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William the Just and King Ottmar
In the final version of Blood Omen, the story takes place in an era in which an evil tyrant (the Nemesis) is poised to conquer the world. The Nemesis was known as William the Just earlier in his life, but - as the player learns during the game - he was turned to evil. By the era the game is set in, only one ruler remains with an army which stands any chace of defeating the Nemesis - King Ottmar, of Willendorf. Kain must convince Ottmar to fight, by completing a quest about 3/4 of the way through the game.
A surprising volume of evidence suggests that this portion of the story may have been altered substantially.
In the build of Blood Omen from 12 July, 1996, the configuration of the level-select doors is as follows:
In the build from 15 September, 1996, and the final version of the game:
Boss Rooms and Other In-Game Locations
In the build of from 12 July, 1996, King Ottmar's throneroom is a lengthier area roughly the size and shape of the boss rooms for Nupraptor, Malek, and Anarcrothe. The battle with William the Just is fought in the smaller "map room" of his fortress, implying that his addition as a boss may have been relatively recent.
In the build from 15 September, 1996, and the final version of the game, Ottmar's throneroom has been condensed in size, and William the Just has been given a more elaborate boss room.
In the 12 July build, the castle of William the Just in all eras consists of extremely early, unfinished content, almost completely different from what appears in the final version - as if work had only recently begun on it.
Costume and Appearance Inconsistencies
As discussed at length in the Legacy of Kain Wiki, William the Just in the final version of the game wears villainous red and black armour with horns - hardly fitting for someone with the title "the Just". This inconsistency made so little sense that his appearance was reworked significantly by series artist Daniel Cabuco for Soul Reaver 2.
Furthermore, William the Just's castle is decorated with red banners in the style of Nazi Germany, even in Nosgoth's past (see below for a screenshot).
The Alpha Gameworld Map, and William the Just's Map
In the earlier version of the map discussed in Alternate World Maps, there is no indication of a fortress in the northeast corner of the world (the "Lands of the Nemesis" in the final version of the game), and Willendorf is depicted as a fortress-city which encompasses the entire populated area up to the provincial mines.
William the Just's castle includes a room with a map of Nosgoth. The map has daggers stuck into it in certain locations, which seem to indicate areas already under the control of William (and possibly Moebius), or targeted for conquest. One of the daggers is stuck into the city of Willendorf. In the final version of the game, this map is on display 50 years prior to the Nemesis' defeat of Ottmar. It would make more sense if this map were originally intended to show the areas under the control of the Nemesis in the present era.
The rendered 3D cinematics for Blood Omen were created long before most of the other content. In the bat-flight video to Willendorf, the city is depicted as it was in the alpha world map.
Near the end of the game, Kain has traveled into Nosgoth's past. William the Just's castle makes a brief appearance:
This is clearly the same 3D model as Willendorf castle, with redressing to make it appear more ominious.
William the Just and the Nemesis do not appear in any of the cinematics in any known version of the game. This again implies that a separate character may have been a change which took place relatively late in the game's creation.
See also the discussion on cinematic file creation dates in Alpha and Beta Versions.
William the Just and Ottmar may have originally begun as the same character. That is, "Ottmar" may actually be an elderly William the Just, with new dialogue recorded by a different actor after the story change. This would explain nearly all of the evidence above:
None of this evidence is conclusive. Every piece of it has another explanation.
The earliest known reference material (the cinematic dialogue script available in the Blood Omen Scripts article) refers to Ottmar and William the Just as separate characters, but William the Just and the Nemesis as the same character. That script was created on 22 August 1995, eleven months before the 12 July 1995 build of the game was created. Even if this change occurred, why were any remnants of the older story left after so much time?
Attempting to reverse-engineer a hypothetical storyline in which William the Just and Ottmar are the same character also raises some thorny questions:
|1.||The level-select area markings use Latin-style double-Vs (literally a "double-U", as U and V are the same letter in Latin) in place of the letter W, so "VVIL" should be read as "WIL".|
|2.||One of the daggers is in the location of the Pillars of Nosgoth - a location of key interest to Moebius, but of questionable value to William the Just.|