The striking Eve: Valkyrie footage that emerged from Fanfest today concerned a single player mission. But it’ll be one of very few, intended as tutorials for the real heart of the game – dogfighting with and against other players online.
“We want to be the best competitive multiplayer game in VR, and that’s it,” said exec producer Owen O’Brien. “If anything isn’t contributing towards that, we’re not doing it.”
O’Brien said that the strict multiplayer approach had been a “great razor”, allowing his Newcastle development team to “cut through feature lists and decide what we’re focusing on.”
A typical match of Valkyrie now revolves around two teams of Wraith fighter ships, which ping out of two rival carriers and attempt to inflict more damage on each other than they take.
Victory is determined entirely by dogfighting. But a number of control points now provide an additional layer of strategy. Capture one of them, by launching a drone nearby, and the points you’ll receive for a successful kill will multiply.
Any fighter can fire a drone as soon as they’re in close proximity to a capture point. But capture progress can be cancelled out by an enemy drone – or accelerated by the presence of more drones from allies.
“It’s not the same as an FPS,” said O’Brien. “You can’t sit and camp, that’s not what we want you to do.”
A new heavy ship type, the Spectre, is less maneuverable than the standard Wraith but can last much longer in battle. Its flak cannons do splash damage, its EMP attack can stun, its shield can knock out missiles, and its warp drive can be activated to zip across the map and return to the action.
CCP are proud of their improved flight model, which is “a bit more spacey and drifty” and enables two players to break out of endless circling much more easily.
“Valkyrie has gone from strength to strength at each Fanfest,” said CCP head Hilmar Veigar Pétursson during the event’s opening keynote. “You wouldn’t believe the momentum and the change implemented in the game.”
Now the core game “feels good”, the dev team are extending playtesting to their partners at Oculus, Nvidia and elsewhere. And they’re opening up a pre-alpha test program to select players, too. No word on exact specs yet, but you can register your interest on the Eve: Valkyrie site.
Were you hoping to get an X-Wing style solo campaign out of Valkyrie? Or are you happy to see CCP focused?