Well, he we are. Shadow of the Eternals has been revealed, along with its plans for crowd-sourcing. It is, in almost every way, Eternal Darkness 2. The story takes place across 2500 years, and you play as as several (seemingly 20) characters. It's split up into 12 downloadable "episodes," with the first seeing you play as Erzébet Bathory's lover and handmaiden, Clara. All the details, along with videos & stretch goals are here for eye-gazing. They're asking for a mere $1,500,000.
The question is: will you donate? There's nothing more I would like to see than a spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness, but there are some serious red flags. For one, Precursor Games is based in Canada, so they are using their own crowd-funding, rather than Kickstarter or Indiegogo. They aren't obligated to follow any rules that people are used to seeing from these types of crowd-funding campaigns. As a matter of fact, when it went live yesterday, this was under their TOS: “Precursor Games is under no obligation to complete the Game, or in the event completion is impossible, return any of the donations it has received.” They apparently changed it, because it now reads: " Precursor Games is committed to completing Shadow of the Eternals. However, in the event that Precursor Games cannot raise enough money to develop this project, all donations will refunded to their respective contributors." Quite a change.
Another big red flag is Denis Dyack himself. He seems like a talented guy, with great ideas, but he also ran Silicon Knights straight into the foetid ground. Most people who follow gaming news are probably somewhat aware of their big legal battle with Epic. SK lost their suit, was successfully counter-sued, and they were ordered to "...destroy any code built using Epic's technology; the court order includes Too Human, X-Men: Destiny, Siren in the Maelstrom, The Sandman, and The Box/Ritualyst." As of October last year, SK was reported to have less than employees left. Accusations about how he ran his crew aside, it's hard to trust someone who was president at SK during all of this. Not only was there ethically questionable (at best) behavior being propagated, but seemingly games were being pushed through whether or not they should have been.
The other red flag, perhaps not as big, is the lack of Nintendo. Say what you will, but nobody has quality standards like they do. Silicon Knights' best games (IMO) were Eternal Darkness & Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. Both came out under watch of Nintendo. How much that played a role in those games, I'm not entirely sure, but SK's two games since then are decidedly not up to par, at the least, not on a technical level. I'm not saying it reminds me of what happened to Factor 5, but I'm not saying it doesn't. Let's not also forget that Nintendo owns a couple of important patents in regard to Eternal Darkness' unique systems.
Is the plan to fund this and then hope that Nintendo picks them up? Hmm...
Are an untethered crowfunding method and seemingly terrible management enough to keep you away from Shadow of the Eternals? Or do you have enough faith in this new team of "veteran game developers" to give them a shot (and your money?)
May the Great Old Ones wake from their slumber and help us. (lol)
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
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