“I don’t want to oversell this,” warns a deadpan Josh Sawyer as he introduces the first real-time footage of a Project Eternity environment. “But you might want to pressurise the room that you’re in because your head could explode from what you are about to see.”
I don’t know anything about that. But they’ve properly nailed it.
There are three reasons Sawyer is looking so smug in the above video update. The first is that Obsidian have succeeded in capturing the very specific, painterly aesthetic of the Infinity Engine games – specifically the fragile idylls of Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. The second is that Eternity’s environments are possessed of a new flavour that’s entirely their own, that players will remember – as evidenced by the sparse woodland, bruised by blackened stone, that you’ll remember from the Kickstarter screenshot.
Third, Sawyer is pleased to reveal that Project Eternity will benefit from something he believes the ‘90s IE games lacked – “dynamism”. In the demo, you’ll see movement within the frame – the swaying of trees and grass and the babbling of dynamic water, which thanks to Unity can be raised and lowered according to developer whim.
But what gives me familiar goosebumps is the dynamic lighting, that turns the land fifty shades of hostile grey. Suddenly I’m back in Baldur’s Gate’s High Hedge, and Khalid is meeting my requests for more health potions with a platemailed shrug.
And all in 2D. Sometimes, nostalgia reaps dividends. Wouldn’t you say?