Sometime in 2006
Matt Mihaly, the pioneering CEO of the MUD developer Iron Realms Entertainment gets the idea for a game set in a fantasy post-apocalyptic Earth where animal races rule and Man has vanished from the land.
Sometime later in the year, Matt and the IRE developers decide to name this new project “Earth Eternal” and get started on development of the new title. At some point in time afterward, they begin work on a website dedicated to Earth Eternal, although it will not be opened to the public until the beginning of the following year.
Also during the year, Matt begins researching and compiling ideas for what would later become the Earth Eternal History lore story. While the chapters to this tale will not begin appearing until the following year, it is during this time that Matt begins outlining the events and details in what would become over 200 sets of notes.
On January 10th, 2007 the Earth Eternal website is opened to the public. The same day, the News Feed goes live with it's 'Earth Eternal Announced!' first post. This post gives a brief early view of Iron Realms' plans and reveals several important details about this new upcoming game.
The four major details tell visitors and new users reading the brand new News Feed that Earth Eternal would be:
It also includes an early concept summary about the accompanying backstory lore and the overall setting of the upcoming game.
Even this early on, many details about the world of Earth Eternal are revealed in the new Story section of the brand new website. Among the bits of information mentioned are early concept details regarding the following:
The Anubian Empire
The Blood Kingdom
The Dominion of the Claw
The Gloom Witches
The People of the Skull
The Ranger Kingdoms
Also on this page are brief details about the Feline race, Bast, their patron Goddess, and the tragedy done to them by the Anubians. Also mentioned is IRE's expectations as to how large the game world is expected to be upon release, which would encompass all of Europe, most of North Africa and the Middle East. A further mention reveals that the Rock of Gibraltar would be a major base for the Anubians as the 'jumping off point' in their invasion of Europe.
This same page mentions that Man has come and gone along with his high technology civilization and finding some artifact from Man's time would be a 'rare day indeed' in EE.
According to the new website's FAQ page, Earth Eternal will be a “browser-based” MMO rather than the typical large download and client play of more standard games seen in the genre.
Another comment on the site's FAQ page, though, claims the game will be made even if the developers don't have any funds for a long time. This rather optimistic, yet unfortunate, comment at the bottom of the FAQ would end up being an ironically prophetic jinx that will come back to bite Matt and Co. a few years later.
On January 16th, the still-new EE developer team releases the first in a series of updates dubbed the 'Focus On' series.
Quoted from the announcement: “Each 'update' will focus on a specific aspect of Earth Eternal whether that be a specific in game culture, some backstory, game mechanics or anything related to EE.”
This first 'Focus On' update discusses the group of Ferals collectively known as The Dominion of the Claw and offers links to both the page detailing some of their backstory as well as to the page showing off some concept art of them.
On January 17th the second News Feed post mentions the first of a series of interviews with Matt by various websites throughout the year. This first one comes from 'Gamer Girl' and includes a rather interesting possible quote from Matt himself. This quote reveals an interesting early concept for what would later be reshaped into the game now being advertised as Earth Eternal.
The following is the exact tidbit quote teaser for the interview that was posted on the Feed and it reveals one of the origin concepts for the upcoming game: "Earth Eternal actually started with human characters and a very 'mature' tone: lots of violence, not shying away from sex, etc. So clearly, it's changed quite a lot! "
If this quote did indeed come from Matt himself, then it means that at some point the previous year, Matt was likely trying to come up with ideas for the next IRE title, possibly even another MUD; but later changed direction, scrapped many of the original concepts and completely reworked them to what would eventually become the game that his company was now touting.
A link to the full Gamer Girl Interview is provided at the bottom of the post.
On January 21st, the Earth Eternal Forums open for the first time allowing visitors to the site to finally join the brand new Earth Eternal Community and discuss things with one another, as well as the developers themselves.
A second interview post appears on the News Feed on January 22nd and comes from IGN.com's RPG section called the 'Vault network'. As the post calls Matt 'our own Matt Mihaly' it is quite likely that Matt is a member of the site, or was at the time of this interview. A link to the Vault Interview is provided.
On January 24th, the brand new Earth Eternal Lore is announced with the publishing of the very first chapter in what is promised to be “a sweeping history of Earth Eternal”. A link to the chapter is provided.
The FAQ page is updated a bit on January 25th.
On January 31st, the second chapter of the EE History, The Undead Genesis, is published on the website. A link to the new chapter is provided.
On the same day, several pieces of new concept art detailing one of the undead creatures to be encountered in the game is added to the media page.
On February 5th, a third interview, this time by the site WarCry Network puts Matt Mihaly, Producer of Earth Eternal in the spotlight. A link to the interview is provided.
The third chapter in the Earth Eternal History, The Early Beasts, is published on the website on February 9th. A link to the new chapter, along with a link to the new story index page where readers can view links to all the chapters of the Story, is provided.
It should be noted that as of the posting of this Story chapter, a total of twelve Beast races have been announced. Also of note is that the Foxicus and Lupines Beast races have been renamed the Foxen and Fangren respectively by this point.
Also of particular note is that Matt reveals a rather general timeline for the various Ages of Earth in a forum post on February 10th. In this post, he states that the Age of Legend would be about 150,000 years, with only the last 50,000 years involving the Beasts. The Age of Man would last about 6,000 years and the Age of Beasts would also be about 6000 years so far (meaning up to in game time). He also reveals that Beowulf arose about 13,000 years after the rise of the first Beasts, leaving about 37,000 years before the end of the Age of Legend. Matt stipulates that these figures are merely rough figures and that “I'm sure you'll understand that we don't exactly fill up every moment of that with history.”
On February 14th, a new race, the Noctari, is announced on the EE website. A link to the third chapter of the History is provided for visitors to read about the new race. The Noctari represent the thirteenth Beast race to be announced.
Chapters 4 through 7 of the Earth Eternal History are published on the site on February 20th. As with the previous chapter, links to each one is provided along with a link to the index page. This is the largest release of EE History released up to this time.
On February 27th, Chapter 8 of the EE History is published on the website. As before, links to both the chapter and the Story index page are provided.
Another interview, this time by the site 'Game Bunny', is posted on the News Feed on March 2nd after a little more than a month of silence. A link to the full Game Bunny Interview is provided. The Feed again goes silent following this post.
Chapter 9 of the EE History is published on the website on March 6th. As before, links to both the chapter and the index page are provided.
Chapter 10 of the History is publshed on the website on March 13th. As before, links to both the chapter and the index page are provided.
On March 19th, the developers release seventeeen race concepts onto the website. The announcement is accompanied by a link to the media page where these can be found.
These seventeen pieces of concept art showcase the following races and genders:
Male and Female Atavian
Male and Female Bandicoon
Male and Female Broccan
Male and Female Caprican
Male and Female Foxen
Male and Female Taurian
Male and Female Ursine
On March 29th, the Earth Eternal Montage is announced on the website. A link to this sampling of music to be heard within the upcoming game is provided along with a link to the forums where the still fledgling EE Community is encouraged to have a listen to the piece and provide feedback for the developers.
On April 2nd the 'Pick a Beast Contest' is announced on the Earth Eternal website. The still very new EE community is given the opportunity to enter this contest for the chance to work directly with the lead designer of Earth Eternal in developing a new race for the game.
The contest is simple: The winner of the Pick a Beast Contest would get to work alongside the EE developers to pick the fourteenth race in Earth Eternal. The winner not only gets to decide what the race will be, but, also gets to both work with the designers to name it and also gets to have some say as to how the new race fits in the game world.
The following is an exact quote of both the 'Details' and so-called 'Fine Print' for the Contest taken directly from the old EE website's contest page courtesy of The Wayback Machine:
“Entering is easy! As long as you're at least 13 years of age, simply send an email to race_contest @ eartheternal .com with the following, in this order:
1. The animal that inspired the Beast. It must be either a mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian appropriate to Europe or North Africa (which does not include lions, elephants, etc). You can find a list of the thirteen existing races on the FAQ.
2. The name you propose for this Beast.
3. In 100 words or less, tell us why you think the Beast you suggest is needed. You can also use this to briefly mention what its roleplaying qualities would be. Is it strong and ponderous, or lithe and devious, or perhaps quick-witted, ill-tempered, and with a powerful hankering for tuna?
The winner will be contacted via the email address from which the entry was sent. Only one entry per person is permitted.
The Pick a Beast Contest ends on April 9th so get your entry in before then!”
“No legalese here. Just know the following when you enter please:
1. There are limits here. You won't get to dictate something that's either too close to one of our existing races or that is just unappealing. Beyond that, we'll do our best to accomodate the winner's wish.
2. Same goes for the name. We'll work with you but it has to be approved by us in the end.
3. Your contribution to the history of the race will mainly involve giving feedback on the origin of that Beast race. We'd have to expose all of our yet-to-be-published history chapters to you to do more than that.
4. In the highly likely case of people submitting the same 'animal'-type of Beast, we'll make our decision based on whose name and up-to-100-word-mini-essay we like the best.
5. You will be able to nominate, effectively, 11 accounts (yours and 10 others) to have exclusive access to this race of Beasts for the first month of open beta. You'll be a celebrity Beast! We'll do our best to protect you from the papparazzi but someone of your stature is hard to keep quiet. You will stick out like like a golden peacock in a flock of mudhens! You will be a god among Beasts, at least for a month.”
Chapters 11 and 12 of the EE History are published on the website on April 3rd. Links to both chapters along with the Story index are provided.
On April 10th, the results of the 'Pick A Beast' contest is announced. While the developers had planned on choosing only one submission, it is revealed that they ended up choosing not one, but, three of the submissions instead. As a result, Earth Eternal would now 'launch' with sixteen races instead of the planned fourteen. The winning races are as follows:
The Anura (frog race)
The Lisians (gecko race)
The Tuskians (boar race)
The announcement congratulates the winners and mentions that concept art of these three new races would be created in the following month or so.
It should be noted that the Anura, the Lisians and the Tuskians are the only three Beast races to have ever been suggested or voted in by the players themselves before or since this contest. Further, by July, the Tuskian race's name would be revised to simply the Tusken race.
Lastly, in regards to the terms of the contest and the winners themselves, it is unknown if they were ever given the promised first choices of the winning three races when Open Beta finally came about two and a half years later. It is also unknown if the winners themselves or their chosen fellow accounts were still around to collect this promised reward.
On April 16th, Chapter 13, The Vampire Revolution, is published on the website. A link to the chapter is provided.
Two days later on April 18th, as a followup to the new History chapter, some Vampire art is published on the media page and links to both the story chapter and the new art are provided.
On April 24th, Chapters 14 and 15 of the EE History, telling the story of The Undead War, are published on the website. Links to Chapters 13, 14 and 15 are all provided along with a link to the Story index page.
On May 8th, 'the largest history release yet' is announced on the website. In this release, the next three chapters, 16, 17 and 18, are all published. Links to each chapter along with the Story index page are provided.
The 'First Earth Eternal Video' is published on May 14th. Links to both the YouTube embedded version as well as a 'higher quality downloadable video' on the website are provided.
On May 16th, 2007, a forum goer by the name of ‘Errdoth’ posts a thread in the EE forums about what is possibly the very first known EE fansite to have been created. The link to this thread dubs this site ‘ShroomieNet’ and calls it the ‘First EE Fansite’. It is not known how long this fansite called ShroomieNet existed or if it ever took off at all. As nothing save a link mentioning this site has survived, this sole mention is the only witness to it having ever existed. The last known post on the thread this link once went to is dated to June 29th, 2007. Based on this bit of information, it is possible this first fansite, if it ever got started, might have had a very short existence.
On June 14th, Chapters 19 and 20 of the EE History are published on the website. Links to both chapters are provided.
Chapters 21 through 24 of the Earth Eternal History are all published on the website on June 28th. Two links, both leading to the Story index page are provided. The odd redundancy with both links going to the same page is odd though.
The largest batch of EE History chapters to date, chapters 25 through 34, that chronicle the End of the Age of Legend, are all published on the website on July 17th. A link to the Story index page is provided.
Two days later, on July 19th, forum goer Bifacial posts up a link to a new pdf version of the Earth Eternal History that he has created with Matt's approval. For ease of reading, this pdf combines all of the existing chapters up to this point into a single document as an alternative to the various individual chapter pages found on the EE website. The next day, July 20th, Matt puts up a link to download Bifacial's pdf on the Story page of the website. It should be noted that Bifacial's document is the earliest pdf version of the EE lore history.
On August 26th, the 'First Screenshots of the Player Races' is published to the EE website. All 16 Beast races in both genders are represented in these in game images. Links are provided to the media page and each Beast race. It should be noted that the Tuskian race has already been renamed the 'Tusken' race by this point in time.
After being silent for seven months, another interview post, this time from the site 'MPOGD', revives the News Feed on October 1st. In this one, the site interviewers grill Matt on various possible inspirations for the game that include a number of authors' works. This tidbit also hints at Earth Eternal being targeted toward 'niche audiences'. A link to the full MPOGD interview is provided.
On October 19th, Matt posts up chapters 35-39 of the EE History chronicling the Age of Man. At this point in time, these five chapters have yet to be linked to the Story index, though.