Denis Dyack on restarting Shadow of the Eternals
Shadow of the Eternals has had a bit of a rough time getting started. The spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness had a rocky debut on Kickstarter earlier this year, being withdrawn from crowdfunding in June after reaching only 10 percent of its goal with 15 days remaining.
But Precursor Games has re-emerged with a new Kickstarter for Eternals, asking for a lower funding goal and promising the gruff baritone of David Hayter a place in the game. We had the opportunity to speak with Precursor’s Denis Dyack for a brief overview on why Precursor pulled the plug on the original funding effort and what plans the studio has for Eternals on the PC.
According to Dyack, cancelling the first Kickstarter and moving away from their original episodic format to a single-game experience was in part due to feedback from the community and how much attention the original push had garnered.
“There was a lot of hesitation out there because we were guaranteeing a two-hour experience and people wanted more, so we’re gonna give an eight-to-ten-hour experience that’s complete in itself from just the first goal in the Kickstarter.”
Dyack emphasizes how how important the community that emerged during that first Kickstarter became as they contributed development ideas in the private, backers-only “Order of the Unseen” forums.
“It’s that type of thing that, to us, was overwhelmingly positive. Take the sanity events. Probably 60 or so in the original Eternal Darkness. We have well over 300 now and the game hasn’t even started. It has a lot of potential.”
And the sanity effects aren’t the only thing the community has been helping with. The Eternal Gods, an integral part of Eternals mythos, are being designed with the help of those in the Order of the Unseen as well.
“We said, ‘Here are nine [Eternal Gods]. Come up with things that you think best fit in with these.’ Knowing that some of them were within the sphere of magic, some of them were within the sphere of sanity, some of them were within the sphere of matter, and some of them overlap. People piled on there like crazy.”
On whether this kind of community engagement means Steam Workshop support in the future, well, Dyack said it’s too early to make a call on that now. While the gameplay Precursor showed off is the same CryEngine 3 demo that’s been out for a while, it does look awfully nice. Although the character’s head in the demo glitched out a couple times during my demo, watching the hallway surrounding him get sucked away into a scorched, Oblivion-style hallucination remained impressive enough for a pre-Alpha build.
Dyack is planning on making Eternals one of the best-looking games of this generation, saying, “We really want to knock this out of the park as far as, if you want to show off your PC, this is going to be the game to do it.”
With 24 days remaining in its campaign, Eternals' Kickstarter is about one-quarter of the way to its $750,000 goal.