Today, at EVE FanFest, CCP announced Project Nova, a new free-to-play first-person shooter. Currently in development by the Shanghai team behind Dust 514 and Project Legion, this new effort rebuilds that core experience from the ground up. For shooter fans, Project Nova is intended to be an immediately familiar experience.
CCP has an established tradition of using EVE FanFest as a testing ground for their up and coming projects. This continues with Project Nova, as attendees got the chance to go hands-on with a very early build of the game. While there’s clearly still a lot of work to do, the prototype marks a stake in the ground, and is a significant step up from the studio’s previous showings.
The test map available to play was based on a Caldari carrier, but the goal is to eventually include planet and asteroid-based maps as well. The objective was to capture a series of control nodes, with one team acting as invaders while the other attempted to repel boarders. It made for slower, tactical gameplay, and a stark contrast to the fast-paced arena shooters that currently dominate the genre.
Project Nova also levers the loadout-based system, offering a number of different combat roles including a sniper, chain-gun-wielding heavy, and jetpack-equipped light assault. Some roles were clearly unbalanced compared to others at this very early stage, but it’s also something that I’m eager to see more creativity in. Just as EVE has lasers, missiles and drones, I’d like to see an FPS which is more than just throwing bullets at each other.
Crucially though, it’s going to be that early FanFest feedback that will make Project Nova a unique experience. While the studio can pull on EVE’s rich visual identity to craft something that looks distinctive, it’s the fresh assault by a thousand fans that will help to sharpen the more immediate experience, from gunplay to level design.
There are also several unanswered questions about the wider game. What will customisation and progression look like? How about factions, corporations and parites? Will it take the place of Dust 514 with a permanent link to the EVE Universe? We hope to find answers to these and more as EVE FanFest progresses.
As a statement of intent, Project Nova is an encouraging first step, and a reassuring commitment to the legions of Dust 514 fans out there. It’s going to be interesting to see how this new title evolves over time, and what final form it takes.