Errrr: Shadow Of The Eternals Returns To Kickstarter

I'm sure she's really evil and all, but does anyone else have trouble taking people with Troll doll hair seriously?

Shadow of the Eternals is the crowdfunding effort that will not die. Instead, it merely crawled into its cold, cashless coffin and emerged after a month of rest, ready to face a new day. It is, one might say, eternal. Or at least, that’s what Totally Not Silicon Knigh– er, Precursor Games is going with. The Totally-Not-Denis-Dyack-led outfit is claiming to have secured a new source of funding, thus allowing it to drop the Eternal Darkness spiritual successor’s Kickstarter goal from $1.5 million to a still rather lofty $750,000. Other things have changed too – and not all of them for the better.

First, let’s start with the good. Precursor has responded to fan complaints, so Shadow of the Eternals (who, themselves, may or may not possess some form of Darkness) is now a non-episodic “8-10 hour complete experience” that focuses on deliberate pacing and fourth-wall-discombobulating sanity events. Last time around, many backers were rightly worried that their collective money mountain might just get slurped down the drain of a single two hour episode, so the game’s new direction is encouraging.

Perhaps more questionably, Dyack and co are really playing up the “You (yes, YOU, unique snowflake of a person with hair and lungs and fingernails) will get to help make the game”. And by that, they apparently mean entire portions: stories, areas, assets, sanity events, etc. Now, do you see this? This is a phone. I would like you to hold it for a moment. Reason being, they’re saying we get to pay for the privilege of gluing their Humpty Dumpty dream project back together again? I’m all for fan involvement on these things, but I’m not sure how I feel about this particular approach given a) a potential lack of any sort of reimbursement and b) Dyack and co’s (rumored) incredibly sketchy history, especially as it pertains to treatment of creative talent and crediting people for their contributions. Who knows? Maybe Precursor’s intentions are great, but this still leaves an awful lot of room for exploitation.

Meanwhile, Precursor’s not specifying exactly what sort of outside assistance it’s procured – merely that some magical benefactor is slipping coins underneath its pillow. And let’s be honest here: to weave an entire 8-10 hour triple-A production into reality, it’s going to need a lot more than $750,000. So who’s forking over the additional few million (at the very, very least) dollars?

In a crowdfunding world where extreme transparency is becoming more key by the day, Precursor has failed time and time again to give full disclosure or confront allegations against its trustworthiness head-on. Maybe this really is a fresh start after the flaming lawsuit explosion X-Men death bomb that was Silicon Knights, but I’ll have trouble believing that until this company really opens up instead of just repeatedly trying to bury its dirty laundry.

Unfortunately, a new round of interviews with sites like Polygon just adds another verse to the same old song and dance. Denials of everything. No explanations. No attempts to make sense of things like the sudden formation of a new company, some very questionable terms of service on its first crowdfunding drive, or any of the other big questions surrounding this venture. Just repeated cries of, well, “no”.

Oh, I guess Solid Snake is doing a voice for the game now too. No, no, you just wait there. I’ll go get the confetti.


  1. Anthile says:

    They should rather kickstart for a proper hair stylist for that poor woman.

  2. Freud says:

    There are, I assume, no legal ramifications for not shipping a game partly funded with Kickstarter. What the Eternal Darkness project shows off is supposedly done (using Activision money) over years and it’s basically one tiny part of one level. Third, there are rumors they don’t really have any employees anymore.

    Giving this project money is an insanity effect Dyack & Co will never be able to top in a game. I’d rather run naked in Pamplona drenched in cow pheromones than give that man any money.

    • Branthog says:

      Well, there are ramifications if you promise a game as one of the rewards for pledging and you don’t deliver it.

      And by ramifications, I mean Kickstarter says you are obligated to fulfill pledges . . . . not ramifications in as much as “something will actually happen if you don’t fulfill them”.

      I’m a guy who has backed hundreds of these and even I won’t back this. I don’t have any ill-will toward those involved and I’m sure there are a lot of mistakes and misunderstandings, but . . . noooo way. Not worth the risk.

  3. tnzk says:

    It was once asking for 1.4 million dollars for a several hour pilot episode of the game.

    It is now at for $750,000 8-10 hour complete experience.

    Something just doesn’t add up.

    • Chalky says:

      I’m holding out for the kickstarter when they offer a 40 hour AAA epic for 17p

      • RedViv says:

        That’s the next one, and it will be accompanied by an entirely new interview in which Dyack counters new totally relevant claims of his recklessly putting puppies in danger, feeding horses the wrong type of oats, and not watering his former room mate’s sister’s cousin’s stepfather’s English teacher’s plants in time to keep them from decaying.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Well I guess when you’re asking fans to create entire portions of your game, you don’t need quite as big of a budget.

  4. Shooop says:

    Reason being, they’re saying we get to pay for the privilege of gluing their Humpty Dumpty dream project back together again?

    Considering Dyack’s history with public relations this is hardly surprising.

  5. hitnrun says:

    You know, I actually didn’t hate Too Human. It wasn’t the kind of game you keep up on your shelf but I liked its style.

    It’s a shame that these people (this person?) are such flaky egomaniacs. They’re probably competent enough, from a purely utilitarian standpoint, to make a living in games. Without ripping people off or suing people, I mean.

    • Moraven says:

      It was still a decent game, but it could have been better and with less bugs for how many years it was in development. They were planning to make a trilogy out of it.

      • Baines says:

        I want to recall reading that Too Human started as something similar to a System Shock clone. It wasn’t just bounced from console to console with delays, it became a completely different game.

  6. Pamplemousse says:

    Yeah this still shouldn’t get funded. Dyack is a hack.

    • MykulJaxin says:

      As I read your comment I imagined people walking around picketing with this as the caption on their signs. DYACK IS A HACK

      • Pamplemousse says:

        They should. His approach to kickstarter is as cynical as the ‘old-skool RPG’ fiasco.

  7. R10T says:

    Videoexperiences,Euroexperiencer, Experiencescon, ExperiencersGate, Good Old Experiences ..
    You just lost “THE EXPERIENCE”

  8. Moraven says:

    Edit: My long comment got eaten!

    Silicion owes $10mil+ from their lost lawsuit to Epic over the Unreal Engine. This Kickstarter is from the same people who jumped ship from that liability. Hurrah for corporate business law!

    I am a fan of Eternal Darkness like anyone else. But they at least had Nintendo as the publisher who have strict QA/QC for quality games (and at the very least, not bug ridden). Without Nintendo they have not released one complete good game. (In which they are appeasing the hardcore fans with a Wii U release.)

    Don’t back this.

  9. lomaxgnome says:

    When one’s reputation on the internet is almost entirely bad, why would you turn to the internet for funding? If there’s one thing Kickstarter projects have proven in the post-Double Fine Adventure era, it’s that large amounts of funding (basically anything over 200k or so) depend almost entirely on the reputation of people involved and a substantial built-in fan base. This may have a bit of a fan base, but it certainly doesn’t have the reputation. I’ll be shocked if it gets over 100k before they pull it again.

    Edit: Well, it’s apparently already over 100k. So I guess the built-in fan base is there, but I just don’t see it overcoming the terrible reputation.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Smells like desperation to me, what with the added element of “please help us make our game while we pretend that soliciting unpaid work from you is a feature!” I’m guessing publishers don’t want to touch Dyack with a twenty-foot pole either, after what happened between him and Activision and him and Epic.

    • Lemming says:

      Don’t underestimate the vastness and ignorance of the internet though. Looking at the comments on their Kickstarter, they range from ‘What’s RPS?’ to ‘These guys aren’t SK, people are just lying and why wouldn’t you want a sequel to Eternal Darkness?’

  10. Fiatil says:

    I want a sequel to Eternal Darkness, but this can’t be it. Everything that comes out of Dyack’s mouth now reeks in the worst way possible.

  11. LTK says:

    Meanwhile, Precursor’s not specifying exactly what sort of outside assistance it’s procured – merely that some magical benefactor is slipping coins underneath its pillow.

    As far as I’m aware, Kickstarter projects don’t usually reveal where their additional funding comes from, do they? So this doesn’t seem like such a strange thing. I’ve seen plenty of announcements on Kickstarters failed and succeeded that “we have been contacted by an investor/publisher” and then never say who or what that actually was.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Yep, and all of those are equally dodgy as well.

      It reeks of “our kickstarter failed, so now we need to construct an explanation for why we’re going to proceed with development anyway despite no longer needing the kickstarter funding.”

      If there’s funding sitting in the wings just after a Kickstarter finishes, it was probably there before the kickstarter started. People don’t throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at a game project with less than a few months due diligence.

      In practice, what I suspect is that for most what they actually mean is that they’ve now decided to use their own savings rather than relying on other people’s.

    • Fiatil says:

      I’m extremely amused by the logic of this. It’s like saying “Ok, so we went to kickstarter to get fan funding from our game with no publisher. Well, our kickstarter failed. Now that it’s clear no one really wants our game, we managed to secure private backing! Let’s do it again!”

  12. Pich says:

    That video preview looks like the cover of a saucy novel.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      “Let Mme. Exupery initiate you in the pleasures of the flesh, Justine,”

  13. Greggh says:

    “THIS… can’t be… happening”

    I almost considered giving my money the first time around for this, without even knowing the predecessor (which is actually looking like a good game)… Who’d know, eh?
    Be right back, dusting off my Wii.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    I don’t mean to offend, but…
    -that’s a lie, I do mean to offend, peolpe need to be offended.
    …if you back this project, good sir or madam, you are soft in the head.

  15. Gargenville says:

    Sounds a lot like the Project CARS business model. ‘Now you too can spend the low, low price of $20 for the privilege of creating content for our game which we’ll then take and sell commercially!’

  16. Lemming says:

    Prescursor are calling you out it seems, RPS:

    “Here is some irony – from RPS mission statement (1st line):
    “If there’s one single way to summarise RPS, it’s this: all games are equal until proven otherwise. “

    From the comments section of their KS, posted by them

  17. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    And let’s be honest here: to weave an entire 8-10 hour triple-A production into reality, it’s going to need a lot more than $750,000.

    It’s not a triple-A production! That’s not what triple-A means!