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A Discussion with Precursor Games

Jonathan Higgins, Richard Ross, and Shawn Jackson of Precursor Games

During E3 2013 Richard, Jonathan, and myself had a chance to sit down with Precursor Games and try out a demo for Shadow of the Eternals. Denis Dyack (Chief Creative Officer), Shawn Jackson (Chief Operating Officer), and Aaron Unger (Community Manager) each had something to say about the title their company is currently working on. Here is a video containing a selection of some of the topics we discussed with them.

Denis and Shawn made it very clear that the demo we were playing is a work in progress, and that nothing is currently final. They seem to be very excited about getting the newest version of the Crytek engine so they can continue to work on elements such as lighting, clothing, hair, etc.

Denis Dyack: When we’re done we don’t want to have any loading at all. It’s not that bad now, but it’s going to be better. One thing you’re going to see here is all dynamic lighting, none of it is pre-baked in any way. All shadows are dynamic and on the fly.

Denis also talked about how they have a rail camera but you can always move the character and the camera around. It’s a “seamless integration” that both Jonathan and Richard were able to experience hands-on.

Shawn Jackson: “The story behind that is we really like giving the player control. Especially in a psychological thriller like this we can start to now influence the player into certain perspectives.”

Denis: “In Eternal Darkness we did not have controllable cameras, we had rail cameras and things that were set. It was really fun but now we’re going to have a combination of both rail and movable cameras. I think people are going to like it.”

Richard asked about different control schemes in the game and what kind of tech it would take to run Shadow of the Eternals. Denis and Shawn discussed how the spec requirement for Shadow of the Eternals is that of next generation, but they don’t want to alienate PC gamers who may not have the newest tech. Denis stated “we’re going to want to get it out there to as many people as possible”, so people can look forward to possibly not needing to upgrade their PCs to play the game.

Richard Ross: Are you planning on having different control schemes, maybe something similar to older survival horror games to create tension?

Denis: What we’re doing with Shadow of the Eternals, and what was done with Eternal Darkness, was not to limit the controls but to limit the characters themselves. There are going to be some characters that are very overweight in this game and they aren’t heroes, or some females who aren’t great fighters so you’ll use your intellect to get through it. The controls will be like you have them here, we’re not going to try to create tension that way. We’ll create tension through character creation and gameplay. The interesting thing about this game is playing between 16-18 characters over 2500 years. We want there to be a great dichotomy with how the game feels from level to level. Whether you have a pistol or whether you have a musket, or even just a regular sword, we want that to feel very different.

Shawn: Some characters may have a specific skill set that you need to take advantage of in order to get a task done.

Richard: With multiple characters is it possible to revisit the same place?

Denis: How about if you leave something as one character and then return to another timeline to get it as another? We’re definitely doing that stuff.


For more information, including more footage about Precursor’s thoughts on community involvement, please check out this article and take a listen to the Downpour Podcast.

Jared Cyhowski
[Former Staff] Jared is a recent graduate from Fitchburg State University where he studied communications, video production, and English. He enjoys playing video games, watching anime, writing, and of course pizza. His favorite games are Shadow of the Colossus and Final Fantasy IX, but he can’t possibly choose a favorite anime. Jared enjoys following the games industry and observing what will happen next, and he puts out an invitation for discussion on these topics. He loves a great story in these mediums and prefers a stronger narrative design over most features. Jared is personally responsible for creating and managing the Anime section of the website, and hopes to inspired and entertain with everything he writes.