During my time at PAX South 2016 I had the privilege of playing a new card game called Eternal. After the event the awesome people over at Dire Wolf Digital agreed to shed a little light on the upcoming game. Enjoy.
Scott Martins is the President of Dire Wolf Digital, the indie game studio behind Eternal. Scott founded Worlds Apart Productions in 1996 and guided that company for a decade while building expertise in online games, specializing in digital trading card and miniatures games. In 2006, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) acquired Worlds Apart and Scott led the newly renamed SOE Denver for the next three and a half years, managing all aspects of SOE’s profitable digital collectibles business. Scott founded Dire Wolf Digital in 2010.
So I met you guys briefly at PAX South 2016 and got to play Eternal for just a little bit. I enjoyed my short demo of it. How was PAX for you guys? How much sleep did you get?
PAX South was amazing. It was the first-ever preview of Eternal, so it was the first time we got to watch players get their hands on the game we’ve been working on for the past couple of years. The enthusiasm everyone had was awesome for us to see: we know that we love the game and are passionate about it, but seeing fans come back to our booth again and again over the weekend because they wanted to show Eternal to their friends was a pretty big rush, and very exciting for us as a team.
So my first impression of the game was “this reminds me of Hearthstone” but it did look and feel a bit different. What was the inspiration behind Eternal?
Well, the core team of folks here at Dire Wolf has been making digital card games for over a decade, from Star Chamber to The Lord of the Rings TCG Online to the EverQuest TCG – Legends of Norrath – to The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online. We’ve definitely been part of the development of the genre over the years. Recently, there’s been an explosion in their popularity, and a lot of that has been driven by the phenomenon of Hearthstone. But some of the core ideas of the genre – from playmat composition to tokenized cards to avatar powers – are things that we were doing ten years ago (with ten-year-old graphics and UX sensibilities, admittedly).It’s no secret that Blizzard raises the production quality bar for every genre they touch. They made a card game that feels like a video game, with fast pace and visceral reactions to the things you’re doing as a player. We’re fans, and we love Hearthstone, but we also want to build on where the genre is headed, and take some next steps. With Eternal (and with everything we’re doing now), we’re taking what we’ve learned from our decade-plus of card gaming passion and taking those steps.
It’s also our first foray as an indie developer releasing our own original in-house game. We’ve got a ton of experience as a studio using our proprietary technology and knowhow to translate the worlds and stories of our partners into card games, and we’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to make one that’s our own. Things sort of lined up for Eternal to be that opportunity, and we’re thrilled to start sharing it with everyone.
At PAX South I noticed that the game was also playable on a tablet. Was the goal to initially to create a game for a tablet? Or did you just want it to be available on multiple platforms?
We’re a multi-platform development studio, so that was our intent from day one. Ideally, players should be able to play our games where and how they want. I do a lot of my gaming on tablet; others in our studio are exclusively PC players.
Why the name “Eternal”? I love the name, but is there a specific reason for the title?
We’re not saying too much about the story of Eternal just yet, but it involves a group of people who each has a claim upon the Eternal Throne – and it’s a lot more than just a fancy chair. The game opens on the latest chapter in a struggle that’s been going on for a very long time, and that conflict and its consequences for our characters shape the world around them. Plus, one of our factions is Time – a fun and interesting element of the story of Eternal that I think people will find to be pretty cool.
With similar games out there, like Hearthstone, it can be tough to compete and standout. What makes Eternal different?
Of course it can be tough to stand out, but we’re excited about the prospects for Eternal – the game is genuinely fun and part of that is that it feels great to play. It’s got pace and polish, engaging depth, and we’re aiming for a truly free-to-play business model that’s enjoyable and rewarding.
There’s obviously a real player demand for card games that look great on stream and that play like video games, but we’re also gamers who like depth and variety, and I think you’ll see that in many of our studio’s designs and offerings.
With over 400 cards that can be combined however you want, fast spells, blocking decisions, and digital-only mechanics, we think Eternal offers players more creative freedom and tactical choices than they’re used to, combined with the fast-paced intuitive play they have come to expect. We think that combination of elements is a unique offering, and nothing else in the genre really captures that right now.
We appreciate you guys taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Anything you guys want to say about Eternal? (Or anything really)
We really appreciate the support and enthusiasm we’ve been getting since debuting at PAX South! We can’t wait to see everyone in the upcoming Beta! Check us out and sign up for the Beta at www.EternalCardGame.com.
Jon Moore is the General Manager at The Game Bolt, and loves a good Oreo cookie. For more useless knowledge and nerdy shenanigans follow him on Twitter.