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Various art and plot questions

I'll answer as best I can. I can illuminate the past, my friends.

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Various art and plot questions

Postby Dubiel » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:46 pm

Hi again Daniel, and thanks very much again for the opportunity.
I've come up with a few musings about the series and its art which you might be able to clear up:

1) Who is this character and what is her story (you once referred to her as "Vorador's mystery woman" :))? All we know is that her portrait appeared in BO1 and Defiance, she's not Umah, and she's "a character who is part of the backstory and not revealed in the games".

2) This is perhaps the most detail-oriented and nerdy question I could formulate - sorry about this. :P
In the intro cinematic to Blood Omen 1, we see several Pillar Guardians being murdered by Vorador in the Sarafan Stronghold. You later restylised these martyred Guardians for some awesome murals in the Sarafan Stronghold in SR2.
There are four Guardians seen in the BO1 intro (out of the total six who were killed), and it's easy enough to figure out who three of them were - the hooded man with a beard is Energy, the bald woman is Balance, and the other woman is Nature. But who is the other male Guardian who gets skewered? He could only be of these two fellows (Dimension and Mind), or this one (States). Which of the three murals was supposed to represent this guy?
I've leaned towards thinking he's the States Guardian, because States got his own mural like the other three, and has the closest resemblance, but it's debatable.
Also, if I may ask, what is the story behind the female Nature Guardian's deformed/bloodied right arm?

3) One more Vorador question. In Defiance, he is seen with a jagged sword in one scene. Was this supposed to be the same weapon he wielded throughout BO1, or a different one?

4) It's been conjectured a few times that the faces of a few of the characters were partially designed or re-designed to loosely resemble their voice actors (uh, well, the characters who have faces, that is). How true is this? I can definitely see it in Kain (Simon) and Vorador (Paul), but it would be really nice to have an official comment on it.

5) I would be very interested in hearing anything you have to say about designing the character of Janos Audron. I think there was speculation that Béla Lugosi's work in Dracula was a big influence, but I haven't seen any official commentary about it.
Also, in Blood Omen 1, Kain could come across a few frozen beings in the Oracle's Cave with horns and Janos-like wings; there were also statues of these beings in the rafters of Avernus Cathedral, and probably some more in a few other places. I nearly choked on my drink to discover them when replaying BO1 some time after finishing SR2; "this seemed an unlikely coincidence". :P Were you aware of these BO1 creatures when designing Janos and the ancients?

6) I've always wondered about one mural in SR1 which was never really elaborated on in the other games. It's this one from beneath the Tomb of the Sarafan, which shows an armoured human woman riding what appears to be a giant vulture... You barely get a chance to examine it in the game, because it's one of the windows Raziel has to smash just after receiving the telekinesis power.
Was that just a nice piece of art, or did it have any larger backstory or significance within Nosgoth? I would've loved to see Kain return to the Soul Reaver era wasteland only to have to contend with giant vulture enemies and bizarre things like that, heh.

7) Whether they were partially-produced or scrapped before any work was done on them, we know that there were at least three Elemental Forges cut from Soul Reaver 2: the Earth Forge, Water Forge and Spirit Forge.
These did appear later in Defiance, but not in the same "style" as the SR2 versions, which each had very clear and distinct architectural influences from the real world (Dark Forge is Mayan, Air Forge is Aztec, Light Forge seems Egyptian).
How do you think CD would have approached these three Forges if there had been time to create them in the SR2 "style"? How would you have interpreted them, and which culture would each one have been linked to?

8) Few questions about eyes. With only a few exceptions (such as Rahab), almost every single vampire seen throughout the series has yellow eyes. Is this deliberate? Is it perhaps a side-effect of the Hylden blood curse?
A couple of other characters also have unique eyes: Moebius and Turel both have washed-out, desaturated pupils - almost like cataracts - and Mortanius seems to have no pupils at all in Defiance. When Janos is possessed by the Hylden Lord in Defiance, his pupils also seem to disappear or fade. What is the reasoning behind these design elements?
Obviously Turel's could relate to his blindness, and Mortanius to his possession, but that still leaves Moebius. Somebody came up with an interesting theory that it has something to do with his knowledge of the future: Kain says in SR1 that "as a man, I could never have contained such forbidden truths". Well, Moebius is a man who has to contain them, and it's ruined his vision. :lol:

9) Regarding The Dark Prophecy, I'm particularly curious about one thing. When Divine Shadow first uncovered it, he came across this image, which was created by Ritual Entertainment, and seems to depict Kain transitioning into his SR1 emperor incarnation, probably some time not long after BO2. You had also painted a "Young Kain Proposal" in 2002, which was up at spectraljin.com.
As a result, we all started speculating that The Dark Prophecy might have been intended to follow the structure of Defiance, but with players alternating between young and old Kain instead of Kain and Raziel. That's an idea I think could've had enormous potential if done right, but was it ever seriously considered for TDP? If not, do you know if young Kain supposed to appear anyway?

10) On behalf on the entire LoK community, past and present, I'm begging you to draw your interpretation of Turelzevir and Frank.
(ok, just joking :P)

Thank you so much for your time, and all the amazing info you've revealed so far!
Dubiel
 
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby Daniel Cabuco » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:36 pm

Hi Dubiel,

Thanks for all the questions.. wow.. you guys have a lot! LOL Every little piece of artwork has been so heavily scrutinized.. this is why I love the fans.

1) Who is this character and what is her story (you once referred to her as "Vorador's mystery woman" )? All we know is that her portrait appeared in BO1 and Defiance, she's not Umah, and she's "a character who is part of the backstory and not revealed in the games".


Initially, we had the ability to create murals and pics in the game, then run them by Amy to make sure they were open ended enough for her to write in a back story if she wanted to include it. It's sort of like a 'hook' what Amy could write in if she wanted. Sometimes she asked for specific images (like William and Kain) and sometimes she let us riff a bit. This woman is one of those riffs. I created her to be someone he was fond of. In my mind she was a lost love, perhaps a powerful sorceress. It was always my hope that someone would write a good story for her after Defiance ended. Maybe one of the fans could? If it's engaging, I could draw an illustration for it. What do you think, would someone be up for it? (But it would have to be a good story.. no furries.. please.. God.. )

2) This is perhaps the most detail-oriented and nerdy question I could formulate - sorry about this.
In the intro cinematic to Blood Omen 1, we see several Pillar Guardians being murdered by Vorador in the Sarafan Stronghold. You later restylised these martyred Guardians for some awesome murals in the Sarafan Stronghold in SR2.
There are four Guardians seen in the BO1 intro (out of the total six who were killed), and it's easy enough to figure out who three of them were - the hooded man with a beard is Energy, the bald woman is Balance, and the other woman is Nature. But who is the other male Guardian who gets skewered? He could only be of these two fellows (Dimension and Mind), or this one (States). Which of the three murals was supposed to represent this guy?
I've leaned towards thinking he's the States Guardian, because States got his own mural like the other three, and has the closest resemblance, but it's debatable.
Also, if I may ask, what is the story behind the female Nature Guardian's deformed/bloodied right arm?


I love detailed questions.. and that people actually noticed all the detail we artists put into this game. I had to watch the intro to BO1 a few times to get all these people down. The Male Guardian had a hood, so I intended him to be the younger Dimension Guardian. Part of the Master/Apprentice duo. :P

3) One more Vorador question. In Defiance, he is seen with a jagged sword in one scene. Was this supposed to be the same weapon he wielded throughout BO1, or a different one?
Yes and no. The original Vorador weapon was way too close to the reaver, so we sort of retconned it with the sword you see him carrying. It made more sense since he's a blacksmith that he'd make a more signature looking weapon. It makes much more sense this way.. I think of BO1 as the TV version and Defiance as the Movie version in terms of interpretation.

4) It's been conjectured a few times that the faces of a few of the characters were partially designed or re-designed to loosely resemble their voice actors (uh, well, the characters who have faces, that is). How true is this? I can definitely see it in Kain (Simon) and Vorador (Paul), but it would be really nice to have an official comment on it.
Actually, its sheer coincidence. I hadn't seen Paul Lukather or Simon Templeman's faces prior to designing them. Maybe it's the magic of the voices that made them look alike.. something ephemeral about voices.. trying to picture what they look like. (though everytime I meet a voice actor he's never what I think they look like. ie Lion-o haha)

5) I would be very interested in hearing anything you have to say about designing the character of Janos Audron. I think there was speculation that Béla Lugosi's work in Dracula was a big influence, but I haven't seen any official commentary about it.
Also, in Blood Omen 1, Kain could come across a few frozen beings in the Oracle's Cave with horns and Janos-like wings; there were also statues of these beings in the rafters of Avernus Cathedral, and probably some more in a few other places. I nearly choked on my drink to discover them when replaying BO1 some time after finishing SR2; "this seemed an unlikely coincidence". Were you aware of these BO1 creatures when designing Janos and the ancients?

Janos was a specific design brought down by Amy. I wanted him to look all ancient and badass, like the owl from Secret of Nimh. But we wanted specific cues to make him seem holy and quietly powerful. I guess I'm more of an over-the-top kind of guy when it comes to initial concepts. We took influences from many different things: Actors, Priest vestments, even the types of wings from birds (Predatory wings are very different from glider wings) Ultimately he was the blueprint for all winged ancients. I'm pretty sure that if there is a connection between Avernus/Oracle's cave and the Ancients, that it's by and large coming from Amy. She is amazing at tying things together and explaining stuff that other people throw in because it looks pretty. Personally I didn't see those winged beings in BO1 and try to tie them into SR2.

6) I've always wondered about one mural in SR1 which was never really elaborated on in the other games. It's this one from beneath the Tomb of the Sarafan, which shows an armoured human woman riding what appears to be a giant vulture... You barely get a chance to examine it in the game, because it's one of the windows Raziel has to smash just after receiving the telekinesis power.
Was that just a nice piece of art, or did it have any larger backstory or significance within Nosgoth? I would've loved to see Kain return to the Soul Reaver era wasteland only to have to contend with giant vulture enemies and bizarre things like that, heh.


Oh my god. I totally forgot about that piece.. it was one of the older paintings. I was out of time with the end Murals and put it on the Force Stained Glass. Not everything in Nosgoth 'existed' as such. There was a rich mythology of stories and heroes that the Humans and Vampires had. My thought was that this would fullfil that. Wow now I want to dig that one up or redraw it. I forgot how much I loved that piece. Valkyries on Giant Birds for the win!

7) Whether they were partially-produced or scrapped before any work was done on them, we know that there were at least three Elemental Forges cut from Soul Reaver 2: the Earth Forge, Water Forge and Spirit Forge.
These did appear later in Defiance, but not in the same "style" as the SR2 versions, which each had very clear and distinct architectural influences from the real world (Dark Forge is Mayan, Air Forge is Aztec, Light Forge seems Egyptian).
How do you think CD would have approached these three Forges if there had been time to create them in the SR2 "style"? How would you have interpreted them, and which culture would each one have been linked to?

Just to be a real nerd for a sec, the Dark Forge was actually Cambodian. Like Angor Wat. We would have used other elaborate temples like the ones in Turkey, Hindu, or even Malaysia. Just google 'ancient temple' and see all the wonderful influences available. This is part of the reference spike ALL artists have to do when working on a game. Absorb the influences, mix and match, and make it your own.

8) Few questions about eyes. With only a few exceptions (such as Rahab), almost every single vampire seen throughout the series has yellow eyes. Is this deliberate? Is it perhaps a side-effect of the Hylden blood curse?
A couple of other characters also have unique eyes: Moebius and Turel both have washed-out, desaturated pupils - almost like cataracts - and Mortanius seems to have no pupils at all in Defiance. When Janos is possessed by the Hylden Lord in Defiance, his pupils also seem to disappear or fade. What is the reasoning behind these design elements?
Obviously Turel's could relate to his blindness, and Mortanius to his possession, but that still leaves Moebius. Somebody came up with an interesting theory that it has something to do with his knowledge of the future: Kain says in SR1 that "as a man, I could never have contained such forbidden truths". Well, Moebius is a man who has to contain them, and it's ruined his vision.


Yep, the washed out pupils help show whose 'side' they were on. Moebius had washed out eyes because he sees the time stream. His pupils were actually becoming hourglass shaped like the Elder Gods to show how in alignment he was with him. I seem to remember that when he played the doddering old soothsayer, that he also played either blind or nearsighted. It all played into that.
Vampires had yellow eyes, Rahab's changed because he was becoming water resistant.

9) Regarding The Dark Prophecy, I'm particularly curious about one thing. When Divine Shadow first uncovered it, he came across this image, which was created by Ritual Entertainment, and seems to depict Kain transitioning into his SR1 emperor incarnation, probably some time not long after BO2. You had also painted a "Young Kain Proposal" in 2002, which was up at spectraljin.com.
As a result, we all started speculating that The Dark Prophecy might have been intended to follow the structure of Defiance, but with players alternating between young and old Kain instead of Kain and Raziel. That's an idea I think could've had enormous potential if done right, but was it ever seriously considered for TDP? If not, do you know if young Kain supposed to appear anyway?


Dark Prophecy would have been cool.. We had a version of Kain that linked BO2 with SR.. The thought was to either play Kain in this Era, or use it as part of his disguise, which would fade in direct sunlight. There was a lot of back and forth on the story but either one would have been cool. I loved this desingn for Kain too.. One thought was to have Elder Kain in the Hylden Realm, and Young Kain in the material realm, playing different chapters... Even having Kain 'help out' his other self from the shadows, taking out heavy foes that would have outmatched his younger self. (And get this.. getting caught in a Moebius time trap that put him on the field facing his younger self from BO1.. He'd have to 'throw the fight' and dissipate.. but it would have been cool to see.. and not before sending some hell Moebius' way before he left) We had things like summoning Vorador, or Jumping between Demon/Hylden realms too.

10) On behalf on the entire LoK community, past and present, I'm begging you to draw your interpretation of Turelzevir and Frank.
(ok, just joking )


I officially deny the existence of the Doll Maker. :P He's the one thing that bugs the hell out of me and doesn't make sense.. if I *had* to do him.. I would have nuked the design and started completely over. That said, I would love to draw Frank the Sluagh.. he'd be all sexy with that grill. Turelzevir.. Gah! LOL it's funny.. but Elzevir just makes me cringe. (Hey I never said I loved 'everything' about the LOK series)
Daniel Cabuco
 
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby majinkura » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:32 am

Elzevir is way too creepy for me.....just the thing with the princess and her soul in the burlap doll was just ugh.....

It was always my hope that someone would write a good story for her after Defiance ended. Maybe one of the fans could? If it's engaging, I could draw an illustration for it. What do you think, would someone be up for it? (But it would have to be a good story.. no furries.. please.. God.. )


our very own Soap lady is a Talented writer..perhaps she can whip something up for the unnamed mistress from voradors past.
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby Liquid Yarullin » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:35 pm

Daniel, I was always puzzled about Raziel's resurrection. Perhaps you can help me a little bit?

1) Did the Elder God played any role in his resurrection?

2) It was mentioned several times that Kain casted Raziel into the Abyss in order to fight against fate. However, wasn't Kain FATED to cast him into the Abyss? How Raziel became free-willed being from that?
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby Dubiel » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:22 am

Daniel, you have no idea how much I appreciate all of this information!
Your answers are the best thing in years to happen to this community.

  • I have absolutely no doubt we could find a flock of enthusiastic people in the community who would probably be honoured to write a backstory for the mystery woman, if we put a call out. I know I'd even be delighted to try it myself (no furries!), but I am no Amy Hennig, and time is slightly tight with RL and the wiki stuff.
  • Cambodian! I was sure I'd mess one of those up. Googling Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, it's like looking at parts of the SR2 swamp itself. I'd hazard a guess that they don't have an abundance of ignis fatuus braziers, rabid fire demons and magic dissipating crows over there though. :!:
  • Janos is among my favourite characters so I had to inquire. The priestly demeanour was always alluring, and it plays into his first scene powerfully - he initially appears to be the one character in the entire SR series who's genuinely benevolent and not trying to play games with Raz. After learning more about his devotion to the Elder God and anti-Hylden motives in Defiance, he becomes a bit less favourable but no less interesting. For all the problems I have with BO2, I appreciate the position it placed Janos in; it's appealing. Raises questions as to what the Demon Realm would do to him, both appearance-wise and in terms of personality and loyalties... would he prevent the restoration of the Pillars? Would he somehow be compelled to defend the EG, and become a major antagonist? If so, maybe that badass Secret of Nimh incarnation of him could still rear its head some day.
  • My opinion has been that the return of the younger Kain in TDP or any future sixth game could be so wonderful if pulled off properly (i.e. with Amy or Richard's supervision and... not the BO2 team's writers :P). So much potential and opportunity to mesh the best of BO1 (young Kain in Material) and SR1 (Elder Kain in Demon Realm) in one masterpiece... gawd, if only. Your idea with time traps to explain that mystery Kain clone in BO1's Moebius battle is gold. That axe of his needs to be used!
  • Elzevir's... an anomaly. I've always felt he makes very little sense, even in the context of BO1 itself - as if he was transplanted in from something else. The one strange blemish on what is otherwise a game with an extremely tight plot. It might have been nice to see the Lake of Lost Souls exploited in some way in later games, though.

Anyway. I can see that there's been an absolute flood of questions and discussions from half the fanbase since Friday, and my work's cut out for me just keeping track of all of the great new facts you're revealing, so that's all I'll ask for now :)

Many, many thanks again, Daniel!
Dubiel
 
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby arthureloi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:15 pm

Daniel, I'd like to thank you for all this information.
You're an awesome guy. All the compliments are not enough.
Please know that this is very important for the Legacy of Kain community.
All the best for you.
arthureloi
 
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby Tim Controls Me » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:05 am

It looks like Elzevir needs some love, stat! :mrgreen:
If you suffer from Elzevir Embarrassment, try to view him as LOK's Dr. Frankenstein, and just forget the cheesy 1990's graphics.
His place in the world was to show us that souls could be messed with in Nosgoth, that there was a mechanism for transferring souls into objects.....
which did in fact become central to the story.
Only no ancients were available in Blood Omen times to show us the ways of soul-working, so..... we got Elzevir & the Wraith Smiths, who, really, are continuing in the ancients' footsteps with their dark sciences.
If you thought Elz was horribly drawn and that kept you from thinking of him as a real person/character, it might help to imagine that he wasn't using a real body at all, but was himself one of the transferred souls!!!! :P


I've been pushing for the Kain vs. Kain battle to be revisited for years, so we can play the other side of that fight! The main hurdle was.... that it should have already happened by now. (In the timeline the fight took place in, Kain was destined to die in Will's Chapel, so Moe's summons should have come by then and shouldn't have access to Kain after that point in time, ruling out our current scion Kain for that summons.) So, to get around that,..... let's say Moe summoned 'future Kain' to that fight from an alternate reality?------from OUR current timeline! (Which just happens to have since become the real timeline). I'm hoping it's a scarier fight than just dissipating away to escape it, too. Like the time trap is a real freaky revenge attempt by Mobius who now foresees Kain's rising scion future and is taking one last stab at Kain before all is lost.
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby Vampmaster » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:29 pm

I wouldn't be suprised if Elzevir was yet another one of Moebius deceptions put in place to keep Ottmar from dealing with the Nemesis before Kain persuaded him. However, since Mobius was already responsible for so many other things maybe it would be something more indirect such as the Builder.

If the hylden were going to be using the machine in Malek's bastion to fuse souls to their armour, then perhaps they made it in the first place. Fusing souls to dolls and puppets isn't that different from fusing them to armour. Judging from the Moebius statue in the eternal prison, it's also possible that the Builder was Moebius own prisoner. He could have been either making the dolls (as Elzevir) under orders from Moebius, or made them at an earlier point as practice for creating the armour fusing machine the hylden were to use in Dark Prophecy.

I'm just making stuff up here, but I think it could be interesting if it was something like that.

BTW, Amy already ruled out the Kain-from-an-alternate-reality thing in an earlier Q&A. If Kain changes history he just becomes the Kain from the new time line. That's what's happening when he gets the new memories. Paradoxes don't happen in the parallel universe theory, so I think it's been established that there's only one timeline existing at a time.
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby Daniel Cabuco » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:09 am

And in so changing history.. Elzevir never happened. :P At least in my mind. Ok if I had to redo him, like I said.. I'd nuke the design (from ORBIT) and completely redesign his look.. into something more badass. (But I'm happy to just to leave him Nuked too)
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Re: Various art and plot questions

Postby Daniel Cabuco » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:59 am

arthureloi wrote:Daniel, I'd like to thank you for all this information.
You're an awesome guy. All the compliments are not enough.
Please know that this is very important for the Legacy of Kain community.
All the best for you.


Thanks Arutheloi. It's very encouraging to see this great response from the fans of the series. I'm glad I made this board ^_^
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