CCP Games’ eagerly anticipated spiritual successor to DUST 514 is coming to PC this year and while very few official details have been revealed about Project Nova, we have learned some of what to expect from the next EVE-based first-person shooter.
At EVE Fanfest 2016, a super early alpha build was shown off and made playable, serving as a proof of concept. It has not been showcased since but at EVE Fanfest 2017 we spoke to Jean-Charles Gaudechon who was running point on the game while it was being developed out of the now defunct CCP Shanghai studio. Development has since been moved to CCP’s main headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland with support coming from London’s Sumo Digital (who took over teams from the London-based CCP studio which shutdown last year after developing EVE: Valkyrie) but Gaudechon revealed a few key points last year that CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson reiterated to us last month.
Project Nova will be very focused on great-feeling, super polished gunplay, and it’ll be highly tactical and strategic. Make no mistake, CCP Games is not trying to rush out a clone or copy of popular survival or battle royale games that are currently dominating the shooter genre. Nova has been a long-in-development project for a reason and while Hilmar Veigar tells us that they are obviously closely monitoring the market, they are serving their own niche and learning from their past work with DUST 514.
“We’re going for a particular niche and it’s more strategic than many of the games out there and obviously it will hopefully eventually have this connection with EVE, but we’re making sure the gameplay feels really good. Obviously, especially the battle royal games, specifically Fortnite, has just become such a phenomenon. It’s just really expanded the market, I think, more than anything else. Even my 14 year old girl is playing. She’s playing Fortnite on the PlayStation 4. She’s never played a shooter and now she’s playing Fortnite. So I think it’s vastly increasing the size of the market.”
Hilmar has an interesting and positive outlook for the evolving shooter genre, namely that wildly popular games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite may be dominating the market and hurting other games as a result in the short term, but ultimately they’re also bringing in new players into the genre as a whole and that these players will be interested in trying new and different experiences eventually.
"It’s obviously creating a different competitive dynamic but I think what we are doing is very different from that. While I think Fortnite will continue to be super successful, I think it will be successful in the act of increasing the size of the market for more people being proficient at playing first-person shooters, than maybe taking market share away – of course, it’s certainly taking market share away from people right now because it’s such a phenomenon – but I think that aspect will probably blow over at some point, but what will remain is that Fortnite is this new gigantic, casual shooter that is too hard to ignore. A lot of kids will learn their first moves playing FPS’s through that game."
No doubt, every major publisher or shooter developer is tracking the genre and experimenting with battle royale modes. Sources indicate Activision and Electronic Arts will test a Battle Royale mode of sorts with Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and DICE’s Battlefield 5, respectively, and reports have Ubisoft Massive also developing a battle royale title. What does that mean for games like Project Nova?
"Yeah, I think by now everyone will experiment with something. It’s not that complicated to do. Already battle royale was leapfrogging from DayZ to H1Z1… to PUBG and now to Fortnite, and I think from there, now that it’s so big it will go up to everything, and it will become a THING – like not it will become a genre. There are probably more games that will be successful with it but not everyone will be successful with it. But I don’t think, that with that type of game we are going for, I don’t think it’s right to be jumping on that bandwagon – at least not right now. I think it’s great. I just think it increases that size of the overall market and probably sucks the oxygen a little bit out of all games, at least right now because it’s such a phenomenon, but I think that will come back. People will still want to play different types of games."
This summer is E3 2018 and this fall CCP Games will host their next fan event at EVE Vegas. Don’t be surprised if we get the real Project Nova reveal somewhere in that time frame.