Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Turning EV-R Into a Full Game

Over at Penny Arcade there is a phone interview with Sean Decker, the new SVP of Product Development. First off I'm not that concerned with his appointment. Yes, he's come from EA, one of the most derpiest of the games companies. But I'm pretty sure CCP have learnt their lesson over the last couple of years and I doubt he'll be allowed to do any EA-style feck ups with Eve Online. I consider that it is most likely he'll be in charge of turning DUST514's fortunes around*.
Anyway, onto EV-R. The Penny Arcade report asked Sean about EV-R and the buzz it created at E3. He said the concept was very like Mirrors Edge which he developed. At the minute it is an interesting tech demo but it is not actually a game. May be they could build a game around it like they did with Mirrors Edge?
Of course you bloody could! GET ON WITH IT!
And the way that could be done is very simple. You are a fighter pilot on a carrier. In fact it has been done before....
Why not do a Wing Commander style game set in the Eve Online universe. It could sit very nicely within the Faction War storyline. You are a pilot on-board an Empire Navy carrier. The capsuleers fighting in Faction War are only one part of the story. There are also the Empire Navies kicking each other in the shins. What if the EV-R game was set within that storyline?
The Single Player Campaign
The Game
Simple single player campaign just like Wing Commander. It is set on board a carrier. So probably a Chimera if we go Caldari. You are a rookie fighter pilot just arrived fresh from the academy when all hell breaks loose. You start off flying missions against NPC's and depending on your success you navigate through the mission tree. In the end you either win or you lose depending how well you have done in the missions. Given it would be a single player offline game the results would not be able to impact on the greater Eve-O universe. However I don't see that as a problem. The story might be about the other side developing a superweapon and you are sent into enemy territory to take it out. It might be you are trapped behind enemy lines and need to escape crossing vast tracks of space with an enemy fleet in pursuit ala BSG. There are a lot of meaningful story lines that could be used and not effect the wider Eve-O universe. How about a rescue mission where you have to fight across enemy space and rescue a captured Admiral and then get back to safe space. I could go on all day.
There could a series of fifteen or so missions 3 to 5 deep (doing great, doing OK, meh, badly, you suck) and your performance will effect how the story progresses to the next mission. Doing badly? You are constantly defending from attack and your friends are dying all around you. Doing well? You are taking the fight to the enemy. Like this one from the original Wing Commander I think.
The Missions
Before each mission it would allow you to change and equip your fighter. Again this is NPC Navy and not Capsuleer one that we are used to. It is possible that the NPC Navy carriers could have a range of different fighters with the best one they have available is the same one the capsuleers use (Eggers only use the best). There could be scouts, all-purpose fighters, heavy attack fighters and even bombers. As you progress through the missions you get promoted through the ranks allowing you to fly more and more shiny ships. Weapon selection would be simply types of missiles. Light, heavy, torps, fire-and-forget etc.
The missions themselves would be the normal mix of patrol, strike, escort and the like. Anyone who played the Wing Commander series will be familiar with the different types of mission. Here is a mission from Wing Commander 4.
The Cut Scenes.
At Fanfest Hilmar revealed plans for a Eve Online TV series. I really cannot see this getting off the ground. Seriously? A Game of Spaceships? Nullsec Empire? Band of Capsuleers? I cannot see there is the demand for this. Which TV stations will buy the series? If Firefly with its loyal fanbase and big budget movie behind it cannot get a second series, how is Eve Online The Series going to get off the ground? Comic yes, mini-series no (imho).

But, what about a PC game with real actors and cinematic cut scenes like WC3 and 4 and Privateer 2? That could be amazing and best of all, achievable Developing the lore and background of the Eve Online universe through side plots in the cut-scenes Not sure if the Oculus Rift can do that well (movie cut-scenes) but it could be awesome to have that in the game!

The cut scenes could also be based on your performance. May be it could be like WC4 and you have choices to make in these cut-scenes which effect the game. In one of the Wing Commander games you had two women chasing you. A technician from the fighter hanger and a fellow pilot, and you had to choose one. If you choose the pilot, then the grease monkey would get bitchy and you'd lose her advice on fitting your ship. If you chose the grease monkey the other pilot would sulk and not fly with you any more! Sheesh! Women! ;)

The Multiplayer
Right, now we've got the single player off-line campaign out of the way, lets get to the online PvP! The demo has already shown that PvP is already done. The big question is impact on Eve and money which I'll cover later. There should be a SIMPLE skill tree, nothing like DUST514. You gain XP killing and completing games. There could be a few different style games from Team Deathmatch to Capture the Flag (satellite) or Domination. Ship customisation should be in a Call of Duty style and again, not in a DUST style. As you gain ranks, ships and equipment are unlocked. However, the choice is limit like COD. The PvP should in my opinion be like COD. Log on, have a couple of games and log off. No spending ages trying to plan skills, taking hours messing about with your fits. Just get on, fight, get off. Finished!
Impact on Eve
Could EV-R The Game have the same impact on Eve Online as DUST514 has. Could there be a system modifier depending on how well your fighter pilots are doing. Think of it in terms of DUST514.... but with more players! In Faction War it will be easy. Keep on the Empire Navy theme and we have a background and storyline. Doing well can impact system capture difficulty in Eve Online. For null-sec may be some future Sov revamp could work this in. Or simply make the EV-R pilots part of The Legion. Actually that might work well. If the EV-R pilots were part of Modus Legion player entities in Eve could hire them (ISK sink) to help them capture systems and...... actually stop right there. I'm doing a DUST here. It is getting too complicated and messy and will put people off.
Why do we have to have an impact on Eve? EV-R could be just about fighting in a World of Tanks style. KISS!
I see the main game as being a standard purchase like any other game. If you can afford a VR headset you can afford a game off the shelf/download. However, what if the multi-player worked on a World of Tanks or DUST514 model. You don't need to spend money to play the game, but if you do you'll get access to gear that you'd normally need to grind XP for. Micro-transactions could play a part in this game very easily.
So there you go CCP, I've done all the hard work for you. Get on with it!

*I assume CCP are not happy with player numbers currently. Peak users of 6000 is probably nowhere near what they were hoping for. I recall at fanfest being told in one of the presentations about the PS3 giving CCP access to "tens of millions of players". Sorry guys, but I would guess the actual number is many zero's below that. I bought a PS3 the weekend before DUST514 went open beta. Played it a bit, admittedly forcing myself as it was Eve related, and played on into full release. My PS3 is currently an oversized paperweight and doubt I actually played any DUST since late May. DUST514 didn't do it for me.


  1. Dust 514 should have been a PC game. They made a huge mistake making it PS3 exclusive.

    1. Guess they are looking at the player numbers and agreeing with you currently!