Home > Gaming > EVE Online stares into a virtual future

EVE Online stares into a virtual future

EVE FanFest 2013 art

Day two of EVE FanFest is officially behind us, and it concluded with a whopping keynote focused on the past, present, and future of EVE Online. CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson led off the proceedings, bringing out studio co-founder Reynir Harðarson for an extended look back at the company’s history. Backed by an amusing montage of snapshots and in-game screens, Harðarson painted a colorful picture of a company founded on passion, creativity, and hard partying. 

Seeing this all unfold and hearing the fans respond, you really get a sense of how the EVE playerbase’s investment extends far beyond the boundaries of a mere video game. These people have been along for the ride, perhaps not all the way through in every case, but loving and immersing themselves in CCP’s successes and occasional failures from whenever their first moment on was. This isn’t just a crowd of 1,400 paying subscribers; it’s a community.

EVE-FanFest-swim-picYou feel it rattling through the beautiful theaters and walkways of the Harpa concert hall. This is a friendly bunch. They backstab and steal and delight in one another’s miseries in the context of the game, but the reality of EVE FanFest is that everyone is here because they love this game and they love everything it’s brought them.

The keynote continued with an overview of what’s to come in the EVE Online‘s New Eden, starting with a look of the previously announced Odyssey update. In addition to the usual crop of under the hood improvements and balancing tweaks, the update includes a customizable system scanner with a cool visual overlay, player-built starbases, and audiovisual enhancements. The blockbuster reveals, however, speak to the dedication that this crowd has to the CCP’s game.

An explosion of cheers and shouts followed the news that probe formations will be enhanced with presets. A similar response followed the revelation that ice belts will be moved to anomalies. You don’t need to know what that means if you don’t play the game. What’s important is that you appreciate the response the news elicited. EVE Online means the world to these people; you might not understand the details, but the sheer appreciation that flows forth from the gathered masses speaks in a more universal language.

EVE-FanFest-stage-shot

The Odyssey details were just the start of what’s to come, however. EVE Online‘s free expansions are released at a rate of two per year, and while fall 2013’s update has yet to be publicly named, the keynote confirmed that fans have a big, new feature to look forward to: buildable stargates. EVE‘s primary mode of inter-system transport has always been one of the few elements that players aren’t given control of. That’s going to change, and with that change will come a deluge of creative opportunities for players to continue authoring their own stories.

Oculus-Rift-EVE-VRThe best was still yet to come, however. I’ll have more firsthand details on this for you soon, along with a developer interview to follow next week, but here’s the short version: Oculus Rift meets EVE Online.

EVR is a tech demo-turned-multiplayer dogfighting game built by a small internal CCP team over the course of seven weeks. It’s a spare time passion project that came together around a shared enthusiasm at the studio for Palmer Luckey’s creation. There are no plans for a formal release at this time, but the appeal here is impossible to ignore. This is the first proper game built specifically for the Oculus Rift VR headset… and it’s fantastic. Stay tuned for more on this inventive creation soon. For now, enjoy the trailer below.