In late 2017, CCP Games shuttered their VR-producing studios, shifting their focus to PC and mobile games after selling off the Newcastle branch behind EVE: Valkryie (2016) and closing down the Atlanta-based branch behind SPARC (2017). Although CCP made a commitment to keep servers from going dark, it comes as great surprise that the studio has actually pushed out a significant update to the futuristic VR sports game.

The update, called the ‘Championship Update’, is said to include new cross-platform modes, including Custom and Ranked matches, and an improved Spectator Mode. In a press statement, CCP calls it Sparc’s “first major update.”

Here’s a quick breakdown of the updates landing today on all supported platforms:

  • Quick Play – This is the fastest way to get into the action with other players. Select the desired game mode (Basic or Advanced) and join through Quick Play, Public Custom Game or Create Your Own Game (to which other Quick Play players can join).
  • Custom Games – Browse a list of available games or choose to create a custom game with the desired game mode and privacy settings. Optional password settings are provided for both players and spectators.
  • Ranked – Compete in a cross-platform competitive mode using the Advanced rules. Players remain unranked until they have completed their first 10 matches, after which their recent record determines their tier (Legend, Diamond, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and position (1-100) within that tier.

Spectating tools have also changed somewhat. Custom games can be joined as a headless spectator that won’t occupy a player slot; the spectator is invisible to both players and other spectators. Players can also cycle through preset camera locations to view the action or free-fly using their controllers to propel themselves around the arena.

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Sparc is available for $20 on Steam (Rift, Vive, Index), the Oculus Store (Rift), and the PlayStation Store (PSVR).

The studio hasn’t made any indication whether today’s update signals a move back towards active VR development, although it’s clear the studio has had enough success with Sparc to merit the manhours needed to push out today’s update. We’ve asked CCP for comment and will update when/if we hear back.

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  • namekuseijin

    not my kind of game. But hopefully they’re feeling generous and also take a second look at Eve Valkyrie. though now that NMS is so close to getting VR, it may well be too late for this pioneering VR space shooter

    • asdf

      um elite dangerous?

      • Raphael

        Different games. ED is a space sim. Valkryie is an arena shooter like CQC only better. If CCP hadn’t overpriced it $60 for too long until it died then it could have been very good. It even supported VRWORKS so is one of the few games that gives FULL VR performance from 1000+ series GPUs.

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  • Jarilo

    The best VR sport ever created. 400+ hours in it and going -25 lbs of weight. I hope this bring fresh meat for the Jarilo to smash with balls in Advanced mode.

  • Trip

    Only played this a little bit, I had a really hard time throwing with the Vive wands but I thought the game seemed pretty good so it’s one of the games I’m really looking forward to launching into with my Knuckles controllers.

  • it looked fun when it first came out, but since they shut down the studios nothing had happened with it and so I never purchased it. Might have to now!

    • Jarilo

      Not like it needed any fixing. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. This adds basically a ranking mode, but the core of the game is the same.

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  • gothicvillas

    I have Sparc on ps4 and by accident on Steam too. I haven’t touched it some time but when I get my Valve Index package I will gladly try it again. Throwing mechanics with pressing buttons just didn’t sit well with me. Hope knuckles will improve it.

  • Jistuce

    Probably the most surprising bit of VR news I’ve seen in a while.

  • Anders

    PORT it to the QUEST – PLEASE!!! Non-tethered version would be awesome!!!

    • Missourimedic

      Yes, what Anders said.
      It’s a great game which simply suffered from a lack of players. Please consider porting it to the Quest, where it can find a following.

  • Dylan

    maybe they’re realizing the time is right, one can hope.