Denis Dyack Talks Shadow of the Eternals’ Stuggles
Last week, Precursor Games suspended the crowd-funding campaigns for Shadow of the Eternals, the “spiritual successor” to Eternal Darkness, they’d launched via Kickstarter (and their own website), promising to come back with a retooled campaign amid “a host of a new exciting opportunities that will make the game better than we envisioned.” Just what those new, exciting opportunities were was never stated—though it seemed likely that the real reason the company was suspending its campaigns was because no one was pledging, and it looked like they wouldn’t come close to meeting their goals.
No matter: chief creative officer Denis Dyack—the former head honcho at Silicon Knights, which also happens to be the former employer of many (if not all) of Precursor’s staff, as well as the developer of Eternal Darkness—sat down to talk with Joystiq for a few minutes about why he thinks the campaigns didn’t quite connect with fans the way the studio had hoped. Apparently, the issue was the “noise” surrounding questions of Dyack’s very involvement, not to mention the relationship between Precursor and Silicon Knights:
“I think that noise was due in large part to misconception. […The two companies] have nothing to do with each other. […] I guess it’s safe to say there’s always been noise around me and I think that what I’m working on now is to make people understand the games that we’re making.”
The post also offers up sentiments from Precursor’s chief operating officer Shawn Jackson, who theorizes that the campaigns failed to connect because there was too much time devoted to talking about Precursor and its staff, rather than the project itself. “I think, ultimately,” he said, “that was a mistake on our part.”
Apparently the goal going forward is to relaunch its Kickstarter campaign with a lower, more attainable goal than the $1.3 million it wasn’t able to raise the first time around. How much? No one knows.
It’s nice to see that Dyack and his colleagues are putting on a brave face and marching forward on this project, but—really—the problem isn’t the fact that people didn’t get the project, or they focused too much time on who Precursor is. The problem is who Precursor is. We get the project. It seems fine.
It’s you that we don’t trust.
The people working at your company used to work at Silicon Knights, a company that put out a string of mediocore-to-bad titles. Worse, the company owes $4.5 million to Epic Games, which it looks like it has no means or intention to pay. So, sure, people are more than a little gun shy about handing cash over to people who have a less-than-stellar track record in terms of games they’ve made, and handling their financial obligations. This isn’t “noise.” It’s common sense. If people are concerned about Dyack’s involvement, it’s only because he’s earned his reputation. And the new company isn’t doing him or the rest of his colleagues any favors in the “less noisy” department.
I’m willing to believe that Shadow of the Eternals could be a great game. But the fact that the initial crowd-funding campaigns were so bizarre from the outset makes it very difficult to believe that the people involved in making it are actually capable of making a decent title. The first crowd-funding campaign was launched on Precursor’s site, with funds being straight-up donated via PayPal, with the “goal” being more of a guideline than the “all-or-nothing” guarantee that Kickstarter offers. Precursor said that the reason it couldn’t use Kickstarter was because it was based in Canada.
Then, a few days later, it launched a Kickstarter campaign. From the get-go, we’ve got shady business dealings, misinformation, and vague half-truths. I don’t care how good your game looks or what it’s spiritually succeeding: you are not to be trusted.
That’s how I feel about this crazy Precursor Games business. Time for you to weigh in. Do you not care about these issues and just want to see Shadow of the Eternals get made? Should the community give Precursor a chance?