Eternal Darkness (lost build of finished Nintendo 64 survival horror game; 1998-2000)

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The logo of Eternal Darkness that was often used for promotional material.

Status: Lost

Eternal Darkness is a survival horror game developed for the Nintendo GameCube, released on June 24, 2002. However, it was originally developed as a Nintendo 64 game in 1999. The story was to follow the return of The Ancients, a tribe that existed before humanity on their hunt to claim Earth. 13 people from different time periods all unite in order to destroy the Ancients once and for all and save Earth. The game was in the final stages of development before it was scrapped on November 29, 2000, in favor of remaking the game for the newly released GameCube.[1]

Features

Eternal Darkness was, during development, the first Nintendo 64 game that ran at 640x480 resolution without the use of the RAM expansion pak, but using it was optional.[2] The only thing that would happen was additional effects.[3] It was reportedly so unbelievable that Nintendo inspected the development kit that the game was running on just to make sure the expansion pack was not installed.[4] A new cartridge was developed with a capacity of 256 megabits was required just to support all of the voice lines, recorded in Dolby surround.

Differences Between the N64 Version & the GCN Version

The character Michael Edwards was going to be a Gulf War commando but after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he was changed to be a firefighter instead. Sanity effects were also meant to play along throughout an entire level until the player managed to increase their sanity high enough again. The game was also meant to be 60 to 80 hours long and would have ended in many different ways, unlike in the GameCube release where it would take 7 hours with only 2 endings (counting the special ending after beating the game 3 times.) The camera was also a lot stiffer in the N64 version and featured less cinematic camera movements from going one place to the other.

Joseph De Molay

Joseph De Molay was a major character who was a Templar Knight. However, he only made a small cameo in the GameCube version during the end of Roberto's chapter and when Rovas gets the 8th chapter. De Molay would have roamed around a castle and was a lot faster than most other characters in the game. He was even featured in the 1999 E3 demo of the game. De Molay did eventually get redesigned, his chapter was switched from being set in a castle to the Forbidden City, and he became quite slower than other characters. The character's fate is unknown.

Denis Dyack, the game's director stated that the reason for his departure was because that Joseph was only meant to be seen in E3 demos. This begs the question of why the character was redesigned for the Nintendo 64. In contrast, one of the game's artists stated that the reason for his departure was because of 9/11.

Before Redesign

Redesign

De Molay's redesign

Gallery

Augustus's undead transformation
Footage of Paul Luther and Anthony's segments
Recorded footage of Joseph in the E3 demo ripped from a VHS before the redesign
A promo for the Nintendo 64 build
Joseph De Molay going around a castle before the redesign

References

  1. Archived IGN article. Retrieved 30 Dec '17.
  2. IGN article detailing Eternal Darkness 64. Retrieved 30 Dec '17.
  3. Archived Q&A. Retrieved 30 Dec '17.
  4. YouTube video interviewing Denis. Retrieved 30 Dec '17.