CCP Focuses on What it Knows Best: EVE Online and PC

CCP Focuses on What it Knows Best: EVE Online and PC

After a few missteps, CCP Games decides to stick with what it's good at. Everything you need to know about the new CCP.

The grand experiment is over. For a nearly a decade, the house that EVE Online built was trying to stray outside of its comfort zone. In 2006, CCP Games merged with White Wolf Publishing and announced the World of Darkness MMORPG. Last year, CCP Games launched Dust 514, a first-person shooter directly connected to EVE Online, as a PlayStation 3 exclusive.

Things didn't work as planned.

World of Darkness was cancelled by CCP this year and in a presentation at EVE Fanfest 2014, CEO Hilmar Pétursson explained that building two universes was ultimately outside of the company's capabilities.

"Right now, the strategy of the company has been simplified by a lot. We are now the EVE Universe company; everything that CCP does, every CCP employee, is working on the EVE Universe," he told Fanfest attendees. "We very much want to make that the focus going forward, and really prove out that we can make product experiences come together in a common social effort, where each one of them can stand on its own merit, but together they have a massive harmony effect, similar to a symphony. If Internet space ships were ever serious business at CCP, that is now the case, and will continue to be so."

No World of Darkness for you.

"We began with huge aspirations, wholly optimistic ones, which is often the case when you come from any success and you want to expand on that," Pétursson explained further to Polygon. "And even though it is extremely difficult because the idea and the concept are terribly inspirational and powerful, we really had to be honest with ourselves. Better to stop it, and company to go focus on the EVE universe."

Dust 514 was launched into Beta in 2013, but so far it's not anything CCP Games can call a success. To date, 5.2 million clones have been killed in the game. In contrast, 2 million players played the Titanfall beta on Xbox One, and you can bet each player probably died more than 2.6 times.

Instead, CCP is going back to the drawing board with Project Legion, a brand-new free-to-play shooter for PC that will connect with EVE Online. Yeah, that seems a bit odd to me, too. Dust 514 isn't going away and Project Legion isn't just a port of the original title.

"It's taking all we learned from Dust and almost making a new game from scratch, even though it's the same team doing a first-person shooter, so they're very experienced now. And we've made good headway on it," Pétursson told Eurogamer. "It's almost more a revolution than an evolution, and that's why we're calling it Project Legion, because it's, frankly, more like a new game."

Project Legion is still very early.

"We're salvaging some of the best of Dust, but it's a brand new experience. The way I see this, that ecosystem of what Project Legion is, it's three pillar," executive producer Jean-Charles Gaudechon told PCWorld.

"It's a deep, balanced competitive shooter-that's the core, moment-to-moment gameplay. It's a sandbox experience, with some player versus environment in there mixed into that experience. That's important because that adds looting, and creation of value is getting you looting in these sandbox areas. And the third piece, the cement of that ecosystem, is the player-driven economy-player trading and stuff like that. Two out of the three pillars? All new. It's a brand new experience. A different experience."

According to Gaudechon, Project Legion is coming to PC because the platform is very friendly to free-to-play and is "part of the DNA of CCP". The team is treating Project Legion like EVE Valkyrie; start off small with a solid and fun concept, build from there using fan feedback, and ultimately release as a finished product. It's like Early Access, but you're not paying CCP yet.

Project Legion is CCP leveraging what they learned from Dust 514 on PS3 and bringing it back to the platform it knows best. Legion will not only have the PVP combat CCP promised in Dust 514, it will also feature a deeper sandbox. That means PVE areas for scavenging items, just like in EVE Online. It means, wider, more open areas in the game. It also means a more robust graphical presentation, because if you have access to an Nvidia Geforce Titan, why not use it?

And speaking of EVE Valkyrie, that's one of the few CCP experiments that has paid off. The title began as a few CCP employees playing with the Oculus Rift. Now it's an Unreal Engine 4 title coming to PC (and eventually PlayStation 4) with a significant push from the company. EVE Valkyrie now has a plot and some star power: all players are Valkyries, people who have died and have been implanted into new bodies to fight. You work for Ran, the first Valkyrie, who's voiced by Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff; follow her orders and you may live, disobey and you'll be unplugged.

Everything funnels back into CCP Games' baby, EVE Online. The MMO put the company on the map and now CCP is really digging deep to support the title. The expansion model that EVE Online has currently is going away. Instead of two huge expansions each year, the game will now see ten smaller updates, meaning the structure that supported nineteen previous expansions is at an end. According to Eurogamer, the smaller updates will still retain their unique names. The full list and release schedule is below:

  • Kronos - 3rd June
  • Crius - 19th August
  • Hyperion - 23rd September
  • Oceanus - 4th November
  • Phoebe - 9th December
  • Rhea - 20th January 2015
  • Tethys - 7th February
  • Theia - 17th March
  • Themis - 4th April
The last major expansion for EVE Online was Odyssey.

I'm sure EVE Online fans are glad that CCP is sticking to what it knows. I'm the kind of person that will consume a good universe across a number of different media, be it games, comics, novels, or film. I like the connection between each medium and I've purchased a wide variety of content related to Assassin's Creed, Dead Space, and World of Warcraft before. Some better than others.

But I'm not an EVE Online fan, so I was looking forward to seeing CCP Games bring some of that magic to another property. I was hoping to see something great when the company moved outside of its comfort zone. Instead, these failed experiments have driven CCP back to it. There's a certain excitement when someone who's good at one thing tries something else; a sense of infinite possibility. That's not to say CCP's developers won't do creative work, but I lament the loss of the chance to do something else.

But for better or worse, CCP Games now lives and breathes EVE.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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