According to CCP head Hilmar Veigar Petursson, the fleet does the flying and the marines do the dying. I love Starship Troopers.
Petursson is unlikely to be the first person to express his affection for Paul Verhoevens'' cult military series. But he is one of the few people who have led CCP in an effort to make the perfect spin-off shooter for Eve Onlines. Even if those brave young prototypes have been cut down by unimpressed players, they will only see them.
Petursson admitted to Reykjavik during the Eve Fanfest that CCP is now embarking on its third attempt at an FPS, abandoning his casual presenting style to read from a PR-approved teleprompter. In London, we are undertaking an upcoming online tactical first-person shooter. The project is unannounced. We were committed to developing an innovative multiplayer experience.
Dust 514, a competitive shooter from CCP, was first discovered in the PS3 nearly a decade ago. A Battlefield-style FPS built around outdoor areas similar to Iceland, had a genuine USP: live connectivity with Eve Online. Player ships in the MMO might pummel the playing field with orbital strikes, giving the mercs on their side an advantage. Fleet does the flying, marines do the dying.
That alluring symbiosis couldn''t make up for the mediocre shooting, however, nor tempt Eves player corps away from their own schemes. By the time Dust was shut down in 2016, orbital bombardments were only a real thing you saw on YouTube - a fascinating feat rather than a game-changing technique.
CCP overcorrected for its next attempt, abandoning Dusts'' fervory ambition for a far simpler design. Project Nova, given to Fanfest attendees in the year of Dusts'' destruction, confined the action to the deck of a single spaceship. Chrome corridors slid into critical, ground firefights, evoking the thought pace and significance of a Rainbow Six.
CCP Shanghai senior director Snorri Arnason said the year earlier that it was somewhat self-serious (I abhor silliness); and while CCP maintained intentions to expand outside of that condensed demo, there was little appetite for more among players. Despite being caught in the chokepoints of an abstract FPS map, they struggled to believe they were passengers on a Chimera-class carrier, let alone citizens of the greater Eve universe.
CCP has taken down Nova as a result of its mistake and has now decided to take a third route. After making one FPS too hot and another too cold, it now wants to make one that is just right.
Petursson claims that your tea leaves reading is quite spot on. Dust was excessively broad, tried to achieve many things, compromised on some of them. Nova was very focused, perhaps too focused. It didnt really seem to be a project that we wanted to undertake further. We moved that idea of going a shooter, which was extremely stubborn about wanting to happen, and our London project is very much informed by all of these efforts. Perhaps this one is somewhere in the middle.
Petursson suggests that the move is significant. Both Dust and Project Nova were created at a CCPs studio in Shanghai. Instead, a new London office will be managed by the company for the past five years.
Petursson said the Shanghai studio is much more excited about mobile than PC. On top of running Serenity, Eve Onlines is now working on a mobile 4X game named M5, which is backed by a dedicated server in China. Its really born from their desire to become a mobile expertise facility for CCP, according to Petursson. The Shanghai team had not been able to speak at Fanfest, as they encountered the city''s recent Covid-19 lockdown.
Petursson believes London, as a whole, is a few hours from the CCPs Icelandic homeland, and he says. But there is still a lot of people in London to hire, according to Petursson. Getting people to London is fairly trivial. It''s in contrast to Reykjavik, which has reportedly proven a tricky sell to global talent in the past.
Petursson claims that both we are collaborating on the project, and we will be doing more in early community-building under the NDA. So its time to open the kimono a bit while the project isn''t officially announced. There''s no name associated with it, not even a codename, but the London Project.
Petursson reported that 63 percent of CCP employees today participated in the last Fanfest, in 2018, but the development of the London studio came in the wake of a severe drop for CCP. Between 2012 and 2017, the developer invested heavily in VR, which was supported in a totally different way than other established studios, with the exception of Valve. Eve: Valkyrie, a heart-in-mouth dogfighting simulator, and Sparc, a Tron-like ball sport.
There was also this time in time when the adoption was slowing down, according to Petursson. It seemed like by mid-year 2017, everybody who wanted a VR set had acquired one. We took a hard look and said, okay, we have to take a break. We might have done small games, but we felt it was better to take a formal vacation. So we made some significant changes.
The Eve: Valkyrie studio in Newcastle was sold to Sumo Digital, and has since put out Hood: Outlaws & Legends. It was a shame, Petursson says. The Sparc team in Atlanta was quite far from the overall CCP setup, and we needed to consolidate. Something had to give. I wish it were different. The team was phenomenal, and the work was amazing.
It was not hurt to CCP as a company, Petursson claims. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The CEO is optimistic that in two or three years, the VR landscape will be different, regardless of whether or not it will be in a position where the market is really viable. And then we will take a look back and see what our prowess from the previous phase will bring us in that arena.
In the meantime, its back to Starship Troopers. There''s a sense within CCP that Eve Onlines fiction is an unusual offering, even in the crowded arena of video game sci-fi. It isn''t science fantasy. It''s not laser swords. New Edens'' closest pop cultural equivalent is The Expanse - or perhaps Infinite Warfare, the Call of Duty campaign in which the Martian invaders were simply human born offworld, with a different world
And one of the things I love about New Eden''s fiction is that all the enemies in New Eden are humans. Even those who look like they might not be humans were at some point, or were close cousins of humans. And I like that science fiction where we were both our own saviours and our own downfall. We have it in us.
Given that COD has long turned its back on science, it appears that there is a lot of room for CCP to colonize with the London Project. It will last 21,000 years in the future, but the tone and texture that New Eden has, according to Kelion, are recognisable. And it''s something people - certainly I want to, and the ones on the team - want to see up close rather than a million miles away. We want to get involved.