Advancing technology and social media are forever challenging and evolving traditional notions of how storytelling and narrative can be delivered from creator to consumer. The lines between the various media are blurring and merging in such a way that it’s the exception, not the rule, for a story to only unfold in one format. TV shows are no longer just TV shows, and movies are not just movies, and games are not just games. Case in point: the massively multiplayer game EVE Online already has a rich and detailed universe that’s been explored via novels, and now a new comic book series will actually be based on player actions within the game itself.
EVE: True Stories will be published online beginning next February, and will be shaped around some of the biggest events that occurred during the game’s first decade of life — as voted on by the players themselves. Veteran comic writer Daniel Way (Wolverine, Deadpool will be writing the series, with a ton of talented artists handling the visual side of things: Tomm Coker (Daredevil Noir), Federico Dallocchio (Batman: Arkham Unhinged, Suicide Squad), Dave Ross (Star Wars: The Crimson Empire Saga) and Mark McKenna (Star Wars: The Old Republic). The multipart series will release online in 2014 on February 19, March 15, March 19, and April 2. You’ll be able to get a physical hardcover collection of the lot on June 4.
I’ve never taken the dive into EVE, largely because I know it could easily devour what little free time I still have these days. Thankfully my lack of EVE bona fides isn’t a problem, because the fine folks over at Kotaku interviewed writer Daniel Way about the process of writing such a unique project. For instance, is it tricky to write a story about events that actually happened but didn’t, you know, actually happen? Way says:
Potentially, that added layer of…whatever that is could’ve made disbelief much, much harder to suspend but, fortunately, we’ve figured it out. The trick was to focus upon the initiative and intent of the players behind the campaigns. What they did was real and did actually happen.
Way says he was given a “bible” for the EVE universe, laying out the background and the way the game itself works. However, he didn’t find that nearly as crucial as simply reading write-ups about the respective campaigns. After all, for players, this is as close to actual history as you can get in a bit of interactive fiction.
And while EVE’s gameplay is as often about diplomacy and the complex web of player interactions, alliances, and rivalries that have built up over the years, he says EVE: True Stories won’t be lacking on the action front. “The story is quite action heavy,” says Way, “with spaceships, fists and weapons.” Sounds like a winning combination to me.
Nor is True Stories the only big cross-media EVE project in the offing: there’s a potential television series in the works as well.
True Stories is definitely an intriguing experiment, and one that I might actually check out when it releases. I simply don’t have the time to start playing the time-sink that is EVE Online, but the idea of experiencing some of the game’s long history in a version polished and built up into a compelling bit of fiction appeals to me quite a bit. It’d be a nice way to peek in through the window and get a sense of what the EVE universe without actually having to solder a wireless modem onto my brain stem so I can still play while I’m sleeping.