First Look at ‘Aeternum’

News of an up-and-coming shooter headed to XBLIG isn’t exactly the most original thing you’ll read. It’s an incredibly crowded field already. Unless your hero pisses bullets and has grenades for hands, with a storyline involving reanimated, cybernetic poultry with a taste for classical music (back off world! my idea!), you’ve got a climb ahead of you. Aeternum may or may not have an uphill battle upon release, but it holds promise to me, seeing as I happen to actually know the guys behind its development and what they’re capable of. Well, somewhat.

Brooks Bishop is 1/2 of Two Fedoras, a website dedicated to all things Indie. While the site is on hiatus, he’s slid easily into his side career of game development. Aeternum is his first project, a Bullet Hell shmup a few years in the making, coming under the studio moniker of Wasted Brilliance. He’s taken on a writing partner for Aeternum‘s story, one of my personal heroes, but also a man with seriously sexy hair and 1/4 of Gear-Fish, Nate Graves. Friend of the pair Jesse Bishop rounds out the group, and is on board to handle Soundtrack duties.

And now, the premise:

Ellica is a Demonic Magic Studies student at one of the most prestigious schools in the realm, Aeternum Academy. But her schoolwork has to take a back seat one day when she discovers her best friend Macy is missing!

Help Ellica brave the crazed groundskeeper, an overzealous hall monitor and waves upon waves of wayward flying cats in the adventure of a lifetime… or maybe just the adventure of this week.

While story and dialogue will have a role, it looks to be a light-hearted affair. Any mention of cats is always good. For shooting purists, the option to turn off dialogue is available. There’s an interview with Nate up at the developer’s blog, which highlights some of the challenges involved with storytelling in shooters, as well as a little more insight into Aeternum‘s world and characters. The game promises four stages in total, with boss fights based on pattern. It’s also going to be very hard. With four selectable difficulties, including an ‘insane’ mode that even bests the developer, this will undoubtedly get tagged ‘There Will Be Bullets’.

Brooks pegs the script’s progress at about 60%, with all the principal assets and most of the stage work completed, just additional art and polish and odds and ends to go. I can’t lock down anything more than Winter 2012 for a release (XBLIG, with PC likely to follow), but with any luck, we won’t be waiting too long to give it a try. Shooters run through my veins as equally as blood, and with these fine gents behind the game, it should be something special.

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For more on Aeternum, visit the game’s Information page

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24 thoughts on “First Look at ‘Aeternum’”

  1. I’d like to commend Brooks on opening up Aeternum for a First Look. It is sadly rare that devs ‘share the journey’ to release, and I believe doing so highly beneficial. Many publisher owned games do hands on sessions with journalists, and learn lots from the feedback. Not doing so is a risk to the gameplay.

    1. Agreed. Now that I’ve opened up to doing previews, will definitely have to get ‘Astralis’ on here, maybe once you’ve cut a new trailer for the game and it gets closer to release. 🙂

    2. Well, Aeternum has been kind of my side project for a long time now, it’s just that now that it’s actually getting close to being done, I figured I needed to start the marketing ball rolling. Ironically, I’m usually more than happy to talk about things or show stuff off, I just tend towards thinking that it actually sucks, and no one wants to hear me talking to begin with. When it comes down to it, I’m a programmer, not a marketer.

  2. I’d pick this up anyway purely because it’s Nate’s project, but it looks very promising on its own merits as well. For a start the presentation is a league above the majority of XBLIGs. I think this could sit comfortably on the PC, which isn’t all that common a feat for XBLIGs.

    1. I do like its style. With the names involved, I’m sold, should be good fun. From the screens, I’m pretty sure I won’t get above ‘normal’ difficulty 🙂 , and the only concern at this point would be brevity. Still excited to get my hands on it.

    2. Thanks for the kind words! I think I’m just extremely lucky that I have an eye for design slightly better than the average xna programmer. Or maybe it’s just because I spend so much time refining. Either way, glad you like what you see so far!

    3. No problem. And refining is a good thing. That’s exactly what I like to hear. Make it the best it can possibly be, and let the gamers (and critics…) decide. At the end of the day, that’s all you can do, And you’ve played enough games to know what works and what makes it fun, I’m not worried. You’ve got the right idea. 🙂

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