[ Legacy of Kain: The Lost Worlds ]

Alpha and Beta Versions

article by Ben Lincoln

 

The Lost Worlds Collection

The following prerelease builds of Blood Omen are known to exist, and possessed by Lost Worlds staff:

Other Suspected Builds

The 12 July build of the game includes a file named KEVY.DAT in its PILL.BIG file. KEVY.DAT contains a file listing of the contents of PILL.BIG from 3 June, 1996 - about six weeks prior. The Lost Worlds staff believe that a build of the game was created on that date, but it is unknown if that build ever left the Silicon Knights offices, or if it still exists.

The Lost Worlds staff have a private fund for the purchase of this version of the game, and are willing to offer US$1000 for it. If you are in the possession of this build and interested in selling it, please get in touch with us using the Contact form.

Test/Debugging Features

The 12 July and 15 September builds include various features to aid in testing and debugging the game. In the case of the 12 July build, it is impossible to complete the game without making frequent use of them.

Differences

Many of the differences are chronicled in detail in other articles in the Blood Omen section. A massive amount of content remains to be added over time. For example, the overworld location of Vorador's mansion is completely different in the 12 July build. Not just the location on the world map, but the environment that the mansion is located in.

Vorador's Mansion - 1996-07-12 Build
[ Vorador's mansion in the 1996-09-12 build ]
Vorador's mansion in the 1996-09-12 build
       

 

 

That's just the first random image I had lying around of something I'd not documented properly yet. It is going to take awhile to go through all of this material.

I examined the data for known builds of the game, and compared it with the information in the KEVY.DAT file to generate the following high-level breakdown of the differences. The numbers indicate the count of sections within a given map. For example, the 12 July build has 43 sections for map 01 (the overworld), while the 15 September and final versions of the game only have 40. Map numbers followed by a letter indicate a known or suspected repurposing of a given map number. For example, map 07 in the 12 July build is one of the Additional Crypt Dungeons, whereas in the 15 September and final versions, it is used for the Lost City. The letters are not present in the game data, and are included here to make the distinction for the reader.

From the perspective of the total number of map sections in the entire game, the progression is as follows:

In other words, the final version of the game contains about 62% of the number of "rooms" that were present in 3 June, 1996, and that earlier version of the game already appears to have been reduced in scope from the original design.

Map # Description 1999-06-03 1999-07-12 1999-09-15 Final
00Level-Select111212
01Overworld61434040
02Deleted City Interiors?[1]27677
03Vasserbunde, Steinchencroe, Nachtholm Interiors8242626
04Coorhagen and town east of Willendorf Interiors0142020
05Boss Rooms17212123
06Kain's Mausoleum5111
07(a)Crypt Dungeon 133N/AN/A
07(b)The Lost CityN/AN/A2323
08(a)Crypt Dungeon 242N/AN/A
08(b)HMCS BitterN/AN/A22
09(a)Crypt Dungeon 33400
09(b)Temple of Hash'ak'gikN/AN/A22
10Blood Fountains8999
11(a)Deleted Area?80N/AN/AN/A
11(b)Light Spell DungeonN/A666
12Wolf Form Dungeon4444
13(a)Deleted Area?6N/AN/AN/A
13(b)Mausoleum Dungeon 4N/A055
14Spirit Forges[2]10202020
15Nupraptor's Keep97201919
16(a)Force Shield/Magic Absorb Dungeon58N/AN/A
16(b)Repel Dungeon (Revised)N/AN/A88
17Inspire Hate Dungeon691212
18Bone Armour Dungeon10101010
19[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
20Malek's Bastion34343535
21Stun Dungeon5777
22Mist Form Dungeon9677
23The Oracle's Cave7788
24[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
25Control Mind Dungeon4444
26(a)Deleted Area98N/AN/AN/A
26(b)Blood Gout DungeonN/A444
27Repel Dungeon (Original)78N/AN/A
28[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
29Vorador's Mansion13232423
30Flame Sword Dungeon4455
31Dark Eden14141414
32Lightning Dungeon4333
33[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
34[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
35Avernus100274848
36Avernus Cathedral Interior3356
37Soul Reaver Dungeon6555
38Wraith Armour Dungeon18181919
39Spirit Wrack Dungeon3388
40(a)Deleted Area6N/AN/AN/A
40(b)Beguile DungeonN/A666
41Willendorf12242525
42[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
43Elzevir's House9577
44Ottmar/Nemesis Battlefield2233
45Nemesis Castle (Present)4233
46[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
47Overworld in the Past8577
48William the Just's Castle Interior651010
49Overworld in the Altered Present8555
50(a)Deleted Area95N/AN/AN/A
50(b)Ruined Castle of William the JustN/A41313
51(a)Deleted Area333N/AN/A
51(b)Secret AreasN/AN/A77
52(a)Deleted Dungeon1815N/AN/A
52(b)CaveN/AN/A11
53(a)Deleted Dungeon74N/AN/A
53(b)CaveN/AN/A33
54Cave3055
55Deleted Cave Interiors4400
56Cave Interiors2322
57Deleted Area2000
58(a)Willendorf Tunnel Dungeon111144
58(b)Caves0133
59(a)Deleted Area7N/A00
59(b)Deleted DungeonN/A100
59(c)Stahlberg Interiors (Present)N/A999
60Stahlberg Interiors (Past)001111
61Stahlberg Interiors (Altered Present)001111
62Deleted Area12000
63The Pillars of Nosgoth4311
64[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
65[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
66[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
67[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
68[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
69[Not in any known build]N/AN/AN/AN/A
70Ziegsturhl (Intro)2333
71Alternate Level-Select0110
72Energy Bolt Dungeon6222

These figures reveal a significant difference between the 12 July build and the final version of the game, but a truly staggering number of changes took place between 3 June and later builds:

Cinematic Video File Dates

The 12 July build includes versions of the story cinematics which (except for act 1) are earlier versions than those included in the 15 September build and the final version of the game. The content of these videos is virtually identical to the later versions, except for the use of placeholder music (as discussed in Placeholder Cinematic Music). However, the modification dates for the files on the earlier disc may give some sense of which parts of the story remained concrete for most of the game's production, and which were altered closer to release.

Based on the file data, the visual content of each video was finalized no later than the following dates:

Theories

I believe that one of the large deleted areas was a separate location featuring Bane as a standalone boss.

One or more of the large deleted areas may also have been used for more-complete versions of the game world at different points in the time. That is, instead of being limited to the northeast corner of the map, the alternate eras might have encompassed the entire game world.

Alternatively, all three of the large deleted areas may have featured a Pillar guardian. In the final version of the game, Kain never fights Anarcrothe, and Vorador defeats Malek. One or both of these battles might have been intended to take place.

 
Footnotes
1. A few of the map sections were retained and used for the interiors of buildings in Ziegsturhl and Nachtholm.
2. The large discrepancy regarding the number of sections in this map is due to the addition of antechamber rooms for each Spirit Forge, as well as two additional copies of the Pentalich of Tarot Spirit Forge being added to account for the alternate time periods.
 
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