Eidolon Is A Survival Game About Mystery, Beauty, And Life

No sudden movements, trees. I'm watching you.

I am very good at surviving. So far, I’ve made it 24 years, and I’ve only forgotten how to eat, panicked, fashioned a spear out of a busted broom and a butter knife, and attempted to slay my refrigerator, like, six or seven times. But I can’t take all of the credit for that sterling record. Games taught me countless survival tips and tricks, like how to punch another grown adult until they disappear and leave behind a fully cooked turkey. Eidolon, however, might just elevate my skills to a whole new level – while also delighting me with natural wonderment in the process. It looks to be a fusion of the ever-popular survival sandbox genre and Proteus, so basically the game that a lot of people wanted Proteus to be.

The twist? Eidolon takes place in “a dreary and mystical Western Washington” circa the year 2400. You, meanwhile, are digging up the bones and books that make up humanity’s collective corpse. Proteus meets Fallout? Yes please.

Here’s how it works:

“Eidolon is a game about exploring a mysterious landscape and uncovering the stories of the people who lived there once before. It is a game about history, curiosity, interconnectedness, and the slow and inevitable beauty of life.”

“You will be dropped into the dreary and mystical Western Washington circa 2400 c.e. with a bow, fishing rod, and little to guide your way. Awaiting you is a vast landscape filled with wildlife, edible plants, and the historical artefacts of our now-dead culture — journals, newspapers, zines, brochures, transcripts, and more. You must spend your fleeting moments moving through this place, collecting what was left behind, and piecing together what happened to these people, both from a historical perspective and from a much more personal one.”

It really does sound enticingly special (not to mention like My Kind Of Thing), almost a fusion of Proteus’ awe-worthy vistas and Fallout’s pseudo-modern archaeology. Of course, what matters most is how it stands on its own two feet, and a lush painterly art style and interesting concept certainly inspire confidence.

Eidolon is set to release sometime toward the middle of 2014. Apparently, though, we’ll get a trailer in the coming weeks, to compliment some handsome screenshots you can shuffle through on IndieDB. Fleeting morsels, but enough to sate us until the game more fully emerges from the silent woods of game development. Or, you know, until it winds up on Kickstarter/Early Access, as all games of our time ultimately do.

Thanks, Indie Statik.

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38 Comments

  1. Kefren says:

    I thought this was a remake of The Eidolon link to en.wikipedia.org for a second. I played that again recently after watching a clip of it in the Charlie Brooker’s ‘How Videogames Changed The World’

  2. Ross Angus says:

    Love the art style.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    One tree panics and runs for its life.

  4. Fiatil says:

    I believe someone just posted screenshots of my dream game made true. Proteus + survival is something I only dared to hope for.

  5. bill says:

    Quick question on Proteus. Does anything actually change/happen as you play it, or is it simply exploration?
    I don’t really mind either way… I rather enjoy it. But I explored the whole island and now i’m wondering if I should start a new one, or keep looking around?

    • Ross Angus says:

      Keep looking. Follow breadcrumb trails here and there. The game has an ending, and if you’re in the right mood, it’s quite magical.

    • Bull0 says:

      Well, the… they’re like seasons, those sort of change. These little magic stars appear, follow them.

    • Fiatil says:

      Yes, there definitely is a point and an ending.

  6. Baines says:

    I guess I’m the only person that found Proteus interesting for about 30 seconds, spent the next few minutes failing to figure out why people loved it, and then uninstalled it.

    • DXN says:

      Yes. Yes, you are.

    • Bull0 says:

      I can’t think of any games that absolutely everyone enjoys. There’s always going to be someone it doesn’t appeal to. Not really a huge problem.

    • Wedge says:

      I spent an hour having fun with it, then realized I’d seen 90% of the content and there was really nothing to do,and that it had zero replayability because the pointless randomization would always contain the same pieces of the world everytime on an irrelevantly different terrain layout. Luckily I think I got it as part of a bundle or something. I’d have been rather cross having paid $5 for it, much less the $10 it’s normally priced at.

      • Flammablezeus says:

        So, basically you didn’t finish it.

        • gwathdring says:

          Oh, get off your high-horse. Not every game is for everyone, and there’s no sense in “finishing” an experience you aren’t enjoying.

          Don’t be one of those tiresome people that says you can’t criticize a book you only got half-way through. If you don’t like half the book, that’s worth criticizing. It’s subjective of course but … well, of course it is.

  7. Turkey says:

    Are you sure Proteus and Fallout just met? Sounds to me like they had a baby on acid or possibly speed.

  8. KicktheCAN says:

    Is that a piece of foam stuck to that arrow?

  9. Flammablezeus says:

    I love the idea of this game. However, as an archer, that screenshot is hideous. Who on earth lines an arrow up with their eye?! I hope they change that because it would annoy me every time to no end. I don’t expect even remotely realistic archery in games, but pulling an arrow to your eye in first person is a bit much.

    • The Random One says:

      Maybe the player character is a telekinetic beholder.

    • IceWaterGames says:

      Hi! As the developer, I’d love to hear detailed input from someone more experienced in archery than I. The arrow drawing is indeed very placeholder—it was drawn quickly while we were prototyping our new representation for the tools, and we plan to replace it soon.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      • gekitsu says:

        there are a ton of ways to draw a bow, depending on the bow in question, the culture, the purpose…

        modern olympic recurve, for example, classically pulls the string and arrow under the centre of the chin, having the string run through a few contact points in your face. the arrow is offset from the eye pretty far, but olympic recurve bows have sights attached to them, and you aim through those. also, the bow is held vertical, with the arrow resting in a so-called window, or shelf. thats a cutout in the handle to make the arrow pass the bow handle exactly centred.

        some more traditional or primitive styles would be to draw the arrow to the corner of the mouth, for example, so it is aligned under the eye. (thats what i draw like; all-wood flatbow) youd have your arrow supported on the side of the index finger knuckle, and the bow canted to the side a little, to make the arrow less prone to slip off your hand. (think of the angle between the vertical bow and the horizontal top surface of the hand around the handle: tilt that to the side a bit so it points ever so slightly downwards, making a more stable arrow rest)

        some people aim by always holding & drawing the arrow the same way, but aim towards differently offset points, depending on distance to target (like sniping games that simulate bullet drop). a different school (its called stringwalking) always aims directly at the target but changes the distance between where the hand pulls the string and the arrows nocking point.. and then, there is “true” instinctive shooting, where you dont even consider lining up the shapes of your bow and arrow with the target, but just wing it, guided by experience and intuition. much like you dont make a ton of conscious alignments when you throw a ball at a person – you dont calculate, you just throw it there.
        for a game, this point is pretty moot (either you use bullet drop or you find a really good way to visualise the intuitive grasp of where the arrow is going to strike), but the different ways of drawing can make the arrow end up in very different spots. stringwalking can place the arrow much closer to the eye than drawing corner-of-mouth, for example.

        in cultures with shorter bows and shorter draw lengths, the bow draw doesnt extend back all the way to the face, but stops somewhere at maybe elbow level, mid-upper arm or shoulder-ish. naturally, that makes for a wholly different situation of sighting down the bow and arrow, looking at the whole setup from much farther “behind” than drawing to a point in your face. you could google photos of a native american called “ishi” and look at his peculiar way of drawing a bow.

        on the other hand, there are bow cultures and archery purposes that extend the draw length beyond any point on the face, or alignment with eyes. medieval english war archery, for example, classically draws to somewhere along the back of the jaw, ear area. that is mainly because the english used bows of very high draw weights. for comparison: a lot of people do target archery with 35 lbs fiberglass bows. with a bow drawing 50 lbs, you are pretty safe to hunt even deer-sized animals. english war bows average in the area of 120 lbs, some even extending up to 180 lbs, and only rarely dropping to the 90 lbs-ish range. thats a force you want a very stable alignment of bones to draw and hold – think a straight line of bow arm, shoulders and upper draw arm. if you draw to a point on your face, you only have the bow arm and shoulders in a straight line, with the drawing upper arm at an angle already, making it much harder to hold very high draw weights and puts you at a much higher risk of rotator cuff injury.
        another style that draws the string back very far is kyudo – japanese archery.

        long story short: there are a lot of ways the sight picture of a primitive bow and arrow could look. both towercap and me shoot wooden bows without sights, and our sighting pictures look pretty different already. a lot of this is cultural, but there is also personal preference playing into it.

        the one thing id change for sure in what you have now is that i would extend the back face of the arrow beyond the border of the screen. having it visible somehow implies that the arrow would be directly in front of your eye, and maybe even at a distance you could focus on. imagine the fingers on the string into that picture, and youd have everything blocked. having the arrow project to a point just outside the screen would imply an arrow shaft that is somewhere close to the eye, but outside your cone of focussed vision – just what youd see if you sighted along the shaft in any manner.
        the canted bow is a great touch, thats spot-on with how a lot of such bows are often shot. as for details – dont sweat them too much. get the large picture right, and make sure it works well in the game.

        maybe consider looking if there is an archery club nearby and pay them a visit. if they have some guys shooting bare bows, or even wood bows, talk a little to them, maybe launch a few arrows yourself. cant hurt, might give you a few impressions of the real mccoy, and its fun, too. :)

        • IceWaterGames says:

          This was incredibly informative and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write this out for us!

    • Towercap says:

      I guess you shoot either Olympic recurve or compound. I’ve got a flatbow. I draw the arrow to my eye. It looks different to the screenshot, because I sight down the arrow shaft, but many people shoot “instinctive” (this word just sent the shudder of contempt down every non-instinctive shooter’s back). The way the character holds the bow in that screenshot is pretty consistent with the way you would hold it when shooting instinctive. I personally wouldn’t change it.

      • gwathdring says:

        I shoot a wooden longbow without a sight. I draw to my mouth, and while the butt of the arrow is invisible (since its at the corner of my mouth and that would otherwise wedge my fingers in front of my eyes), it otherwise looks a fair bit like the picture. Unless the game takes arrow physics into account I don’t think it really matters if it’s “realistic” as long as it’s sensible.

        • Towercap says:

          This is pretty much what I do too. I use the Mediterranean draw and press the tip of my middle finger against the corner of my mouth. I sight down the arrow shaft and tend to keep the arrow directly beneath my eye in terms of horizontal alignment. This way, the shaft is, ideally, perfectly vertical in my field of vision.

          The only change I’d make to the grip in the screenshot would be to extend the arrow past the screen edge. That’s only if the devs were going for a bit more realism, I guess.

  10. IceWaterGames says:

    Thanks much for the lovely write-up, Nathan! And many thanks to all the kind commenters, as well.

  11. DXN says:

    It looks lovely and the idea is golden. I’d kickstart/buy this!

  12. Monkeh says:

    That header image already looks so great, I didn’t really have to see more to know if I’d like this! An atmospheric survival game (with bows!) that looks like Proteus, count me in!

  13. Arglebargle says:

    Cool game ideas, and I like the art style. Definitely want to follow this one. Good luck on the development!

  14. Ahzrei says:

    This looks a lot like The Long Dark that was on Kickstarter a while back.

  15. Ako says:

    Yes please, all of it <3

  16. nitesmoke says:

    If you’re into these games, I started a subreddit to discuss them, r/SurvivalGaming. It looks like this game is going to be pretty good, I really like the aesthetic they went with. It’s very atmospheric, which is probably the most important component of a survival game. Looking forward to it!

  17. Celuden says:

    So a bit like a more gamey Proteus then?