Sci-Fi Storytelling Revolution: Showing the EVE Universe to the World
[This is part two 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.]
The past decade has seen the story of the EVE Universe go from strength to strength, however it remains an incomprehensible mystery to all but the most informed of outsiders. Such is the curiosity generated by this “Nation of EVE”, that a number of journalists attended this year's Fanfest with camera crews in tow, in order to make documentaries about the community and its cult of celebrity.
CCP has evidently identified that there is an opportunity to evangelise their science-fiction-themed social experiment to the wider world, having engaged both renowned graphic novel publisher Dark Horse Comics, and Hollywood director Baltasar Kormákur, to tell the stories of the star cluster known as New Eden.
What is interesting about their chosen approach is that, rather than simply dip into the wealth of well-established lore and deliver stories of fictional empires and imaginary characters as with the previously published EVE novels, CCP intend to make the real, human interactions and achievements of the EVE Universe's players the focus of their storytelling.
In his CCP Presents keynote presentation, Creative Director Torfi Frans Ólafsson controversially explained that “real stories are sadly much more interesting than the made up stories about emperors”, and while there are some who may disagree with this statement, there is no denying that the EVE Universe is a unique muse and a fantastic research source. Director Kormákur identified it as “an infinite story engine”.
To further the vision and make use of this engine, the EVE: True Stories website has been set up to harvest player accounts of their struggles and successes, with a view to inspiring the narratives of both the comics and the TV series project.
“The decade of history of EVE Online is unique. It has its heroes, scoundrels, heists and intrigue. Unlike other games, those are not stories written by developers and acted out by NPCs. They are true stories about the actions of the players that inhabit this world...
Those true stories will inspire books, comics, TV series or films set in the EVE Universe.”
Players interested in submitting content to the True Stories initiative have 6 days left at time of writing, with a voting process taking place thereafter and until May 21. The graphic novel which will arise from the project will be 64 pages in length and is planned to include 4 stories. It will be released in the Winter and will be available as a free digital download.
Beyond Kormákur's involvement, details are less concrete with regard to the TV series project. At the Fanfest after party, Ólafsson confirmed to me that the series is currently planned to be live action, citing EVE Online's core values of being a human story requiring real emotions as the reason behind the decision not to use CCP's impressive animation assets as seen in many of their cinematic game trailers. On a likely release date, Ólafsson also said that he is aware that projects of this magnitude “can take years” and was unable to give a clear time-frame.
Senior Writer for CCP Games, Gauti 'CCP Gnauton' Friðriksson, who acts as both curator and creator of the lore of the EVE Universe, provided assurances that both projects will adhere to the highly-regarded and well-established prime fiction of the New Eden universe. Talking about the handling of EVE's prime fiction thus far, I was impressed with the passion and ferocity with which he defended his beloved lore. Both he and his fellow lore guardian Hjalti 'CCP Abraxus' Danielsson (author of EVE: The Burning Life novel) will be working closely with the writers of the projects to ensure that canon is given the proper respect.
It will be interesting to see quite how the portrayal of the winning True Stories will be implemented, and both projects are certain to be a colourful and interesting way of delivering the EVE Universe to a new audience.
However, given that the stories of the first decade are safely being chronicled, what of the players and stories of the future? It seems CCP Games has got that covered too...
NEXT: Sci-Fi Storytelling Revolution: CCP Seagull Ushers in a New Era