CCP have finally put a stake through the heart of World of Darkness. Despite a troubled life, the studio's undead MMO adaptation would briefly slink out from the shadows before darting back into its lair. Despite how infrequently it made an appearance, it's a shame to hear that the final nail has been hammered down. Partly that's because of the amazing promise of the game—which imagined a world as rich, political and player-driven as EVE, only with vampires instead of spaceships. Mostly, though, it's because CCP are now laying off 56 members of staff from their Atlanta studio.
There have been a lot of reactions to the purchase of Oculus VR by Facebook in the last 24 hours, much of it polemic and apocalyptic. Our own reactions ranged from guarded optimism to cautious disappointment, while Minecraft creator Notch immediately canned an Oculus-focused version of Minecraft. EVE: Online developer CCP, on the other hand, has expressed support for the purchase and say that release plans for the VR starfighter game EVE: Valkyrie won’t be changing.
CCP's "audacious vision," CMO David Reid tells me, is to "create virtual worlds more meaningful than real life." The greatest expression of that vision is EVE Online, CCP's infamous space MMO and a game I already consider to be a sort of virtual reality. During our chat today at GDC, I nodded my head as Reid talked about the real emotions players experience in EVE. But CCP isn't at the conference to show off EVE Online—it's demonstrating the latest build of EVE Valkyrie, a VR space combat game that will launch with the Oculus Rift headset. It's clear, however, that CCP's ultimate goal is to combine Valkyrie's use of VR technology with the EVE Online sandbox.
Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, announced today that Eve: Valkyrie, a space dog-fighting game often used to demo the device, will be the first game Oculus will co-publish, and the first exclusive Oculus Rift launch title.
CCP recently introduced an in-game monument to recognise the massive destruction that can occur in EVE. Now they want to introduce a real world monument to celebrate everything that has happened in-game. The EVE Universe Monument will stand at five meters tall, and have the name of all of the game's "main characters" etched upon it. For info: those main characters are all of the players that have contributed to the game.
If life does exist in the far reaches of the galaxy, then for all we know they're knocking the hell out of each other with colourful lasers right now. Less unknown are the conflicts of fictional space, which, thanks to APIs, video feeds and the internet in general, can be reported on in all its bewilderingly immense detail. Internet spaceship fights don't get more immense than the battle of B-R5RB. CCP have collected up, totalled and explain what happened, providing a final battle report on the carnage.
The big numbers then. First, 75 of the colossal Titans fell across the 21 hours of fighting. For an idea of how one sided the war was, know that N3/PL lost 59 Titans to CFC/DTF's 16. While they were the biggest and most expensive losses, the battle also saw the destruction of 13 Supercarriers, 370 Dreadnaughts and 123 Carriers. In total, 11 trillion ISK was lost - with more than 8.5 trillion of that coming from N3/PL. CCP note that, according to some PLEX conversions, that's between $300,000-$330,000 of damage. You can see some of this damage in action, thanks to the video footage of one third party pilot.
B-R5RB isn't an impressive name. It sounds like the dopey robot sidekick in a desperate Star Wars cash-in, or an experimental cream for an embarrassing rash. It's neither of those things. Instead, it's the location of the now biggest battle in EVE Online's history, one that comes exactly a year after the immense Battle of Asakai. Fought throughout the night, more than 70 Titans - EVE's ginormous megaships - have fallen, meaning damages total trillions of ISK. And what was the cause of such massive galaxy-shaking destruction? Somebody forgot to pay their bill.
With EVE: Valkyrie set to make the jump to our universe sometime this year, at least one big question remains clearly on-screen. How will pilots in the space shooter react when using a headset like the Oculus Rift? CCP Games CEO Hilmar Pétursson tells Wired in a recent interview that, so far, the experience should be "very natural."
Today the twentieth free expansion to Eve Online goes live. There are tweaks and balances, new units and changes to the interface, but when you give something a name that means 'a point of no return' and then, in case anyone missed that, add the tag line "There's no turning back" there's cause for a closer look.
"Rubicon is an important moment in Eve. It's the beginning of a vision we articulated at Fanfest in Reykjavik earlier this year - the idea of going forth and colonising space," CCP's chief marketing officer David Reid tells me. "It continues this idea here of giving the players more and more control over the Eve universe. Our designers aren't the gods of the Eve universe, they're the janitors. We build tools, we clean up messes, we keep the lights on and we allow the players to go be the stars and figure out how they want to do things."
Apparently there are some new consoles being released, which would explain why the multi-format sites are running around like excitable puppies. While they paw and maul the new PlayBoxes and X-Stations, we can relax a little, and lap from the steady stream of PC news. Slow, intractable, and about spaceships: it doesn't get more PC than EVE Online, which is teasing its upcoming Rubicon expansion with a rather fetching cinematic trailer. Also, I want a puppy now.
CCP's Kristoffer Toubourg will soon be Riot's Kristoffer Touborg, as announced on the EVE Online lead designer's Facebook page. After five years working on the pioneering sci-fi MMO, he's trading the Bjorky shores of Iceland for the distinctly Guinessy city of Dublin to put his skills to use on Riot Games' League of Legends.
Billions of ISK, EVE Online's in-game currency, pass through the sandbox MMO's infamous Jita star system every day. Much is spent on legitimate free market trades, but the heart of EVE's simulated economy is clogged with a sticky plaque: career scammers who spend hours spamming local chat with impossibly enticing offers. I'm quitting the game and want to give away all my ISK!
Once you got past the spectacle of Microsoft and Sony competing for the honor of delivering the console that promised to annoy gamers the least, it was impossible not to see a fantastic year ahead for PC gamers. Across every genre and from the biggest studios to the greenest fledgling indies we found something on the show floor (an overwhelming arena of animatronic monsters, light shows, and pounding wubwub) to arouse PC gamers of every stripe. So that wasn’t the problem. The tough part was winnowing down the list of nominees for our Best in Show accolades.
We used the only viable fuel source with the world's only time machine to visit E3 2014, and bring back the gaming news of the future for you, our loyal readers. The haters will say we could have done something more beneficial for humanity with this singular opportunity, but we usually just ban people like that. What new boxes will you be able to plug into your TV? Will everyone own a Rift? Do your emotional scars from Game of Thrones Season 3 ever heal? We have the 100 percent accurate, non-speculative answers to all this and more.
You have to watch this wonderfully goofy video for Eve Online's upcoming Odyssey expansion, which is set to deploy in just two days. In addition to redoing the hanger interiors and a load of other stuff, Odyssey improves the game's atmospheric audio, changes the way resources are handled, and even adds a hacking minigame. But more importantly, it's inspired this development video, which parodies Stanley Kubrick's
Eyes Wide Shut 2001: A Space Odyssey to the brilliantly discordant strains of the Portsmouth Sinfonia. So watch, learn, and try to steer clear of any giant space-embyros. Those guys are just the worst.
The mega-frontier just got a lot more micro. EVE Online is set to include a new hacking mini-game in its upcoming Odyssey expansion, explained in a recent dev blog. Developer CCP calls the feature a part of a larger move to expand and deepen the explorer role for pilots in the June 4 addition to the MMO/space-jockey simulator.
Last week at Fanfest, we got the first real look at the gameplay in CCP’s night stalking, blood drinking MMO. As a long-time, hardcore fan of World of Darkness—I even used to host a podcast devoted to it—I've had my eye on it continually since CCP's announcement three long years ago.
The moonlit, tabletop world of Vampire, Mage, and Werewolf isn't an easy thing to get right in video game form, but it has been done before—most notably in Troika’s excellent Vampire: the Masquerade: Bloodlines. CCP is nothing if not an outside-the-box developer, though, and the no-hand-holding, cutthroat universe of EVE Online actually has some stylistic overlap with White Wolf’s signature setting. I hope this allows CCP to nail this new project, and I've got some ideas on how they can make sure they do.
The story of Jón Gnarr, who in 2010 was elected mayor of Iceland's capital and largest city, Reykjavík, could be mistaken for a story from EVE Online, the sandbox MMO created by Icelandic developer CCP. In EVE, players form corporations and take part in fascinating, often-bizarre political and military shenanigans. In Iceland, Jón ran for office as founder of "The Best Party," which he says wasn't, and still isn't, a real political party.
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.
Eve Fanfest 2013: World of Darkness video shows hunting, parties and parkour - "you can't make your vampire sparkle"
CCP's vampire MMO World of Darkness has been hiding from the light for the last twelve months, but behind the scenes a gear has shifted. The 70 strong team that formerly split its time between World of Darkness, Eve and Dust are now pursuing World of Darkness full-time.
It's nowhere near finished, however. Today's World of Darkness presentation at the Eve Fanfest in Reykjavik focused closely on the level design tools and shaders that CCP are using to build their next big sandbox MMO, but they did show a video. Built from World of Darkness assets, the "target footage" was designed by CCP artists to illustrate what life as an urban vampire will hopefully look and feel like in the finished game. Filming was strictly prohibited, the session wasn't part of the Fanfest livestream and CCP aren't likely to show it publicly any time soon, so instead I will use words to try and paint pictures in your head. I will also use actual pictures drawn with my hands. Here's what happened.