I think it’s safe to say we were all a little surprised when Precursor Games announced Shadow of the Eternals last month. A sequel to Eternal Darkness is something that GameCube fans have been clamoring for since the original’s release back in 2002, but years of fruitless trademark renewals and the collapse of Silicon Knights had effectively dashed those hopes.
Fortunately, the intervening years have also brought about the rise of crowdfunding, which has given smaller, riskier projects a chance to flourish without publisher backing. That’s precisely how Precursor hopes to fund its followup to Eternal Darkness. The project is still only at a fraction of its crowdfunding goal (with only 17 days remaining in its Kickstarter campaign), but the staff are excited by its potential nonetheless. What do we want to see from Precursor’s spiritual successor?
I’m cautiously optimistic for Shadow of the Eternals. Eternal Darkness was one of my favorite GameCube games. I even beat it all 3 times just to get the best ending (which turned out to be about 15 seconds long, but oh, well).
So far, everything I’ve seen of Shadow of the Eternals fills me with hope. I like what we’ve heard of the plot, and I like that there seems to be a real desire on Precursor’s part to channel the heart of the original game (even though Nintendo owns the original property rights). I do kind of wish Nintendo was involved in some capacity, though. It would be nice to see this as a full-on sequel and not just a spiritual one. In a perfect world, Precursor would be calling this Eternal Darkness 2, and that “Vitality Sensor” would have gotten some use. I always thought that thing looked promising.
The Vitality Sensor could’ve had an interesting impact on the Sanity Effects.
Still, beggars can’t be choosers, can they? In a time when Wii U releases are kind of sparse, I appreciate that we’re getting this kind of commitment. I just hope they can make this worth the wait. I’ve been itching for this game for almost 11 years, now.
One might think that I have grown tired of espousing the greatness of Eternal Darkness, but I could talk about this game for hours upon hours if given the opportunity. I have talked about the GameCube classic’s great story, gameplay, and many ways in which it innovated the entire horror genre; and I expect Shadow of the Eternals to, at the very least, match the quality attained in the original. Considering that, let’s talk about where I really hope to see the game explore new ground, literally.
As an amateur history buff I loved how the story in Eternal Darkness allowed it to explore thousands of years of human history, and from what we have seen so far it looks like Shadow of the Eternals will also embrace this idea. ED did cover a lot of history, but the way the game was structured actually limited the number of locations, featuring four settings that did change over time, but were still very focused. I hope the new episodic approach to development over a longer period of time will allow Precursor to take us on a globe trotting expedition. I can think of countless great places and times to explore: the pyramids of Egypt as they are being built, Moscow during the Russian Revolution, Central and South America during the time of the conquistadors, Wall Street on Black Tuesday, Berlin during the Nazi’s rise to power, or pretty much any point in China’s history.
Not only does this type of story allow the developers to interweave stories of magickal conspiracies involving ancient evils into real history, but it really opens the door to include more varied settings in an industry that has a hard time pulling away from stereotypical tropes. Please, take me away from special force units fighting in modern urban environments and give me an 18th century French fur trapper who discovers some horrifying evil in the wilds of Canada.
Shadow of the Eternals can’t come soon enough in my books. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like a fantastic game with an even more interesting story line than Eternal Darkness, so it’s definitely high up on my watch list of upcoming games (assuming it gets funded, of course). I’m not completely sold on the idea of a 12-episode structure– I’d rather have one game all in one go than several tiny chapters– but it’s great seeing a small studio get so much attention. In spite of all this, though, I’m sceptical whether it’s going to reach its Kickstarter target. At time of writing, it’s only attracted 8% of its total funding with little more than half its funding window to go, which doesn’t exactly bode well. There’s still a reasonable amount of time to turn things around, but I’m not getting my hopes up too high.
If anything, it’s really made me want to replay Eternal Darkness again. Sadly, I made the fatal error of selling the game when I got to a particularly difficult part about two thirds of the way through and saved in a really stupid place with very little health. There was simply no way I could continue without dying horribly with each attempt to move forward, and at the time, I really didn’t want to replay it all over again in order to rectify my silly save error, so I stupidly sold it on. How I regret that decision now… Still, you never know. Nintendo might release it on the Wii U Virtual Console and Precursor Games may get their funding. Fingers crossed both come true.
Like my colleagues, I’m a huge fan of Eternal Darkness. I consider it to be one of GameCube’s defining titles, and I was ecstatic to see a spiritual successor to the game announced (and for a Nintendo console to boot!) by much of the team that worked on the original.
I certainly hope Shadow of the Eternals meets its Kickstarter goal, because like Andy said in his great Retro Scope piece, the game and its predecessor occupy a unique space in the horror genre. Eternal Darkness gave us a more deliberate, “psychological” take on horror games, straddling the line between the zombie blasting terror of Resident Evil and the disturbing atmosphere of titles like Silent Hill. It also featured a much more sophisticated story than either of those two series, weaving a tale of ancient gods and their machinations with historical events and locations to create a truly unique and compelling game universe.
I’d love to see Shadow of the Eternals continue these trends. I’m very excited by what we’ve heard about the game so far, particularly that it will feature its own expanded hub area to tie its various chapters together. One of my favorite aspects of Eternal Darkness was exploring the Roivas Mansion between chapters. I still think it’s one of the most atmospheric locations in any game I’ve ever played, and unlocking new sections of the mansion with the spells and items you acquired in each chapter added a nice, Metroid-esque layer of exploration to the adventure. Of course, it also helped that Eternal Darkness featured a wonderful soundtrack to accentuate its atmosphere, which I hope will be the case in Shadow. Judging by the sample we’ve heard, though, the game is already well on its way in this regard.
It would really be a shame if the game doesn’t get funded, because we can always do with more original titles like Shadow of the Eternals. I do wish Nintendo had direct involvement in the game so that it could be a full-fledged sequel to Eternal Darkness (I’d love to see what the team would do with the existing mythos), but I’m just happy to see a successor come in any form!
Now that you’ve read our thoughts, what do you think about Shadow of the Eternals? Are you still on the fence about the project, or are you looking forward to it as much as we are? Share your thoughts in the comments!