I've been reading up on "Shadow of the Eternals", an upcoming release that's not only a spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness on the GameCube, but one of several crowd-funded Kickstarter projects we've been seeing a lot more of these days. The game is being developed by Precursor Games with creative advisory from Denis Dyack of Silicon Knights---the team behind Eternal Darkness. If all goes according to plan, Shadow of the Eternals will see the light of day on the Wii U and PC (either as a digital download or a retail release) sometime this Fall.
Here's the interesting bit on Shadow of the Eternals. As I mentioned earlier, the game is being touted as the spiritual follow-up to Eternal Darkness on the GameCube; quite possibly one of the scariest video games ever made. The kicker here is that Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem could have been a successful Nintendo intellectual property. Aside from being a survival-horror title, the game introduced a radically-inventive narrative framework (playing twelve characters across twelve time periods) and a groundbreaking Sanity Meter system. It was also notable for being one of very few Nintendo first-party games to receive a Mature rating. Unfortunately, Eternal Darkness wasn't a commercial success despite praise from critics, and Nintendo has since all but completely abandoned it. In the years that followed, however, Eternal Darkness achieved a cult following of sorts, which likely lead to the birth of Shadow of the Eternals. That said, this Kickstarter darling has renewed interest in a game that, had things been different, could have been a successful franchise for Nintendo. Yet, one question remains. Is it too late for them to try again? Would they want to?
The Wii U is undoubtedly hurting, so it goes without saying that one of the best possible strategies for Nintendo to consider is developing new IPs that will ignite interest among hardcore gamers who aren't exactly dedicated Nintendo fans. If Nintendo hopes to expand its horizons, they've got to open a line of communication to the vast majority of hardcore gamers and prove that they're more than just a kid-friendly, family-oriented game company. Eternal Darkness could be something they can look into. Shadow of the Eternals can only go so far as be a spiritual successor because Nintendo still holds the patents for Eternal Darkness and its Sanity Meter system. Even more intriguing, Precursor Games has gone on record claiming Nintendo is highly supportive of the project.
But being supportive doesn't necessarily mean they're giving them any right to develop a direct Eternal Darkness sequel. Yet, should Shadow of the Eternals do well beyond its modest expectations, people that remember Eternal Darkness will want to look into it and take notice. If Operation Rainfall can convince them to listen to dedicated gamers, perhaps Eternal Darkness has hope for a second wind.
Something Nintendo themselves should think about. What do you think?