Hey guys itís Thursday and guess what Eternal Darkness is getting a sequel!† Oh wait... You arenít that excited for it?† Oh, itís only a spiritual successor.† Well, I guess Nintendo does own the IP for the series so that makes sense. At least Denis Dyack is involved right?† Summoned back from the dead and back into the internet spotlight!† Oh that is a problem too?† Well then.
Eternal Darkness is probably one of my favorite games. † Iíve played it more times than I can count.† It was the first M-Rated game release that I was old enough to purchase on my own.† Iíll admit right here that I know it is not the greatest game ever made, but it has always held special memories for me.† It definitely had some innovative elements to it, but the gameplay was lacking in some areas.† Regardless, those less than perfect moments never tarnished my love for this game.† To this day I still get giddy every time I see a clockís hands showing the thirty-third minute of the third hour. †
For those that missed out on the game it is a third person action game with a definite focus on psychological horror.† The story weaves a rather unique narrative as well.† You play as a woman named Alexandra Roivas whose grandfather was recently murdered.† In trying to figure out how he died you discover that the answer is somehow tied to the Tome of Eternal Darkness. † Every chapter Alex reads puts her into the shoes of another person that has fallen into the path of the ancients over the course of the last two-thousand years.† Their recounted experiences allow her to learn from their attempts to stop the darkness. † As each chapter progresses she will learn spells or maybe encounter a story element that will be tied to one of the puzzles her grandfather left behind, each ultimately is a step in progressing through the mansion and gaining the knowledge and experience to stop the world from falling into eternal darkness.
One of the really unique things that this game attempted to do at the time was to introduce sanity effects.† The idea from a mechanical standpoint was simple, the game has a meter for sanity, just like you would normally see for health and magick.† As the sanity meter decreased the game would react to it in different ways depending on how depleted the meter was.† If you had lost a little sanity maybe you would see a statueís head following your movement in the game or get phone calls from your dead grandfather.† If your meter was completely depleted you could spontaneously explode while casting a spell.† The best sanity effects were the ones that attempted to break the fourth wall.† It could have you walk into a room with zombies starting to come towards you and as you go to attack the game flashes that the controller had become unplugged.† One of my personal favorites is triggered when you attempted to go and save your game it would instead prompt you to delete your saves.† As the delete bar comes up and you feel your pants moisten slightly the screen flashes white and you realize that this canít be really happening. †
Flash forward to this week: With the announcement of the spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness, Shadow of the Eternals, you could not contain my excitement.† I had been waiting for this game for ten years.† Normally the idea of a spiritual successor isnít really that exciting to me, but it had two things working for it at a glance.† First, the studio that was working on it was a team made up of former Silicon Knights developers.† Second, and most critical in my mind, is that the story, while not being able to directly connect to the original, could still tie easily into the universe of Eternal Darkness.† It is mentioned in the original game that there are other people in other universes fighting the same fight for survival against the ancients.† New people and new ancients? Great!
Another thing that I had gotten really excited about with Shadow of the Eternals is the return of Denis Dyack.† Love him or hate him it is easy to agree that he is a very smart, very vocal man with some interesting and sometimes controversial opinions. † He is a believer in the industry and the future potential of video games as a medium.† He definitely has had some interesting interviews in the past, but honestly I always have felt comfortable with Denis Dyackís influence in my world.† His thoughts on the industry shaped a paper I wrote in college about the growth and maturity of the video game industry.† While he may come off as eccentric sometimes I always love that he is a developer who is passionate about what he believes in and I love hearing his opinions, unconventionalities and all.
With that being said though there are some real concerns about this project.† The goal of 1.5 million is incredibly lofty and is only to cover the first episode and initial production costs.† They mention that future episodes would be cheaper to produce, but I couldnít imagine going through another fundraising event every time an episode is released.† With twelve episodes planned for release the amount of money, faith and patience that would be asked for from the gaming population is unfathomable and each attempt surely resulting in more uncertainty of the future of the project. How long would you have to wait for twelve episodes of one game to be produced and released? Even Telltale who has been the most successful developer recently with episodic games seems to struggle with keeping the releases consistent and quick enough to keep momentum. † Factor all of that in with the question as to what happened to Silicon Knights and you have brewed the perfect cup of uncertainty. †
Despite my initial excitement, a few days later I still find myself staring at the Shadow of the Eternals page.† Iím still hitting refresh a few times a day and watching that dollar amount climb up.† Iím still staring down the rewards list debating on which one I would be willing to pay for.† I want this game badly, but Iím not ready to commit to it yet.† Part of me thinks itís a fear of losing my crowd funding virginity, but my mind keeps drifting towards legitimate concerns over the future of this project. †
At the moment I donít think my thoughts could be summed up better than those of Edgar Allen Poe.††