Shadow of the Eternals Preview: Calling All Eternal Darkness Fans

Rewind back to 2002, when you found yourself sitting alone in your room, perched in front of your GameCube while playing Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. Engaged in combat with a number of hellish beasts, the audio on your television suddenly starts fading out while the volume bar decreases at the bottom of the screen.

But…you’re not turning it down, and there’s no one around you. This…isn’t…happening!

The volume turndown is but one of many sanity effects that Eternal Darkness has become known and loved for. Meant to fool the player and at times attempt to break the fourth wall, the effects came about from creator Denis Dyack’s involvement in studies about the effects of violence on the minds of gamers. When it was discovered that there was no real impact imparted on the mind of those interacting with the game (shocker!), Dyack suddenly tasked himself with finding a way to actually leave a lasting effect on those who played through his work. The result was one of the most unique ideas utilized in a horror game, and has helped Eternal Darkness stand out among the rest of its kind.

Now in 2013, Dyack and his company are looking to once again challenge your sanity and expose you to all new horrors in Shadow of the Eternals.

Meant to be a spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness, Shadow of the Eternals is a psychological horror game that takes players on a journey across centuries as they attempt to solve a heinous and mysterious crime committed in Louisiana. As interrogations ensue, a story unfolds taking place in 1610 AD-era Hungary, where the infamous serial killer Erzebet Bathory resides in her home of Csejthe Castle. Playing as her handmaiden and lover Klara, players will begin to learn the hidden secrets of the noblewoman and how they connect with the murder in Louisiana, all while complying with the authorities to gain information about a missing nobleman’s daughter. It’s a twisted and ambitious tale filled with elements of psychological horror that will engage in multiple timelines and leave players questioning their sanity as they play.

Created using Cry Engine 3, we’ve already seen an impressive look at what is to come from the game once it has been fully realized. Check out our live stream of the game’s demo below to see Shadow of the Eternals for yourself:

It should be noted that David Hayter of Solid Snake fame is also slated to provide the voice for detective Paul Beckett in the final release.

The game is currently on Kickstarter and is taking a fascinating approach in offering incentives to those who are willing to back the project with their hard-earned money. Instead of merely offering the standard fare of t-shirts and game copies (which you can also get), a minimum $5 pledge will admit you into The Order of the Unseen, a community supporting the game and actively taking part in its development process.

No, backers won’t be responsible for writing lines of code or rendering images, but they are able to contribute their ideas with the fair possibility of said ideas being implemented in the game’s finished product. Have an idea for a sanity event? Enemy? Story beat? Share it with the Order, and there’s a good chance you’ll see it in the game.

Community engagement in this fashion is but one of the many reasons the game has sparked some interest in the online community. There have been many game companies in the past that have engaged with fans during the development of their titles, but few have gone much further than limited contests and online polls in allowing fans to take part in the development process. Dyack himself said in an interview with us that he wanted to do something unique with the game and the passionate community of both Eternal Darkness and Lovecraft fans, and felt that offering engagement as a backing incentive was the best way to go. It’s already proven to be a successful experiment, as the forums are teeming with ideas and bringing in talented creators to be a part of the idea vetting process.

After spending some time talking with the development team and learning more about Shadow of the Eternals, it’s pretty clear that, despite the undue controversy that has somewhat marred an otherwise interesting Kickstarter campaign, the team is made up of passionate and driven individuals who want nothing more than to return to what made Eternal Darkness so great and give it another go using our modern tech and new ideas of community involvement. If you’re a fan of Eternal Darkness, or even just have creative ideas you’d love to see implemented in a game, Shadow of the Eternals is definitely worthy of a look.