Blog Banter 75: Project Nova

What Does Project Nova Need to Be Successful?

At Fanfest CCP showcased their current iteration of the FPS set in the Eve Universe. Following on from DUST514 and Project Legion, Project Nova is shaping up to be a solid FPS with CCP taking the decision to get the game mechanics right first. However with so many FPS out there what will Nova need in order to stand out from a very large crowd and be successful? What are the opportunities and perhaps more importantly, the dangers for CCP? How can Nova compete against CoD, Battlefront and Titanfall to name a few?

The gaming world is oversaturated with FPS games, and it seems the older I get, the less comical I find it when a 10 year old squats on the face of my dead corpse. That isn’t entertainment to me.

Having spent my entire life as a gamer, both in design, development and support of games, I have my own opinions on what would make today’s FPS games stand out from the crowd.

Risk vs Reward

It was back in 2003 when Star Wars Galaxies was first released, when I was still using the best mobile pokies around. Your stats were on a HAM bar, which would recover over a given period of rest, or by the use of various potions to restore them. Were you to die without a clone, a percentage of your HAM bar would deteriorate, meaning if you were broke and dying a lot, you were essentially “black barred”. This made for more strategic gameplay instead of the typical “I’m indestructible” kiddie mentality. Of course, the kiddies cried, and black bars were nerfed; the first step towards the inevitable demise of that wonderful game in a galaxy far, far away.

Create risk. Reward it. Let something benefit from surviving, from lasting longer than everyone else. Let rank have meaning. Not like in Battlefront or Halo where I simply have access to better outfits or slightly better gear; make it count. If I live for 40 matches without dying, then I am a god, and deserve the abilities of one. You  may think this will make for unbalanced gameplay, but for every angel there is a demon, and for every elite there is a sniper shot to the head.

Environmental Destruction

Let me blow shit up. All the shit. Let my world be fully destructive. So what if I have team-mates in that building? Let me destroy it. So what if that means we can’t complete our objectives? Leeroy Jenkins! It’s a shooter for crying out loud. The match won’t last forever. Let my short time in this random party of strangers have meaning! Let me be a vengeful child!

The Story

The most disappointing thing about Battlefront for me was the lack of any story. Oh, I’m just gonna get popped into the conflict and … well, that’s it. Ok then. Maybe that’s what the kids want today. Maybe that’s all their millennial minds can process. I don’t know. What I do know is a well written story can captivate an audience. I love the Eve Online lore and backstory. Gimme that in Nova. Or add to it. Or make it optional with a skip intro button.

If you give me nothing, I’m just another meaningless avatar in another meaningless game that will fade to obscurity within a few months of release.

Epic

Impress me, CCP, as you always do. Make it visually breathtaking but still maintain 60 FPS. Give me something epic. Sure, orbital bombardment didn’t work out in the end as it wasn’t used, but the idea was damn cool. I get it. You’re not integrating into Eve Online this time. That’s cool. So give me epic. Give me a map I can’t possibly cover all of in one match. Give me trippy environments never even dreamed of before. Give me game modes that will leave me unblinking for days at the wonder of it all. Make it f*cking epic. Or don’t make it at all.

Summary

I think this is just a few of the many things that could be done to make Project Nova amazing. Procedural maps, intelligent AI, lasting ramifications to the game itself, social structure, political influence, so many things to consider but this is one single post.

Basically, this game needs more Roc.

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