E3 2010: Jumpgate Evolution PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Jun 23, 2010
What We Already Know
Netdevil’s space-based MMO was originally slated for release last year, but, obviously, that didn’t happen; which was a shame because when I saw the game at E3 2009, I came away quite impressive wit the game’s scope and approach to the MMO genre. At long last, Jumpgate Evolution is set to embark on its epic sci-fi journey, which should have more than a few sci-fi loving MMO fans throttling with joy.
What We’re Seeing Now
During Net Devil’s presentation for the game, the developers stressed that the team had focused most of their attention on four key areas: the dogfights, epic scope, territorial conquest and, perhaps most importantly, story.
The game’s narrative is expectedly elaborate, but essentially, it concerns the intergalactic struggles of three rival factions: the corporately focused Solrain, the feudal Quantar, and the imperialistic Octavius. Experiencing the campaign through these three unique perspectives will be essential in order to truly grasp the complexity and moral ambiguity of the game’s overarching narrative.
One of the most memorable moments of last year’s demo was the absurd grandness of the game’s presentation of space, and this was still very much one of the primary attention grabbers this year as well. Planets loom large in the distance as the sun gleams through asteroid belts as massive space stations and hundreds upon hundreds of spacecraft engage in battle against the backdrop of an endless universe. It’s nothing short of spectacular, and when you see all the pieces moving, you can’t help shaking your head in amazement.
The combat is very much in the action vein, as you are directly responsible for how effective you are in battle. The shooting isn’t based on statistical probability or dice rolls. You click, you shoot, and that’s it. Watching the dogfights unfold from afar is thrilling enough, since laser beams and photon cannons fill the massive expanses of space with bright streaks of color. I spent a few minutes of hands-on time in a few dogfights, and it definitely didn’t feel like an MMO, which is obviously a good or a bad thing depending on your feelings toward the genre.
The last element that was stressed in the demo was the idea of territories and how events unfold in the game. Because each of the three factions believes they are in the right, and as such, have every right to conquer and displace the others as they see fit. However, the missions are structured dynamically, and the story and future missions will depend on how and when the missions are completed within a particular zone. This structure will obviously play in heavily in PvP play, but it will also be handled in such a way as to encourage cooperation instead of competition between players.
Jumpgate Evolution has a lot going for it, from the staggering scope to the compelling narrative to the deep combat, and fans of the genre and newcomers alike should definitely keep it on their fancy, schmancy space radars.