Does hearing tales of corporate intrigue, interstellar combat, and space pirates get your blood pumping? Well, you’re in luck, because CCP Games CEO Hillmar Veigar Petursson gave Variety an update about the hotly anticipated EVE Online television series at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. First announced nearly a year ago, CCP Games is slowly but surely plugging away on the project, meeting with TV networks and studio executives to find a producing partner for the series and its potential offshoots. Although 2 Guns director Baltasar Kormakur is attached to develop the project, Petursson assures fans that, “We would rather do it well than in a hurry”
Boasting a player base of over 500,000, EVE Online has been a stalwart in the headlines as of late, especially after news broke of a sprawling space battle that wound up destroying $300,000 worth of virtual ships. That’s 300,000 real dollars, eviscerated in an instant — put that in your in-app purchase pipe and smoke it. Once you add in companion shooter Dust 514, the player count rises to a staggering 900,000. Not bad for a game that came out in 2003, huh? With figures like those, it’s understandable that the Iceland-based company isn’t in a hurry to rush into the hoary world of TV production.
“We know nothing about making good TV,” said Petursson. “We watch TV and have opinions, but it’s not the same thing. We don’t want to pretend to know something about what we don’t.”
For CCP, though, something like a television series is a way to not only engage hardcore fans of the series, but series newcomers, a success story exemplified by a show like HBO’s Game of Thrones. However, rather than waiting on the world’s most tempramental model train conductor/Gorton’s of Gloucester model stand-in to finish writing the books on which it’s based, CCP is turning to its innovative player base to generate the stories that will make their way to the small screen.
During the opening panel of this year’s DICE Summit, Petursson explained that CCP is “now in the process of capturing the stories.” To help ease themselves into the TV production waters, CCP is teaming up with Dark Horse Comics to put out EVE: True Stories, a comic book that collects fan-submitted stories based on plots of which they’ve been a part in-game. Fans have also generated a wealth of player-centric content on sites like True Stories From the First Decade and hardcover books EVE Online Source and Dust 514.
But it’s precisely these player-driven stories that make EVE Online ripe to make the leap from video game franchise to television. “This is a property that has been created by hundreds of thousands of people around the world,” Petursson said. “People understand the power of that. It is the biggest story ever written in a way. If we create a story out of that, we’ve created something very powerful.” The human element, especially in massively multiplayer games like these, are what makes the game so exciting, and exactly what a high drama television series would need. Petursson agrees: “In the future, they will be able to think, ‘If I do an awesome job it will be in the TV series.’”
Can CCP replicate the mainstream success of nerd franchises like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones? Only time will tell. CCP may not know much about TV production, but they know what they like. “Because we’re Icelandic, sagas and world building has always been important to us,” Petursson said. “If you think of it as a cliche, everyone in Iceland would like to write a book, the way everyone in Paris wants to own a restaurant and everyone in America wants to be famous.” Well, my fellow Americans, better start saving up your ISK (Interstellar Kredits) because your in-game exploits could wind up being the stuff of TV legend some day.
What would you like to see from an EVE Online TV series? Let us know in the comments below.