyph magic is everywhere. Still some 1600 years before Raziel emerges from the void to begin LOK:SR, Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2 begins.
Thanks to Sam for his time.