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Dyack resurfaces at Precursor

Dyack resurfaces at Precursor

Mon 06 May 2013 5:03pm GMT / 1:03pm EDT / 10:03am PDT
Development

Ex-Silicon Knights devs form Hamilton-based studio, launch $1.5 million crowdfunding campaign for first game

Denis Dyack has a new home. The Silicon Knights founder has joined up with a handful of his former employees to form Precursor Games, a new Hamilton, Ontario-based studio that today launched a crowdfunding campaign for its first effort, the episodic Shadow of the Eternals.

Precursor is seeking $1.5 million to create the pilot episode, which it expects to launch in the third quarter of 2014 on the Wii U and PC. The studio is placing an emphasis on community interaction, saying that backers will have the ability to actually contribute content for the game.

Precursor Games' official site lists nine employees, seven of whom have prior experience working on Silicon Knights games. The company was founded in July of 2012.

Shadow of the Eternals is being developed using Crytek's CryEngine. The choice is not surprising, given Silicon Knights' acrimonious legal battle with Epic Games that occurred the last time the studio licensed the Unreal Engine.

15 Comments

Peter Dwyer
Games Designer/Developer

481 290 0.6
I had faith in this project until it mentioned Dyack.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,404 1.1
Dyack's position is that of chief creative officer. Which is the best place for him in the company.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Richard Westmoreland
Game Desginer

138 90 0.7
This seems like the scammiest crowdfunding effort I've ever seen. Good luck to them, but I certainly won't be giving them any money and I would advise against anyone else doing so.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Dan Lowe
3D Animator

46 68 1.5
Hope this represents a fresh start for the people on that team. As for Mr Dyack, from a PR perspective, the best thing for him to do right now would probably be to slip into the shadows, say nothing, make something great, and then come out later and say "by the way, I made that".

Posted:A year ago

#4

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,404 1.1
Richard, what exactly makes it scammy sounding?

If they can't complete the game, all pledges are refunded.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Tim Spencer
Designer

11 6 0.5
Jim: Trust is already low due to Dyack's name being mentioned, add to that the fact that the crowd-funding isn't using kickstarter (an established system which people trust) and you've got 2 points against the project.

Sure we all like good games, and we all want to play good games, and also, sure, we all hope that this gets released and is a good game - just that not many people will trust putting their money up front before actually seeing this thing finished and reviewing well. I certainly wouldn't risk any money on it.

Posted:A year ago

#6

David Radd
Senior Editor

359 78 0.2
It's going to be hard to raise $1.5 million - if that base number is reached, it would make the game one of the most successful crowdfunded games in history. Also, focusing on the connection to Eternal Darkness is a smart thing - no reason to remind people about Too Human or X-Men Destiny.

Tim Spencer's comment is very telling - crowdfunded project inherently require trust. That's the reason why Torment got gobs of money despite InXile not being finished with Wasteland 2 - people trusted Fargo and crew. I'm sure there are thousands of gamers at least tangentially interested in Shadows of the Eternals, but crowdfunding is about throwing money at a dream, and $1.5 million is a lot of people buying into that dream.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Radd on 7th May 2013 6:37pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Tim Spencer
Designer

11 6 0.5
Also, lets be realistic here: Eternal Darkness is not something that today's mainstream gamers know of. They just don't. Which means that $1.5mil has to come from a small, niche group of ageing players, from a market section who now have kids/mortgages/wives and actually probably aren't even interested in gaming much any more (or if they are, they'd rather be playing fifa/halo/need for speed with their mates).

Throw that on top of the previous mention of trust, and, well, I'll be surprised if it makes its goal (without any behind the scenes fund raising number 'massaging'...which we can't trust won't happen as it's not using Kickstarter)...and even more impressed if it gets completed on time, on budget, and to the level of quality implied.

It's not a project any sane person would put their money in without much more due diligence than realistically be offered in a crowd-funded system.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,404 1.1
Tim, it's not using Kickstarter because Kickstarter is UK and US only. Precursor is Canadian. However, they are in talks with Kickstarter on how to get around this.

I'd also like to point out that far more gamers know and appreciate Eternal Darkness than know of Dyack's problems at SK.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,404 1.1
Come to him? You realize he is not the owner, CEO or executive director? You need to look at Paul Caporicci for that.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,166 949 0.8
Its all a matter of trust here...

Given the recent scandals surrounding government funding for Silicon Knights to self publish that *seemingly* went a miss and the disastrous court case against Epic Games which they were never going to win - and in fact pretty much went out of business for it. This is a controversial man in the industry right now.

However, Dyack was fully involved in multiple areas of the original game on the Gamecube. His creative input is more than appropriate and this is a different company now with different management. Should the project fail, hopefully the crowd-funding platform has enough protections for the consumer should things go wrong.

Posted:A year ago

#11

David Radd
Senior Editor

359 78 0.2
I'd also like to point out that far more gamers know and appreciate Eternal Darkness than know of Dyack's problems at SK.
Based on what metric? There's a fandom for the game to be sure, but gamers are a savvy, connected group. People are pretty aware of the reception to Too Human. A lot of people know about the alleged development issues that came with X-Men: Destiny. And certainly many know of the suit against Epic. If a gamer knows about Eternal Darkness, he's probably aware of one or all of these things as well. It doesn't make it impossible, but it makes it more of a challenge when you reach out to the fans like this.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,404 1.1
Reading their forums suggests that they all are aware of Eternal Darkness, naturally, but not nearly as many are aware of those other problems. Andy of those that are aware, they are ignoring them as pledging anyway.

I see this extending into other gaming communities as well. They talk highly of this campaign and Eternal Darkness but only a few are espousing the problems you noted.

I'm not suggesting those problems are not hurdles they'll have to overcome but from what I'm seeing, it's not a full on road block.

Posted:A year ago

#13

David Radd
Senior Editor

359 78 0.2
The forums for Precursor are probably going to be a place where people are going to be inclined to be positive towards the project. I've certainly seen plenty of negativity online towards the project on IGN, on YouTube and here.

The safest assumption to make from Precursor is that people are going to be aware of Silicon Knights history. That would mean knowing about games like Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem along with Too Human and X-Men: Destiny and the checkered past surrounding those games.

inXile wasn't weighed down by the middling reception to The Bard's Tale and Hunted: The Demon Forge (granted there wasn't the same sort of baggage attached to those games) so as I said it's not impossible. However, with less than 10% of the total funding amount raised at the time of this writing, they have a lot of work to do.

Posted:A year ago

#14

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