EVE Valkyrie – Thoughts on the Big Bird

This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss the not-so-surprising announcement of  CCP’s latest game..

EVE Valkyrie

 

 

The EVE blogosphere is on fire today with the news, although I wonder if anyone is actually surprised by it.  As unveiled by Gamescom, the EVE-VR prototype demo’ed a few months ago at Fanfest is now in full active development under the title of EVE Valkyrie.

Saw that coming. 😉

I do regret not taking the time out/remembering to go queue up to try it out myself at Fanfest, but sadly I did miss my chance.  To be honest I as much regret missing a chance to try out the Occulus Rift headset as much as the game itself, but oh well.  There is however one part of the announcement that does surprise me: the part that says EVE Valkyrie will launch in 2014!  There are only 4 months left of 2013, which means that CCP intend to take this project from a tech demo produced by a small team working in their free time through to launched product in under two years!  Ambitious scheduling much?

My impression back at Fanfest was very much that CCP were not entirely sure about what they had on their hands.  It was a cool bit of tech, but was it a product?  In fact, I was very much thinking at the time that CCP were presenting it as much for the media value as to indicate any genuine interest to run with it.  They simply wanted to put it out there as ‘something cool’ to show off and see how people responded.

Turns out the response was overwhelmingly positive!  I have yet to hear of anyone who has played it who did not walk away highly impressed.  And the gaming media went crazy for it, I think many journalists came away thinking that it was already ‘a thing’ not merely ‘a maybe’.  Given all that, I felt kit highly likely that CCP would start investing some company resources into exploring the project as a future investment.  I wasn’t expecting them to set their sights on shipping it before World of Darkness (which CCP don’t expect to be out until 2015 at the earliest) which has been in active development far longer.

Which leads to the Trillion ISK question: exactly what sort of game is Valkyrie going to be, anyway?  Given the timescale, I would be very hesitant to believe that this is going to be a third EVE Universe MMO integrated into Tranquility alongside EVE-Online and Dust514.  We are probably looking at a stand-alone title here, at least to begin with.  Less than two years to develop a modern game is not much time, and that isn’t even mentioning the fact that this game is being designed to utilize a still experimental new technology in the Occulus Rift.  CCP are being ambitious as hell with this one!

Having said that, I do hope that CCP can find a niche for Valkyrie as a fully integrated part of the EVE Universe, live on TQ.  It likely won’t be much of a thing at launch, but given CCP’s commitment to long-term, iterative development, and their self-image of being an MMO developer, I think CCP will look long and hard at laying the foundations for the future.

It may be that CCP have learned some valuable lessons in the last few years and finally be reaping the fruits of their Carbon technology development which could conceivably be giving them a huge leg-up in getting Valkyrie off the ground.   Their point always was that taking the time to build a common tool/tech set for use across their games would reap rewards in efficiency down the road.  Maybe, just maybe Valkyrie will be the project to prove them right.

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