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Vaporware Chronicles – Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun

Crystal Dynamics’ long-running vampire series, Legacy of Kain, began on the original PlayStation on November 1, 1996, and kicked off a multi-generational console franchise. Sadly, we really haven’t heard from the franchise since 2003, and it isn’t because Crystal Dynamics is in trouble. They have released two phenomenal Tomb Raider games for our current gaming generation and should be able to branch out and give us the vampire game we all desire. These four games are Amy Henning’s babies, yes the woman that brought us Jak and Daxter and the Uncharted series started off helping Silicon Knights with Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. She then went on to write and direct the next three entries in the series, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2, and Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Henning was all set to work on the next Crystal Dynamics title, but then things went awry.

Before the final entry in the series shipped, Eidos–the parent company to Crystal Dynamics at the time–assigned them to the next Tomb Raider game, which left Henning without a game to work on, so she decided to jump ship to Naughty Dog and make her mark there. In 2004 Eidos attempted to make another game in the series titled Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy, but they didn’t like what they were seeing from developer Ritual Entertainment and decided to scrap the game altogether. Five years pass and representatives from both Eidos and Crystal Dynamics petition to work on a game due to fan enthusiasm, but nothing happens. Kain is left slumbering until 2009, when Square Enix decided to purchase Eidos. This purchase birthed Square Enix Europe, which chose Climax Studios for the task of resurrecting their most famous vampire.

(Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun - Square Enix)

(Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun – Square Enix)

Leaks from the company stated that production on Dead Sun began somewhere in late 2009 or early 2010 under the guise of Black Cloth and was pushing to be a PlayStation 4 launch game. With Crystal Dynamics supervising Climax for the single player campaign, Square Enix enlisted Psyonix for the multi-player component. Unfortunately, Square Enix wanted to axe Kain as the lead in the new game. Instead, they wanted to look forward to the distant future when they would introduce Gein and Asher. These two unfortunate souls would be linked, one a vampire and one a human, as they undertook their journey in the land of Nosgoth. What makes this whole situation very weird to me is the fact that this game was never formally announced to the public. It died a lonely death in 2012 before full production had been underway, but Nosgoth was reimagined as the online game we have now. It was only until a die-hard fan revealed Dead Sun to the world that any mention of it was made from any person involved. Fans of the series were kept in the dark for almost a decade, and that is quite upsetting to me.

George Kelion of Square Enix Europe finally broke the news:

“I’ve been watching this post and I thought you might want a bit more information. I can confirm that Dead Sun was a project which had been in development – but which was cancelled.

I know it’s disappointing to hear about these things out of context, and whilst some of the details released are accurate – some details are not. You know game projects can be cancelled for a variety of different reasons and I know it’s very hard to tell from images and info alone, but in the end LoK: Dead Sun just wasn’t the right game, at the right time… but you’ll have to take me at my word on that, I’m afraid.”

Another Climax employee came out and confirmed Kelion’s statement, but explained that the news had been kept from the public due to non-disclosure agreements and the like. This still is all very foreign to me in today’s world of gaming–nowadays you have game reveals almost once a week and they are given without a release date or even a frame of release (I’m looking at you God of War 4). I don’t understand why Square would keep something this big under wraps. I know they’ve made their money back from purchasing Eidos with both Tomb Raider games, but that doesn’t mean they should give up on older franchises either. Tomb Raider was as stale a franchise as any, especially with the release of Tomb Raider: Underworld, yet Square worked their magic and reinvigorated the property for a whole new generation of gamers. I think they should give their old vampire another look and perhaps surprise us at E3 sometime soon.

For more of our ponderings on past franchises and the fruition (hopefully) of our dreams at E3, keep it here on BagoGames.

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