Tuesday 9 June 2020

Interview with Raina Audron

One of the LOK fans approached me recently and asked if I would be willing to answer a few questions regarding Legacy of Kain and my channel/website. I am not sure how much of interest any of this will be but if you are curious on how the Ancient's Den started, below is the interview with questions from Alevat. If you have some not mentioned below, feel free to ask in the comments!

Alevat: How did your career start on YouTube? Has someone inspired you? Did you have a desire to share your findings with people? Personally, you inspired me!

Raina: Thank you, that is flattering! It was actually Ben Lincoln's The Lost Worlds who I always looked up to and still do. His site had the most amazing info back when I had no internet at home and sparked my passion into researching SR1 cut content. I remember I kept visiting internet caf├ęs to check for the latest update! 

Regarding YouTube, I started with showing off the flying glitch and made my first video demonstration of it in 2007. I didn't have my own computer back then just yet, but soon after I moved to PC from PS2 which enabled me to start recording footage. Over time, I got better equipment which meant I could get better footage. Together with LOK Wikia/Fandom, we are currently preparing  LOK YouTube lore series dealing with various characters, events and timelines. It is still being made but I hope to share it with you soon. 

Alevat: What was your first game on PlayStation if you remember and which console do you currently own? 

Raina: My first fully 3D game on PlayStation was Tomb Raider 3. I remember I felt confused by the tank controls as I was used to Doom and Heretic before. I got used to them in the end and even though these controls are outdated by now, they are perfect for the box-like layout of the old TR games. I still play custom TR levels from trle.net from time to time with my PS2 controller, it's amazing how the community progressed over the years. Currently, my main platform is PC (playing Dead Space series atm) but also have PS4 and Switch Lite. 

Alevat: Tell us where did your own adventure with this series started? Did someone introduce you to LOK? 

Raina: When my parents got me my first PlayStation, they also bought me the official PS magazine monthly (Czech version). The first issue I got contained Soul Reaver demo and Sanctus Christus trailer. I have replayed both numerous times as the music in the trailer, exciting locations and fighting looked amazing! The demo itself I enjoyed as well. As I was mostly used to shooting in TR games, so hand to hand combat felt like breath of fresh air together with gliding which was super fun (can´t ever forget that memorable parachute sound every time Raziel spread his wings). Then I discovered that the previous issue had a review of Soul Reaver, so I got that one soon after.

While the review claimed that Tomb Raider 3 was still superior game in the end, I knew there was more to it... Months went but the full game was nowhere to be found and then the news of the delay hit. In the meantime, my parents got me a copy of the game, but it was all broken and barely playable. I didn't understand this at the time but now I know I somehow had the beta copy and later traded in back for the retail, unfortunately.

Must say that Zephon's and Melchiah's boss encounters gave me nightmares, haha. I loved the full game, however, but was surprised that none of the mechanics mentioned in the previews and reviews were there (no multiple forges to imbue the Reaver for example). The ending came rather abruptly as well and that's when I knew, something was missing. 

Alevat: You are the person who is still doing a lot for the series, where thanks to you the whole world has the opportunity now to see the original plans for Soul Reaver and its deleted content. Judging by the work of Kevin Chatmajo and his discoveries of animations for Turel and Priestess, there could be more alpha prototypes. Does it mean that there is a chance to see even more of the original content of Soul Reaver? 

Raina: These recent discoveries definitely opened up a lot of possibilities and we finally know what those deleted levels and bosses looked like. It seemed it was lost forever, but thanks to the efforts of many fans, we got to see it in the end. Who knows, other builds might be still out there but we know that the Mountain Retreat was textured sometime around March 1999. It would be amazing to find a build from that time. 

Alevat: We discover a lot in the world of Soul Reaver, however, as we know, this game is not the only one that has cut content. In your opinion, is there a chance in the future to see more discoveries of prototypes from other games in the series? 

Raina: There is a slight possibility that SR2 might have leaked at some point as well, but we have yet to see the evidence other than magazine screenshots. If it is out there, it better not take another 20 years, haha!

Alevat: Do you think there is any chance that someone will have the Dreamcast SR 2 Demo? E3? or maybe the cancelled PS1 prototype of SR2? 

Raina: Potentially, really hard to say. I hope they are out there somewhere still.

Alevat: What do you currently think about Crystal Dynamics & Square Enix, what do you think about LOK's return on their part? Should they ever do this? 

Raina: This is a lot trickier than it looks and I understand their positions after failures with Dark Prophecy, Dead Sun and Nosgoth to be reluctant to pick up the series again. Of course, then there is the hardcore fan base which will notice any imperfections and inconsistencies (as seen in Dead Sun's case) and there is a lot of pressure to do the series justice. However, I believe it can be done if the new developer has respect for the source material and willingness to adhere to the established lore. In short, no small feat but many of the recent remakes show us it is possible to achieve. 

Alevat: What do you think about the BluePoint rumour about remaking Legacy of Kain? 

Raina: Unfortunately, as much as we all want to be true, this rumour is false. However, I think BluePoint have shown they are more than capable team to remake/remaster the older games and would be interesting to see what could they do with LOK series. 

Alevat: Who is your favourite LOK character and why? 

Raina: I think that would be Raziel, starting with his absolutely unique, memorable design and relatable backstory. As a teenager, I really identified with his passion to undo the wrongs done to him and his determination to uncover the truth. I think that helped me a lot to get through hard times but I also understand Kain's difficult position as his every move could cause grave consequences. Not an easy burden to carry but in the end, he strives to do what was right for the world. 

Alevat: As you know the title The Dark Prophecy was to show us the restoration of Pillars of Nosgoth, however, looking at the pictures, it would not have ended there. It looks like Raziel might have appeared to help Kain solve puzzles. However, we know this makes no sense, but do you think there could be another way to see Raziel again? And let's not forget about Dead Sun. As we know, although they had a race of Vampires, they are different. They ate souls, they could move between the Spectral Realm and Material Realm, Asher/Gein could fly with wing upgrades, etc. What do you think about the main character and his abilities? In my opinion, I think it would ruin Raziel's uniqueness. 

Raina: Regarding Dark Prophecy, we have seen that one screenshot with Raziel in it. Daniel Cabuco since confirmed they shot this idea by Ritual down quite quickly and did not plan to reintroduce him back into the game. My thoughts about Dead Sun can be found here, but in general, I regard it as a misstep and I agree with you that much of it made no sense and gives the vibes that Climax did not study the source material well enough.

Alevat: What was the biggest mistake in the history of Legacy of Kain according to you? 

Raina: I would probably regard BO2 and Defiance, as they are the weakest entries for me due to retcons these games introduced. It seems that the problem was that the subsequent games after SR1 not being able to reproduce the same amount of success. Where SR1 sold over 1,5 million, no other game in the series got close enough to match it. Also a lower budget might have contributed to this. Even though Soul Reaver 2 got plenty of preview space in the magazines, when it came out it was not regarded as ground breaking as its predecessor and did not get as high scores.

However, Amy still made it work well in the end. Personally, I think BO2 has rather uninteresting gameplay with some questionable character behaviour, while Defiance has some good parts which are let down by the useless cinematic camera, the copy paste forges, forced combat parts and lore inconsistencies. The last two entries just seem not as polished to me (there were changes in the company at the time which would explain things).

Alevat: And now we will deviate a little from the topic of LOK and tell me which are your 3 favorite games? 

Raina: I'll do a top 5 as 3 is almost impossible and they are not in a particular order: 

Red Dead Redemption 2: I completed this one recently and I do not think there is a game out there just like it. After finishing it, I was asked to name 22 characters on one poster and had no trouble remembering all of their names. Its phenomenal attention to detail is unmatched and I recommend it if you love story games.

Okami: Its distinct art style stemmed from them being unable to do realistic graphics on PS2 and what a great decision it was. Also called PS2 Zelda, simply love everything about it. It's a beautiful, emotions filled journey till the end.

Devil May Cry 3: One of my first action games on PS2 and still remains the best one! Don't think any other game tested my patience as playing the original DMC3 release on DMD mode. 

Spyro the Dragon: I have replayed this one many times, simple yet addicting platformer. Love the gliding mechanic, colourful worlds and Stewart Copeland's awesome music! 

Metal Gear Solid: This was together with SR1 my most played demo I had in my library, one of the must play games on PS1.

Alevat: Many people complain of remasteres & remakes because other new games could be created instead, what do you think about it? 

Raina: I like both remakes and remasters as some of the older games have either aged terribly (looking at you, RE1 on PS) or they are no longer being sold and the only way to play them is to emulate, but they have to be done right. It is always great to hear the new generation of players liking the old school games but it would be better if they had easier access to them and remakes and remasters allow that. There are definitely some bad examples out there (Dark Souls, RE3) but also plenty of great ones (Shadow of the Colossus, Crash and Spyro, RE1 and 2). They can never fully replace the originals, of course, but it is a good thing to be able to play them in modern times too. 

Alevat: Have you met other people from the LOK community, such as Kevin, Ben Lincoln, etc.? 

Raina: Some of us were invited to SE London HQ to see Nosgoth in 2013. I was so surprised but honoured to be one of them! That's where I met other LOK fans for the first time (more about that here) and that night was the best ever, I will always remember it fondly. LOK fandom is the best and I am grateful I got to meet such amazing people. Most of us are still in regular touch too which is awesome!

Alevat: We are coming to the end of our interview. Quick questions! 

Raziel or Kain? Raziel 

Soul Reaver or Blood Omen? Soul Reaver

Coca-Cola or Pepsi? OJ :D 

Xbox or PC? PC/PS4 

Cat or Dog? Fish ;) 

Winter or Summer? Winter/spring 

Alevat: Thank you, Raina, for finding time for this interview! Would you like to give shout out to someone? 

Raina: I would like to thank our whole team who helped to discover the secrets of the alpha version. Special thanks goes to Ben Lincoln as we wouldn't be where we are without him. Thanks for the interview, Alevat! Long live Kain!

1 comment:

  1. Alejandrogeno28 July, 2021 16:39

    I can't believe it! something similar happened to me with the beta version of SR1.

    I remember that my sister had rented SR1 to try it out and my brother liked it so much that he went to buy it immediately but when he came back he realized that he had gotten the English version (he wanted the Spanish version) and also the game was crashing a lot.

    He glued the cd to the wall of his room, and after many years I decided to take it off and see if it worked. To my surprise it did, but I didn't understand why the spiral was blue and there were some different things. At that time I didn't give it any importance and eventually I lost that cd.

    Many years later I realized what a relic I had in my hands and for a long time I went crazy looking for that version!

    Then I was able to find that version and all the others! Thank you for revealing so many years of mystery! <3