A week after launch
To mark the release of Eternal Threads, David Bottomley, Designer, takes us on a trip through the timeline from how it all began, what’s next and how he’ll be celebrating the launch.
From start to finish
We first started working on the original version of the game, then called ‘The Seer’, back in 2015. The original concept was much more linear and the events taking place had a supernatural origin instead of the eventual sci-fi leanings of ‘Eternal Threads’. However, the house and piecing together the story by watching ghostly visions from the past all started there. We produced a playable demo that was featured on the 2016 Unity GDC showreel but at that time we couldn’t secure any funding and the team drifted off to other pastures.
Then, in 2017, Paul (Managing Director of Cosmonaut) decided he was going to fund the project himself and got the band back together. We retooled the game to be more sci-fi than supernatural and hit upon the idea of giving the player full non-linear access to the timeline. After that, there was an awful lot of writing, motion capture, recording and editing along with finishing off constructing the house and filling it with lots of ‘stuff’.
Of course, we then had that whole Covid thing – but fortunately most of the work had already been done. Then Secret Mode came onboard and they gave us the financial backing we needed to expand on a few key elements including the opening section, an expansion of the role of the controller character and also to provide a new secret ending. It also gave us sufficient funds to be able to release versions of Eternal Threads on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
Learning from the past
We’ve definitely learnt some great lessons that we’ll take through with us into future projects. Getting actors in as early as possible – even before the script is finished - is incredibly important. Just having actors interact with the script can inspire you to write interesting scenes for them.
Also, staying local as much as possible has huge benefits. Every major city will have a recording studio, a talented pool of actors and local bands and musicians. And while using local talent is not only vastly more convenient (seriously, being less than 20 minutes’ walk away from an amazing recording studio is brilliant), it also serves to give your game a bit more of an individual flavour that helps mark it out as being unique – and unique is good.
And what’s next for Cosmonaut?
Immediately? A celebratory chippie tea and a few relaxing pints down the local.
After that? Well we’ve got a few ideas kicking round including a neat little narrative survival game set aboard a submarine. But I would absolutely love to return to the world of Eternal Threads and in particular reveal more of the backstory that we only really hinted about in the game. The secret ending especially raises a great number of questions, and hopefully there’s enough people out there who want us to supply the answers.
And finally, a message to you, our players
Thank you for buying the game. Get yourself a big glass or mug of your favourite beverage and relax and enjoy - cheers!