DGC Ep 050: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (part one)

Welcome to the first episode in our series exploring PS1 and PC 3rd person action-adventure game Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. We situate the game in time a bit and then turn to its storytelling style, its early game, and its primary mechanics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until the first boss

Podcast breakdown:
0:37 Segment 1: Intro to Soul Reaver
55:45 Break
56:07 Segment 2: Feedback and next time

Issues covered: horror influences and origins, historical context, light touch of the storytelling, IP ownership, character motivations, additional powers as rewards rather than as keys or enablers, worldbuilding of Nosgoth as a feature, Kain as twisted god and reflecting Paradise Lost, moving past tank controls and grids, differentiating the two realms visually, reaving souls, two ways to view the world/environment, mechanical consonance of reaving with walking between the realms, revenge and propulsion/being driven, relating character motivations to mechanics, an era of increasing production values but risk-taking, material world interactions and losing them in the spectral realm, combat depth, using the environment to grapple and dispose of enemies, camera difficulties, warp gates as fast travel, warp gates as save mechanic and persistent objects/replenished enemies, Brett explains what 'oracular' means, Tim gets lost through the warp gates, building a level that works with your camera, camera development, PC configuration, expecting the camera to help you, using landmarks to navigate the world, camera confusion in boss battle, blaming the camera for usability, going to first-person camera mode, mantling and character collision, Foley support, figuring out influences of a modern game, keeping current, being careful of being too critical of peers.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: HP Lovecraft, Amy Hennig, Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider (series), Marvel, Naughty Dog, Evan Wells, Richard Lemarchand, Uncharted, Silicon Knights, Eternal Darkness, Dennis Dyack, Eidos Interactive, Max Payne, George Broussard, 3DRealms, Cthulhu, Legend of Zelda, Super Metroid, Siri, Darksiders, Vigil Entertainment, THQ, Kill Bill, Diablo, Paradise Lost, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Metroid Prime series, John Wick, Fumito Ueda, Shadow of the Colossus, Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, Republic Commando, Mario series, Metal Gear Solid, MediEvil series, Nick Tapalansky, The Last Guardian, Evil Within, Oxenfree, Bethesda Game Studios, Luke Thériault, Final Fantasy IX.

Ico novel in English

Next time:
Up until the boss "Zephod"

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub