E3 is over. For those that survived, it's a chance to stop, catch a breath, and let out a long, guttural scream at the visions that just won't stop. But while the conference centre itself is now barricaded for decontamination, the echoes of the show can still be felt. In fact, here's an E3 trailer, snuggled away in some dark corner of YouTube. It's for EVE: Valkyrie, CCP's Oculus powered space dogfighting game.
The trouble continues at EVE Online studio CCP Games, which has confirmed the layoff of 49 employees as part of an EVE-focused restructuring process. The layoffs come less than two months after CCP canceled the World of Darkness MMO, which resulted in the elimination of 56 employees at the company's Atlanta office.
It was disappointing (but not terribly surprising) when CCP pulled the plug on development of its World of Darkness MMO in April. The unique success of EVE Online led to some very high hopes for the studio's take on White Wolf's dark RPG setting, but after nearly a decade of development with nothing to show for it, a bad ending felt almost inevitable. But perhaps more disappointing than the cancellation of the game is discovering the extent of the managerial gong show that precipitated it.
Calling it "the most remarkable confrontation ever to take place inside a computer game," EVE: Online developer CCP Games has released a new video recalling the battle at B-R5RB. Developer hyperbole aside, the January conflagration—which began with a missed bill payment—does shine a light on the story-generating possibilities of an MMO long known for its undeniable complexity.
EVE Online is one of the most powerful story generators in PC gaming, so we asked some of the capsuleers attending Fanfest 2014 in Reykjavik, Iceland for their best ones. A few people refused to be interviewed, saying they were so notorious that they couldn’t have their face on camera, but the people who did were more than willing to share their war stories with us. Who could have guessed that one of the many victims of the great war of B-R5RB was a chicken?
Andy provided a few details on EVE's upcoming Kronos update in yesterday's EVE Fanfest diary, and now CCP have added a few more, revealing that the spacey MMO's next expansion will arrive June 3rd, which isn't very far away at all. Industry is set to get a "huge overhaul" in Kronos, and there are details about just what this means below.
Last night I watched a procession of CCP developers wrestle with undefeated MMA fighter Gunnar Nelson. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t win, but it certainly was a spectacle—especially when the last guy, who looks like Zangief and towered over Nelson—arrived in in the arena from above, suspended in the air by ropes. CCP know how to have fun, but Fanfest is also, as players often say about EVE, serious business. Throughout the day fans join developers in round table meetings to steer the direction of the game based on their own experiences. It’s a remarkable community event as well as a way for people like me to see what new projects, and updates of existing ones, the company is working on.
After the closure of the studio working on World of Darkness, CCP have switched their focus back to Eve. While their core team continues to develop the space MMO, other branches are busy building Eve Valkyrie, and the newly announced shooter, Project Legion. I caught up with CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson for a talk about Fanfest, and CCP's plans for the future of the Eve universe.
Dust 514 is a free-to-play FPS extension of the EVE universe, bringing Battlefield-style team multiplayer to New Eden. The problem is, you can only play it on PlayStation 3. That is, until Project Legion is released. This is a new shooter by CCP that will appear on PC. Rather than simply port Dust over—although the games do share some features—they’re creating something new.
From intrigue and assassination to all-out war, EVE Online is a game rich with stories. But these systemic, player-driven narratives come at a cost: it's a complex game to learn. For CCP that posed a problem: how to introduce EVE's universe to new players, without further increasing the complexity of an already expansive MMO. The answer, CCP say, lies in games like EVE Valkyrie and Dust 514—titles that are still connected to the EVE universe, but present a separate and more accessible set of systems.
"For the longest time we were in the process of adding features to EVE in a way that made it horizontally complex," said CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, in an interview with PC Gamer. "It was a bad complexity. We want the game to be complex and challenging, but it shouldn’t be difficult to understand. Your achievements should be overcoming obstacles and collaborating with players, but it shouldn’t me managing too much complexity."
Last night I watched the mayor of Reykjavik, Jón Gnarr, unveil a monument to EVE Online on the city’s waterfront. "I don't believe in reality." he said, inexplicably, as he swung a giant knife at a rope, dropping a sheet and revealing the sculpture by artist Sigurður Guðmundsson. Thousands of EVE pilots' names are inscribed at the base of the sculpture; a fitting tribute to a game that is defined by its player base.
EVE Fanfest 2014 kicked off today in Reykjavik, Iceland and we already have some exciting news about CCP’s upcoming virtual reality game, EVE: Valkyrie. Keeping to her milieu of awesome space battles, CCP announced that Battlestar Galactica actress Katee Sackhoff will voice the starring role in the game. Even better: the game itself will use the newest version of the Unreal Engine.
Even if you don’t play EVE Online, it’s a great game to read about because of all the weird things that happen in and around it. Most of that stuff happens in the game, but a lot takes place at CCP’s annual EVE Fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland, and EVE Fanfest 2014 already sounds like it will be pretty intense. The convention will include live cage matches, for example.
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.