Every survival horror fan should play Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem at least once. Released by Silicon Knights in 2002, it was one of the first video games to effectively implement the Call of Cthulhu-inspired Sanity Meter, and the effects of allowing the player character to lose their sanity were so creative and genuinely unsettling that it was almost worth allowing the meter to empty just to watch the consequences. Add to that a well-written story that spanned millennia and featured a wide variety of settings, and its easy to see why Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is still fondly remembered by many.
When Precursor Games (the studio founded by former developers for Silicon Knights) announced that a spiritual successor called Shadow of the Eternals was on the way, and that it would include almost all of the gameplay and storytelling elements that gamers had loved in the original game, the excitement amongst fans was palpable. The studio used the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter in order to launch a campaign to finance Shadow of the Eternals, but a couple of weeks later released an update stating that they were temporarily halting the Kickstarter campaign due to new developments.
In a release published by CVG, Precursor has announced that Shadow of the Eternals will return to Kickstarter on June 25th. There was no mention of whether or not the separate fundraising campaign that had been running on the website would also be relaunched, but it would probably make more sense to run the campaign on a single platform rather than split the pledges.
Kickstarter operates on an all-or-nothing basis: if a campaign hits its target or goes over it, those running the campaign will receive all of the money that has been pledged; if a campaign does not reach its target, the money stays in the backers’ accounts and the campaign runners get nothing. This measure was put in place so that no one is expected to produce the work they promised without proper funding. At the time of the original campaign’s cancellation, the Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter was halfway to its deadline and had raised only $127,066 of the $1,350,000 goal.
The logical conclusion to be drawn from this is that Precursor realized that the goal would not be met, and that the developers took down the campaign in order to go back to the drawing board. However, CEO Paul Caporicci said that the reason for the Kickstarter being cancelled was that the support had engendered “new exciting opportunities that will make the game better than we envisioned.” This could mean that the studio has obtained outside funding, but either way its likely that the Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter will return with a slightly more modest goal than last time.
Another bump in the road for Precursor was the loss of one of their developers, Kenneth McCulloch. The studio swiftly cut all ties with McCulloch when he was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography, and by doing so probably mitigated a lot of the potential negative press, but it nonetheless leaves Shadow of the Eternals down by one developer until Precursor hires a replacement.
With luck, things will start picking up for Shadow of the Eternals again soon, and the new Kickstarter campaign will manage to kick the game’s development off properly. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem remains one of the most cleverly designed and effective horror games to date, so the prospect of a spiritual successor is very exciting.
Shadow of the Eternals does not yet have a launch date, but releases are currently planned for PC and Wii U.