Even after ending their contract with Nintendo, Silicon Knights CEO, Denis Dyack is still asked if there are any plans for a sequel to Eternal Darkness. His answers regarding sequels have been strongly misinterpreted and there are many rumors being made without any basis at all.
“I am most often asked if we have sequels in mind for Eternal Darkness. The answer is absolutely yes.”
- Denis Dyack, Silicon Knights Blog, July 06, 2006
This does not mean there are fragments of Eternal Darkness 2 code and media hidden in their offices. It means they have ideas for a sequel if they ever had a chance to make one.
Although Eternal Darkness did not sell very well, it is well known for inventing “video game insanity”, literally. As the player progresses through the game, there is a sanity meter in addition to the common health and mana meters. The lower the sanity meter lowers, the more distorted the gameplay becomes. This can happen in various ways:
- The camera tilts at an odd angle
- Sounds of people screaming and crying loudly
- Walls bleeding
- Statue heads turn towards the player as they walk
- The sound of loud knocking on doors
- The screen turns black with the word “VIDEO” on the top-right corner as if the GameCube was turned off. The sound of your character being attacked can be heard in the background.
- After saving a game, it will ask “Would you like to erase all data?” and will appear to erase the data no matter what was chosen.
- The player will be attacked by monsters and the message “Please reconnect your GameCube controller” will appear at the bottom.
- The game will pretend to crash and display the infamous “blue screen of death”
- All doors in the room will be locked, making the player think they are trapped in the level.
- Insects will appear to be crawling on the television screen.
- The game will suddenly end with the message that “Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Redemption” will be coming out soon. This does not mean a sequel will be made!
There are many effects, and after some of these effects, everything will go back to normal (or more normal) with the player’s character screaming, “This can’t be happening”. The player can also recover sanity by performing finishing moves on monsters and casting recovery spells. The player’s health starts to drain after sanity reaches zero. I admit that there were times when I intentionally lowered my sanity just to see how many effects I can encounter. It was this method of messing with the player’s mind that gave it good reviews. It was weird enough to stop and think about what just happened, entertaining enough to find more effects and happens occasionally enough to make it hard to tell when it will happen next. It is a freaky game with a deep story and amazing audio. In addition, Eternal Darkness is the first mature rated game ever published by Nintendo.
Whenever a game is published by Nintendo, they own certain portions of the game, while Silicon Knights own other portions such as the characters themselves. The sanity system has also been patented (no. 6,935,954). The inventors are Henri Sterchi and Denis Dyack of Silicon Knights and Edward Ridgeway of Nintendo. It is because of this patent which stopped other developers from ripping off the sanity system for other games. In addition, it has never been made clear whether Eternal Darkness is an intellectual property owned by Silicon Knights or Nintendo.
“It’s not time to even talk about those other kinds of things for various different reasons. Nintendo, who’s still our silent partner, a lot of people don’t know that. We have a great relationship with those guys, and it’s not time to talk about Eternal Darkness 2.”
“It’s a complicated question with a complicated answer and we’re not answering the question.”
- Denis Dyack, Interview with Joystiq
Nintendo still owns stock of Silicon Knights, even though they have nothing to do with any of their current projects such as the Too Human trilogy. In addition, it has never been made clear why Silicon Knights did not renew their contract with Nintendo after developing only two games with them: Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
Denis Dyack also stated that they want to make different types of games without being stuck in a single genre. He said that there is plenty of “undiscovered country”, with ideas that have not been quite explored yet. Dyack also made a very fascinating comparison between the video game and movie industry and stated that the major publishers are merging together to become larger and make fewer and better movies to make higher profits. Of the hundreds of games released last year, it is impossible to review each one and make a profit off each one as well. Video game publishers are also echoing this, with Activision Blizzard being an example of this.
However, I believe that Steam, WiiWare, Xbox Live Arcade, and the PlayStation Network make it possible for smaller developers to continue selling their games. Unfortunately, this does not make the process of pitching an idea any easier.
In conclusion, there is no strong evidence that shows that we will be seeing an Eternal Darkness sequel anytime soon. With the legal barriers and the need for confidentiality, Denis Dyack does not have any other answers other than the fact that it is “complicated”. Even though I never finished Eternal Darkness, I would love to play a sequel should it ever get developed someday. Until then, Silicon Knights has a lot of work ahead of them with the Too Human trilogy and a bunch of unknown games they will be working on in between. These unknown games will be different from their other games in every way, in genre, gameplay, appearance, plot, etc. They have made many achievements with their games and working with Microsoft and Nintendo and did a great job of placing Canada on the map for game developers. The only person we can trust in regards to an Eternal Darkness sequel is Denis Dyack.