CCP Games’ Project Nova is very much still on its way (interview)

CCP Games' Project Nova
When the PlayStation 3 shooter Dust 514 finally came to a close last year, many players were left wanting more. Not just because it was a shooter, but that it was based in the EVE Online world. It was the only EVE game that was able to offer a different perspective of that universe. Players and fans alike were also given a taste of the future when CCP Games announced at last year’s Fanfest what seemed to be a successor to Dust called Project Nova.

While excitement was at a high, there were doubts that the game would actually release at all. Of course, there had been no talk of the game. At least not until now. We got to sit down and chat a bit with the managing director and executive producer at CCP Games Shanghai, Jean-Charles Gaudechon. He had some interesting things to say regarding Project Nova. 

Gaudechon talked about some of the delays that occurred with the development of the game. And he did state that a bit of it came due to moving the team from Shanghai to Reykjavik, Iceland:

“Something I pushed internally is to move development closer to Eve. So the development team actually is moving over to Reykjavik for Project Nova. To me though, the best way for a PC MMO product at CCP to succeed is to be as close as possible to one of the best PC MMO games ever done, being Eve… That’s actually a big thing, and it’s happening. You can say it may slow things down a bit again because there is a transition, which the transition is going really well. The soul is staying there from what was built in Shanghai, over to Reykjavik to shape that into something stronger.”

“It’s also awesome to be able to work along with such a great team as Eve, which it won’t be taking people away from Eve… The knowledge process has to feel Eve, and being here (Reykjavik) you can feel and smell Eve every day. When you’re on the other side of the world, it’s necessarily not as easy. We could have, in all honesty, finished it in Shanghai. But this gives us more chances to succeed.”

So despite the delays, they are still committed to delivering the best alternate EVE experience outside of EVE so to speak. It did draw the question though of how integrated into EVE Online did they want to go with Project Nova. Basically, how connected to the MMO will it be. To that, JC said:

“We want to focus more on the product than trying to link it to EVE directly, which can happen down the road. It has to be an awesome shooter that makes sense and can stand on its own. And then you can have it as a small brother or sister grow within EVE…I think there’s a bit of a spiritual successor to Dust 514, which was already boots on the ground, but an evolution from that. I think because it’s very much entrenched in our mind that it should be a shooter on a planet within EVE. The fiction works really well for a shooter. From the different factions, the tech and the lore, it all just works really well.”

With so many shooters today (especially on PC), it’s very hard to break into the market as a sort of unknown and deliver a top tier title. It makes you wonder what went into the decision to go the route of an FPS, rather than a different type of game. JC was able to give us a little insight on that as well:

“The inspiration isn’t fully from existing PC shooters, but more of what does it mean to be a shooter within EVE. And that’s the thing that drives most of our decisions on the product… The type of FPS it needs to be, I think it really needs to be its own vein. It’s not like, I want to be this shooter or that shooter. It’s more like okay, it has to be a AAA shooter; that’s clear. That user experiences to be insanely good, which today you can do. That’s not the most difficult one to crack, at least on PC. But on the MMO layer and the community layer, that’s where we need to be. And that’s where taking EVE as an example for this. You pretty much don’t have better examples to follow out there in terms of MMO-ness to it and community management and such.”

The Faithful and Hardcore Community

EVE certainly has one of the most faithful and hardcore compared to so many I’ve encountered. And that’s not a bad thing either. There’s a synergetic relationship between the developer and community that CCP has built. It’s certainly a testament to the success they’ve relished because of it. Their dedication to their fans and community is something that so many other franchises can benefit from. It’s also this that makes me believe that Project Nova will flourish at whatever point it is released.

Granted, we weren’t able to extract a ton of information regarding the game from JC. But it was great to get a lot of insight as to how their decisions are made. That and how their attention to detail and taking their time is important, rather than rushing just to push an incomplete game out. I’m sure many of you know what I’m eluding to as so many games today are like that. I’m looking forward to Project Nova, and quite hoping we’ll get to play it soon enough.

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