EVE Online to become a television show and comic book, inspired by the stories of the players
The power of EVE Online doesn’t come from scripted missions or a predetermined storyline, but the interactions between the players in the massive sandbox that CCP has created. Player-controlled corporations control huge swaths of space, and clash against others when they try to expand or defend their territory. It’s a system that creates drama, and the stories that emerge are organic and compelling.
CCP wants to bring the EVE universe to a wider audience, and they need stories to do so. Instead of hiring writers, they’ve decided to crowd-source story development, asking the players for the most dramatic moments of their time in the game. These will form the basis of an upcoming comic book, television show, and other projects that have yet to be announced.
Speaker for the dead
“My goal is to expand the EVE universe, and I’m not just talking about the races, and the lore, and the stories generated by our own writers, but to take the exciting stuff that’s been happening for the past decade on our service and make more of it. To build comic books, books, film, television series, based on the actions of our players, rather than made-up stories made by writers,” Torfi Frans Ólafsson, the creative director of the EVE IP, told me. “We think this is a far more interesting approach.”
CCP has never been interested in standing on high and dictating plot to the players. Instead, the players themselves will be generating the stories for these new initatives.
“In order to capture these stories, we built a crowd-sourcing website to collect true stories, where players submit their own stories, they discuss them, and they debate whether it’s actually true or not,” Ólafsson said. “Then people will vote on the stories.” There are around 350 stories already submitted, and on May 6th they’ll add the ability to vote on the stories for two weeks. The writer of the best story will win a trip to Iceland and a decade’s worth of game time - not a bad deal.
It's not just a matter of getting stories, but also testing to find the subjects and type of content that energizes the community.
“This is mostly about seeing what the community likes; the voting will tell us this. Once that’s there, what you have are several hundred stories, in a prioritized order, based on what people think are most interesting,” Ólafsson explained. “Then we take these stories to writers, and we take them to our third parties.” The stories will be edited a bit, fit into the existing lore of the game, and will then find their way into the upcoming properties.
And those properties are no joke. CCP has partnered with Dark Horse comics to produce a 64-page comic book, written and drawn by four artists and four writers, based on these stories. There will be a digital version released for free, with super-fans given the option to buy a physical copy of the book. The book will be out this winter.
Fans have also long called for an EVE Online movie, but we were told that a movie is actually too limiting; there is only so much you can do with a two-hour running time. CCP has partnered with Baltasar Kormákur’s (the director of Contraband, and the upcoming Two Guns with Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington) production company to create a live-action television show, also based on these stories. The tag line? “Based on true stories, 20,000 years into the future.”
It's an interesting approach. Kormákur couldn't come to Iceland for Fanfest, he was busy filming a pilot for HBO, but the idea of creating a high-quality show with the characters and lore of the game world, featuring stories that actually took place inside the game and were reported by players. EVE Online is a game where the players create the drama, and that drama will be tapped directly for the television show. “We intend to honor the game, and honor the players,” Kormákur said in a taped statement.
CCP has never been scared of ambition, but this is something else altogether. We'll be following this story.