CCP Games, developer of Eve Online, was one of the earliest big studios to jump into VR game development. After announcing Eve: Valkyrie, a made-for-VR space dogfighting game, the project has been running relatively silent. However there are strong signals that Valkyrie and VR will feature prominently at the company’s annual ‘Fanfest’ this week.
A little recap. CCP Games are the creators of Eve Online (2003), one of the world’s largest MMOs, which has players piloting starships through a vast expanse of space. The game’s pace is methodical and strategic with resources to gather, a live economy to exploit, and epic fleet battles to be waged.
In 2013, the company announced Eve Valkyrie, a game that’s almost the polar opposite of Eve Online: fast-paced cockpit-based dogfighting made specifically for virtual reality, though it is set in the Eve universe. The game was actually born of a prototype called Eve VR, built for the Oculus Rift DK1, that stole the show at Fanfest 2013. The reception to the game was so good that it prompted CCP Games to spin the project off into a full title.
Aside from the game’s initial reveal—with the finished product targeting the Oculus Rift—we haven’t heard much, save for surprise announcement at GDC 2014 that the game would also be launched on Sony’s PS4 Project Morpheus headset, which we now know is coming in Q2 of 2016.
At this week’s Fanfest, an annual gathering of the Eve community hosted by CCP Games, it’s clear that VR will be a big focus.
Virtual reality headlines the opening keynote, titled ‘Welcome to Fanfest and the Future of VR’, which will be presented by CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar.
This is significant—the vast majority of Fanfest attendees are Eve Online players. Valkyrie is a completely new (and very different) game from what the company’s core constituency is used to. At least as much as we can read from the title and description of the keynote, it seems clear that CCP Games is putting significant weight behind virtual reality.
Veigar recently tweeted a serious tease that covers the entire gamut of current VR platforms.
VR for sitting down VR for standing up VR on the go Legendary moments in EVE Online Come or watch the stream http://t.co/IKPDtSDPdF
— Hilmar Veigar (@HilmarVeigar) March 14, 2015
Our reading of the tease follows:
- VR for sitting down = Oculus Rift / Sony Morpheus
- VR for standing up = Valve SteamVR
- VR on the go = Samsung GearVR
The remainder of Fanfest 2015’s schedule is indeed packed full of sessions about Eve Online, but each of the event’s three days feature a session dealing with virtual reality:
Thursday, March 19th – Opening Keynote: Welcome to Fanfest and the Future of VR
CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson welcomes you to Fanfest and then is joined by others in discussing the future of virtual reality at CCP. Includes an updated look at and information about EVE: Valkyrie and more!
Friday, March 20th – Valkyrie Engineering
Come meet some of the programmers working on EVE: Valkyrie and ask them about anything from the backend services to gameplay programming, flight model code to details about the VR implementation.
Saturday, March 21st – Valkyrie VR
What are the challenges of making EVE: Valkyrie a virtual reality game? Come have an open discussion with the developers working on the code, graphics, audio and user experience.
What’s more, the company says that the event will give attendees a chance to see “never-before-seen virtual reality demos in our VR Labs section,” and further teases, “We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but make sure you check it out!”
I’ll be on the ground at Fanfest, which takes place this week from March 19th to 21st, to bring you news on everything VR happening at the event. Stay tuned!
Disclosure: CCP Games is covering travel and lodging expenses for one Road to VR writer to attend Fanfest 2015.