Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter falls short

Precursor Games’ beleaguered project raises less than half of its $750,000 target.

Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter falls short

The Shadow of the Eternals crowdfunding campaign has ended unsuccessfully. The campaign to create a spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem had set a $750,000 goal, but only managed to bring in $323,950 before its funding period ended Friday night.

This was actually the second unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for the project. The original, which had a $1.5 million goal and was run concurrently on Kickstarter and developer Precursor Games’ own website, was cancelled in June after raising less than $300,000 three weeks into its five week campaign.

At the time, Precursor said it was halting the campaign due to “exciting new developments.” It re-launched the crowdfunding effort in July to reflect those developments, specifically an external funding agreement that allowed them to lower the funding target to $750,000, and a stand-alone format for the game instead of the originally pitched episodic approach.

The Shadow of the Eternals campaign was met with much skepticism given a number of developments surrounding Precursor Games chief creative officer Denis Dyack in recent years. The founder of defunct Eternal Darkness maker Silicon Knights, Dyack had kept a low profile since the studio’s multiple rounds of layoffs after making the critical and commercial flop X-Men Destiny. A report after Destiny’s release featured former employees accusing Dyack of diverting resources from the X-Men project to work on an Eternal Darkness 2 demo. Dyack eventually addressed the accusations, saying he had kept silent because he didn’t think anyone would believe them.

Around the same time, Silicon Knights lost a years-long legal battle with Epic Games in which the Unreal engine maker accused the developer of trying to steal its technology for use in its own games. Finally, in between the two crowdfunding campaigns, one of Precursor’s founding developers was arrested on child pornography charges.



Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter cancelled

Precursor Games to pull the plug on crowdfunding campaign, promises to re-launch in weeks with “exciting new developments”

Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter cancelled

Precursor Games raised plenty of eyebrows with its crowdfunding campaign for a spiritual successor to Silicon Knights’ Eternal Darkness, but it hadn’t raised the money it needed. Precursor today announced it would be halting the Kickstarter three weeks into a five-week campaign, and with less than $300,000 raised of the $1.5 million originally sought. Precursor CEO Paul Caporicci explained the move today in an update to the project’s Kickstarter page.

“Since we announced this Kickstarter campaign we have seen more support from our community than we had ever hoped for,” Caporicci said. “Along with this support has come a host of a new exciting opportunities that will make the game better than we envisioned. As a result, we have chosen to temporarily take down the Shadow of the Eternals crowdfunding campaigns on both Kickstarter and our own website on Thursday, June 6.”

Caporicci promised that the Kickstarter campaign would be re-launched in a few weeks with more news about those opportunities. In the meantime, the current Kickstarter campaign will be closed shy of its goal so backers won’t actually be charged, and Caporicci said pledges made through other channels will be fully refunded via PayPal.

The Shadow of the Eternals Kickstarter has drawn attention for the participation of Silicon Knights founder and Precursor Games chief creative officer Denis Dyack. The developer had kept a low profile since Silicon Knights laid off much of its staff after releasing the critical and commercial flop X-Men: Destiny, and a report surfaced with former employees accusing Dyack of intentionally diverting resources from that game in order to prep an Eternal Darkness 2 demo to shop around to publishers. (Precursor confirmed that it purchased art assets from Silicon Knights to use for Shadow of the Eternals.) Dyack finally addressed the accusations in a video during the Kickstarter campaign, saying he had previously kept silent on them because he didn’t think anyone would believe them.



Silicon Knights closes offices, lays off employees

Silicon Knights art assets and equipment find their way to Precursor

Silicon Knights

Developer Silicon Knights has closed its offices and sold its equipment and game assets, according to a report by Polygon. Silicon Knights chief financial officer Mike Mays told Polygon that a skeleton crew of employees remains and the studio is “definitely alive,” but local real estate agents confirmed that Silicon Knights’ offices are empty and available for lease.

Silicon Knight founder Denis Dyack is currently the chief creative officer of Precursor Games, a studio working on a new title, Shadow of the Eternals. The game is a spiritual sequel to Silicon Knights’ Eternal Darkness and currently Precursor is running a funding drive for the title. According to Precursor CEO Paul Caporicci, art assets for Shadow of the Eternals were among the items sold to Precursor.

Caporicci was laid off from Silicon Knights last July and could not comment on his former employer. In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Caporicci stressed that Precursor was a “wholly different company” from Silicon Knights.

“From my experience in July, I was laid off from Silicon Knights with a number of other people and I was saddened, you know, that we were going to go our separate ways,” he added. “And so I started reaching out to other people and seeing if they were interested in starting something brand new.”

Silicon Knights is on the hook for $4.45 million in damages in its case versus Epic Games, over the use of Unreal Engine 3 in the development of Too Human. Silicon Knights is still in the process of appealing the court ruling.

Epic Games filed legal motions to ensure that Silicon Knights formatted its computers before selling them to Precursor Games. According to court documents obtained by Polygon, the computers were wiped clean, preventing Silicon Knights’ game assets from making their way to Precursor. Precursor’s Shadow of the Eternals is being developed with Crytek’s CryEngine.

“Silicon Knights was selling off extra assets to laid off employees and we, along with others, purchased some of them,” Caporicci said to Polygon. “Like so many others who have been laid off in this difficult economy, we are simply trying to turn a tough situation into something positive.”