Shadow of the Eternals Studio CEO Addresses Concerns About The Past

By Ishaan . May 8, 2013 . 12:45am

Precursor Games, the developer behind Shadow of the Eternals, have posted their first update since the game’s crowdfunding campaign began earlier this week. CEO Paul Caporicci writes: “After our first day of crowdfunding I am encouraged by the amount of support, but know we still have a long way to go to make this crowdfunding campaign a success.”


Thus far, Shadow of the Eternals, a spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness on the Gamecube, has accumulated a little over $100,000 in contributions. The goal is to reach $1.5 million in the next month.


Precursor Games were founded in July 2012, and are comprised of a number of veterans from Silicon Knights, the developer behind Eternal Darkness, and yes, Too Human. The latter wasn’t very well received, and Silicon Knights have since been through a number of problems, including a backfired lawsuit against Epic and lay-offs to their staff. Precursor Games looks like a new start for some of the studio’s staff, including founder Denis Dyack, who is the new company’s Chief Creative Officer.


Caporicci addresses these concerns in his update as well, in reply to the question: “Will past baggage have an effect on this project?”


“As many people can relate, being laid off is an emotionally distressing experience. When this happened to me, I was determined to turn this toward more positive ends,” Caporicci writes. Prior to founding Precursor, Caporicci worked on Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes and Too Human. He has also done the programming for the Shadow of the Eternals demo.


“I began reaching out to others to see if they were interested in starting something brand new, using lessons learned from past experiences. Denis Dyack was my first choice for Creative, as he has a keen understanding on the creative aspects of game development. It saddens me to read that people’s impressions of him are painted by anonymous accounts of other individuals. I’ve known Denis for 10 years now, and from first hand experience I consider him to be one of the most honourable people I know, and undeserving of the amount of negative accusations he receives.”


He continues: “I knew Shawn Jackson’s attention to detail, enthusiasm and experience would really balance our management team as Chief Operating Officer. The rest of the Precursor team is equally talented, and I’m amazed by the results we’ve achieved with our demo. Precursor Games has been built from the ground up to do something new, and we are excited to show and work with you on our first project—‘Shadows of the Eternals’.”


At the moment, Precursor Games only consists of a “core team”. Should the studio’s crowdfunding campaign be a success, they will hire more staff to develop Shadow of the Eternals.


Caporicci also briefly mentions Nintendo, who published Eternal Darkness, since Shadow of the Eternals is being released on Wii U and PC. Regarding what Precursor’s involvement with Nintendo is, Caporicci writes: “We have been in constant communication with Nintendo, and they have been very supportive of our endeavour to bring this game to their platform.”


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  • brian

    What is the name of it?
    Shadow of the Eternal?
    Shadows of the Eternal?
    Shadow of the Eternals?

    • AuroraXIII

      Shadows of the Eternals.

    • neocatzon

      C. Shadow of the Eternals
      Edit: wait, did the CEO spelled it wrong?

  • JustThisOne

    Hmm, forgive me for being a bit of a negative nancy here, but I’m a bit worried about how this will turn out.

    In my experience, most crowdfunding campaigns see the most activity within the first couple days and the last couple days. To reach 100K in a single day is impressive, but the goal here is $1.5 million. They’re going to have to really push for exposure and constantly interact with fans…

    Well, that’s my 2 cents anyway. I wish them the best of luck…

  • Wiccan1109

    The blonde really looks like.. Sarah Michelle Gellar to me. I scanned past and thought what the devil is a Buffy game doing in 2013?

  • Sekai-jin

    Action speak louder than words.

    I won’t say the game will be a flop just because Denis Dyack is involved, but his past track mean he still not yet proving to the fans that he is capable to deliver without others supervision.

    Make Shadow of the Eternals a worthwhile game, then the negativity will subdue. There’s communication with Nintendo too, I hope that help.

    I will be cautious and keep an eyes on the game,.

  • Staffan Blonde

    I understand that much people don’t like Dyack for his past, and I can understand why, but remember he is one guy. One person does not make or break the entire studio even if he is the CEO or lead designer or someone else up in the top.

    If the team is talented the game can become good regardless of his involvement with it or not. Sure, their former company had some issues with a couple of titles but that can be said with many studios. Not every game is a hit.

    I have faith in this project and let’s not forget that Eternal Darkness is one of the games they actually managed to do a quite good job on so what’s not to say that they can make another hit?

    • indigozeal

      For context, I’ll link the article that crystallizes the concerns about Dyack’s ability to head a project and his treatment of his employees:

      Dyack is “one guy” in the sense that a nation’s head of state is one guy; he determines the direction in which the larger body under him moves. Even if he’s given a talented staff, if they’re given inadequate or erroneous direction (as many employees claim they were in X-Men: Destiny), they’re not going to be able to pool their talents effectively to produce a quality work. Several folks who worked with Dyack on the poorly-reviewed X-Men game claim Dyack’s management style was very mercurial and combative, that he had a poor concept of time management, and that he was unable to prioritize and ignored glaring gameplay issues in favor of harping on small aesthetic hangups, changing hobbyhorses every few months. These alleged problems on Dyack’s end led directly to the game being slipshod; even though the employees recognized the issues with the game and were _capable_ of correcting them, they weren’t _allowed_ to, as their manager put their talents to other, less productive ends.

      I do understand that sometimes coworkers gang up together Mean Girls-style against the more unpopular members of their organization. The level of corroboration between the individual employee stories and with the events of the game’s development history and the final product, however, does demand some sort of rebuttal on the part of Dyack or his current collaborators to quell concerns that he might indeed be unfit to head a project and deliver a timely, well-executed finished product. That they’re going the “oh, those people are just crazy and/or jealous” route instead of offering a more direct response only fosters misgivings that the accusations might be true and that they’re not going to deal with the problems that Dyack is alleged to have. That bodes ill for this project, regardless of the IP’s history.

      • Project 2501

        Dyack isn’t heading this project though; he’s not the director, and he’s not the studio head. His voice will be one of several. That people so insistently overlook this seems to suggest that they’re less genuinely concerned forbthe wellbeing of the project than just resentful of Dyack’s involvement on any level.

        • indigozeal

          He’s in one of the top supervisory roles (“chief creative officer”), has a alleged history of not playing well with others, and is paired with fellow supervisors who refuse to discuss any possibility that he might have a problem. I don’t “resent” Dyack – I don’t have any personal involvement with him – but since the project is asking for crowdfunding, for money from the public, potentially problematic staff choices deserve an additional layer of scrutiny. (And, yes, if the stories regarding his alleged abusive behavior toward employees are true, he should be held accountable; such treatment shouldn’t be encouraged in the industry.)

  • Hec4Mets

    1.5 million is quite a bit of cash to make this game…its gonna be tought to get that kinda money but I wish them the best as Enternal Darkness was an excellent game and it would be great to see its successor come out finally.

  • Project 2501

    I like how now that the gaming community’s opinion has been turned against Denis Dyack (who, to be fair, all evidence suggests is indeed a petty, egomaniacal dick), every game he touches will automatically be shit forever, even though every Silicon Knights game prior to Too Human was and is well-regarded (and even Too Human is generally seen as an ambitious failure more than a total flop). He’s not even the director of this project, guys!

  • Syltique

    Well then.

  • OneOkami

    I wouldn’t be quite so quick to call this a scam. They have a valid reason for not using Kickstarter (can’t run a campaign from Canada) and they do clearly state at the very least they will refund the donations if they don’t raise enough money.

    Indeed you’re taking a risk, but if you look at it as an investment (which it is) then such an associated risk is nothing out of the ordinary. In addition to the fact they have a professional industry experience on staff one could expect them to do everything they can to make sure the project is completed because the fate of their company as an independent depends on it. If they don’t deliver, they’re finished as an indie because people wouldn’t trust them anymore.

    That being said, I won’t be backing the project because I’m not PC gamer and I don’t plan on buying a Wii U but I wouldn’t write off this campaign right now if I were interested in the final product(s). I do it will hurt them running the funding campaign themselves because 1.5 million is a lot to ask for when your backers are not covered by Kickstarter’s Terms of Use obligating you to either fulfill or refund.

  • holyshitstopbeingtaken

    The refund thing in the FAQ is false, the fine print on the donation page itself says that they have no obligation to finish the game at all. Also knowing Dyack’s track record it’s plainly spelled out he has no intention of actually doing this.

    Normally I hate Kotaku, honestly, but please give this a read

  • OneOkami

    I think you may be slightly misunderstanding their terms. The first term of their donations states a donation cannot be cancelled or returned once completed, regardless of whether or not they finish the game. That means when you donate money to them, your donation is a done-deal. They will accept the donation immediately and you cannot ask for it back, even if they don’t end up finishing the game. I believe that is the main point you’re arguing.

    However, the third term of their donations states that if they cannot raise enough money to develop the game, then they will refund the donations back to their contributors.

    I think you may be confusing the event of them failing to hit their funding target and the event of them failing to complete the game after they’ve hit their funding target. Those are two different scenarios. The former scenario would result in refunds, the latter scenario will not.

    I am well aware of SK’s history with Too Human and Epic and somewhat aware of the failures of X-Men: Destiny (I’m currently reading though the article you linked to) so I can understand if people aren’t comfortable donating money to this project. I acknowledged you’re taking a risk, especially because they’re not bound by Kickstarter’s Term of Use which obligates them to refund the money if they don’t complete the project after they’ve hit their funding target. I’m just saying I do think this is a legitimate project, not a scam, and that they will probably do everything they can to complete the project if they get enough funding because they’ll be finished as an indie dev if they don’t.

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