New EVERSPACE 2 Update Talks Timelines, Assault Fighter Redesigns, and the State of VR
New Timeline | Cockpits | State Of VR | Assault Fighter Redesign | Ultimate Abilities
As many of you all know already, Erik, our Community Ambassador, was at PAXEast together with James (aka Matsumuri) and Roy (aka 31Fox) to showcase the EVERSPACE 2 Prototype on the show floor. They met with fans, content creators and media representatives from the US east coast.
Lots of avid space pilots stopping by our booth to try out the prototype and have a chat with our awesome community team.
Consequently, Erik would have been too busy to stream and explain the latest changes and additions last Friday. So, we decided to push back the production update by one week, and are thus back here for you today with even more awesome stuff. Before we delve into detail we have to make an important announcement, as the world keeps spinning through space with ludicrous speed while big things are happening right now that have a significant impact on the entire gaming industry.
It sounds like right out of a sci-fi horror movie: An aggressive virus is spreading around the globe, causing great uncertainties, severe supply chain issues and cancellations of big international events pretty much everywhere. Unsurprisingly, all our GDC meetings with major platform holders and potential console co-publishing partners have been canceled, too. We are now setting up conference calls or meetings at upcoming events. Right now, we are prepared for everything and are hoping for the best. In short: We have to deal with a lot of uncertainties regarding business development, external game production as well as marketing and PR.
Another issue is that some AAA blockbuster titles will hit our initial Steam Early Access release date: The hotly-anticipated open-world sci-fi shooter RPG Cyberpunk 2077 was recently pushed back to September, plus the brand new sci-fi looter shooter RPG Outriders from Square Enix has just been announced to release the same month, too. Obviously, there is quite an overlap between those audiences and ours, so we have decided it wouldn’t be wise to directly compete against two sci-fi shooter RPG juggernauts, leaving not much room for any other sci-fi shooter coming out at the same time.
Considering all those new challenges, we had to make a tough decision about postponing the EVERSPACE 2 launch on Steam Early Access, now aiming for early December this year. Consequently, we’re also pushing the closed Alpha back to the end of May and the closed Beta to August. We will reach out to backers with creative rewards towards the end of this year.
Even if this is just a strategic decision to mitigate commercial risks when major market conditions change, we are fully aware that some of you won’t be too happy about this, but we hope for your understanding. Thankfully, we’re in a financially comfortable position, so the project itself is not at risk, and we are developing the game internally as planned. This extra time also means we’ll have more content for you to enjoy in the closed Alpha, Beta, and Early Access builds.
Okay, now that we’ve got that news off our mental stack, let’s finally talk about some new awesome stuff in EVERSPACE 2.
Fast-paced combat in open space as well as inside of interior locations will remain the main pillar of the EVERSPACE franchise, so location awareness in 3D space as well as strafing quickly in any direction is key to survival. This is a reason why playing in 3rd person view is advantageous. However, we know from the predecessor, there is also an avid group of space pilots who put game immersion above everything else so we’re spending quite some effort on designing detailed cockpits with fully functional instruments for each player ship subclass. Let’s have a look:
Early concept art of light fighter cockpit interiors focusing on maximal FOV and minimal obstruction by display panels
With its focus on forward-oriented combat at high speed, cockpit interiors of the medium fighter class resemble the layout with centralized instruments in military jet fighters of the 21st century.
At the price of a partially constrained view, ships of the heavy fighter class will feature sturdy cockpit interiors equipped with large displays, making pilots feel always comfy and not lose control even when taking a few frontal hits…
Concept art detailing of the Interceptor cockpit.
3D modeling of the Interceptor cockpit.
You can see in the early concept art above that each cockpit interior is based on the exterior geometry of each subclass, so when swapping views the transition between exterior and interior looks accurate. The distinctive cockpit designs will also make you immediately aware of which subclass you are currently piloting.
As the cockpit system is modular, it even allows us to display certain parts of the geometry based on the ship’s tier, class or subclass. So are the positions of the display panels, whereas the interior materials will be based on the color scheme of the ship.
Similar to the original EVERSPACE, we’ll have special effects displayed on the cockpit’s windshield based on the status of the ship, like the current damage and shield level. We also plan to display vital information on the cockpit displays so that you can even play without any HUD elements for the ultimate immersion of space piloting.
State Of VR
Now, before some of you ask: We still haven’t decided if we will support VR at some point. All we can say is that based on the experience from the predecessor, supporting VR is a ton of work for many reasons (like overhauling the UI, rebalancing the game, optimizing to demanding VR specifications) for a total addressable market of presumably close to 35 million on PC and console.
At first sight, that number doesn’t look too shabby. However, the technical requirements for VR, as well as significant fragmentation issues and major marketing challenges, have to be factored in.
To elaborate a bit further, optimizing for PSVR on a regular PS4 all the way to the brand new Valve Index with its proprietary VR controllers takes even more effort than porting a typical PC game designed for mouse + keyboard input to also run with proper gamepad controls on Xbox360/PS3 all the way to Xbox Series X/PS5.
On the marketing side of things, we have seen non-VR players who ignore or hesitate to buy games with a VR tag. While on the other hand, quite a lot of VR players miss or have trouble altering graphic settings in games with optional VR support, resulting in negative reviews and complaints about performance issues in VR, which of course hurt overall sales. Last but not least, it would actually be hard to justify to our entire community if we spent a lot of development resources exclusively on a feature for a comparatively small group of players.
Therefore, we decided to look at VR as a separate platform that requires a solid business case to make it worthwhile to support. Long story short, EVERSPACE 2 for VR is currently not on our list, but who knows what kind of deal might happen in the future…?
Assault Fighter Redesign
As you have probably seen in our previous vlog about player ships, we also spent a lot of time and effort on making sure that our modular design approach does not lead to a pool of generic-looking ships. Our mantra is that every model has to look slick and distinctive but also fit in its subclass. While we were very pleased with the community feedback on our ship designs so far, we felt the original bi-wing design of the Assault Fighter was underwhelming if not a bit awkward, so we decided to come up with a redesign
Ditching the initial biplane wing approach for a more aggressive multi-wing look indicating high ship velocity and maneuverability of the Assault Fighter.
The redesign of the Assault Fighter Wing 3 features twin turbine-aero-spike engines combined with the typical multi-wing design of the assault fighter subclass. This agile combat craft gets its iconic and distinctive shape through angled primary wings and shorter, horizontal secondary wings that are directly attached to the frontal section of the twin engines. In the next design iteration, we will make some changes to the front parts of the engine as they feature typical design elements that are usually found at the engine’s rear.
Aero spikes on spaceship engines? Yes, please!
Apart from that, the redesigned Assault Fighter is our new favorite player ship, and we would love to hear your feedback in the comments below or on Discord.
What’s a looter shooter without a devastating superpower attack that you can unleash to gain back the upper hand when under great pressure…? Exactly! Think of your class-based Super in Destiny or Ultimate in Anthem, Overwatch or any MOBA.
The ULT ability “Static Overload” temporarily turns the Sentinel’s primary weapons into lightning guns, firing arcing electricity at enemies and everything around them – annihilate by electrocution, that is.
For those who are new to this, here is how it’ll work in EVERSPACE 2: Ultimates (ULTs) are special ship abilities that can be activated to unleash a mighty offensive or defensive power. They need to be charged by shooting down enemies, or, later in the game after the right perk has been unlocked, they can also be charged by other means, e.g. by collecting energy orb remains or getting hit by lightning.
Each Ultimate is tied to a specific ship subclass, designed to exploit its full potential. For example, a certain heavy subclass might have an energy shield that reflects incoming shots back to the attackers, while one of the light subclasses unleashes a power that allows the ship to quickly teleport between targets, leaving behind a shredding energy trail, corrosive mines or web fields.
Sounds very exciting, right? Well, if you want to see more of the new cockpit interiors, how the Assault Fighter blockout looks in-game, and also get a taste of the Sentinel’s Ultimate electrocuting waves of enemies, join today’s dev stream on Twitch, YouTube and Mixer from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm CEST / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm EDT.
See you online,
Michael and your dedicated ROCKFISH Games Team