Eve: Valkyrie is incredible. Let’s just get this out of the way first.
It’s a space shooter: a three versus three deathmatch currently played exclusively via a 3D VR headset like the Oculus Rift. It’s played with a pad. You use the left stick to rotate and direct your craft. The bumper buttons traverse, and the triggers fire your weapons. There’s also a neat mechanic: you use your head motion to lock onto an enemy fighter, as if the HUD is bolted to your forehead.
The sense of speed, the sense of space: this is what I dreamed games would feel like. And it exists.
But there are some questions.
Obviously, the game could and probably should connect with the EVE universe in some way. I put that to CCP executive producer Jon Lander.
“We’re actually not saying anything about that at this point,” he said. “It sits within the same universe, it’s part of the same overall IP.”
“If you look at what the company is about, it’s about making virtual worlds where millions [are connected]. It’s really one of the things that distinguishes us and so it’s one of those things that helps guide us as we do all of our products. But we’re just keeping very tight-lipped at this point.”
And we assume that it would be a game for the Oculus Rift – again, John was cagey. Is it for the PC?
“We’re not saying anything about that,” he replied. “So in terms of Eve Valkyrie right now, we’ve got a tech demo which we’re turning into a real product, and I think the market is developing. It’s developing at a fair rate. And right now we’re just not saying anything about that.”
Part of John’s cageyness is just how much work there is to do on the tech side. Valkyrie is the first game in VR that didn’t leave me with motion sickness.
“How do you build a UI when the field of view isn’t fixed?”, asked Lander. “There are some interesting challenges about that. The guys experimented with a lot of things which just didn’t work. I think the reason you see such a compelling demo of [Valkyrie] here is that it solved a number of those problems. But there are other things inherent.
“Basically you’ve just got to playtest. The guys doing this, they very quickly got to a point where they were able to iterate very, very quickly for all these different gameplay reasons.”
It’s clear CCP have major plans for Valkyrie. It’s gone from a hobby to a full blown project, with over 20 devs now working from CCP’s Newcastle studio. They clearly mean business. And Valkyrie is exciting to me in a way that, say, Dust 514, isn’t.
It’s incredible, but it’s barely a game. It’s a three minute tech demo that shows a vision of one possible future for PC gaming.
But what a vision.
Eve Valkyrie proves that VR is the real next-generation.