At Fanfest last month, CCP announced that they were developing a television show based on EVE Online. Of course, being the hard-core EVE fan that I am, my head nearly exploded at this news.
I sincerely hope that this project does come to fruition. If it is made with quality and care, it could be wonderful for CCP and for the EVE Online community. I love a good science fiction show, and EVE offers a deep trove of content from which to draw for good, entertaining stories.
But development of a good TV show can take a lot of time. It may be years, if ever, before EVE, the series, illuminates our television screens.
Yesterday, I was chatting online with a couple of new members of EVE University, and they asked about the possible new TV show mentioned at Fanfest. "Personally," I replied, "I hope it has the same kind of ensemble chemistry that the three Clear Skies movies had - that would make it very entertaining to watch."
"What's Clear Skies?", someone asked.
I sometimes forget that new EVE Online players don't know all the inside information and game lore that we veterans have absorbed and take for granted. I always get excited when someone asks about something really cool that I assumed they already knew about, because I then get to introduce it to them.
"Oh, how I envy you," I replied, with a big sappy grin, "because you are in for a treat - and you will definitely thank me later, I promise."
For the uninitiated, Clear Skies is a trio of animated movies based on the EVE Online universe. It's done in a "machinima" style, borrowing character designs from
the Half-Life 2 video game, but set in the New Eden cluster in EVE Online. The three movies follow the crew of the Clear Skies, a Minmatar Tempest class battleship:
- John Rourke - captain
- Solomon Burke - engineer
- Charlie Fodder - gunnery
Having seen many very poorly made videos inspired by EVE Online on YouTube, I was very skeptical when a friend first recommended Clear Skies to me. But I saw the difference immediately, from the very first scene.
The Clear Skies scripts are excellent - tightly written, and full of great characterization. The dialogue is witty and engaging - and at times, genuinely moving. The chemistry between the characters is perfectly balanced and endearing. And the stories are interesting - and a lot of fun.
The movies also work because they are just flat-out well made. The sets are well designed and lighted. The animation isn't perfect, but it's darned good, and improves markedly over the course of the three episodes. The visual effects using EVE game mechanics add to the story, but don't distract from it. The music supports the mood of each scene. The editing is crisp and keeps the pacing quick and engaging.
Not only is the Clear Skies series the best EVE-based movies I have ever seen, they are among the best movies I have ever seen, of any genre.
I had the privilege of interviewing the producer of Clear Skies, Ian Chisholm, which you can find in the EVE University recorded class library. It was obvious from that interview that the series was a labor of love for Chisholm and his crew, based on their appreciation of EVE Online. But he also aspired for the movies to be more than just a tribute to EVE - he wanted them to stand on their own as good stories. And I think he succeeded brilliantly.
If you are a player of EVE Online, you need to watch all three of the Clear Skies movies. Start with the first two episodes, which you can download from here: http://www.clearskiesthemovie.com/downloads.htm - then download the third and final episode from here: http://www.clearskiesthemovie.com/default.htm
(You'll see that there are YouTube versions of the movies available, too, but I do not recommend them, as some of the background music has been censored out in some portions. And believe me, you want the versions with the music included intact.)
Chisholm has said that there will be no more Clear Skies episodes, but fans keep asking for another one. You can go to the Clear Skies Facebook page and join the communal begging and pleading, after you see them.
During his keynote presentation at Fanfest, CCP's CEO, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson asked the audience where CCP might find good stories for a movie or television show. I was pleased to hear someone shout out immediately: "Clear Skies!" That was what I first thought, too.
If you haven't seen Clear Skies yet, do yourself a big favor. Download them now, make some popcorn, and sit back to a really good time. You'll definitely thank me later, I promise.
Fly safe! o7