Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a psychological horror action-adventure video game developed by Silicon Knights and published by Nintendo. Originally planned for the Nintendo 64, it was made a launch title for the GameCube and released on June 24, 2002. While the game features similar gameplay mechanics to that of the Resident Evil series, it distinguishes itself with unique features, such as "sanity effects". In the game, players take on the role of several characters as they become embroiled in a struggle against a powerful entity who seeks to enslave humanity.
Eternal Darkness was not a commercial success following its launch, but was widely praised by reviewers and won numerous awards. Although a direct follow-up to the game was cancelled by Nintendo, who owned the game's copyright, and Silicon Knights later went bankrupt and disbanded, the game's writer and director Denis Dyack has been attempting to make a spiritual successor entitled Shadow of the Eternals.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Plot
- 3 Development
- 4 Release
- 5 Reception
- 6 Legacy
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The game is conducted from a third-person perspective; although the cameras are designed to remain focused on the player's character, they cannot be controlled. While the gameplay operates on a similar style to that of Resident Evil – fighting monsters with various weapons and solving puzzles to further explore a location; the provision of an in-game map for each location, that tracks a player's bearings; and an inventory system that stores items and weapons acquired during the game, which can be examined in detail, equipped for combat or used to solve puzzles, and be combined with other objects being carried – Eternal Darkness maintains notable differences in gameplay style, some of which distinguish it from other horror/survival games.
Combat focuses on a simple targeting system, in which players must lock-on to an enemy in order to attack it, but can focus on striking an enemy directly or attacking one of its limbs and remove it, thus hindering an enemy; decapitating the heads on most enemies effectively blinds them. While playing as characters in settings during pre-industrial eras, combat relies mainly on close-combat weapons such as swords. More modern era characters have access to firearms, including pistols and shotguns.
A series of brief tutorials are provided during the early chapters, aimed at explaining the various aspects of the game, including two distinct systems – a spell-casting system referred to as Magick, and the Sanity Meter.
Multiple playable characters
After the player initially searches the game's main hub, the Roivas Family estate, for a book called the Tome of Eternal Darkness, and reads it, the main narrative of the game's story switches between two phases – the main phase focuses on a series of chapters, in which players take control of a character within each chapter, each of whom must complete a specific task in order to complete the chapter and continue the story; the other phase acts as an intermission between chapters, in which the player controls the game's main protagonist and explore the hub for a page for the Tome, in order to begin the next chapter. The game features twelve playable characters, split between four distinct locations in different periods of time, each of whom are different in terms of the game's three main parameters – health, sanity, and magick – and have access to a small selection of weapons that they can use in combat, though what they can use is determined by the period of time they are in.
Multiple story paths
The game features multiple paths that can be taken, the choice of which to take occurring towards the end of the first chapter, and involves choosing one of three artifacts. The choice that is made at this juncture in the game, not only determines which of the game's three other antagonists are aligned to the story, but also affects the difficulty of the game and what enemies they face in subsequent chapters and later intermission periods. After the game is completed down one path, it becomes unavailable in future playthroughs, until the player completes all three paths.
Magick can be used by all characters (with the exception of those in the first two chapters), and consists of spells that can be used to damage opponents, protect characters and heal them, and be used to solve certain puzzles; with the player able to assign five spells (or up to five different variations of the same spell) for quick-use during the game.
Spells consist of two components which the player must acquire in order to make progress in the game – Runes (similar in appearance to glyphs or sigilia), that are the components of spells; and a Circle of Power, of which there are three types available, allowing players to cast spells using three, five, or seven runes – both of which are stored in the Tome of Eternal Darkness and can be used in subsequent chapters and intermission periods. Each character must possess the Tome to use magick, with each spell costing a certain amount of magick power depending on the strength it is being cast at, with magick power recharging over time, though spell casting can be interrupted if the character takes damage.
The game features a list of spells that can be used, some of which are enhanced versions with greater strength to them. All require the player to combine a series of Runes together in order to cast them, which are divided between three types – alignment runes based on the game's ancients, that fuel a spell; verb (effect) runes, that denote the action of the spell; and noun (target) runes, which denote what is effected by the spell, be it the character, an area or an enemy – though such runes cannot be used, regardless of how they were acquired, until the player also finds a Tablet that can translate their use. Although players need a spell scroll to know what effects a combination of Runes will have, such scrolls are not necessary.
All spells are fundamentally affected by what alignment rune is used to power them, of which the game incorporates four types – Red, Green, Blue, and Purple. Three of them are acquired over the course of the game, the chronological order of their acquirement determined by the player's choice of path for their playthrough, and each affect spells on a specific parameter; in terms of powering spells that damage enemies, they operate on a rock, paper, scissors principle of gameplay. The fourth, purple, is not essential, but has greater power than the other three, though it cannot be used to cast certain spells.
The following below details how each alignment Rune affect spells:
- Red aligned spells affect physical health and do greater harm to green aligned enemies.
- Blue aligned spells affect Magick abilities and do greater harm to red-aligned enemies.
- Green aligned spells affect sanity and do greater harm to blue aligned enemies.
- Purple aligned spells affect all major parameters and do great harm to red, green, and blue-aligned enemies.
The other distinctive gameplay aspect comes from "Sanity Effects", the game's standout concept that Nintendo patented. Upon beginning the game's second chapter, players must keep watch on a Sanity meter – a green bar which decreases when the player is spotted by an enemy. As the bar becomes low, subtle changes to the environment and random, unusual events begin to occur, which reflect the character's slackening grip on reality.
While minor effects include a skewed camera angle, heads of statues following the character, and unsettling noises, stronger effects include bleeding on walls and ceilings, entering a room that is unrealistic before finding that the character never left the previous room, the character suddenly dying, and fourth wall breaking effect such as "To Be Continued" promotions for a "sequel", and simulated errors and anomalies of the TV or GameCube; while the latter does not affect gameplay, they can be misconstrued by the player as being actual technical malfunctions.
When the bar is completely empty, further damage to Sanity effectively damages health. In order to combat this, players can recover lost Sanity, either by using Green-aligned restorative spells, or by performing a finishing move on an enemy; this can be done once an enemy has taken enough damage and collapses onto the ground, but must be done before their body disappears.
The story of Eternal Darkness takes place over four principal locations which game skips back and forth between. They include an underground temple complex called the Forbidden City, in Persia/Middle East; a Khmer temple in Angkor Thom, Cambodia; Oublié Cathedral in Amiens, France (not to be confused with Amiens Cathedral); and the Roivas Family Estate, Rhode Island, United States.
The chapters found in the game are not discovered in chronological order. Instead, to make the narrative more dramatic, each chapter jumps around the timeline of the plot. The events within chapters are laid out below, but unlike the order as they are in the game, they are laid out in chronological order, with the exception of the prologue still being first.
2000 AD — Alexandra Roivas, a university student studying in Washington, finds herself returning to her family's estate in Rhode Island after her grandfather, Edward Roivas, her only living relative, is found brutally murdered. Two weeks after returning, with the local police having gotten nowhere with the murder, Alexandra decides to investigate the mansion for clues, and stumbles upon a secret room containing, among other odd items, a book bound with human skin and bone called the Tome of Eternal Darkness. Deciding to read it, she finds it containing accounts of various people in the past, beginning with the story of Pious Augustus.
26 BC — Pious Augustus, a respected Roman military commander, is sent to Ancient Persia to locate an important relic. Lured away from his men by mysterious voices, Pious found himself venturing into an underground temple complex called the Forbidden City, and coming across three artifacts, each possessing the essence of a powerful godlike being referred to as "Ancients". Upon attempting to touch one of the artifacts, Pious finds himself corrupted by its power, becoming an undead warlock with great power, whereupon he pledges his allegiance to the artifact's Ancient and begins working on summoning them into the universe. Seeking to learn more, Alexandra searches the mansion for more pages from the Tome, and learns of how several individuals came into contact with the Tome, while dealing with Pious or his servants.
565 AD — a young Persian swordsman named Karim, ventures to the Forbidden City to locate a treasure for a woman that he loves, named Chandra. Upon finding it to be an artifact that Pious left behind, he is visited by the spirit of Chandra, who died after he left, and convinces him to sacrifice himself in order to guard it from dark forces.
814 AD — Pious orders the assassination of Charlemagne, so he cannot impede his master's return. A Frankish messenger named Anthony, who stumbles upon the plot after being struck by a corrosive magick spell meant for the emperor, travels to a small monastery in Amiens, France in order to warn him of the danger to his life. Despite Anthony's best efforts, he arrives too late to save him, and dies from the spell he was afflicted with.
1150 AD — Pious travels to a temple in Angkor Thom, in order to deal with the "Corpse God" Mantorok, another powerful god-like being that can oppose his master, and binds it to a slow death. A young Khmer slave girl, named Ellia, finds herself trapped within the temple at the same time and attempts to find another way out. While doing so, she encounters Mantorok beneath the temple and is approached by one of his servants, who entrusts her with the task of protecting an artifact, containing his essence, within her body. Shortly after receiving this, Pious confronts her and questions her over the essence's location, but unable to get answers from her, promptly kills her with magick.
1460 AD — Pious returns to Persia to construct a Pillar of Flesh at the Forbidden City, as part of his master's plans. Roberto Bianchi, a Venetian architect travelling through the region, is captured by Pious' men and forced to survey the pillar's foundations within the City. While conducting his work, he encounters the spirit of Karim, who entrusts him with the artifact in his possession. Shortly after Roberto completes his survey, Pious has him thrown into the Pillar with the other workers and buried alive.
1485 AD — Pious installs a creature under the newly constructed Oublié Cathedral in Amiens, called the Black Guardian, to protect an artifact that could defeat his master, until after they are summoned. A Franciscan monk named Paul Luther, visiting the region to view a holy relic at the cathedral, finds himself accused of murdering a fellow monk by the local Inquisition. Attempting to clear his name, he discovers that the cathedral's relic doesn't exist, and encounters the Guardian, which promptly kills him after Pious, masquerading as the local Inquisition's leader, deems him an issue.
1760 AD — Dr. Maximillian Roivas, a colonial ancestor of Alex and her grandfather, inherits his father's mansion in Rhode Island and decides to investigate its secrets. Upon finding the mansion's secret room and acquiring the Tome, monsters suddenly appear, some of whom possess his servants. Seeking their source, he soon finds a large cavern beneath the mansion, containing an ancient city within called Ehn'gha. After barely surviving a fight against a creature guarding the city's entrance, he returns to the surface to get help, only to be considered delirious. Three months later, Maxmillian is declared insane after murdering four of his servants, and is sent to an asylum for the rest of his life.
1916 AD — Oublié Cathedral is converted into a field hospital during World War I, in order to treat the wounded being brought in from the frontlines near Amiens. Peter Jacob, a field reporter making accounts about the atrocities of war within the cathedral, notes that patients have been disappearing of late, and decides to investigate when monsters suddenly appear during a blackout and begin attacking everyone. Venturing into the catacombs, he finds himself encountering the Black Guardian and defeats it, recovering the artifact it was guarding.
1952 AD — Edward, a clinical psychologist at the time, inherits the Rovias Family Estate, whereupon he finds himself visited by the spirit of Maxmillian, who shows him the secret room and instructs him to destroy Ehn'gha. Finding his way underground, Edward discovers the city incorporates magick machinery, and so uses it to greatly damage the city with a powerful destructive spell. Knowing this is not enough, he decides to research what he can within the Tome for the final battle.
1983 AD — Dr Edwin Lindsey, a noted archaeologist, ventures to Cambodia on an expedition to visit a hidden temple complex he had found via satellite imaging. After nearly being killed by Pious, who disguised himself in order to accompany him, Edwin finds Ellia's body and is entrusted by her spirit with Mantorok's essence, which he eventually delivers to Edward a few weeks later. Two years later, Edward is visited by a now elderly Peter Jacob who gives an account of his experience in Amiens before handing over the artifact in his possession.
1991 AD — Canadian firefighter Michael Edwards works with his team to extinguish several major oil fires in the Middle East, following the end of the Gulf War, when a freak accident with their explosives blasts Michael into the Forbidden City while killing everyone else. Finding himself trapped before the Pillar of Flesh, Michael is approached by Roberto's spirit, who entrusts him with the artifact in his possession and instructs him to take it to the Rovias Family Estate. A few months after escaping the city, prior to destroying it with magickally enhanced explosives, Michael delivers the artifact to Edward in secret. A few years later, Edward is killed by one of Pious' servants, leading to the events in the beginning.
2000 AD — Having learned all she can from the Tome, Alexandra decides to finish the fight against the Eternal Darkness that threatens humanity. Recovering the artifacts from within the mansion, she soon ventures into Ehn'gha and uses them with the city's machinery, in order to summon a rival Ancient to fight Pious' master. Alexandra then engages Pious in combat, aided by the spirits of those written in the Tome, eventually defeating him and destroying the essence of his master, who is defeated by its rival. Edward's spirit then acts quickly to use Ehn'gha's mechanism to send back the summoned Ancient before it can cause any harm to the world. Proud of what his granddaughter has done, Edward bids her farewell before disappearing, while Alexandra contemplates matters now that the fight is over. In an epilogue, after completing all three paths, Edwards comments on how all three Ancients have been destroyed "all at once, separate and simultaneous", by Mantorok's manipulation of the Rovias family, as it continues "festering in its tomb... plotting."
The following is the list of the game's protagonists:
- Alexandra Roivas (voiced by Jennifer Hale) – A female student studying in Washington in 2000 AD, who returns to her family mansion to investigate her grandfather's murder. She is the game's main protagonist, who is playable during the game's prologue, the intermission phases of the story, and the game's finale. She also narrates all but one of the game's epilogues.
- Edward Roivas (voiced by Neil Dickson) – A clinical psychologist, and Alex's grandfather, who became involved in the schemes of the ancients in 1952 AD. He is the game's primary narrator who introduces the story, each chapter of the Tome (with the exception of the first chapter), and the game's final epilogue.
- Ellia (voiced by Kim Mai Guest) – A Khmer slave girl and court dancer for Suryavarman II, who yearns for adventure before being sealed inside a temple to a former fertility god, in 1150 AD.
- Anthony (voiced by Cam Clarke) – A Frankish messenger who attempts to warn Charlemagne of the danger to his life in 814 AD, after reading a message meant for the emperor that contained a corrosive magick spell.
- Karim (voiced by Rino Romano) – A Persian swordsman, who ventures into the Persian desert to seek a treasure within the Forbidden City in 565 AD.
- Dr. Maximillian Roivas (voiced by William Hootkins) – A retired, wealthy colonial doctor and widower, who attempts to uncover the secrets of the mansion he inherited in 1760 AD. He is the ancestor of both Alexandra and Edward.
- Dr. Edwin Lindsey (voiced by Neil Ross) – A noted archaeologist who travels to Cambodia in 1983 AD, who explores a forgotten site uncovered with satellite technology, only to be betrayed by the man that financed his expedition.
- Paul Luther (voiced by Paul Eiding) – A Franciscan monk, who visits Amiens to view a relic in the local cathedral in 1485 AD, only to find himself accused of murder by the local Inquisition.
- Roberto Bianchi (voiced by Phil Proctor) – A traveling Venetian artist and architect, who is forced into the Forbidden City in 1460 AD by a local warlord, to conduct an architectural survey of a pillar under construction.
- Peter Jacob (voiced by Michael Bell) – A field reporter writing up about World War I while visiting Oublié Cathedral in 1916 AD, who finds himself investigating the cathedral, when monsters appear following a sudden blackout.
- Michael Edwards (voiced by Greg Eagles) – A Canadian firefighter sent to extinguish oil fires in 1991 AD, following the end of the Gulf War, who becomes trapped in the Forbidden City following a freak accident.
The following is the list of the game's antagonists:
- Pious Augustus (voiced by Richard Doyle) – A Roman Centurion, who is lured to the Forbidden City in 26 BC, while with a company of soldiers, and becomes corrupted by an ancient artifact, transforming into an undead warlock. He is the game's main antagonist, with player's controlling him during the story's first chapter, in which he narrates both its opening and its ending.
- Ulyaoth (voiced by Richard Doyle) – An ancient being, whose form resembles that of a jellyfish, and whose powers focus on magick and dimensional planes. Ulyaoth's servants are tinged in blue.
- Xel'lotath (voiced by Jennifer Hale and Kim Mai Guest) – An ancient being, whose form is eel-like, consisting of four slender arms connected to a torso with a large eye in the center. Xel'lotath's power is focused on affecting sanity, and the servants are tinged green.
- Chattur'gha (voiced by Greg Eagles) – An ancient being, who maintains a crustacean-like in appearance with two claws, and whose power focuses on physical strength and matter. Chattur'gha's servants are tinged red.
The following is a list of the game's supporting characters:
- Mantorok – An ancient being described as the "keeper" of the other ancients, and the only one to have a physical presence on Earth. It is considered to be both in a position of superiority and inferiority to the other Ancients depending on context, and traps all three outside of reality, though its power over them has slowly begun to wane. Its form is somewhat reminiscent of a shoggoth, being that it is a massive, amorphous being with countless eyes and mouths. Mantorok's minions are tinged black.
- Inspector Legrasse (voiced by Earl Boen) – is an inspector with the Rhode Island police. He is the one who informs Alex of her grandfather's murder, and is apparently leading the investigation. He is unable to offer any explanation to Alex, and this leads her to begin her own investigation two weeks later.
- Chandra (voiced by Paula Tiso) – A female courtesan and love interest of Karim. She assigns him to find a treasure that she seeks, but dies while he is away after falling in love with another man.
- The Custodian (voiced by Cam Clarke) – A Franciscan monk encountered by Paul Luther, who is responsible for looking after Oublié Cathedral. He assists Paul in investigating a murder they are accused of, in order to understand the truth that the victim had been close to uncovering.
The following is a list of the cut characters that didn't make it into the final release of the game:
- Fifth Ancient – A fifth alignment, colored yellow, was confirmed to be the alignment of another Ancient that was not included in the game. In-game, yellow appears on unaligned runes and disintegrating enemies, and was responsible for the cursing of Anthony (intended for Charlemagne). Though the Ancient itself was excluded, its role in the story was repurposed and added onto Mantorok's, which is why Mantorok plays both a superior and inferior role to the other three Ancients. Implying that the unnamed yellow Ancient was going to fulfill one of those two.
- Joseph De Molay (possibly voiced by Richard Doyle) – A Knight Templar. He appeared in numerous demonstration versions seen during development of the game, and was playable for visitors to the 2001 E3 demo. There is material showing Joseph in both the Forbidden City and Oublié Cathedral. After the events of 9/11, it was believed that his character and setting would have created the potential for controversy over including a reference to the Crusades so soon after a major terrorist attack. So the decision was made to cut his chapter. It is believed that Joseph may have a brief appearance in the final game (in non playable form) as the soldier that Pious defeats before Roberto's chapter. This character is not named, however, and seems to appear in the credits as "Defeated General" (voiced by Richard Doyle).
When Silicon Knights began work on Eternal Darkness, their intention was to create a game "that was in the horror genre, but not categorized as survival/horror", with then later labeling it as a "psychological thriller" during an early interview with IGN, as opposed to, what they referred to as, the "B-movie horror plots" of Resident Evil. At the same time, Denis Dyack remarked during an interview about his decision to design the game with the intention of "messing with people's heads", after being inspired by media reports. The game was initially planned for the Nintendo 64 and to feature several characters, including "a Special Forces commando deep behind enemy lines", with the developers showing off the early builds during the 1999 E3 Expo; Silicon Knights later changed their mind and rebuilt the game in order to make it a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube.
The game's launch was delayed in 2001, as the developers were forced to change the Arab world setting in a quarter of the game's levels, following the events of the September 11 attacks. As a direct result of the change, writers Dyack and Ken McCulloch were forced to drop the use of Joseph De Molay, a Knight Templar, within these levels, and instead create Karim, an original character, for the new setting of the levels. In addition to these changes, the developers also decided to ditch the use of a fifth Ancient in the story, but retained elements of the fifth Ancient's alignment, including its colour, for use in the finished game.
The music and sound effects of Eternal Darkness were composed by Steve Henifin. The soundtrack was made exclusively available through Nintendo Power magazine, with the disc containing 14 tracks from the game, many of which are extended versions of those heard in the game. The game features voice-overs from several actors, some of whom are most notable for providing the voices of character in the Metal Gear series, and include Jennifer Hale, Neil Dickson, Cam Clarke, Kim Mai Guest, Greg Eagles, Paul Eiding and David Hayter.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was first released and published by Nintendo on June 24, 2002 in North America, October 25, 2002 in Japan and November 1, 2002 in Europe. It was the first video game published directly by Nintendo, rather than a third-party developer, to be rated M (Mature) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
In 2002, Nintendo and Hypnotic, a film entertainment company, established a filmmaking contest in which contestants submitted ideas that would be later funded into short films if selected. Hypnotic also purchased the rights to produce a film or TV series based on the IP. The contest looked for ideas that evoke the same kind of psychological horror that the game intends to evoke, but the films were not directly based on the Eternal Darkness characters or storyline.
The contest drew over 500 submissions. Ten finalists were selected and were granted $2,000 each to produce their respective short films. The grand prize for the contest was $20,000, and was selected by a panel of industry experts. The finalists were unveiled between May 23 and July 4, 2002. A second prize, the viewer's choice award, was awarded on the basis of its popularity among the online audience.
The grand prize winner of the contest was Patrick Daughters, for the film Unloved. The viewer's choice award went to the film Cutting Room Floor by Tyler Spangler and Michael Cioni. Other videos featured on the official website included Article Number One by Julian Cautherley, Dinner with Kip by Chris Schwartz, Del by Chris Milnes, Suburban Nightmare by Christopher Reves, Darkness Visible by David McMillan, Corner of the Eye by Peter Hunziker, Carnal Noise by Francisco Aliwalas, and << (pronounced "rewind") by Rich Gallup.
Reviews and sales
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem received a near-universal critical acclaim upon its release, with aggregated review scores of over 9/10 at both GameRankings and Metacritic. Upon review, IGN gave Eternal Darkness one of its Editor's Choice Awards and, in its review of the game, stated "Simply put, an amazing achievement that shouldn't be overlooked. Games do not come any better than this."
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem won many awards, including the "Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development" award at the 6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards presented by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in 2003, where it was also nominated for "Console Game of the Year," "Innovation in Console Gaming," and "Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction." At GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2002, it was awarded "Best Sound on GameCube", "Best Story on GameCube", and "Best Graphics (Artistic) on GameCube"; the game was also nominated for "Best Music on GameCube", "Best Action Adventure Game on GameCube", and "Game of the Year on GameCube". GameSpy's Game of the Year Awards gave it their honorary "Day of the Tentacle (Cthulhu) Award".
In 2006, Nintendo Power ranked Eternal Darkness as the 101st top game on Nintendo systems, while the readers of IGN had it voted as the 96th best video game of all time on all systems; in 2009, Official Nintendo Magazine had it listed as the 48th best Nintendo game. The game was ranked as the seventh best game for the GameCube by X-Play in 2006, as the fifth best GameCube game by IGN in 2007, as the tenth best GameCube game by ScrewAttack that same year, and placed fourth on the list of top GameCube games in the January 2009 issue of Game Informer.
Both X-Play and Game Informer in 2007 in 2006 ranked it as the fifth scariest game of all time. In other lists, ScrewAttack ranked the fake "Corrupt Data" sanity effect as the ninth top "OMGWTF" moment in gaming in 2008, while Alex Roivas was included among the 50 greatest heroines in video games by Tom's Games in 2007 and ranked as the 40th greatest heroine in video game history by Complex in 2013.
Several retrospective articles demanded a follow-up game. IGN included Eternal Darkness on their 2008 list of "horror franchises that should rise from the grave", GamesRadar included Eternal Darkness among the games "with untapped franchise potential" in 2009, and UGO included it on a similar list of games "that need sequels" in 2010.
Denis Dyack, designer of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem and Too Human, said "absolutely yes" in July 2006 regarding the question of a possible sequel. He stated that Silicon Knights had intended for Eternal Darkness to be a stand-alone game, but the company has always intended to make more games set in the Eternal Darkness universe involving the Ancients. At Microsoft's Spring 2008 Showcase, Dyack confirmed that a return to the Eternal Darkness brand could be on the cards: "There is a chance; we love all the games we work on. We don't want to be pigeon-holed [into a genre], we want to be known for strong content...There's a strong chance we'll return to it, but there's no announcements yet." In November 2011, Silicon Knights claimed they wanted to focus on one of their most requested titles for the next generation of consoles. This combined with the fact Nintendo had trademarked the title once again, spawned rumours that another Eternal Darkness game would be made as a launch title for the Nintendo Wii U. However, the project was cancelled due to Silicon Knights' legal troubles with Epic Games.
In December 2012, Nintendo extended their ownership on the Eternal Darkness trademark for the fifth time, indicating that the company still has interest in the property. Any chances for a sequel, at least under Silicon Knights, were terminated on May 9, 2013, after Silicon Knights filed for bankruptcy, closed its office, and sold off its equipment. Nevertheless, Nintendo reregistered its trademark on July 29, 2013, with a new document that indicated that it might be a downloadable game. When asked about this by GameSpot, Nintendo declined to answer.
Shadow of the Eternals
On May 3, 2013, it was announced that Precursor Games, staffed by many former Silicon Knights members, had begun a crowdfunding campaign through PayPal, seeking $1.5 million to create a spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness under the title Shadow of the Eternals, to be released for Microsoft Windows and Wii U. The game would be released in 12 two- to four-hour long episodes, with Denis Dyack acting as the game's chief creative officer. On May 13, a secondary fund-raising campaign was launched on Kickstarter, aiming to receive $1.35 million within 36 days. Eventually, being only halfway through their funding campaign in early June, as a result of "a host of a new exciting opportunities that will make the game better than [Precursor Games] envisioned," the company decided to shut down both funding campaigns on Kickstarter and their official website whilst refunding all the accumulated money back to their contributors, and promised to relaunch a new campaign a few weeks later with "a reveal of these exciting new developments." Later in June, Precursor's founding member, and co-designer of both Eternal Darkness and Shadow of the Eternals, Kenneth McCulloch was arrested and pleaded guilty on charges of child pornography; the studio immediately severed all ties with him. Another Kickstarter campaign was launched on July 25 aiming for a $750,000 goal this time. Instead of 12 episodes, the game was intended to be released as one 8- to 10-hour experience.
The game was announced as follows: "When Detective Paul Becker is called to one of the bloodiest gang massacres in Louisiana state history, only two survivors remain from a brutal conflict between two rival cults. As Becker begins his interrogations of the suspects, their combined recollections will uncover the truth about the 'Eternals'. Featuring an ensemble cast of heroes and villains, Shadow of the Eternals will span over 2500 years of history throughout Egypt, England, Hungary, and the United States. Players will question the perception of reality as they try to balance the mechanics of combat, magick, and sanity events to progress through the adventure. Shadow of the Eternals will take players on a memorable journey throughout time; weaving historical fact with disturbing fiction to create an experience unlike any other." On May 10, a nine-minute gameplay trailer was shown. In creating the look of the game, Precursor Games purchased art assets from Silicon Knights which were going to be used on the Eternal Darkness sequel before it was canceled. Though Nintendo still owns the rights to Eternal Darkness as well as the patent for the game's unique "Sanity Meter", Precursor Games head Paul Caporicci stated that the studio were in "constant communication" with Nintendo, who are supportive of the project.
As of September 30, 2013, Shadow of the Eternals was delayed indefinitely due to lack of funding on Kickstarter. The Escapist commented: "What seemed like a fairly obvious slam-dunk sequel to a classic game has instead been a circus of multiple failed crowdfunding campaigns, child pornography, and outright lack of faith in the developers. It certainly must be a discouraging experience for everyone involved, but that's the double-edged blade of crowdfunding: the crowds occasionally [do] not want your game." Kyle Hilliard of Game Informer wrote, "Despite good intentions, and the excitement surrounding the prospect of a sequel to Eternal Darkness, Shadow of the Eternals has been plagued with issues since its original announcement. It's disappointing, but not too surprising that Precursor has decided to put the game on hold. I would still like to see the final game someday, but I am not confident that we will be seeing or even hearing from the game anytime soon."
In October 2014 it was reported that Denis Dyack had created a new entertainment company Quantum Entanglement Entertainment. One of the company's first projects will be relaunching the development for Shadow of the Eternals. Dyack is also considering Shadow of the Eternals as a film and television property.
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