After eighteen days of crowd funding, Shadow of the Eternals is now has just over $245,000 supporting its development. Precursor Games, founded in July 2012, undertook the task of finally trying to create a title in a very similar direction to the lauded Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem after a lack activity from the struggling Silicon Knights.
Excitement was shown by both fans and websites alike at the news. Even more so at the teaser trailer which showed atmospheric, surreal and bloody sequences of the kind Eternal Darkness had been famous for. It had great visuals, unique monster designs which were still reminiscent of what we had seen before, and a great blend of the normal and supernatural.
Unfortunately it seems unlikely that we will see this game finished.
After eighteen days on Kickstarter and similar websites, with another twenty-six to go, the title had only gained a small fraction of its intended budget. Kickstarter lists its goal as being 1.3 million while the opening press statement lists it as 1.5. Either way, despite almost being halfway through its time-limit, it has yet to reach even a third of what Precursor Games needs to make the title.
Given all the interest generated by the game’s announcement it’s strange to see so little support for it. While this might be at least somewhat understandable given the steep climb towards their goal, others trying to create successors to beloved video game series generated far more in a much shorter time. Shroud of the Avatar, Richard Garriot’s successor to the Ultima series, almost doubled its overall goal of one million. Torment: Tides of Numenera , successor to the famed Planescape: Torment, famously generated over four million within one month.
Each similarly had the support of those who had made the titles they were building upon and a similarly devoted fan-base.
So why is there such a difference in the level of support shown? There are a few reasons which have been suggested.
The foremost among these is the difference in genre. While the two previous examples were fantasy RPGs famous for their choices and variety, Eternal Darkness was a third person survival horror title. While definitely one of the best, the quality of the titles which have come out of the genre had been dubious at best over the years.
While there have definitely been good games, two of the flagship titles for the genre have been Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark, neither of which are the pinnacle of consistent high quality. Furthermore the genre has been shifting away from horror in recent years and far more into action or violence.
Resident Evil 4, one of the best regarded releases of that series, started a trend of emphasising upon combat over any scare factor. A similar attitude which was only furthered by 5 and 6. The Dead Space series started with only minor horror elements which became progressively less over time until 3 was just an outright action fest. Silent Hill Homecoming, F.E.A.R., and a fair number of other games have only strengthened this. The fact Left 4 Dead is considered survival horror has only furthered this problem.
The few titles in this time which have been highly praised for their scares are those which have abandoned combat elements entirely. The popular Slender series, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the countless indie creations such as SCP Containment Breach are all examples of this. As such either the lack of faith in the genre or shifting interest to either extremes of combat or horror might have reduced interest in any sequels to Eternal Darkness.
A second, more plausible reason, is that this is due to Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem having been a Gamecube title. Ultima and Planescape were both PC releases resulting in a more prorogued interest in them and availability compared with a platform which only lasted one generation. One which, and let’s be frank here, lacked the support available to its competitors and limited itself by focusing upon a younger target audience. Something not helped by a perceived lack of support or interest by Nintendo itself in the last few years of its life beyond a handful of titles from major IPs.
Whatever the cause, Shadow of the Eternals desperately needs to garner more interest and funds before it can be made. We can only hope more interest will be generated as time goes by and the title sees release.
What are your thoughts on the game and why do you think it seems to be receiving comparatively less support?