We go behind closed doors to get a look at the next stages of NetDevil's updated space-based MMO. You better have a stomach for PvP, because in space, no one can hear you scream (yeah, we went there).
The "combat in space" MMO genre is sparsely populated these days, but E3 2010 reintroduced me to an old friend. Jumpgate Evolution was shown behind closed doors, aptly named as the next step to the original Jumpgate released in 2001. The precursor came out to good (but not great) reviews. The game was hampered by a publisher that went belly up around the time of release, and a solid stable space game, complete with elements of Starlancer, Freelancer and Privateer, slowly faded from view.
When NetDevil announced the next iteration of the franchise, in 2006, around the fifth anniversary of the original, they promised better graphics, more immersive game play and a continuation of the story. Now, more than three years later, the game has been through a couple of overhauls and the developer finally felt confident showing the game off to the public. And from what I saw, their confidence was justified.
The player begins the game as an elite member of one of three factions:
- Solrain is a huge corporate entity, all about profit. The player works for The Company. As an industry nation, there is no government.
- Quantar believes in honor through battle. They are modeled after feudal lordships of Japan or medieval city states. The society is technologically advanced and efficient, with much of their diplomacy and military based on formality. The player is part of The Brotherhood.
- Octavius (unveiled in the E3 trailer by new publisher Gazillion Entertainment) is modeled after the Roman Empire and believes in domination through war. The player is part of the military known as The Regiment.
NetDevil has set the emphasis of the game on an ever-evolving storyline, no back story and little emphasis on lore. It is up to the player and his faction to develop the history of the game. And in this evolution, the story is all about bragging rights.
Be warned: If you are a player who prefers a player-versus-environment type of game, Jumpgate Evolution is not for you. Except for the first several missions, the game is all about player-versus-player. In this entirely open world game, you are flagged for PvP at all times in the zones accessible by all the factions. The PvE sectors, set up mostly to get the player leveled up and familiar with the 3D environment and controls, are only accessible to the faction for which they were designed. By level 10, you better be able to defend yourself. The game has no dice rolls and flying skill is the name of the game.
And while the game is purely PvP based, there will also be plenty of aggressive and formidable AI opponents available. Each sector will have its own objectives and missions for each faction. As a player completes a mission, then missions change for all other players and factions in that area. The missions will reset after a certain amount of time.
Right now, the end-game Is all about controlling various sectors for your faction. It's a kill or be killed, take no prisoners type of game, not designed for players who don't have the stomach to lose.
There is no official release date for the game yet, as NetDevil continues to polish the missions and sectors. But if you have been wanting a new space-based MMO experience, Jumpgate Evolution wants to recruit you, and after the demo, it appears they have a strong lure to do it.
Other E3 Content for Jumpgate Evolution: