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.
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.