Dark Souls, Pixel Art and Vikings Combine in Eitr

Dark Souls, Pixel Art and Vikings Combine in Eitr

The developers of the in-the-works action RPG Eitr have recent released their first chunk of view-able gameplay footage.

Update: The creators of Eitr contacted us with additional information to help clarify the game's influences. We've added the information to the original article.

Did you like Dark Souls? Of course, you did. After all, what isn't to like a game based in a grim and brutal fantasy world where death, humiliation and frustration wait around every corner. As good as Dark Souls and its sequel were however, there were still a few things missing from their mix. The Souls games, for instance, were sadly bereft of pixel art and Vikings. Luckily, two developers are working on a new game that could rectify those egregious exemptions.

The game, named Eitr, is being developed in Unity by London-based indie developers David Wright and Tobi Harper. Based in Norse mythology, the game will follow the efforts of a lone shield maiden fighting against horrific foes with little more than her sword, shield and the player to see through her. According to Wright, the game was initially inspired by their History Channel original series Vikings and, in particular, the character Lagertha. That being the case, Wright also made no bones about the influence of titles like Dark Souls on the development of Eitr. "Eitr has definitely been inspired by Dark Souls," said Wright, speaking to The Escapist. "[It's] a game series that I've spent hundreds of hours playing, they are some of my favorite games of all time."

Hoping to give gamers a taste of what this influence means in their game, Wright and Harper recently released their first chunk of publicly view-able game footage which focuses primarily on the game's heroine as she battles through a dark dungeon against a variety of enemies and a boss character. The combat, as shown in the video, seems to make healthy use things like dodging, blocking and carefully timed attacks. In addition to Dark Souls, Wright also stated Eitr will draw heavily on action RPGs like Diablo and Path of Exile. He and Harper also intend to give the game its own unique feel and identity. It's their hope that the game's pixel art visuals, for instance, will help to give it "an old school feel." It will also differ in that it will focus on a single static protagonist as opposed to one made by the player themselves.

Depending on the success of a planned Kickstarter, Eitr could also vary in the breadth of platforms in winds up on. While the current version is being developed for PC, its use of Unity could easily lead to the finished product winding up on consoles and even handhelds. Just speaking personally, this is definitely the sort of game I could see myself spending hours playing on my Vita. Take a look at Eitr yourself and let us know what you think, Does this look like a future must-play for you, or is this merely a Dark Souls clone in different clothes?

Source: TIG Source

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Did you like Dark Souls? Of course, you did.

Um, actually, no. I didn't. At all. Not even a little. There was nothing in any of the Souls games that appealed to me; notably the art, aesthetic, and lore.

This Eitr game, however....

I'm liking what I'm seeing. It's a bit Diablo 2 in it's aesthetics and it almost seems like the old-school game-play one might see in an old Zelda title or something similar.

I can't say I'm "hyped" about it, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this project's progress. Thanks for the heads-up, Mr. Shearer.

Yeah, I'll be keeping an eye on this one too.

I like the concept and the story, and it has that tactical combat feel without the claustrophobia.

Can't wait for the detractors and their frothing at the mouth about the art style though.

Also, the Souls elitists.

Because liking something else that is inspired by Souls is apparently a bad thing. Because reasons.

I *like* Dark Souls but sorry, this looks ... boring. Too slow, the movement, the fighting, the style is just kinda dull, always the same attacks. Yeah, all things that are to some degree also true for Dark Souls, but imho it works there, in 3D, but not here, in 2D.
Maybe it'll get better, I'm ok with a Dark Souls-like game in 2D, but this does not look that amazing (yet?)
Also - getting really tired of pixel art games. I guess they are easier to do, still, only like my pixel art in small doses and nowadays 2 out of 3 indie games seem to be pixel art, and often not particularly enticing pixel art.

It looks interesting though I'm looking forward to seeing how they do the story compared to dark souls. Heck from the gameplay, I'd say rogue like(Light?) but given that they are using a shieldmaiden, maybe she'll have a name and a story compared to most rogues we've seen.

panador:

Also - getting really tired of pixel art games. I guess they are easier to do, still, only like my pixel art in small doses and nowadays 2 out of 3 indie games seem to be pixel art, and often not particularly enticing pixel art.

I kinda like it. It's interesting to see what each game does.

Did you like Dark Souls? Of course, you did.

Sorry, I did not have access to it on steam because of GFWL. I did not experience it.

Ooh, this looks really good. Combat looks like it feels nice and weighty, and I like the art. Following this one.

panador:

Also - getting really tired of pixel art games. I guess they are easier to do, still, only like my pixel art in small doses and nowadays 2 out of 3 indie games seem to be pixel art, and often not particularly enticing pixel art.

It's less that it's easy to do, and more that it's all they can do. A lot of these projects have tiny teams (or even just one person), and us programmers are notoriously bad artists.

StewShearer:
The Souls games, for instance, were sadly bereft of pixel art and Vikings. Luckily, two developers are working on a new game that could rectify those egregious exemptions.

Actually - and this may come as a surprise to some people - the Souls series, like many other games that we play to this day, actually have hundreds thousands of pixels in their art, even millions!

Also shieldmaidens aren't necessarily vikings and vice-versa; shieldmaiden is just a term for fighting women that applies in old norse and germanic cultures, "vikings" are specifically Scandinavian seafarers. That said; there absolutely can be shieldmaidens in Dark Souls, but besides that (stupid, historically inaccurate) helmet in Dark Souls 2, there's no vikings.

Okay, in all seriousness, the game looks like 8-bit Diablo (FFS, you can see her meet 'The Mad Butcher' at 4:34), with Diablo 2 game play, but not like Dark Souls.

The dash is too extreme, the enemies are too slow, and assuming the description of the character only having access to a shield and sword is accurate (technically not true since we see a bow) I could see the combat getting repetitive fast.

I like what I see, the combat seems slow and heavy, something that is rare to see in these games but the perspective seems off to me, maybe top down view or actual 3D models in 3D space would have been better.

The main problem I see is that all the enemies have a lot of health. Having to dash around a group of soldiers to plick away at the mage's health with arrows that do like 5% of his health doesn't exactly scream 'fun' to me.

And damage sponge enemies are usually indicative of a short game that they tried to pad out with combat, or sudden balance changes made near the end of the cycle that missed the mark. Since this is early production, it could really be either (Haven't hit the sweet spot yet, or the game just needed padding).

Will be interested in seeing where it goes, at least.

That looks like fun to me, kind of reminds me of the old Diablo.

I honestly fail to see any of the things that you mentioned that inspire this game. There is no viking theme, it does not feel like Souls game(It also definitely does not play as one) and it looks more like a rogue-like game with a bit of a dungeoneering theme to it, sort of like the original Diablo.

Also saying that shield maidens is a viking theme is total bullshit. It's a generic term that refers to woman fighting during the period but they neither went seafaring with the men or pillaging and raiding.

focuses primarily on the game's heroine as he battles through a dark dungeon

:P

The game looks quite nice, but somehow really slow... I need more action ;)

This looks great, the enemies just need to go down quicker.
I did think of Diablo just from the perspective and door opening, maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to bring a few more influences over from that game, the speed of everything is what made that game so addictive to people.

The visual art is great, though I fail to to see any noteworthy Dark Soouls / Viking reference.

The combat seem too dull and clunky for now. Only block/attack and haste.
Parry to break teh enemy attack seem to be too dificult to pull (used only once in the entire video).
Seem more like button mashing than tactical to me.
I mean look a t Bastion / Transitor, Diablo, Hotline Miami... - that is combat done right.

I would def. have a play with this.

Vigormortis:

Did you like Dark Souls? Of course, you did.

Um, actually, no. I didn't. At all. Not even a little. There was nothing in any of the Souls games that appealed to me; notably the art, aesthetic, and lore.

There's always one.

Anyway, this game doesn't look all that great. The enemies take way too many hits and the movement is way too slow. It looks like Diablo without the fun.

panador:
I *like* Dark Souls but sorry, this looks ... boring. Too slow, the movement, the fighting, the style is just kinda dull, always the same attacks. Yeah, all things that are to some degree also true for Dark Souls, but imho it works there, in 3D, but not here, in 2D.
Maybe it'll get better, I'm ok with a Dark Souls-like game in 2D, but this does not look that amazing (yet?)

Then you might be interested in this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr7EKA3owvg

Clearly the dark souls imitators are coming. Some will be good, some will be bad. Thankfully I think the influence will be mostly positive.

1Life0Continues:
Yeah, I'll be keeping an eye on this one too.

I like the concept and the story, and it has that tactical combat feel without the claustrophobia.

Can't wait for the detractors and their frothing at the mouth about the art style though.

Also, the Souls elitists.

Because liking something else that is inspired by Souls is apparently a bad thing. Because reasons.

I've got mixed feelings on it. I love the art style and sound work, but right now the fights look like they might get a bit lengthy. Unless that is the idea and that we are supposed to normally run from the zombies unless they are in small numbers. Over all I like the idea the game is going for, though.

Looks interesting, though as others have pointed out I think the diablo games might be a better point of comparison than the Souls series. That said I'll try to keep an eye out for this. As for comments on how people are instantly dismissive of Souls inspired games I for one (as a huge Souls fan) welcome these Souls-likes.

Hi everyone,

I am David Wright, the lead artist and designer of Eitr.

Things are going kinda crazy over here, we're just a team of two friends from the UK making a game, haha! We didn't expect to get the exposure we're getting so far, we've had articles from PCGamer, Killscreen and now The Escapist and we have others contacting us writing about the game.

The thing is, Eitr is still in the very early stage of development.

Our video isn't a trailer, it is simply a showcase of the combat system we have designed so far and serves as a representation of how the game looks and feels in it's current state. The game has a long way to go before release and there is still a tonne of work for us to do to get the game to where we want it to be.

We're listening to your concerns, and we thank you for writing them as they can only help us to make the game better, we love hearing your feedback as it can only encourage us to make changes to what we have! With that said, things like enemy HP and movement speed fall into the balance category which is something we have yet to focus on, we just wanted the video to get across how attacking, defending and enemy A.I is currently working.

I'd also like to take this time to address the "Dark Souls clone" plug, Eitr is NOT meant to be like Dark Souls. What I wish was written in this article is that Dark Souls is just one of the many games that inspired us during the creation of Eitr, but it was not the only source of inspiration. Eitr is an Isometric Action RPG, much more like Diablo than Souls.

We thank you for your feedback and hope that you continue to follow our game during it's development!

- David

My only concern here is how slow it looks. I understand if they want combat to be measured and methodical, but remember Dark Souls also has a dodge roll button that is incredibly important to the series gameplay. I'm also worried walking everywhere will get boring as hell. Other than that, interesting stuff, will keep an eye out for it.

I hoping they increase the damage you do in the final build, it seems like a slog otherwise. However, really looks interesting, something to keep an eye on for sure for me.

Seems really slow paced, however Dark Souls and early Diablo smashed together is something I'd love.

We'll see where this goes.

Maphysto:

There's always one.

You say that as if I'm not allowed to not like the Souls games.

Anyway, this game doesn't look all that great. The enemies take way too many hits and the movement is way too slow. It looks like Diablo without the fun.

The movement and combat systems don't seem that dissimilar to those seen in Dark Souls. Deliberate movements and tough enemies, respectively.

In this one regard, I'm not seeing how they're different.

Vigormortis:
The movement and combat systems don't seem that dissimilar to those seen in Dark Souls. Deliberate movements and tough enemies, respectively.

In this one regard, I'm not seeing how they're different.

Dark souls doesn't have bullet spongy enemies.
Even bosses can all be killed with few hits unless your weapon is underleveled.

Derity:
snip

Thank you for taking the time to comment, David. It's refreshing to see a developer take the time to personally respond to a specific community.

And if I may:

I'd also like to take this time to address the "Dark Souls clone" plug, Eitr is NOT meant to be like Dark Souls. What I wish was written in this article is that Dark Souls is just one of the many games that inspired us during the creation of Eitr, but it was not the only source of inspiration. Eitr is an Isometric Action RPG, much more like Diablo than Souls.

I can't speak for others, but I saw far more influence from old-school isometric games like Diablo than I did newer games like Dark Souls. It's one of the primary reasons your project interests me.

I look forward to seeing how your game progresses and I wish you and your partner the best of luck.

loa:

Dark souls doesn't have bullet spongy enemies.
Even bosses can all be killed with few hits unless your weapon is underleveled.

Mmmm...yeah, it kinda does. Not all are, of course, but even so.

Vigormortis:

loa:

Dark souls doesn't have bullet spongy enemies.
Even bosses can all be killed with few hits unless your weapon is underleveled.

Mmmm...yeah, it kinda does. Not all are, of course, but even so.

Well there are exceptions like that manus bossfight that lasts forever but most enemies can be taken out quickly especially once you get the hang of the riposte.
The challenge comes from the fact that they can do the same to you if you get careless, not from them taking forever to kill.
There are even people doing oneshot boss challenges where they do crazy powerup combinations and kill all the bosses in order with only 1 hit.
It's doable with things you normally find as the game progresses right up until manus.
Can't speak for dark souls 2 though. Things... changed in that one.

loa:

Well there are exceptions like that manus bossfight that lasts forever but most enemies can be taken out quickly especially once you get the hang of the riposte.
The challenge comes from the fact that they can do the same to you if you get careless, not from them taking forever to kill.
There are even people doing oneshot boss challenges where they do crazy powerup combinations and kill all the bosses in order with only 1 hit.
It's doable with things you normally find as the game progresses right up until manus.
Can't speak for dark souls 2 though. Things... changed in that one.

Well yes, of course, but it still remains that, at least at first, many enemies in Dark Souls are inherently "tanky".

The video shown is from a very early alpha build and is designed only to showcase the early concept for the combat. For some to unfavorably compare the game to Dark Souls while declaring the enemies seem "too tough" to kill just seemed odd to me, especially in light of how little we know about the game. That's all I was saying.

And as for Dark Souls 2, well...
I guess it depends on who you ask. Friends of mine who are big fans of the series have had wildly different opinions on Dark Souls 2.

Vigormortis:

Maphysto:

There's always one.

You say that as if I'm not allowed to not like the Souls games.

You're allowed to dislike things. I just take issue with people who try to act edgy by bashing things that are popular. If that wasn't your intent, I apologize.

The movement and combat systems don't seem that dissimilar to those seen in Dark Souls. Deliberate movements and tough enemies, respectively.

In this one regard, I'm not seeing how they're different.

In Souls, both you and a standard humanoid opponent could die in two or three good hits. Even beefier enemies generally took under ten hits with an average-damage weapon. The combat always felt tuned to feel like a high-stakes duel, where the player's life or death hinged on a single mistake or daring move. In this, it looks like all you do is run up, spam an attack combo, back off to regen stamina, and repeat. Enemies with too much health slows things down and just aren't fun.

Maphysto:

You're allowed to dislike things. I just take issue with people who try to act edgy by bashing things that are popular. If that wasn't your intent, I apologize.

Nope. That's never my intent. I don't like (most of) the Call of Duty series, for example, but you'll never find me bashing the series or the fans over it. To each their own, I say. In fact, I take issue just as much as you from people making a point of being contrarian simply for the sake of being contrarian.

I was just using the quoted line from the OP as a segue into my point about this Eitr game. That's all. I admit that, looking at it now, my original post could be seen as inflammatory, but that wasn't my intention.

In Souls, both you and a standard humanoid opponent could die in two or three good hits. Even beefier enemies generally took under ten hits with an average-damage weapon. The combat always felt tuned to feel like a high-stakes duel, where the player's life or death hinged on a single mistake or daring move. In this, it looks like all you do is run up, spam an attack combo, back off to regen stamina, and repeat. Enemies with too much health slows things down and just aren't fun.

I suppose to some that might be the case for some, but for me I'm liking the direction the game is going in. The notion of the enemies actually being a real threat, and not just because I screwed up in my play style, is a nice change. It remains to be seen how the actual narrative and level structure will play out, but I'm not immediately turned off by the deliberately slow combat.

Well, I do like me some pixel art.

Those sound effects however are going to get very old, very fast. I was already finding them irritating just watching the six minute video.

Fox12:

panador:
I *like* Dark Souls but sorry, this looks ... boring. Too slow, the movement, the fighting, the style is just kinda dull, always the same attacks. Yeah, all things that are to some degree also true for Dark Souls, but imho it works there, in 3D, but not here, in 2D.
Maybe it'll get better, I'm ok with a Dark Souls-like game in 2D, but this does not look that amazing (yet?)

Then you might be interested in this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr7EKA3owvg

Clearly the dark souls imitators are coming. Some will be good, some will be bad. Thankfully I think the influence will be mostly positive.

OH BABY...

Ghost Song. This game... It's being made by like two guys right? Slow going, but Dark Souls and Super Metroid as influences?

Yes please.

Fox12:

panador:
I *like* Dark Souls but sorry, this looks ... boring. Too slow, the movement, the fighting, the style is just kinda dull, always the same attacks. Yeah, all things that are to some degree also true for Dark Souls, but imho it works there, in 3D, but not here, in 2D.
Maybe it'll get better, I'm ok with a Dark Souls-like game in 2D, but this does not look that amazing (yet?)

Then you might be interested in this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr7EKA3owvg

Clearly the dark souls imitators are coming. Some will be good, some will be bad. Thankfully I think the influence will be mostly positive.

Now *that* does look interesting. I have some serious Super Metroid love, so this looks very interesting. Thanks for the heads-up, will keep my eye on it.

The combat looks slow but I'm guessing that's the point, if you loose patience and try to rush it you're gonna get your Valkyries rocked.

 

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