The news of a spiritual successor to Silicon Knights’ chilling, inventive and – in many ways – ground-breaking 2002 horror Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem came quite out of the blue in the form of a teaser trailer for the game that promised more details soon. The teaser promised a medieval setting and hinted that more than one of the original creators of Eternal Darkness was on the creative team, including Denis Dyack, the founder of Silicon Knights.
New development studio Precursor Games launched a website for their game, Shadow of the Eternals, which featured only the information that the long-awaited followup would be crowd-funded, with a timer counting down to the beginning of the campaign. Now the timer has run out, so let the campaign begin!
Precursor has a target fundraising goal of $1.5 million, and are already several thousand dollars of the way along at the time of publishing. To encourage people to donate, they’ve also released a wealth of plot and character details as well as their plans for the series.
Here are the major points of interest:
- Shadow of the Eternals is an adventure/action game that will be episodic in nature, with 2-4 hours of gameplay in each episode. The first season will feature a pilot episode, plus 12 more episodes.
- The game will be DRM-free.
- It was made by former Silicon Knights developers Denis Dyack, Paul Caporicci and Shawn Jackson.
- Like Eternal Darkness, it will feature a time-spanning plot in which players take on the roles of different characters throughout 2500 years of human history.
- It will feature Sanity Events like those in Eternal Darkness.
- The fantasy plot will be tied in to real-life places and events.
- The gameplay will centre around both puzzle-solving, exploration, magic and combat.
- The main release platforms will be PC and Wii U, with potential for other platform releases in the future.
The named characters so far are:
- Theodoric, a courier – the male character who featured heavily in the teaser.
- Lovers Clara RusznyÃ¡k (a gypsy woman trying to escape her old life) and Erzebet Bathory (a nobleman who sacrifices young maidens in her pursuit of the occult.
- Detective Paul Becker – a modern day Louisiana cop trying to uncover the history and motives behind a recent bloody massacre.
- John Smith – another modern day character, who somehow managed to survive the massacre that Becker is investigating.
- John Doe – a biker who blacks out and finds himself at the centre of the massacre, trying to throttle John Smith with no idea why.
The fundraising right now is mainly directed at getting the pilot episode off the ground, and the developers say that future episodes will cost significantly less than $1.5 million to produce. Precursor Games’ official FAQ says that, “the games industry is currently in a state in which publishers no longer take chances on a project like this,” and that they have therefore decided to produce the game independently and maintain a rapport with players in order to receive constant feedback.
Here’s the official synopsis for the pilot:
The pilot episode of Shadow of the Eternals begins when detective Paul Becker is called to one of the bloodiest massacres in Louisiana state history at Pleasant View Hospital. The massacre is survived by two individuals who seemingly have no recollection about who they are or what has transpired.
Becker’s interrogation of the suspects brings us to Hungary 1610 AD at ÄŒachtice Castle — home to the noblewoman ErzÃ©bet Bathory. Bathory is also a notorious serial killer; torturing and killing as many as 400 young women in her obsessive quest to retain her youth. You play the role of Bathory’s handmaiden and lover Clara, who is blackmailed by the authorities into gathering information about a missing nobleman’s daughter.
Events are soon set in motion that will change Clara’s life forever.
For fans of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, more or less every detail released about this game so far is a reason to celebrate; psychological tricks to mess with your mind, multiple playable characters, a plot that takes place all over the world and in many different time periods – all tied together with a mix of magic, monsters, physical combat and puzzle-solving. It will be available for digital download with no DRM clinging to it, and if the first season does well enough then this could be a long-running series of horror-themed adventure games.
To get an advance look at some of the visual design of the game, check out the official stills and concept art that have been released so far:
CLICK FOR FULL-SIZE IMAGE
If you’d like to donate (pledges range from $5 to $10,000 and come with a multitude of perks, bonus material and merch depending on how much you send), you can do so on the game’s official website.
Shadow of the Eternals‘ release date will be announced soon.