New Executive Producer Owen O'Brien Joins CCP: How Will Mirror's Edge Reflect on EVE: Valkyrie?
As Icelandic sci-fi MMO developers CCP Games continue to ride the wave of opportunity brought about by the industry impact of EVE: Valkyrie, their virtual reality tech demo turned hotly anticipated space-sim now has a new supremo overseeing the project.
Owen O'Brien was announced today as the new Executive Producer of EVE: Valkyrie where he will be using his experience at DICE, developers of the Mirror's Edge and Battlefield franchises. O'Brien's most notable achievement was as Senior Producer of the under-appreciated but well regarded parkour-centric Mirror's Edge.
Reflecting on Past Lessons
This could be a very canny appointment, with Mirror's Edge sharing many of the same values as the pioneering and cutting-edge opportunity that EVE: Valkyrie presents.
O'Brien has previously explained what Mirror's Edge, released in 2008, had been trying to achieve. DICE was already dominating the first-person shooter market with Battlefield and there was an intent to explore where else first-person gameplay could go. They wanted to redefine first-person genre.
The following quote, taken from an interview O'Brien did with MTV Multiplayer in 2008, shows they were trying hard to create a gaming experience that EVE: Valkyrie can already deliver with aplomb.
"We developed movement from the word go... It's a very different feeling. It's a very immediate, visceral experience. It is you. You're there doing everything. You feel every impact. You feel when you've been shot. You get the vertigo, the dizziness." - Owen O'Brien, Mirror's Edge Senior Producer, 2008
Despite the push for innovation and perhaps because of marketing pressures, Mirror's Edge had a troubled launch and a lukewarm reception. However, retrospectively it has come to be fondly regarded and a long-awaited sequel was finally announced by Electronic Arts at this years E3 expo.
Unsurprisingly, O'Brien was endorsed by CCP's other recent senior signing, former EA executive now CCP's Senior Vice President, Sean Decker.
“I worked with Owen for many years at DICE. His experience bringing Mirror’s Edge to market will be invaluable as we work to make virtual reality an actual reality for gamers worldwide.” - Sean Decker, September 2013
Valkyries on the Tyne
In today's press release, Owen O'Brien said,
“The opportunity to work with a focused, talented and passionate team at the forefront of game-changing technology is a dream scenario for me. But it’s not just about the technology. This was a project born out of a genuine passion for gaming, and that shows in what the team has already achieved.” - Owen O'Brien, newly appointed EVE: Valkyrie Executive Producer, September 2013
O'Brien will commence his role at CCP's UK office in Newcastle, where temporary EVE: Valkyrie Executive Producer Jon Lander recently began establishing the Valkyrie project (as covered in this recent interview).
A spokesman for CCP Games confirmed to GameSkinny that Jon Lander will continue to be the wearer of many hats and “will be helping transition till near the end of the year,” after which he will be able to return to focusing his efforts on mobile development.
There has been much changing of the guard at CCP Games of late. There are interesting times ahead for the veteran MMO studio.