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The world map
Blood Omen termSoul Reaver 2 termGeneral term
SR2-Icon-RingMenu-Map
The ring menu icon for the world map as it appears in Soul Reaver 2.
Introduced in Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996)
Appearances Wiki-Icon-BO1Wiki-Icon-SR2

The world map was a gameplay feature in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Soul Reaver 2. It assisted in navigation, offering Kain and Raziel an aerial view of the land of Nosgoth, and the landmarks most pertinent to their respective journeys. A number of other maps of Nosgoth were also present in game or available as supplementary materials throughout the series.

ProfileEdit

Menu SelectionEdit

During his travels of Nosgoth as a fledgling in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Kain could call upon the world map for a bird's-eye view of the land. Initially, the map canvas was dim, but regions would become distinctly brighter as Kain explored them. Landmarks such as the Pillars of Nosgoth were identified by text. Usually, the landmark most salient to his current objectives was highlighted with a blue aura. Kain also utilized the world map when determining a destination for his Bat Form flight.[BO1]

After Raziel traveled from the Soul Reaver era to the pre-Blood Omen era, he could similarly consult an overhead map of Nosgoth in Soul Reaver 2 using his ring menu. The world map co-existed on this interface with the ability to shift, and summon or sheathe the Wraith Blade. This variation also highlighted locations of immediate importance to Raziel, and symbolized Reaver forges with the appropriate elemental icons.[SR2]

In-Game MapsEdit

A number of other maps have appeared in game settings, though these were not selectable and generally appeared as part of environments or cutscenes - thus they were rarely revisited. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain featured the first of these maps, with two different views of the world - both slightly different from the in game maps - able to be found during the game. Blood Omen 2 also featured its own map of Nosgoth in a cutscene.

The first of these was discovered in Blood Omen in the chapter Defeat Azimuth as Kain explored the Heaven dungeon of Avernus Cathedral, where several of the floors were decorated with a mural depicting Nosgoth as if viewed from the sky looking down - even complete with clouds. The map was generally consistent with the in-game and paper maps, although a lot of the world appeared somewhat squashed in comparison.[BO1][BO1-C8]

Another similar map could be found in Stranded in Time as Kain explored the Stronghold of William the Just within the Land of the Nemesis in the Pre-Blood Omen era. Here the map was found in a single chamber, apparently used by William the Just or Moebius to plot the conquest of Nosgoth. The map here was very similar to the 'Heaven dungeon' map - depicting an overhead view that was slightly squashed in comparison to the other world maps - although this map was significantly darker and with more 'rocky' than the green coloring on other maps. Several swords are also impaled into the map at important locatons including the Pillars, Stahlberg, Willendorf and Elzevir the Dollmaker - presumably these relate to Moebius and William's plans.[BO1][BO1-C10]

Blood Omen 2 featured a map shown at the initial Prologue cutscene, where Kain and Vorador planned the conquest of Nosgoth by Kain's vampire army. The map featured here dealt mainly with south-western Nosgoth and expanded in that direction, introducing the settlements of Freeport, Provance and Meridian and included a new coastline and sea in the southwest.[BO2][BO2-C1]

The spin-off title Nosgoth also featured its own map of the land of Nosgoth in gameplay. This map was found on the floor of a domed building in the southeast of the Sommerdamm level and resembled a bronzed version of the initial 'map of Nosgoth' given for that title (see below) inside a circular patterned border. As with the other initial Nosgoth map, this focused on the area in the southwest of the land.[1]

Printed MapsEdit

A slightly different and more detailed version of the Blood Omen map of Nosgoth was also available through other sources. Larger than the original and printed on paper, the additional map was distributed with the Microsoft Windows port of the game and the Official strategy guide. Coming in a number of different sizes, the map extended slightly further and featured some minor changes from the menu selected world map, although it was largely consistent.[BO1][2][3][4]

Another printed map was associated with Blood Omen 2. With the action taking place entirely in and around the complex city of Meridian, a basic map of the city was used as a background illustration in the US version of the Blood Omen 2 manual. Although generally comparable to the layout of the areas in game, the map was notably simplified and was rotated from the traditional orientation of Nosgothic maps - perhaps leading to some of the confusion with directions within the title.[BO2][5][6][7]

Other mapsEdit

No maps exist for the world areas as seen in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, although there are numerous fan depictions attempting to marry the environments of various games to create definitive maps.

In Blood Omen, Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2, it is possible to extract the individual room maps from game files - and these could also be arranged to create maps of the areas, although this approach often highlights inconsistencies between the game and real-world geography, with several areas apparently clashing.[BO1][SR1][SR2]

The début of Nosgoth saw a number of supplementary materials supplied through the official website that fleshed out the background of the land of Nosgoth in the mid-Soul Reaver era. Among these was a map of Nosgoth focusing on the southwest (much as Blood Omen 2 had done) - where its first four playable areas were based. Later updates also included overhead area maps in the style of those extracted from previous games.[1][8]

DevelopmentEdit

NosgothEdit

Main article: Nosgoth

The land of Nosgoth and its geography were originally conceived by Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack and Ken McCulloch; McCulloch in particular was cited as the creator of "detailed mythologies in the world of Nosgoth".[9] The setting was originally intended to serve as the game world for an initial concept named The Pillars of Nosgoth, which was sent to Crystal Dynamics and accepted for production with the help of Lyle Hall.[DEF][9][9][10][11] The Pillars of Nosgoth was internally referred to as Dyack's "vampire project", evincing that vampires were intended to serve as a central element of the games' mythology from the outset.[11] Early influences in Nosgoth's development included The Wheel of Time and Necroscope - the Pillars of Nosgoth specifically were inspired by cover art from The Pillars of the Earth.[9]

BO1-Environment-Nosgoth-Name

Nosgoth banner from atop the Blood Omen printed map

Beyond its obvious nature as a fictional land, it is (deliberately) never explained what Nosgoth actually is.[12][13] Formally, it should always be referred to as the Land of Nosgoth.[12] The breadth of territory referred to under its name (including several entities that may be considered sovereign states) could suggest that Nosgoth is a continent, but it has also been indicated that it is a world or planet.[SR2][SR1][DEF][BO2][BO1]

As no game has ever gone beyond the bounds of Nosgoth, and no references have been made of lands outside of it, some have speculated that it may indeed comprise an entire world, or may be a Pangaea-like supercontinent. Thus far, all maps depicting Nosgoth have presented it at a large expanse of land, with the only known ocean on the south and west.[SR2][SR1][DEF][BO2][BO1]

Nosgoth is a vast realm with a diverse landscape, including mountains, forests, plains and swamps, but very little non-polar desertification. Real-world seasons such as winter are mentioned, and the land appears to have a temperate climate, similar to that of northern central Europe.[SR2][SR1][DEF][BO2][BO1][BO1-Misc]

Map DevelopmentEdit

SR2-Icon-RingMenu-Map

The world map ring menu icon from Soul Reaver 2

Crystal Dynamics did not implement the World map or Compass features in Soul Reaver 2 until some time after May 2000. Amy Hennig mentioned in an interview that it was introduced as a player aid, in response to criticism of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver that determining directions within the game world was difficult. She said:

"we knew it was a problem, and it was just one of those things that just in the rush, we really have to get it out, we just said that's unfortunate, but there's nothing we can do about it. It's too big of a problem. [...] Well, what we're going to do is, we haven't done it yet, but we're going to put a compass on the screen. We've talked a lot about having a map at this point, an in-game map, a living map that shows your progress and stuff. At this point, though, I think we won't do that. Just because it's a lot of work for the programmers and the artists to do that, keep it up and make sure that it's right and I'd rather spend that time on the game itself and not a map that you open sometimes."
―Amy Hennig[14][15]

Although Hennig was reluctant to include a map in the game and voiced her preference to package a printed map with the game or within the manual,[14][15] the proposed Soul Reaver 2 printed map ultimately did not come into fruition as artist Daniel Cabuco was able to create a version for the game, adapting and redrawing from the printed Blood Omen map to fit both the world seen in Blood Omen and the game world of Soul Reaver 2.[SR2][16] Cabuco commented:

"The overall locations were laid out on paper and I added symbolic (non scale) elements to signify areas like swamps, mountains, valleys, etc. It was pretty much done as the game descriptions came in for each area. I had to rectify the game areas with the Blood Omen map to try and preserve both. Wasn't easy when there was discrepancy, but hey, who's gonna sit there and look at every little detail, right? (Of course LoK fans would)."
―Daniel Cabuco[16]

The redesigned World map ultimately was not completed in time for the issuing of the Air Forge demo, and the icon is missing from the Ring menu in the demo. A placeholder dot is present in its position, suggesting that the map had been decided upon but was incomplete or the icon was yet to be designed at that time.[17][18]

Blood Omen 2 developers also considered the map of Nosgoth when choosing the locations for that game and seeking "to create some fairly new locations that fit better with [their] needs", the developers "elected to move down the map of Nosgoth into some unexplored areas in the southern regions"; a map of this south-western region of the land can be briefly seen in the Blood Omen 2 introductory cinematic.[BO2][19]

NotesEdit

  • In Blood Omen, alongside the World map, Kain could also call upon a distinct overhead "Area map" which showed the full detail of the current area.[BO1][2][20] This function was not present later titles, however the practise of splitting the world up into distinct "areas" persisted and these could be selected at will from Debug menus in later games, with the models and overhead area maps also able to be extracted from some of these titles.[SR1][SR2][BO2][DEF] Area maps were also documented in the official guides of Blood Omen and Defiance.[3][21]
  • The initial maps provided for Nosgoth appear to have been inspired by and adapted from a number of earlier fan-created maps. The Sommerdamm map also seems to have been directly adapted from the initial map provided by the Nosgoth website.[1][7][22][23]
  • Because of the nature of the gaming mechanics a number of the areas and maps seen in the series could not physically exist together in real life. In a number of locations, areas can be shown to 'clash' or 'pass through' each other undetected. Ultimately this is due to them not existing within the game at the same time, with areas being loaded as single areas or small batches at a time to prevent excess memory usage which would hinder game performance.[7][24][25][25][26][27][28]

GalleryEdit

AppearancesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nosgoth-Promotional-Logo-Official The Winter Holidays Come to Nosgoth at the Nosgoth official blog (by George Kelion).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain manual. Silicon Knights. (Crystal Dynamics). PC. (November 1, 1996) Download.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Icon-Prima Prima Games / Ian Osborne. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets. (1996)
  4. Wiki-Icon-TLW Blood Omen Maps at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  5. Wiki-Icon-BO2 Blood Omen 2 manual (US version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). XBox. (March 19, 2002) Download.
  6. Icon-NR Blood Omen 2 - Maps of Meridian at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya and Daniel Von Stein).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Wiki-Icon-SEF The Revived and Updated (Almost) Definitive LoK Maps Thread at the Square Enix Legacy of Kain Series Forums (by Baziel, Guilherme Coelho and Tenaya).
  8. Nosgoth-Promotional-Logo-Official Map Images - Top-down View at the Nosgoth official forums (by Saikocat).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Icon-NR Recreated PSXnation.com Interview with Denis Dyack at Nosgothic Realm
  10. Icon-NR GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #4 (by RazielFan)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Icon-Gamasutra Playing Catch-Up: GEX's Lyle Hall at Gamasutra (by Alistair Wallis)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Icon-Eidos Extra question for Chris at the Eidos Forums (by Hanpolo), post #19 (by Chris@Crystal)
  13. Icon-DCab Question on Nosgoth at DCabDesign (by Strands of Night), post #3 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Icon-IGNSoul Reaver 2: Director's Interview - PlayStation 2 Feature at IGN (by Douglass Perry), page 4
  15. 15.0 15.1 Icon-IGNSoul Reaver 2: Director's Interview - PlayStation 2 Feature at IGN (by Douglass Perry), page 5
  16. 16.0 16.1 Icon-DCab Various art and plot questions at DCabDesign (by Dubiel), post #29 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  17. Wiki-Icon-SR2 Soul Reaver 2 Air Forge demo (US version)
  18. Wiki-Icon-SR2 Soul Reaver 2 Air Forge demo (European version)
  19. Icon-GS Blood Omen 2 Designer Diary #1 at GameSpot (by Steve Ross)
  20. Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain manual. Silicon Knights. (Crystal Dynamics). Playstation. (November 1, 1996) Download.
  21. Icon-Prima Prima Games / JDP and Gerald Guess. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Defiance Guide. (2003)
  22. Icon-Eidos The (almost) definitive Legacy of Kain Maps thread at the Official Eidos Legacy of Kain Forums (archived), post #3 (by Monkeythumbz).
  23. Icon-NR The (almost) definitive Legacy of Kain Maps thread at the Nosgothic Realm Yuku Legacy of Kain Forums (archived), post #6 (by Monkeythumbz).
  24. Icon-NR Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - Maps of Nosgoth at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya and Guilherme Coelho).
  25. 25.0 25.1 Icon-NR Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - Maps of Kain's Empire at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya and Guilherme Coelho).
  26. Icon-NR SR2 Map at last at the Nosgothic Realm Yuku Legacy of Kain Forums (archived) (by Shrykull).
  27. Icon-Eidos The (almost) definitive Legacy of Kain Maps thread at the Official Eidos Legacy of Kain Forums (archived).
  28. Icon-NR The (almost) definitive Legacy of Kain Maps thread at the Nosgothic Realm Yuku Legacy of Kain Forums (archived).

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