I sat down with Gazillion/NetDevil’s crew at E3 to learn a bit more about their upcoming release Jumpgate Evolution. The first word that comes to mind is “Wow”. Well, I have quite a bit more to say about it, but that certainly summarizes the flood of adjectives cluttering my mind about this awesome PC MMOG.
Three distinct factions are locked in one heck of an epic battle set in a graphically gorgeous map of space phenomena. At every turn your senses are met with wild explosions; bizzarre and intricately designed cities and ships; vibrant smatterings of stars and nebulas, galaxies and moons. Of the three factions I mentioned, Solrain are the cold-minded protectors of corporate interests and touting profit through conflict, Quantar is a more formal/traditional conglomerate of city-states who believe in honor through battle, and Octavius is a militant Romanesque force in which dominance through war is their mantra.
No matter which faction is selected, the devs pledge that there will be no superflous quests or mundane material. From the start, the player is a heroic and integral member of their nation determining and writing history as it happens. In fact, quests are not even long blurbs of lore-heavy writing that a player accepts, but rather short transmissions on screen that occur depending on the situation at hand. In this sense, questing is pretty adaptive and liquid. All players exist in one single non-instanced map, and if a faction does something to dominate/alter an occurrence, this is reflected in realtime and shifts the course of the quest feed. I had worried that without instancing players might experience massive lag issues with so much happening at once, but they replied that they have tested that extensively and that given the enormous size of the zones and the very low system reqs there really has been no issue with framerate or lag thus far.
To further realize the intended feeling of constant immersion in a warzone, the server will also auto-populate slower zones with AI ships to prevent a player from feeling like a sector is dead when they log in. And from what I saw, every moment really was action-packed. The view is a third-person look from your space ship, though the attacks and steering feel more like a very fast-paced first person shooter. Typically, I am incredibly bad at most vehicle-based movements in games, but the flight/steering was so fun and intuitive I feel like just about anyone could pick it up. You have boosters and slows, can use WASD/mouse or joystick, and can do barrel rolls (!!!!!). You can earn and buy new ships, or pirate them. The point was also made that though level differentials do play a factor in ship to ship combat, skill in flight manuevering and tactics has more gravity.
I want this game. I want to have nights when I get drunk and meet up with friends online to fly around and annihilate opposing factions. It reminds me of “Unreal Tournament” mixed with “Star Wars” on speed. It’s fun, it’s evil, it’s gorgeous and I am extremely delighted to have been able to have tested it at E3. I would not be doing this article justice if I did not mention that is shares obvious similarities with “EVE Online”, but I personally believe that “Jumpgate” seems leagues more intense and lends itself to casual pew-pew stress relief much better. So, hats off to Gazillion/NetDevil at making a game that I strongly feel is worth checking out.