The last time I saw EVE: Valkyrie, it wasn’t called EVE: Valkyrie. It was still E:VR, nothing more than a free time project some of the devs at CCP were working on involving the Oculus Rift VR headset in their spare time. The first time I saw it at this years CCP Fan Fest myself, and just about everyone who tried it was blown away. I came back from Iceland and it was pretty much all I talked about up until E3. That’s when everyone else in the games press world drank the kool-aid as well. We were all indoctrinated into the new cult of E:VR.
Later on, as E3 was coming to a close I approached CCP’s Global CEO, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson during an event the company was throwing after hours. So, I may have had a few drinks in me as I rambled in his ear about how he was sitting on a goldmine with E:VR and had to make it a real game and not just an interesting tech demo that might be something later. So you can probably thank me for getting us here as it would seem Hilmar heeded my call and the world will soon know how awesome EVE: Valkyrie is for themselves.
If you were to look at Valkyrie on a regular computer monitor, it might not seem like anything special necessarily other than your standard space dog fighter style game. But when you add the Oculus Rift, its value becomes obvious. The ability to literally look around your surroundings while flying through space and create the illusion of immersive space combat. This is what games like Wing Commander and X-Wing vs Tie-Fighter were getting at, but now they just seem like they were scratching the surface. And damned if I haven’t wanted to go back for more immediately after each time I tried it.
Right now beyond that however this is still just your standard space battle affair with players and bots teaming up against each other to blow up the other sides dudes more times than they can blow you up. But this game takes place in the world of EVE: Online, so there’s still much more to come.
While CCP isn’t ready to give away a huge amount of detail on how the game will integrate into the universe of EVE, the whole spaceships in space fighting thing does seem like it would be a no-brainer to integrate these smaller, lighter vessels into actual space battles taking place in EVE, much in the same way that battles that take place in Dust 514 take place on planets in EVE.
CCP’s own David Reid had a great way of putting it, “EVE is the Navy, Dust is the Army, and Valkyrie is the Air Force.” which makes a lot of sense if you look at it that way. If that is true, could my dream of starting a game off as a ground troop, making my way into space and taking my chances in a small, maneuverable spacecraft against an unrelenting wave of enemy forces could come true? It would seem there’s a distinct possibility.
To that extent, one of the things Mr. Reid also mentioned during a keynote address at EVE Vegas 2013 was the concept of maybe having more than one clone of yourself in the EVE-verse. Since everyone’s character in the pre-existing titles is a clone whose conscious is transferred from body to body upon death, why couldn’t you trick out different bodies for various jobs? Have one for piloting, one for first-person combat, and one for ruling an empire. Why couldn’t changing your clone be as easy as changing your clothes?
Right now, however it’s all just nothing more than potential. But I can say that in its current HD form, EVE: Valkyrie is looking much more graphically impressive than before and frankly, if it were released in the shape it’s currently in tomorrow, barring any sort of price gouging, I would pick it up. Flying around space as asteroids float by and staring at nebulas full of vibrant purples and blues can be quite soothing while not busy blowing things up.
The one major hurdle that EVE: Valkyrie will have to overcome is that right now so much of what makes it impressive is the immersiveness of the Oculus Rift headsets. I’m hoping that the connections to a vast virtual world with a pre-existing community will pick up the slack when it comes to finding a way for it to be accessible to players without the Rift, but for the moment it is a looming question that I’m glad I don’t have to answer myself.
An MMO-space dog fighter is an ambitious enough of a thing to attempt. Trying to attempt it while under the restrictions of a gaming accessory is even tougher. So hopefully the CCP devs can figure this one out before launch.
Still, drunk Blake liked it enough to berate a CEO about it, and he’s never led me wrong before. At least I think he hasn’t. So I will continue to look forward to the release of EVE: Valkyrie some time in 2014, for whichever console it ends up coming out on (we don’t know yet).