Plans to produce a TV series based on the hit video game "EVE Online" were announced nearly a year ago, with "2 Guns" director Baltasar Kormakur attached to develop the project.
The game's developer, CCP Games, however, is in "no hurry" to rush the series into production, according to the company's CEO, Hilmar Veigar. The Iceland-based company is currently meeting with TV networks and studio executives to find a partner to produce the series and other potential offshoots.
Veigar said CCP has no reason to get into the TV business given the success of the massively multiplayer online role playing game. "EVE Online" has more than 900,000 players around the world; they recently generated headlines for destroying $300,000 worth of virtual spaceships during an epic space battle.
The company sees linear forms of storytelling on other platforms as a way to engage with both the game's hardcore fans and newcomers to the franchise -- the way HBO has successfully turned "Game of Thrones" into a major hit.
In fact, the eventual TV series will feature an original concept and storyline set in the game's universe, but in a unique move, the game's creators are turning to players to come up with many of the tales it will tell on TV.
"We're now in the process of capturing the stories," Veigar said Wednesday during the opening panel of this year's DICE Summit, which attracts the videogame industry's gamemakers to discuss the latest trends impacting the biz. Event is taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
CCP is first launching "EVE: True Stories" as a comicbook, published by Dark Horse, that incorporates stories that fans have submitted based on plots that they've participated in while playing the game. There's also the fan-driven "True Stories From the First Decade" website, hardbound "EVE Online Source" and "Dust 514" books to appeal to players and newcomers to the series.
"This is a property that has been created by hundreds of thousands of people around the world," Veigar 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" - and a stronger connection with "EVE's" fanbase. "In the future, they will be able to think, 'If I do an awesome job it will be in the TV series.'"
To make it more powerful, however, the focus needs to be about people, their relationships and their struggles, Veigar stresses.
"The whole sci-fi aspect (of 'EVE') should be window dressing and context," he said. "The game is about spaceships. We can't have spaceships talking to each other. You need to visualize the drama behind the scenes."
"'Titanic' isn't about the ship," Veigar added. "It's about two people who fall in love."
But with "Titanic," Veigar stresses that audiences also don't like surprises in the stories they experience.
They know that the ship will eventually sink, which heightens the film's plot and relationship between its characters, for example. "Why is 'Avatar' the Pocahontas script?" Veigar asks. "Having the script be a familiar story gives you a rope to hang onto as you're on the roller coaster ride."
That familiarity has helped attract Hollywood.
"People in Hollywood have gotten an appreciation for something that (has a hardcore audience) and adding their flair so that it's more accessible to a mass audience," Veigar said. TV also is seen as an easier medium through which to engage with fans, Veigar added.
CCP said it needed to think of new ways to introduce people to the "EVE" universe, because it found people were interested in the game and its world but didn't want to devote the time to play it - or be consumed by it.
"Not everyone wants to take it that far," Veigar said. "But there's an audience that's curious about it."
And more are getting interested in the property - especially after an in-game war recently destroyed more than $300,000 worth of virtual items players paid for during a 20-hour battle.
How the 'EVE Online' TV Series Could Become the Next 'Game of Thrones'
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