Two years ago at EVE Fanfest 2016, CCP Games showed off a demo of a new first-person shooter codenamed Project Nova that rose from the ashes of the defunct MMOFPS DUST 514. A new updated demo of the game was playable this weekend at EVE Vegas 2018, and CCP gave a talk delving into its future plans for the game.
Developers were very clear that their main focus is still on nailing the core shooter gameplay and that the game is still currently in a pre-alpha stage. An official invite-only alpha programme will start in November that will be open to a limited number of players. Head over to the Project Nova signup page to register your interest for a chance to get a spot in the alpha, and read on for more details on Nova from yesterday’s talk.
The game mode being shown off this weekend is a four player cooperative PvE mission named Onslaught in which players defend against waves of zombie-like Sansha infantry trying to board a ship in the middle of an incursion battle. This is central to Nova’s lore and gameplay, as battles all take place on the outside of EVE ships rather than on the ground.
The PvE mode is a mixture between horde mode shooter gameplay and tower defense with constructible turrets, and it will reportedly use some procedural variation to make every match a bit different. Other game modes will include a 16v16 pvp mode in which two teams each push a separate payload to an objective in order to kick a pilot out of his ship and install their own. I know. How badass is that?
Long-term goals for Project Nova still involve economic connections with EVE Online and persistent effects within EVE, but long-term in this case really means long-term. The initial plan involves match-based PvE and PvP modes, but persistent elements that affect the greater EVE universe probably aren’t coming any time soon. Plans for manufacturing and resource gameplay like we have in EVE are part of the future development roadmap.
Nova will have a dropsuit customisation system based on EVE Online’s ship fitting mechanics, which may sound familiar because DUST 514 used a similar system for equipment. The Nova devs have learned some important lessons from DUST’s failures, though, and are trying to design around them. A piece of equipment in DUST would be lost after a single death, for example, discouraging players from ever risking their best equipment and allowing people to literally run out of gear mid-fight.
Developers want to solve this issue but still retain a core EVE-style experience, so the plan is to have each set of gear in Nova last for a single match but with an unlimited number of respawns within that match. Ultimately design choices like these will be heavily informed by feedback from players during the alpha and from Nova’s own CSM-style player advisory group named The Conclave.
Stay tuned to the EVE Vegas 2018 tag this week for my hands-on first impressions and thoughts on the Project Nova demo, and 20 minutes of gameplay footage (where I absolutely crushed it and my teammates were total noobs). In the mean time, check out the official Project Nova trailer below: