Unfinished Business

Way back in March, around the time that I was still plugging at this blog daily, my old friend Rixx Javix approached me with a proposition to join him on a potentially awesome journey – he wanted to make an Eve-based card game. He had experience in the past with such things, and of course he’s got plenty of ship art, so he was going to try and make a go of it. He decided early on that he wanted to pursue a Kickstarter for the project, but with CCP’s blessing. He brought me on (totally unaware that another Eve-related Kickstarter was brewing – as, in fact, I was, since that whole thing didn’t become a Kickstarter until well after I left TMC’s circles) for help designing things and getting the project complete. The ideas simmered over the summer, until in September we started making some progress again.

I drafted up a list of actionable item cards that could be a part of the game and Rixx brought in some more talent – including Xander Phoena, thanks to his huge love of Magic: The Gathering and experience in the field. Together, we set about putting together timelines, making ready our proposal for CCP. And then, well, The Fountain War book happened. And it tanked. And since then, things appear to have gone dormant on the CCP side of things.

Rixx has long made no bones about the idea of expanding the Eve brand into a variety of things. His posters – the ones you may have seen at Fanfest, or being widely touted in various communities for their singular design and amazing detail – are just one piece of evidence of this. That project, with the blessing of CCP, has seen some success, and a card game (utilizing much of the groundwork, artistically speaking, of those same posters) would be the next step.

We thought that, if we fundraised for the project via Kickstarter we would be eliminating all of the downside for CCP. We would do the research regarding production of these things (we have a few friends that have made card games, successfully, via Kickstarter), we would set the goal at a (low) achievable level, we would make the rounds on podcasts and blogs and news sites – we would do a full court press of the Eve community, and we would make a damn fine game.

The idea was to get CCP’s blessing before continuing much further down the design path. We had a rough idea of how we wanted the game to play out, but pouring hours into something that might be summarily dismissed was frowned upon by all involved. After we worked with CCP to gain their approval, we would design the game and get some video of the game in action amongst our friends. Then, we would launch the Kickstarter. If nothing else, the cards would serve as collector’s items, but we fully intended for the game to be an enjoyable experience and a valuable addition to the Eve universe of products.

But, again, the Fountain War kickstarter happened and everything ground to a halt. Today, Rixx has decided to make public the project in an effort to kickstart (pun totally intended) the process. We’re not looking to force anyone’s hand or anything of the sort – really, we just want the opportunity to work with CCP on a cool project. If they hate the idea and say no, well then, they say no and we can all move on. However, the cold shoulder treatment isn’t really satisfying to Rixx, Xander, or myself.

I personally think, regardless of how this project pans out, CCP is really missing the bus on fan-initiated movements like this. Eve merchandise should be affordable and plentiful; player created books and pieces of art should totally be created in conjunction with the company. The players of Eve Online are the content of Eve Online in so many ways that it just seems silly to turn away from opportunities to expand on that.

And sure, there will be stinkers (but maybe by being a bit more involved in things, CCP can avoid future black eyes from Kickstarter). Sure, there will be things that don’t pan out. But creating a live, ever growing, ever expanding universe for players, and friends of those players, and friends of those friends, to get immersed in is probably the last trick we all have to see Eve Online reverse its downward sub trend and start growing again.

There has never been a better time to do so, either, with the exact tools needed to facilitate such projects readily available on the internet. So really, what we’re trying to say is: give us a chance. Not just Rixx, myself, and Xander – give everyone in the community a chance to help.