Blasting aliens with the EVE Online shooter, Project Nova

Project Nova

During EVE Vegas, CCP Games has made some big announcements for its upcoming FPS multiplayer shooter, Project Nova (working title). EVE Vegas attendees and those who register and qualify will get the chance to play the closed Alpha version of the game starting in November. Players will get to play different PvE and PvP modes including its own take on payload missions. Nerd Reactor was invited to check out Project Nova at EVE Vegas, and it’s shaping up to be a solid and intense shooter.

The PvP mode wasn’t available to play during EVE Vegas, but CCP Games did reveal what players can expect. Overwatch has made payload missions very popular, and with its mode having one team pushing the payload to its destination while the opposing team has to stop them. Project Nova’s payload mission is similar, but with a twist. Instead of one payload, there will be two, and each team has to push its own to the finish line while simultaneously stopping the enemy payload. Each team will consist of 16 players, and they can split up in squads to perform different tasks. There will be installations that players can build on the map to help put pressure on the opposing team. With a lot happening on the map, teamwork is essential, and each player will feel like they have something to do.

In EVE Online, Capsuleers have a lot of customizable options, and the same goes for Project Nova with its weapons and gear via the progression system.

“We want to have that complete freedom at the end of the tunnel, which is the EVE-fitting game,” Snorri Árnason, Project Nova Game Director, tells Nerd Reactor. “That’s where anything goes. There’s going to be a meta, and we’ll shake up the meta and monitor it, and we’ll find broken things. But that’s the freedom we really want to achieve.”

To get the most out of the game, players are encouraged to play both PvP and PvE modes, but it’s not mandatory.

“I’m a PvP player mostly,” said Árnason. “I would play PvE with friends if I need to grind something for a loot or something that’s only in PvE. But we really don’t want to make you play both. The way that my designers set it up is really that you can get all the currencies from every battle, but you’re going to get less of one and more of one in PvE and opposite for PvP. So you can grind each of them without ever doing PvE. But I think the game design pillar for this is playing both is the optimal progression.”

Although there isn’t a single-player campaign, CCP Games will still sprinkle some story here and there.

“What we want to do is expose some of the history and the lore through memory fragments, where you trigger a memory over time,” Árnason explains. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. Maybe it’s just a sentence or a small clip. You should write your own stories. The stories should be in-game achievements.”

CCP Games has brought in Sumo Digital (Crackdown 3, Team Sonic Racing) to help with developing Project Nova.

“CCP was asking for people who had first-person [shooter] experience,” Paul Wright, Project Nova Lead Designer tells Nerd Reactor. “Sumo Digital has years of first-person [experience] going back to GoldenEye on the N64 all the way to Call of Duty and things in between like TimeSplitters. We’ve got people that have worked on all these projects, so it’s a wealth of experience there.”

“Everything we’ve pushed to CCP for ideas, maybe 10% haven’t made it because of some sort of conflict with lore,” Wright added. “On the whole, it’s been massively accommodating and we know to respect the EVE universe anyway, and not ask for flying unicorns.”

During EVE Vegas, we had the chance to check out the PvE mode called Onslaught. You are teamed up with three other players, and before the match starts, you can select your class with one specializing in assault rifles, another in sniper rifles, and the last in grenade launchers. Sansha’s Nation has infiltrated a spaceship, and it’s up to you to defend the three points spread across the map. If you have played Domination in Call of Duty, then that should give you an idea. There are different difficulty modes including easy, medium, and hard, and for our demo, we played it on easy mode. (The other modes weren’t available.)

The easiest class to use is Assault, and you’ll be able to mow down enemies with the assault rifle. This class also has a special move that makes you zip across the map fast by running and sliding. Just imagine the Call of Duty sliding except on steroids. The sniper can hover in the air for a limited time and pick off targets from afar, but be careful since the health isn’t that great. The grenadier is effective with enemies standing close to each other, but the drawback is that the grenade launcher has a very slow fire rate and reloading.

Once a player captures a point, they can build an installation in pre-selected areas that will help them defend the area. This will help slow the tide when you’re dealing with enemies elsewhere or need a helping hand. Once you have successfully defended the three points, you’ll have a limited amount of time to escape via pods.

Teamwork is key, and sticking together will be beneficial as you can revive a player when they’re down. If your health and ammo are low, you can set an ammo and health pool down, and other players can stand inside them to refill their ammo and health. Use them wisely, since there is a short cooldown.

The game is still in its Alpha stage, but the movement felt very responsive and smooth. Once a player gets accustomed to the keyboard and mouse controls, they will be moving around the map with ease. With that said, the game will only be available for the PC. (Sorry, console users.)

There is still a lot of questions revolving around how EVE Online and Project Nova will connect. For now, CCP Games and Sumo Digital are focusing on delivering a solid multiplayer FPS including features like “procedurally generated content” for added replayability.

Project Nova will be available as an invite-only Alpha starting in November, and CCP Games will be taking player feedback very seriously to help evolve the game.

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