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Precursor Games failed to hit the $750,000 target in its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Shadow of the Eternals.
Billed as the spiritual successor to Nintendo’s Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, the survival-horror title from famed developer Denis Dyack’s new company raised only $323,950 as its funding period expired on Friday night. The failure shows that it’s hard to rescue a controversial Kickstarter effort that doesn’t generate fan interest. This was the latest unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for the project, following two unsuccessful efforts in June. The first effort aimed to raise $1.35 million, but Precursor Games canceled it after gathering only $300,000 more than halfway through its campaign.
Precursor chief operating officer Shawn Jackson told GamesBeat earlier that the new game pitch was possible because the studio had scaled down its ambitions and changed its format from an episodic game to a stand-alone release. It was also trying to make a “more accessible” experience. The company had an external agreement that allowed it to lower its funding target as well.
But the campaign ran into skepticism, partly due to controversy around Dyack, the chief creative officer. The founder of Eternal Darkness maker Silicon Knights (now defunct) faced criticism after layoffs and the failure of X-Men: Destiny. A report alleged that Dyack reportedly diverted resources from the X-Men project to work on an Eternal Darkness 2 demo. Dyack disputed those allegations, but he found that leaving them unaddressed for a long time left them believable in the minds of many fans. Silicon Knights also lost a legal battle with Epic Games in which Epic accused Silicon Knights of stealing its technology for use in projects. Lastly, authorities arrested one of Precursor’s founding developers on child pornography charges.
Shadow of the Eternals is a third-person action-dventure game that borrows some of its horror elements from Eternal Darkness but with a new story that takes place at different points in history.
A new addition to the cast is veteran voice actor David Hayter, who plays detective Paul Becker, the lead character. He is best known for his long stint as Solid Snake and Big Boss in Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series, and he even played a few characters in Eternal Darkness.
“It just made sense,” said Dyack said earlier about the scaled down game. “We learned so much. I just think that as a new company really unfamiliar with Kickstarter and crowdfunding, we learned so many things, and it just made sense to do that … plus you take all these opportunities, plus more that we’re going to be announcing in the future. It was just the logical choice.”