Q and A — Eternal Eden

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.

18 thoughts on “Q and A — Eternal Eden

  1. So you mentioned that EE:E is cancelled now? Bummer. I understand that you have gone through a lot of trials and changes over the last few years which can impact game creation. Will we see all/most of the aspects of EE:E in the revamp of EE? I was really looking forward to playing the sequel. Either way I hope things go more smoothly from here on out. Keep up the good work!

  2. No XP?
    No money?
    All items, weapons and gear are free?

    None of that sounds good. Of course I’d need to see how it actually works in the finished game to say for sure, but it sounds like bad changes as of now.

    Also, people really liked the old EE and it stood out because it was a fun, good game. To have George Lucas’ attitude about it like with the Special Editions, is not wise.

  3. “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.”

    No offense, but it’s really not smart to tell people that you’ve decided “not to care too much” about a game they waited YEARS for ever comes to fruition.

    And yes, I know about the trouble you had last year and that’s terrible, but you know what? If you hadn’t kept starting over several times and aiming impossibly high, the game would have already been out BEFORE you had those problems. Maybe you would have had several games out – who knows? At this point it’s hard to muster up any excitement anymore.

    And what happened to the game engine helpers you had supposedly rounded up? Did all of that just not work out?

  4. I too was curious re: the game engine helpers and the other project that specifically detracted from your time on EE. Sometimes it’s best to actually complete 1 small thing than it is to struggle with a huge endeavor. Imo you should be thinking specifically about where you can reduce complexity in order to actually get a real product out the door. You did it once. It’s been 10 years. Focus on tangible results not perfection.

  5. I know for me, the part I love most about EE is the story. Even with the small plot holes, spots of confusing dialogue, and that epilogue that left everyone wanting more, I love the story and its fun use of so much religious mythology (though that last part could just be because I majored in religious studies in college lol). As long as the reboot has a good story to go with it, whether its the same exact story, or entirely new, I am sure I will enjoy it. I also LOVE the puzzles in EE, so even if they are only part of unnecessary side-quests, I would love to see some puzzles in the reboot!

    I think you will have a better opportunity to make real progress with projects like EE when life stops kicking you around and gives you the chance to simply live. Maybe then you will have the chance to have a more positive outlook for yourself and everything will flow more easily. Maybe that will all begin in this new, albeit tiny, room. Who knows? Maybe your last several crazy years are the basis for a different story plot or something.

    Nobody knows what the future holds, nobody really knows what anyone else is going through, and everybody should learn to have patience and not make snap judgements, especially when its online and regarding people they don’t actually know personally. Ignore the haters and think positively.
    You are creating a game… basically creating a whole, small, digital world, including its history, lands, people, cultures, music… everything. It is a complex art form, and all art takes time. Yes, you have had many setbacks, and that sucks, but that is part of life. We all want to play your next game, because EE is great fun, but whether we get to play it this year or next year or in another ten years or never, it doesn’t matter. Not really. You are putting so much of yourself into making this thing. Don’t focus on creating the game to make whiny faceless people stop complaining and judging, or to meet some goal you set a long time ago… make it for yourself just because you can. Make it because it makes you happy. And if it doesn’t make you happy, then make something that does!

    Whatever else happens, I hope you find some stability in your life, I hope you can get fully healthy after last year, and I look forward to playing your next game, whatever it is.

  6. Hey Everyone. I decided I won’t join heated discussions to better escape this cycle of negativity and move toward a positive climate. Future comments will be held for moderation. There is no point in raking over the ashes again and again. I’ve answered the questions of this Q-and-A with honesty and it wasn’t my intention to be smart with hidden facts about the status of the project and my state of mind. The point of my message was: I don’t have the slightest idea what the future holds for me, but I’ll keep working on the project anyway even if it’s unsure I can reach the destination.

    I’ll borrow this quote from Dave Gilbert: “It’s unfair to judge a game developer for any reason unless you’ve been in the dev seat yourself.”

  7. Has it been 10 years already since EE came out? Wow! Even after all this time, still looking forward to playing EE:E. Keep us posted. Forward ever, backward never!

  8. I hope the “special reward chest” after you’ve beaten all the enemies in a dungeon still stays, one way or another. It felt so good to me

  9. I greatly appreciate your kindness and forgiveness Deanna, Didi, Bataratgirl, Raz. It’s restoring a lot of HP in my mood.

    So you mentioned that EE:E is cancelled now?

    Not exactly. Most ideas of the sequel are integrated in the reboot. One good explanation as to why the next release won’t be labeled as a sequel is because there’s a very huge development gap between the old game and newest entry. What’s more, the Amaranth and Aveyond community is no longer active, which mean the game will need to be released in a completely new community that aren’t aware of the old game whatsoever, so it’s better to re-release the game as a reboot, including elements of the sequel.

    None of that sounds good. Of course I’d need to see how it actually works in the finished game to say for sure, but it sounds like bad changes as of now. Also, people really liked the old EE and it stood out because it was a fun, good game.

    You have to trust my judgement if you believe I introduced very cool concepts in the old version because my goal is to improve upon the existing features, even if what I wrote seems like a contradiction. Sadly, I can’t provide details on the newest features yet to keep my ideas safe until they’re executed.

    I hope the “special reward chest” after you’ve beaten all the enemies in a dungeon still stays, one way or another.

    Yup, these kind of good features are meant to stay.

  10. I loved the battle music of the original game, your game got really good ratings too. You should be proud of what you accomplished!

  11. A couple of years ago my husband used to make fun of me, asking when I’ll get my game. Now I think he has forgotten about that thing altogether. But I still remember and have faith in you and your game. Sometimes I’m getting just a bit worried about long silence on your website, so this entry make me very happy.

    Your game – not IF but WHEN it will be released – it’s gonna to be epic, I know it.

  12. I don’t know how many times I played through EE. It was the RPG to introduce me to RPGs when I was young. It’s been a long wait for this new game, but I know it’ll be worth it. In the meantime, I’m planning a DnD campaign based on the story line of the original EE.

    Is there somewhere we can make donations? A kickstarter or an indiegogo page?

  13. I accept no donation and I decided to stay away from any crowdfunding websites as they’re not the solution for me.

    Hello ShaeliteTealeaf, Ravalad, I’m always super excited when I hear that people have fond memories of the game. It’s the best motivational push for me. Thank you!

    Juliet Ranson, I agree that the battle music was totally awesome, sadly it was stock asset from RPG Maker and I cannot take the merits.

  14. Hi! Belated jumping on the train of excitement, so to speak!

    I’ll start off by saying that Eternal Eden has been one of my favourite games, top shelf, ever since I played it in 2009. It’s a game that has endless innovative ideas; even if there were things that I felt could be improved, the pros were honestly staggering for me. The puzzles were so fun, the hall of treasures was an ego boost and incentive to not completely rush through the dungeons like I do in Literally Every Other Game, the religious callbacks were very interesting to note especially because it was handled in a way that didn’t necessarily shove the whole lore in the player’s face, and the characters were endearing once you got past some of the dialogue (the fact that they were only children may have softened my heart completely from the get go). Jean has remained the son and sun of my life for all these years. [I *did* want to see Fierro and Jean awkwardly tiptoeing around each other, with Fierro doing most of that oblivious tiptoeing, even at the ending, but you win some, you lose some…] I also loved the bounty system; I have to ask if something like this will be in the revised game? It was a fun way to revisit old places and get great perks!!

    I do have to say that I often played the game on mute unless there were tons of battles going on, because while I loved the battle music the general/default music was a little bit monotonous after a while.

    I honestly have to say that you’re bringing a lot of new elements to the RPG that I haven’t really seen pulled off anywhere before; still, I really think that before 2009 I would have been turned off by the idea of puzzles being so integrated with dungeons, and that worked out wonderfully in your favour. I’m also interested in the puzzles being sidequest-only thing, actually; the fact that enemies don’t resurrect pretty much seals the deal as far as dungeons go, lol. I have faith that you can execute your vision well! I’m really excited about the representation you’ve been speaking about; I think inclusion of more races in the game would be honestly really great, especially with one such inclusion being of a major character.

    As somewhat of a creator myself — not for games, which is a gargantuan feat, life you said — but for writing alone, I know how hard it is to get the creative process going. At one point, it becomes hard to turn the perfectionism *off*, lol — it’s like, wow, this thing is my baby, I have to make sure everything’s great. In any case, I really hope that you can continue to work on this game in a relaxed manner; please don’t worry about dates and the negativity and please focus on not burning yourself out. Real life does take precedence over this. I hope everything smooths out for you and you can take a breather and work on this without problems.

  15. Is this game dead? I worked with Elder Prince many many years ago on a game project. Just came here to see how everything is going. Wonder how development is going?

  16. Sidartha, wow, it’s been ages since I’ve heard from you. I never expected to hear from you again. Many, many years ago? It was in 2004. Time sure goes too fast.

    I’ll share about game development on gamezopher.com as soon as I can.

  17. I really think Downey’s name should be changed as well. You’ve changed others to be more biblical. Would Judas work for him?

    Anyways:

    I think you underestimate the old game. It was flawed, sure, but it was still very decent considering how limited RPG Maker VX was. But I do agree about antagonists. One thing I’d like to see more of is strategic boss battles; I felt a large chunk of the original was just spamming your best attacks.

    Also:

    “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.”

    Please don’t. I think you are strongly undermining the importance of puzzles in these kind of games. Wild Arms is one of my all time favorites, after all, and there’s a reason the original Eternal Eden and games like Dawn’s Light are among my favorite RM games… because of the damn puzzles!

    They don’t all have to be block pushes, those can get annoying when over used and I’m fine with limiting those (though I’d still like a few main story dungeons to have this), but puzzles are still needed to keep the dungeons from just being a dungeon crawl full of monsters and nothing more.

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