Sci-Fi Storytelling Revolution: An EVEntful Future

With an epic sci-fi backstory, a cast of thousands and an able crew of storytellers, only the right tools are needed for the revolution to succeed.

[This is part four of a four part discussion of the EVE Universe and CCP Games‘ new approach to telling its stories. Click here to read part one first.]

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Elsewhere amongst CCP staff in attendance at Fanfest, there was a real buzz surrounding the amount of “buy-in” with regard to continuing the story of EVE. The Battle for Caldari Prime – a heavily marketed and well-supported live event – was not an unconditional success, but it was a huge statement in terms of ambition and player passion for such material.

CCP’s capability to deliver live events befitting their dynamic sandbox has grown by an order of magnitude, thanks in no small part to the work of a group of volunteers, headed by David ‘CCP Goliath’ Mitchell and Linzi ‘CCP Affinity’ Campbell.

For many months, they championed the live event cause whilst many looked on sceptically, but their campaign was a success and now, due to “buy-in that goes all the way to the top” they have more staff and resources, fresh talent and an overall development strategy that sets the stage for Team Illuminati to deliver dynamic MMO experiences not found anywhere else.

Under the watchful guidance of storyline puppetmasters CCP Gnauton and CCP Abraxus, who have recently returned from a “mindblowing” storyline workshop in London armed with exciting new narrative techniques, coupled with the organisational nous of long-time roleplaying former player CCP Falcon and the additional efforts of CCP Gargant, CCP Eterne and product owner CCP Zulu, the team only has one more major hurdle to overcome: the lack of control over their storytelling tools.

Being able to provide convincing and varied scenarios in a game client which refuses to co-operate is pretty much a total bust at present. In the Live Events round table session at Fanfest, the team recounted the difficulties with maintaining any suspension of disbelief at the Battle for Caldari Prime, when supposedly faction-loyal NPC ships were just as likely to fire on CCP-controlled ships as they were player hostiles. However, Campbell – a content designer with Team Game of Drones – cryptically suggested that wheels were in motion to facilitate a far greater degree of control.

If live events continue to gather steam at their current pace, there is every reason to be enthusiastic about the future of the concept. Imagine a future where elaborate narratives can be woven seamlessly into player-generated emergent gameplay by teams of professional entertainers. In the EVE Universe: Origins video there were hints of a direct convergence of the almost exclusively player-driven null-sec gameplay and that of Empire space. We see a red tide spread from those un-policed peripheral regions, engulfing low-sec regions and encroaching on core Empire constellations, as the narrator tells us “The Empires are losing their grasp on power”.

Perhaps Andie Nordgren’s vision of empowering “enablers and instigators” amongst the player base could be seen through to its ultimate emergent conclusion and the likes of Hollywood director Baltasar Kormákur might eventually be found working with Team Illuminati to enhance the in-game experience.

The future of science-fiction storytelling is bright in the darkness of New Eden.

 

 

Series Index
  1. EVE Universe: Origins – This New Cinematic Introduction to EVE Online May Herald a Sci-Fi Storytelling Revolution
  2. Sci-Fi Storytelling Revolution: Showing the EVE Universe to the World
  3. Sci-Fi Storytelling Revolution: CCP Seagull Ushers in a New Era
  4. Sci-Fi Storytelling Revolution: An Eventful Future

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Author
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.