Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter Failure Could Kill Game

Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter Failure Could Kill Game


If the Kickstarter fails, Shawn Jackson claims those who donate via PayPal will get their cash back.

Shawn Jackson, COO for Precursor Games, the studio that's currently trying to raise cash for its Shadow of the Eternals episodic horror title, has taken to Reddit for an AMA. Its Kickstarter has raised, at time of writing, only $115,224 of its $1.35 million ask, with 18 days to go. Meanwhile Precursor's own - completely separate - PayPal crowdfunding effort has raised $272,584, nowhere near the $1.5 million Precursor was originally shooting for. No doubt this causes concern for Precursor, but the folks on Reddit had their own worries. What was the deal with Nintendo, publisher of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem when Precursor's people still worked for Silicon Knights, and would it get on board if the crowdfunding campaign went south? What was Jackson's response to the Kotaku article alleging all kinds of crazy on Denis Dyack's part? Why was Dyack on board at all, bearing in mind past history?

According to Jackson, Precursor has been in constant contact with Nintendo "and they have been supportive," but nothing's been said about Shadow. Nintendo still holds the Eternal Darkness IP, so Precursor's Shadow is a spiritual successor, not a sequel. That's why you won't be seeing, say, Mantorok - Corpse God of Eternal Darkness - in Shadow; Nintendo still owns his sinister carcass, so he could only appear with Nintendo's permission. Jackson didn't let much slip as far as alternative funding models went, but he was quick to promise that if things went wrong with the Kickstarter, even those who pledged via PayPal to Precursor's own funding effort would get their money back.

Wih regard to the Kotaku article that causes so much grief Dyack felt obliged to respond with a video statement, it "focussed on a very few negative opinions from few disgruntled employees," according to Jackson, and wasn't the full Silicon Knights picture. None of the allegations are true, Jackson says; certainly they aren't an accurate reflection of his time there. As for Dyack, why shouldn't Precursor hire a designer with 20 years experience in the industry running his own studio? Precursor believes in Dyack, and hopes that by keeping him on the creative side of things will let him excel at something he loves. "We didn't anticipate a backlash [when we hired Dyack]," Jackson claims, "because we actually know Denis as the person he is."

Whether or not tactics like this AMA will dispel the stigma surrounding Dyack is an open question, but it seems unlikely, given the time left to run and the gulf between what it needs and what it has, that Precursor will reach its funding goals. When that happens, it had better have some kind of backup plan ready to roll, else Shadow may remain insubstantial forever.

Source: Reddit AMA


Personally, I'm ambivalent, having never played Eternal Darkness. I hear good things, but the Happy Video Game Nerd didn't like it very much. A proper sequel would probably be getting better funding. But as the Escapist article said when that Dyack surfaced saying Silicon Knights spent two million dollars of its own money on X-Men Destiny on top of the funding they already got from Activision, why should anyone else give these same people their money? Maybe those who like horror games, I suppose. There aren't that many and most horror games have stupidly become shooters. But that's a niche market and few are excited enough about such a project to crowdfund it without the stigma currently on Dyack et al.

I think just from looking at the last 2 weeks results for the Kickstarter campaign, associating yourself with Dyack was the worst possible move for this project. Doesn't matter if any of the allegations are true or not with the X-Men Destiny project. Dyack responding the way he did was not a wise decision either. Well... that and asking upwards of $1.35M. It's a shame, because Eternal Darkness was a really spectacular game deserving of a sequel.

Honestly, I'm not sure why they're so surprised by the Dyack blow back they're getting. He was widely known for being an asshole before the Kotaku article ever came out, and I really doubt even fans of the company were very fond of him after Too Human and the shit storms he kicked up around that time.

And as far as him coming out denying the allegations and saying they're all false, of course he's going to say that because he knows no one still working in the industry can call him on it and hope to ever work again. Even if the allegations are 100% true, there's a reason the employees who did talk wouldn't let their names be published. Blowing the whistle on past bosses is a great way to get black balled in the industry, whether you're telling the truth or not.

As for them hiring him because of his 20 years of experience running his own studio, maybe they're just too close to Silicon Knights and Dyack to admit it, but in the entire history of that company they released a couple of games with good stories and interesting ideas but terrible execution, and one game which built on the work of a much better team to remake one of the best games ever made. Everything else they did ranges from completely forgettable to complete and utter shit. Sure, I liked Blood Omen and Eternal Darkness too, but Silicon Knights wasn't that great a developer, and Dyack was not that great a designer. If anything, the fact that he ran the company into the ground within two games after their split from Nintendo shows that he didn't have a sweet clue how to run a successful game studio.

Do not fucking fund this internet! The second dyack is even tangentally involved no money should change hands

As a huge fan of Eternal Darkness I really want this game to be made, and to be awesome.

As someone who's witnessed Silicon Knights be another victim of post-Nintendo mediocrity/infamy I can't let myself shell out money to help them get there.

I hope they do make the game, and that it turns out awesome, and when/if that time comes, I'll be buying full price. Maybe even on the WiiU for old time's sake.

I may not be understanding this right, but is that not the point of Kickstarter? I would be more surprised with the headline being "Kickstarter failure wont kill game". If not enough people are interested in the game, why make it?

That said, I would rather this game does get made. I thought Eternal Darkness was OK, wouldnt mind a successor.

That's the point of kickstarter. Projects that people aren't interested in don't get funded. Perhaps a better title would have been, Shadow of the Eternals fails to get funding, like so many other projects.

Part of me still thinks about how only Kotaku was willing to run with the article. This is especially weird when you consider stories about abusive developers tend to print money. The guy behind it was more than happy to jump to multiple people, but yet only Kotaku was willing to run with it. Maybe it's due to my love of Eternal Darkness, but I do think the allegations are weak. It's not that I respect Dyack, it's that I respect Wired as a company (well, I have no reason not to respect Wired is probably more accurate) and wonder why they didn't pick the story up. True or not, Dyack's reputation is in tatters and the fact that he can't escape it is somewhat sad.

I really hope Shadow Of The Eternals does get funded, I doubt they will but I really hope they do. I don't mind the idea of paying £40 to find out if the company is useless or good personally, but most are catious as hell about throwing a few dollars into funding a company they seem to despise.

Dyack can only function on a short leash, his shadow does more damage then any of the Eternals' ever could.

How do I put this... I would be more than happy to see "Shadow of the Eternals" succeed... With someone else's money.

I don't know if the Kotaku article is entirely accurate, entirely libelous, or (more likely) somewhere in between, but I tend to give a bit more credibility to multiple sources stating the same story than the target of that story flatly denying it all, and whatever Kotaku's reputation, their reply to that denial seemed pretty straight-up.

Regardless of the accuracy of the original report, what I do know is that I probably never would have bothered looking up Kotaku's original story without Dyack's denial, so in that regard the denial utterly failed as damage control.

There's no lack of good ideas that fail to secure funding out there. Somehow, we will struggle on.

I will always be grateful to Dyack for Eternal Darkness and Blood Omen, but the man needs to shut his mouth for a good long while, because his reputation as a game maker is not what it used to be. All he does nowayds is flap his gums in a way that makes Molyneux look like a sensible and reliable businessman.

Has there yet been a case where a video game Kickstarter without loved and adored developers attached to it, got over $1M?

Better no game than a bad game that sours the memory of the first.

Has there yet been a case where a video game Kickstarter without loved and adored developers attached to it, got over $1M?

Does Ouya count? It's certainly a video game Kickstarter, but for hardware, so ~handwaggle~.

Anyhow, looking at this list, I see one or two, like Camelot Unchained and Homestuck.

It's a damn, damn shame if it does get cancelled, but then, Dyack... I'm very tempted to donate or even buy the game, I'm a big fan of Eternal Darkness, I easily finished it like 10 times, but then again... Dyack... I guess it'll stay as a GameCube game. Currently The Secret World is filling all my supernatural-eldery-god-horror needs and it's seriously awesome, but I'd still definitely like a proper sequel or spiritual successor of Eternal Darkness.

Wow, putting something like that out this early is really toxic to a crowd funding campaign. What a stupid thing to do.

I loved Eternal Darkness, as did many of the above posters. However, this being a "spiritual" sequel sours the concept for me. The Ancients and protagonists I already know are engaging and alluring enough, and there is still the loose end with the Fifth, unrevealed Ancient. Thats the story I want to see, and if getting Nintendo onboard is what needs to happen, then lets fund THAT.

Having said the above, I think people are starting to grow over the "Kickstarter" thing. Its a good idea, in theory, and for a while, and even now, business may be booming. But this is not a future I want to help arrive. Times are tough, and economies suck, and yes and this and that and whatever, but the culture of asking gamers to fund games before theyre even developed is not a good thing for the industry, or the hobby. Not at all. It is bad enough that todays AAA game titles arrive so routinely in an alpha or early beta state, with full price tag. Its worse that the gaming community (ha) as a whole have gotten so used to it, that we barely bat an eye anymore.

But paying for vaporware on the hope that it might be cool? We need to move away from that. We have to. Ill admit I dont know what the solution is, with rising development costs and literally no check on publisher greed... But Kick Starting our own damn games is not it.

Whiskey Echo!!

Realistically... this isn't happening. They would need to make $60,000 PER DAY now to meet their deadline, and the most they ever got daily was $40,000 on day 1.

It's stupid they don't have a fall-back plan. Putting all your eggs in one basket (Kickstarter and Paypal donations) is, well, illogical, and if that's how they're going to run their business then they need serious business help.

It would be MUCH better to take that demo they obviously already have ready and shop it around to publishers and try and get funding that way... or maybe they did and got rejected, thus the Kickstarter. I don't know.

But then the other major mistake was, fair or not (and I think fair), Denis Dyack's involvement was pure poison that soured many people who otherwise would have given the game a shot to shy away from it by his association. It doesn't matter that he's not the CEO or the business guy; the shadow of prior failures, the hubris of prior arrogance and ego, the haunting of prior complaints, and the cloud of still-current legal and financial woes all but ensures that investing in the project with his name so prominently attached will ward away all but the most forgiving or ignorant of core gamers, no matter their love for Eternal Darkness.

If they were smart, they would have NEVER announced his involvement. Keep him involved if you must, but keep him as far away from a forum, as far away from a camera, as far away from any media as you can until the project is finished. Hell, even "After Earth" had the common sense as a movie to shy away from M. Night Shaymalan's involvement as director. And yet, I don't know why, they put him front and center and then act surprised when people don't respond favorably. They should have kept him chained up in the basement somewhere, or, if worse came to worse, cut ties with him, even temporarily, rather than let one man's enormous mistakes sink the efforts of an entire studio of people (again).

And, well, that pains me because, YES, I love Eternal Darkness. I would kill for a sequel. I want it more than almost any other game out there... but not like this, not under this situation, and, ultimately, not with Dyack involved.

If they want it, they should make a deal with Nintendo to do a proper sequel, get Nintendo's backing and support and oversight, and do it like a normal game would be made. But by asking people to "have faith" in them, when the Silicon Knights, and Dyack in particular, have demonstrated how untrustworthy they actually are, they're basically asking for the moon. It was a poor decision on multiple accounts, and the biggest regret is, yes, it could have been incredibly awesome... but there's too many unknowns to woo people into fronting them the cash. This is nothing like Tim Schaffer asking for money for a genre people love, a genre he's considered a god within, a genre that only asked for $200,000 but made 10x the amount, from a creator known for his modesty, humor, talent, and quality-assurance. Why Precursor thought they could ask for more with a much more shady and nebulous track record is beyond me.

I just want to say thanks for aggregating! I don't have enough time to delve into everything always, and I love lenses that selectively magnify interesting bits, yet give the option to see everything for myself if warranted. You saved me time, and thus money. Thanks!

Eternal Darkness had subtlety - the slow screen tilt, the changing background music, the way you wouldn't recognise a sanity event until halfway through it... That freakishly terrifying knocking on the doors...

I've yet to see any subtlety in what Shadows is offering. Yes, there was a sanity effect, but it was big and explosive with walls falling away and monsters and lava and a scary eye and everything! And we've got a woman to explain everything to us about this creepy book! And Voice-Acting EVERYWHERE!

Okay, I'll stop now.

I was excited about this when I first heard about it, but the trailer/gameplay segment that they showed off didn't impress, and made me believe that they would fail to capture why Eternal Darkness worked in the first place. So Shadows won't be receiving my money.

They didn't expect fan backlash against Dyack? Really?

The same Dyack who demanded that the FBI needs to tear down a website (Neogaf) simply because it wasn't reacting to Too Human as positively as he wanted?
The same Dyack who doesn't like giving previews, because then players might find out just how shitty a game he's made and not buy it?

Or oh, best one yet. The same Dyack who told every single person who didn't like Too Human, to go play the demo. When they weren't impressed by the demo, his only response is that they "just don't get it". The greatest of all comebacks when it comes to gaming. Yep, because Too Human was just so "innovative and different", as he claims.

Personally, one of the funnier quotes I remember him using was that frame rate "just doesn't matter" when it comes to making cut scenes. Because who wants fluid, perfectly clear video of those horribly modeled, bland and downright ugly characters, when you can get it choppy! It's like it's indy films darling shaking camera!

And now they come out with the whole "Give us money or the game dies!" trick? This might of work, had they never of mentioned Dyack in the first place.

And their response to the kotaku article, quality of kotaku aside, was weak. Sources remain anonymous for good reasons, as Vivi22 brought up. Meanwhile sidestepping the more dubious and shady results of "selling" things off to a shell company that Dyack was more than likely going to join up with irregardless of Shadow, simply to avoid dealing with the Silicone Knight crap.

Kinda sad... the medieval lesbians could have been interesting...
Though not with my money on the table.

Don't care. Any game that bills itself as an action/adventure horror game is going to suck balls. The genres are like oil and water. Horror is all about dis-empowering the player. Horror is about struggling to survive helpless and usually alone in the face of an overwhelming evil. It's the virtual opposite of an action adventure.

Kinda sad... the medieval lesbians could have been interesting...
Though not with my money on the table.

Considering who lady frankenstein hair was, you don't want to see where that was going. >_>

OT: Given all I've heard about Dyack and his... exploits... I'm surprised they even mentioned he had anything to do with this at all. The moment I noticed he was attached, I lost all interest because I don't really trust the guy and it seems a lot of people don't trust him anymore than I do. So unless they get a miracle on their hands, I don't see this going well for them.

I think it is a great thing that this won't be funded. After the whole Too Human - Epic mess, and then the X- men thing, I'm glad this won't have the opportunity to sour thousands of people off of crowd funding. Better to petition Nintendo to make a real sequel.

I don´t care that much about Shadow of the Eternals, even though i hope they succeed on behalf of the company. I played Eternal Darkness and i can´t really see what´s so special about it, there were so many great horror games in the ps2 era and i just don´t see Eternal Darkness as one of them, it seems like it´s mostly succesful because it was the only horror game (which wasn´t Resident Evil) available on GC.


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