Soul Reaver to originally be new IP - Naughty Dog director/writer

Crystal Dynamics was initially reluctant to fully adapt original concept into Legacy of Kain franchise.


The 1999 action adventure title Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was initially planned to be a game called Shifter, according to former Crystal Dynamics producer/director/writer Amy Hennig.

Artwork for the original IP Shifter, before it morphed into Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
Artwork for the original IP Shifter, before it morphed into Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.

In an interview on PlayStation Blog, Hennig--now a Naughty Dog writer/director--said that the game's narrative was inspired by John Milton's Paradise Lost.

"The protagonist was, essentially, a fallen angel of death, a reaper of souls hunted by his former brethren, and now driven to expose and destroy the false god they all served."

She also added that Crystal Dynamics was sceptical in adapting Shifter's concept into the Legacy of Kain franchise because of the unnecessary technical risks.

"Creative constraints can be inspiring and invigorating, and once we dug into the challenge, the concept evolved in all kinds of exciting ways."

While the plane-shifting concept was kept in the final product, Hennig mentioned that Raziel was originally planned to have shape-shifting powers, but was cut due to technical limitations at the time.

Concerning the first Soul Reaver's abrupt ending, Hennig said that the team had to cut the last few levels of the game and set it up so that Soul Reaver 2 would meet its August 1999 release date. The original plan was for protagonist Raziel to hunt down his former brother and antagonist Kain, then activate the pipes of the Silenced Cathedral to kill off the remaining vampires of Nosgoth. Hennig said that the final ending opened up more narrative options for future sequels, like Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance.

A reboot of the franchise was rumoured earlier this year, thanks to a survey conducted by Square Enix.

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