EVE Online TV series and Dark Horse comic to be based on players' true stories
After a decade of space simulation, EVE Online's giant server has seen some dramatic shenanigans. Players have committed murder, espionage, treason, theft, and fraud, and fleet after fleet of internet spaceships have been spectacularly blown to bits in massive wars. EVE's story is written by player actions, and is now literally being written by players on EVE's True Stories submission site, which CCP announced today will be used for a Dark Horse comic book and eventual TV series to be directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur.
Player story submissions will first inspire the 64-page comic to be released this winter. "EVE: True Stories" will include four stories written and illustrated by four different author and artist pairs brought together by Dark Horse Comics. The digital edition will be available free.
Regarding the TV series, CCP is still in early development, but we know Baltasar Kormákur, whose recent films include 2 Guns, The Deep, and Contraband, is on board to direct.
Earlier today I briefly chatted with CCP VP of Business Development Thor Gunnarsson to extract a few more details about how the developer plans to fictionalize true stories from a fictional universe—not easily, one expects.
PC Gamer: This announcement really highlights what you have here—EVE is a sort of story-generation machine.
Thor Gunnarsson: Hilmar [CEO of CCP] often calls it an infinity storytelling machine, and it is exactly that. There are endless events and shenanigans and just epic drama in EVE, and now beginning to happen in Dust. It's inspirational to us, as developers. We think we can really amplify and augment these stories hopefully to millions of viewers and readers.
Do you have a favorite story?
It has to be Murder Incorporated, right? And of course The Great War—the first few months of EVE Online, with the Russians fighting the Scandinavians, with the Americans running logistics from the north, pretending to be peaceful industrialists, and then being interdicted by the French corporations to cut the supply lines. These are the stories; they're just epic. You could create an entire TV series just from three months of activity.
Do you foresee working the metagame into these stories somehow? Part of their novelty comes from the context, who the players are, but in the fiction of a TV show or comic book, it seems you'd have a hard time expressing that.
That's right, of course, we're telling a story set 20,000 years in the future, so there's always this element of maintaining the fourth wall. You probably are unlikely to see a project from us where suddenly the fourth wall breaks and you see that this is actually a guy sitting in a basement in Wisconsin somewhere playing a video game. It's a science fiction universe, so we can't take events verbatim as they happened, but we take the story lines—perhaps the character or the traits of a character—and represent those in a fictionalized treatment.
Will you use players' in-game characters as reference for actors?
That's a great idea.
It would be great, I'm sure, for some of these players to see their characters acted on screen.
And then of course the fidelity of the character creator in EVE, and what we'll be doing with Dust over the years. It'd be an awesome thing to do.
How far are you in talks for the show? Have you started work on a pilot?
We're basically in what's called development. So we're working with Baltasar and his writer team, who are very talented and have done a raft of TV series over the years, and some great drama. We've actually been working with them on the storylines, concepts, and stage setting for what we'll ultimately bring to television. But we're not talking now about any timelines or giving any indication of exactly when this might be coming.
HBO shows were referenced in the press session, and it seems like a natural fit. Will a pitch go there?
Possibly. HBO is doing awesome work, and we're hugely respectful of what they have done as a cable network. In many ways as a company that runs a premium subscription service called EVE Online, as a business guy, I of course pattern match to what HBO have done incredibly successfully, which is create something people really want to be a part of. They're willing to invest their attention and money to what these guys are doing.
There's some pattern match there, but again, we're not discussing any detail, potential networks, or ways in which we will bring this to viewers.