Eidos Interactive managed to create some truly special experiences before the company was absorbed. Corporate consolidation and restructuring started happening more as game development costs began to soar.
It’s given us some spectacular titles that we may not have gotten in a smaller industry. Titles like God of War (2018), The Last of Us, and Forza Horizon 4 simply aren’t going to come out of smaller teams. And there’s not necessarily anything wrong with either direction but there’s a cost either way.
Looking Back on Eidos Interactive
Eidos Interactive was absorbed into Square Enix Europe in November 2009 but the publishing powerhouse put out some weird and wonderful games that feel less likely to come out of the triple-A space in the modern age.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver tells the story of Raziel, a vampire doomed to a horrible fate after being betrayed by the vampire lord Kain. He’s revived by The Elder God to become a “soul reaver” — and so he can exact his revenge.
It was a monumental jump in storytelling, especially in its relationship with gameplay. The gothic story is interesting, mysterious, and tackles some heavy subject matters, which was a pretty big deal at the time.
Gex: Enter the Gecko was a peak ‘90s platformer when it was released. It had wise-crack voice acting, jumping, collectibles, and a wide variety of level types.
The game certainly has its flaws and Gex maybe could have talked a little bit less, but its impact at the time is undeniable, especially for those growing up.
In the end, Ian Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon was more interesting in its ideas than its actual approach but it remains curious years later.
It’s a third-person action-adventure title with the player taking on the role of an adventurer seeking to overcome monsters and traps in a series of dungeons. It’s at the invitation of a wizard and all in the hope of finding riches and glory.
The gameplay itself suffered from some major issues, including an unstable camera, but it’s easy to see how hard Asylum Studios worked on the title. Eidos Interactive clearly let the team experiment and creatively stretch though.
Deathtrap Dungeon has a creepy and ominous atmosphere and it’s in part due to the game’s art style and design. Ian Livingstone helped determine the game’s style and drew inspiration from Italian artist Giovanni Battista.
The character models are uh, well, a different story, but there was a lot to appreciate about the game’s aesthetic. It was difficult to play at release and I can’t imagine going back to it.
But it would be interesting to see another game done in a similar style with all the improvements and changes in technology we’ve seen in the years since. Eidos Interactive may be nothing more than a name attached to game names at this point but the publisher helped bring about some really special titles.
Perhaps Square Enix will resurrect some older Eidos franchises, like Gex or even Johnny Bazookatone. It’s hard to say what the future holds but it feels like anything is possible if the nostalgia is strong enough.