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September 2020

Into The Eternal

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: RPG/Action
Developer: Zero Infinite
Release Date: November 2020

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'Into The Eternal' (ALL) Announced, Launches Kickstarter Campaign - Screens & Trailer

by Rainier on Aug. 7, 2020 @ 1:58 a.m. PDT

Heavily inspired by classic adventure games of the 80's, but without the technical limitations of hardware to hold it back, Into The Eternal is a massive action RPG.

The Eternal has been opened! The powerful wizard Silah has discovered a path to immortality. The great council of Southwood Kingdom has formed to determine what to do about Silah's rise to power. The only option is to retrieve nine gems from the great dungeons to destroy Silah's immortal soul located inside the eternal.

Into The Eternal hearkens back to the days of simple stories in video games - while also offering a large mythology and depth for players that seek more. Towns will be a huge source of information. Characters and books can teach you the lore of the world, and even help you out on some of the mysteries you might need to find lost treasure. Some players will crave that depth, others may just want to get to the next fight as quickly as possible. The challenge is to make sure both types of players get exactly what they want out of the game. 

Into The Eternal is broken into two main parts: The overworld and the side-scrolling action areas. The overworld is a top-down view where you can search for new areas and secrets. The world can change as you accept new quests. For example, a villager might tell you that his daughter ran off and asks for your help finding her. He will describe where she was last seen, so you can search that area. You might find her on the world map surrounded by wolves, and by getting close, you'll be taken to an action scene where you battle to wolves to save her. These sections are all side scrolling, similar to what you'll find in a Metroidvania style game.

There are no random encounters in the overworld. There will be plenty of monsters, but they're not random. They're usually marked for quests - or for hunting encounters. Some will be guarding chests, others may block a path. Defeat them to earn treasure and upgrades.

There is no experience system in Into The Eternal, but that doesn't mean there aren't tons of upgrades you can unlock. Your health, magic, and weapon (and weapon skills) can all be upgraded from finding hidden items in the game world. Health jars can increase your maximum life (larger jars will increase it by more), and magic jars can do the same for your magic. Your weapon and spells each have their own upgrade trees as well.

Infinite Zero has launched an Into The Eternal kickstarter campaign, looking to raise $10,000.

"We want to hear what people want out of this genre of game. The fans will let us know if we're doing good - or bad. This is a lot of our childhoods. We look at Zero Infinite as the vessel for delivering inspired classics to current gen systems, which is why we offer Kickstarter rewards where gamers can be put in an email group to give ideas - but we'll see where it goes. If there's no interest then there's no game. Hopefully we can do something really cool."

Into The Eternal is heavily inspired by the black sheep of the Zelda franchise - Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link on the NES

"It's a misunderstood game, no question, but it paved the way for action RPG's" says designer Jen Goddard. "Even amazing games weren't perfect. Grinding out health after you die in Metroid was excruciating. Kid Icarus' first level was harder than the final level. If you died once in Gradius you might as well restart the game (or use the cheat!). Maybe Zelda 1 was perfect. Maybe it's the exception."

When Infinite Zero was being formed, the three person team played a lot of NES games. Games that they grew up on - those that inspired them.

"It's easily my favorite console of all time - but it's the same with music. Your favorite decade is the one you spent your teen years in. I got the NES when I was 6, so it had the most impact on me. It's still the console I go back to over and over again.

We talked about the unsung hero of the 8-bit era. Zelda 2, Guardian Legend, Robowarrior, Legacy of the Wizard, The Goonies 2, Faxanadu - the original challenge was to go back and beat the ones we hadn't, but then it quickly shifted to 'let's pay tribute to these games by creating spiritual successors to the games we loved, but only the ones that weren't all that well-received.'

The first game we talked about was Zelda 2. Other games copied it. Even Rambo copied it. And the thing is - we played the heck out of Rambo. It was pretty fun. All of a sudden, completely linear games felt outdated. I never wanted to play another straight forward game again. What hurt Zelda 2 more than anything was how good Metroid was. '86 and '87 was a huge couple of years for non-linear adventure games. Imaginations went nuts. Those two years were vital for the advancement of gaming.

Our goal is 10 games in 10 years. All spiritual successors to under-appreciated NES titles. A lot of this is about family. All three of us grew up in gaming households. Mine had "family game night" on Fridays and Saturdays. Taking turns getting destroyed in Ghosts n Goblins. It seemed to be the one time I didn't have to listen to my parents fighting in the next room. My mom was a huge Zelda fan, and she never got to play Breath of the Wild, which I know she would have loved. I want Into The Eternal to be the kind of game she would have loved. In many ways, it's a tribute to her."

The weapon tree is huge. In order to unlock a skill for your sword, you'll need to collect dropped materials from monsters. Skeletons, for example, may drop bones, which can be used to upgrade the draw damage of your weapon. You can also increase the weapon's length, speed, elemental damages, and learn new abilities. It will be important to hunt some of the more rare monsters for their parts in order to get some of the more powerful upgrades.

There are nine great dungeons in the world, and you'll need to defeat their bosses to recover the gems in order to open the door to the eternal. These dungeons are huge. So much that you can collect a map for each dungeon which will show up on your game screen (as you can see in the dungeon scene in the video). You can also collect other items for these maps that will mark certain location for you. Some dungeons will even offer shortcuts to other areas in the world. 

Dungeons are somewhat inspired by a couple of games: Zelda 2, of course, but also Kid Icarus. Dungeons in that game felt like you had entered a new game. It was very different. They were filled with fascinating new challenges. That's what we hope to accomplish through Into The Eternal's dungeons. They're major set pieces and require a lot of time and effort to maneuver. You'll reveal the map as you progress, so even if you die, you'll never feel like you're starting over. You'll keep chipping away at the dungeon until you've beaten it - and you'll always earn great rewards upon doing so.

Dungeons will be numbered, but you can truly play them in any order you choose. There will be some paths blocked by items you need to acquire, but we don't want to force you into a linear experience by any means. We always want you to have several options you can explore to progress through the game.

Difficulty is an important feature as well. Some games are way too hard, and some are way too easy. I don't like difficulty settings. It's hard to know what you should be playing on. So with Into The Eternal, we want the game to be a challenge - but a fair one. If you don't succeed you'll learn from your mistakes and be better next time. The mantra here is "no cheap deaths."

One thing's for certain: No one wants to sit down with a brand new RPG and finish it in 4 hours. This is a genre that should always be massive. We want people who can put 100 hours into the game and have only completed a few dungeons. But you have to be careful too, because some games are just too long. We believe that, even worse than a short game is a game that keeps repeating itself and becomes boring. 

That's why the world is so important to us. We want to keep throwing new concepts at the player. New spells and abilities will help you reach areas you couldn't get to previously. Completely new gameplay concepts will even be revealed late in the game - but early enough to where you can fully appreciate them.

Into The Eternal will be released for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One in late 2020, with PS5 and Xbox Series X versions to follow at a later time.

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