I have been tight-lipped about the project for more than one year, so it’s about time I attempt to shed some light on the status of the project with some kind of FAQ. For the most part, I’ll cover the game’s design and storyline.
What can you tell about the reboot?
Eternal Eden is far more than just a re-release. It’s a top-to-bottom re-imagining and re-structuring of the old concept, greatly expanding the initial plot with elements of the canceled sequel (known as Ecclesia).
The old game can be interpreted like a pre-released, amateur ‘rough draft’ while the reboot is in fact the real, official edition.
Should followers feel worried about this direction?
On the contrary, everyone should feel hopeful. The reboot is designed with much forethought on connecting dots and making them all fit into the plot. The old version had its moments of glory, but it also had its many flaws which didn’t stimulate me to want to keep it in my portfolio or even re-release it on Steam. It was created when I was younger and way too eager to release my first indy game to really bother with quality—the goal was perfectly okay as a speedy 8-month challenge at that time, though. You can expect a world of difference with the reboot.
What’s different with the new storyline?
The new script is retaining the core concept and premise, but chain of events and symbolism behind them are completely revamped, using a different chronology. Rest assured, you’ll be able to recognize all the most loved key scenes from the old game while playing the new one and feel real blast from the past. Speaking of which, the first three chapters remain almost intact until the point the heroes fight the giant winged beast in the sky, then the story take new and unexpected turns, until the main quest lets you revisit other sequences you’re familiar with again.
Eternal Eden fills in gaps significantly on both the mythos and meta-narratives, with some religious overtones. The game also deals with existential, quantum and philosophical questions; themes that were explored awkwardly in the old game; (i.e., the torn pages in Dogan’s house).
All in all, the restructuring was crucial in order to introduce three additional worlds, new story arcs and new characters.
Are all characters returning?
The cast of characters remains more or less the same but it’s not without modifications.
There are some name changes. Take Jean and Dogan, for instance. They are renamed Lennus and Enoch while they keep the same personality.
There’s nonetheless one notable character that will undergo plastic surgery: Downey. It’s official that he’s going to be a black character in the reboot. The reason is that I want to bring out a deeper theme of duality between him and Noah. What’s more, I also believe that most jRPGs lack of epic black characters. In most games they’re mostly supportive cast members than central ones. I want Downey to shine in this new version.
Two characters from the old version won’t be reprise their role: Old Dogan and Joelle. Although the latter may get a cameo.
Will there be new playable characters?
Three new playable characters have been added in the new story. I’ll reveal them during the artwork design phase.
Note that the nameless princess from the old game will be a playable character and will have a genuine name.
What about villains?
I think we can all agree that the old game had no major antagonists. It was quite underwhelming… Thankfully the remake fixes this issue with recurring villains that will constantly get in the way of the heroes. Besides, each world has its own main sub baddie.
Jezebela (previously called Elvira) will be back with a deeper purpose and a strange relationship with darkness and death, and a connection to the fabled Magedom of Ecclesiah.
The final boss from the first game will return. This time, this otherworldly fiend will add more tension by constantly dragging Noah’s mind in a place called Oroboro, using two sock-puppets referred to as Everlasting Murmur and Adamant Voice to make Noah wanders in a realm of machination and shattered hallucination to create new, dark realities. Sooner or later, Noah will become a threat for himself and everyone else.
But if there’s one villain you should really wait with anticipation, it should be W’yendo—also referred to as The Holy Ghost. I designed this character for the sequel, particularly. This villain’s true form is terrifying to behold because his resurrection will involve a s… ah, I can’t tell you.
What was the progress made on Eternal Eden during 2017?
I’m afraid the answer is: not much. 2017 has been a disaster year for me—and I was already struggling from 2012 to 2016. Never in my whole existence have I ever been this down, powerless, and disappointed. I was stricken by bad luck after bad luck, to the point it crossed my mind I was cursed or jinxed, or that events conspired to prevent me from succeeding, but then I rejected this superstition because, without question, I’ve also been blessed with so many other good things in different ways. However, last year has been my reminder that life is unpredictable for whatever goals I’ve set for myself, so I’ve decided to live in the moment and not care too much about the finish line, because let’s face it, the odds seem higher that I may never reach my objective. It still requires a significant leap of faith to go on with this project.
When will Eternal Eden be released?
I honestly don’t have the slightest idea. The game has no set release date as for now and heaven only knows when the game will be in your hands.
Next December will mark the 10th anniversary of Eternal Eden. That would be extraordinary to celebrate this occasion in one way or another, but let’s not hold our breaths on that one and just see how things pan out.
I won’t argue the game is vaporware until then.
Why aren’t you showing anything?
The dark side of a big game development like Eternal Eden is that it’s not easy to show as much as I’d want to. There are various reasons. One of them is that most under-the-hood tasks won’t captivate followers. For example, I’ve spent two years on the trot working on the game engine, day after day. From a follower’s perspective, it probably means 0% progress, but from mine is a gargantuan feat that could be described as a whole bunch of muted ninja steps forward.
Dany Duchaine, a friend of mine who became a successful web designer, came to visit me last summer and he was taken aback by the amount of stuff I had created in my PC that were never shown on my website. Demos, maps, graphics, and so on. “Dude, why aren’t you publishing them on your website? Everyone will be blown away”.
It’s a question of momentum. From my mistakes I learned that building anticipation ahead of its time will only hurt more. It will be easier to post regular updates once I feel safe to tell a release date.
What’s the current milestone of the project?
The plot is fully outlined after years of brainstorming and incomplete drafts, so it’s finally good to be happy with this chunk of work and know where it’s heading. There’s nothing more sluggish and cumbersome in a game development than working with unresolved plot holes.
The current task at hand is to write down all the remaining in-game dialogues.
Here are few more quickies.
What’s the intended length of the game?
It should have 50+ hours of gameplay after the completion of sidequests and mini-games.
Will there be puzzles?
I’m still undecided whether main quests will be slowed down by puzzles. I would like the main flow of the game to be fast-paced. Puzzles may be found only in side-quest dungeons with good rewards.
Will enemy troops reappear once defeated?
Just like the old game; enemy troops will forever be defeated upon victory. This feature prevents level grinding, which is excellent.
Will there be experience points?
Not in the reboot. It will be replaced with a smarter leveling-up system.
Will there be stores to purchase items and weapons from?
There will be no money system in the game. Everything will be free of charge in bazaars, at will. This is again solving an issue with limited battle encounters in the old game; you were in a bit of hot water if you killed all enemy troops in the active chapter’s dungeon, had 0 GP, nothing to sell, and in dire need of potions while a very tough boss was waiting to rip you apart.
Is the game still intended for 3DS?
It’s a decision that will be possible to answer only when the game is completed. Nintendo Switch might become a better opportunity, though. The initial game release is intended for PC.
What about the hidden amulet in the old game?
It will be the most important artefact in the reboot. It will no longer be hidden or optional, it will be part of your inventory from the beginning. This key item is called Octachoron of Creation.