Monday 30 September 2013

Nosgoth Live Q&A scheduled for tonight

The Q & A has been moved from 16:00 CET to 20:00. George Kellion together with Bill Beacheam, the Design Director at SE, and Corey Davis, the Design Director from Psyonix, will answer questions from the Nosgoth forums and twitter. I will update this post with new info as questions will be answered during the Q & A.

Watch it here.

UPDATE: For all of those who missed the live stream, you can watch it on YouTube.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Square Enix London– Nosgoth Community Day 2013

With Nosgoth being unveiled today, I can finally share the awesome secret I had to safe guard the last few months. I was invited over to Square Enix London to participate in a community event to test Nosgoth. Follow Nosgoth on twitter for more updates, visit the official Nosgoth site and see the trailer on YouTube. 
 For all of you worried that Nosgoth is multi-player game, George Kellion reassures, that they are fully aware of Legacy of Kain being primarily sp games and would like to do an sp game in the future. Simon Woods also wrote an excellent article regarding the bad reception on numerous sites.
 The following is my account of how I perceived it from the day we got the emails, until the day of the event. If you want to know how Nosgoth actually plays and what it offers as a game, visit Bazielim´s awesome in-depth analysis of the game on the LOK Wiki. Also, check Lucinvampire´s blog article on Nosgoth and the newest interesting addition is by Blincoln on TLW.

Where to even begin... It all started with the rumours of a new LOK game being in Steam database and rest assured, it was confirmed. We got a new game after so many years, it almost seemed unbelievable at first. It appears we have not been forgotten as it might have looked like on the outside, which was proven by the existence of Dark Prophecy and Dead Sun games, Guardian of Light LOK DLC packs, recurrent easter eggs in TR games by Crystal Dynamics... It seems there was always something during those long years, though our heart´s wishes haven´t been fulfilled - to get a new game which wasn´t canceled for a change.

When I got the first email saying I was chosen to participate in an upcoming Nosgoth event and be one of the first people to try it out, I couldn´t believe what was I reading – and the reaction was according, spend like 10-15 mins walking and jumping around the room in joy. Months past and everything was being setup for the event (thank you Umah, George and everybody else involved) and the big day came closer and closer. Then about a week before the event, the list of people attending was revelead and I couldn´t believe it at first – Blincoln, Tenaya, Ardeth, Divine Shadow, Vampmaster, the Hylden, Bazielim and other LOK fans were attending as well. It was like reading an A star movie cast list, all the legends I have been looking up to through these long years all would be participating in one event, now that´s what I call an epic meeting.

With everything packed into my backpack (I went only lightly since it was just two nights), my best friend picked me up and drove me to the airport. The flight to Vienna took only an hour and soon we were landing and the next flight was pretty short too. A slovak woman was sitting in front of me on both flights and her husband later helped me to get a ticket to metro and get on a correct train. It took about an hour of tube travel and then I arrived at the Wimbledon station. Luckily the Broadway is pretty much one long street so finding the hotel wasn´t too difficult.

When I went into the hotel I passed a group of people of which I was suspicious might be THE LOK fans, but I wasn´t sure, so I rather went upstairs and dropped of the backpack to my room. I couldn´t see anybody in the hallway upstairs, so I went back down to the lobby and when I looked more closer, I started to recognize some of the faces. First one I spotted Umah and I couldn´t believe my eyes I am meeting her in person. I was so shocked to find them all standing there in front of me and right away, Umah introduced me to Tenaya, which I was really looking forward seeing as I haven´t heard from her for so long. Then I greeted with Blinc, Ardeth, Mike, Vampmaster, Jeffers, Divine Shadow, The Hylden and Ber who arrived just after me. I couldn´t stop smiling, as it all just seemed so unreal, all of us LOK fans in one place in one moment of time. One could almost await some huge paradox occuring right there... Luckily the only thing being erased from existence were pizzas that night. Finding the right place to sit with food and being able to talk proved to be a challenge on the busy street of Broadway, but in the end we found space for all of us and stil being able to eat our food. We discussed various things from LOK universe and had lots of fun pointing out the stuff we found funny or interesting (hit of the evening was Kain´s figer pointing and the consequent Mind the Gap meme). I was very amused by Divine Shadow who was very talkative and lots of people made some very interesting observations that night (which I can´t seem to remember unluckily).

After our appetite was satiated we went back to the hotel and since some of us were not going to bed yet, Divine Shadow offered we could use his room to meet up in there. So eight of us gathered, occupying every single space (was pretty tight xD). The Hylden showed us stuff he has been working on, a new high poly Kain model which looked really good, Vampmaster his success with exporting armatures for models out of Soul Reaver 2, Tenaya her new amazing design she made, while I showed a playable demo of Soul Revenant. It was lots of fun and we talked until late night. When the Hylden was falling asleep on Divine Shadow´s bed, it was about good time to say good night and retreat back to our rooms. I wish I could have gotten sleep that night, the bed was really comfy but I was so full of adrenaline, thoughts and expectations for Sunday, so I couldn´t fall asleep at all...

I didn´t know what to do early in the morning so I was lurking around my floor at eight to see if anybody was awake yet. I met Blinc by coincidence in the hall, saying he didn´t sleep too much either, so we decided to go downstairs for some breakfast. Had some English breakfast - bacon, toast, sausauge with tomatoes - was really good. Later Ardeth and Mike joined us together with Vampmaster and Divine Shadow. There were still few hours left until noon, so we decided to stick around in the lobby some more and we all signed a big Thank you card that Umah prepared for George. Then when everybody was ready we set off to see the fulcrum of where our destinies turn. Weather was pretty fine, wasn´t raining too much. Only after about like 10mins we arrived at the place and all got tagged with nicknames/names at the reception. After that we finally went to the bowels of SE London HQ (almost got lost on the way with Hylden) and were greeted by George, Trevor, Jay, Cat and Bill in front of the Square Enix desk. There were lots of Final Fantasy figures behind glass and Lara figurines across the halls of which I somehow forgot to take a picture of...

Then the time came to invite us to the Nosgoth room with huge posters and screens with Nosgoth logos, and eight computers. The huge poster had three figures on left and three on right, each side tinted with appropriate color. When I saw the winged one, I wondered if that could be a Razielim, but wasn´t really sure. The other two I´ve thought are humans at first since they were missing the pointy ears and didn´t have visible fangs. They turned out to be Turelim and Dumahim (which kinda reminded me of Kratos, lol). Humans seemed to specialize in long distance weapons. While settling in I noticed more LOK fans joined from UK which were not with us the previous night. I was especially happy to meet Bazielim from the famous LOK wiki and finally being able to thank him personally for his awesome work on the site. I also met Omega, Ammon, Moesph, and the ever-enthusiastic Lucinvampire. It was really awesome to be among people as excited as I was about the whole event. When everything was set, George showed us presentation of the game, which we could have seen before anybody else could. It consisted of a trailer, showed us the new Nosgoth map, and Nosgoth key features. Full of anticipation the game testing began afterwards. I played the match later on, so I just observed how others play in the meantime. Graphics pretty impressed me and from what I´ve seen it seemed fun. When it was time, I sat next to Trevor and he explained the game controls and gameflow to me. It wasn´t difficult to get into, however, I kept pressing wrong keys at times, especiallly Tab instead of Q for the special abilities. I play lots of mp though I still sucked when playing as vampires at first. My favourite class quickly became the Dumahim, which I would compare to the Hunter from Left4Dead games. I´ve tried others as well, but I always found myself wanting to play as Dumahim. Razielim were interesting to play as but as the Hylden pointed out, the camera made it hard to see and assault victims from the air and I particularly didn´t like the way flying initiated. Overall though, I wish I could spend more time with each class as it seems with certain combinations of classes you can achieve some interesting strategy. When we played as humans I think it was better as we all tried to stick together in a group and take the vamps on which worked. Too bad the session was so short, I would have liked to play it much longer. The top 8 players then had a match against each other and 4 best won awesome BBI Kain figures (was so envious, but they totally deserved them).

After the prizes were given, we had some cool chats with members of the staff. I was really interested to hear Jay talk about Soul Reaver and how he´s been part of the company for so long (even longer than the furniture there xD). And at the end we could ask questions about the game and although not all of them could have been answered at the time, it was fun. It seems they know what they´re doing, since Psyonix has a decent portfolio of mp games and the promise of more custom stuff later in the development sounds like a good idea. All of us also got some Nosgoth goodie bags consisting out of a Nosgoth branded bag, two mouse pads with motifs for humans and vampires and a poster.

Then it was time to slowly leave SE and some people had to leave earlier like Divine Shadow and Ardeth, Ammon, so they´d catch trains. The rest of us took couple of photos in front of the Square Enix desk and then invited George and Trevor over for a drink. Pub was really just across the street so we all settled in and connected tables together so everybody would fit. We tried to pry out of Trevor some more info about Nosgoth, but alas, even after three beers he wouldn´t let too much on. I finally got the chance to talk to Umah after all this time and it was really great evening knowing her and also thanks to the charming company of Bazielim.

When it got late the rest of us went to the hotel after grabbing some food and stayed for a while in the lobby. Knowing it was the last hours of being together, we stayed up as long as we could that night. I think saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, knowing I won´t see my friends for who knows how long. It was amazing especiallly because most of us met first time in our lives and had so much fun time together talking and reflecting about the series. I am really glad I was chosen to participate in this event as it gave me an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to see SE London HQ, meet SE staff and primarily, strengthen the bonds between us LOK fans. It really makes me happy that there are many people who still care about Kain´s legacy...

After going to bed and sleeping for like an hour or two, since had to wake up at 5.30, took a shower, packed everything and left the hotel at six. With the sense of leaving something great behind me, I departed for the tube and got on the flight. We arrived in Vienna 10mins later as we should have been, which didn´t give much time to stand around since my connective flight was only 30mins apart... Running like never before I reached the plane just in time, totally exhausted, since the gate was located out of all things on the other side as we came in... Luckily when I arrived at the airport, I caught the bus just right on time and got home. It took some time to absorb all of what happened and and to sort out all the memories... It´s for granted that such day cannot be ever forgotten.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Blood Omen 2 is on Steam

Today, the list of Legacy of Kain games has been updated with Blood Omen 2. Priced at 5,99 euros, now you can complete your Steam collection. Steam also hosts pc manuals which you can view online and download in a pdf form:

Monday 23 September 2013

Interview with Carol Wolf

Since there has been a lot of confusion about Carol Wolf´s involvement in the series, I have decided to contact her about this issue and she was kind enough to explain to me. Her website and IMDB profile both mention Blood Omen and Defiance and I wanted to know more about her work for the series. The following is what she told me when contacting her through email.

Raina: I have read on your website that you have written scripts for Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, but only Defiance mentions you as the writer, together with Amy Henning. Could you elaborate on how much have you contributed to these scripts, if possible?

Carol Wolf: I was hired to make the script for Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (Blood Omen 2 – Raina´s note) for "archaic." I ended up writing most of the scenes and all of the ambient dialog. For Legacy of Kain:Defiance, I was hired to write the scripts. Amy Hennig very graciously gave me story credit as well, for some things I came up with and she approved.

Raina: Would you mind if I let other fans know about your involvement in the series? Could you maybe explain which story elements in Defiance were your idea? Have you written scripts for both Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain as well as Blood Omen 2? I apologize for so many questions, but I would like to shed some light on this. The LOK community is confused as to who wrote which game in the series.

Carol Wolf: It was a great honor to have a small part in the two of these great stories. How splendid that they still live in peoples' minds. I am happy to write a bit about the experience.

Let's be clear, the creator, conceiver and great storyteller of the Legacy of Kain series, in all its iterations, is Amy Hennig. The first time I was hired to work on Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (Blood Omen 2 – Raina´s note), I got to spend two days in a conference room while Amy "downloaded" the entire 2-4 thousand year history (including the time-traveling backtracks). What ane experience!

Several of the scenes for this game were already written. I rewrote them to make them more dramatic and archaic-sounding. Since I write really fast, and the game designers had lots of other work to do, they stopped writing a first draft for me, and just told me what happened in the scene, and then I would go write it for them. Since I had time, I also wrote all the ambient and incidental dialogue.

I didn't realize (till I looked up my credits on IMdB) that there were two games called Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. I worked on the second one; that, and Defiance, are the only ones I worked on.

For Legacy of Kain:Defiance, I was brought in at the outset, sat down with Amy again to hear the new story, and then went off to write the scenes. She would then review them, and I'd make corrections according to her direction. She was the story-teller. I dramatized the scenes according to her instructions. She corrected me when she thought I'd gotten a voice or an idea wrong. I have an extensive background as a playwright and, to a lesser degree, a screenplay writer, so dramatizing the scenes was work I greatly enjoyed.

At some point during the process, it was decided to remove a bunch of game levels, for reasons of time and money. At that point, the story had to be redesigned to fit the new game play design. As a playwright I'd had endless experience in rewriting, especially in rewriting to solve certain problems, so this is one contribution I did make to Defiance, in reorganizing the story so no one can tell parts are missing, and so that it wasn't a problem. I had all the scenes noted on a set of file cards. I laid them all out on the conference table, and showed Amy how we could just fold this one section out without losing any important part of the story. So it only took an hour or so to reorganize the whole thing.

During the process of writing Defiance, I wrote scenes and brought them to Amy for her approval, because she was the boss and it's her story. There was one scene, with a troubling plot point, which, when I wrote it, I had that aha! that makes writing such a joy. I brought that to Amy and said, "This is the way it's going to be." And she read it, and she agreed. So, yes, Amy was still the boss, but that bit I did work out, and I'm very proud of it. Amy gave me story credit, which was very generous of her.

Raina: Thank you for clarifying and sharing your experience, Mrs. Wolf. Just reading about it makes me really excited and I can only imagine how great it must have been to be part of the development process. Thank you so much for all the answers! It´s been a pleasure and honour talking to you, Mrs. Wolf.