The lights are on
"From the creators of Eternal Darkness," said the teaser trailer for Precursor Games' Shadow of the Eternals. Immediately, we wanted to know more. Which creators are involved? What does this mean for Silicon Knights?
On Monday, we found out the answers to the first inquiry. A number of former Silicon Knights employees, including former CEO Denis Dyack are on the Precursor team. Dyack is serving as Chief Creative Officer, and it was only then did we learn that he had departed Silicon Knights. The answer to the second question has only started coming into focus.
Last night, Polygon published a report that confirms suspicions. Something is very wrong at Silicon Knights, and possibly at new publisher Precursor Games. According to Polygon's sources, almost everyone has been laid off and the phone number has been disconnected. This last piece must have occurred recently, as we left unreturned messages on May 3, 2013, for CFO Michael Mays and Joanne Dyack, whose extension and mailbox were reached when putting in Denis' last name. It is believed that she was laid off in 2011.
On May 3, we also reached out to Epic Games, who provided us a brief statement. A representative told us there were no developments to share in the ongoing attempts to collect on a $4.45 million court settlement awarded over breach of contract and infringing use of Unreal Engine 3 in Silicon Knights' Too Human and X-Men Destiny.
What makes the situation even more suspect is that Silicon Knights has offloaded art assets and computers (since audited by Epic request to ensure data had been removed) to Precursor Games. When questioned about the connection between the studios, Dyack refused to comment on Silicon Knights and Precursor CEO Paul Caporicci is adamant that the two companies are separate. The presence of an Eternal Darkness forum (a game by a completely separate company according to Caporicci) is very strange, even if Shadow of the Eternals is a spiritual successor.
If true, Dyack's presence at Precursor is a dark cloud. The transfer of so many staff members and art assets, even if the computers were wiped clean, raises questions about whether this play is an attempt to avoid paying restitution to Epic. Dyack's refusal to talk about what happened at Silicon Knights will continue to hang suspicion over Precursor Games.
The crowd funding effort underway for Shadow of the Eternals is fraught with risk. Precursor, an unproven entity, is running the campaign itself with no oversight from Kickstarter (which does not operate in Canada) or Indiegogo (which does), both platforms with rules and policies that help protect backers. The goal is considered to be quite high, with $1.5 million needed for the first episode. Many backer tiers include the entire twelve installments, which is a severe mismatch of expectations and funding reality.
There is no guarantee that even if the initial goal is met that those due a full season will ever see that incentive fulfilled. Backing a crowd funded project is always a risk, but with no ground rules established by a neutral party, putting money behind Shadow of the Eternals seems foolish. Until Denis Dyack opens up about his departure from Silicon Knights and exactly how much of Shadow of the Eternals is based on work created at his old studio, caution must be exercised.
For more on this story, please read Polygon's extensive coverage.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
Good editorial, informative and researched.
Stories like these need to be reported alongside the successes of the crowd-funding movement, offering a fuller analysis of the industry, and what gamers and backers should be wary of.
Them not using Kickstarter, I can understand. Them ignoring Indiegogo seems deliberately misleading--like they wanted to do whatever they could to forgo any amount of oversight or responsibility.
I don't have any faith in this, despite wanting it for ages.
Scratch that. I didn't want THIS. I wanted an actual Eternal Darkness sequel, reigned in by Nintendo, the way the game is supposed to be.
That man's name is a curse on any gaming entity it touches. I wouldn't put money into that for any reason.
Too human still fresh on my mind, but all this sounds too fishy.
This article is certainly going to help decrease the chances of us ever seeing a sequel to one of the best games ever made.
I think it's crucial to be cautious where you put you're money, and it's helpfull to have all the facts - but this article has no facts, just speculation, and honestly just sounds like they want to remain good in epic's books to get coverage exclusives by bad mouthing this project.
It would be nice if this article had something positive to say to help balance the word of warning, but it's just too one sided to be taken seriously.
Why is it everyones business to know everything about the court case? Plus im sure if anyone here knows anything about game development budgets then they also know that 1.5 million is a pretty meagre amount of money.
Theres a difference between being cautious and causing damage - this article just focuses on the latter.
I think it's awesome they are trying to make this game, and due to the finacial risk (for any game) the eternal darkness brand is just too niche to get a massive company to back it with todays insanely expensive game development costs.
If you want to ever see this game made then back it, as there is a good chance if this falls through it'll be a closed door forever.
Im totally in, and even if i lose $25 i wont be upset - i'd rather contribute and help see it come to fruition then stand on the sidelines.
People are way too hard on Dyack - the way he is referred to around gaming circles you'd think he's guilty of more crimes than Hitler. His company got in the toilet - get over it. He's not the best PR guy in the world - get over that too. Most of the games they made are ok or better - bar the last one of course.
Ive never seen a horror game come close to matching the atmosphere and style of eternal darkess - if any game deserves a sequel it's this. Or you could just play it safe and keep supporting the same old boring sequels we always see. A bit of risk is exciting anyhow.
I forgot why everyone hates this guy
Seems fishy, that much is true.