The communities behind space games Eve Online and Star Citizen have gone to war over a new "copycat" spaceship.
On 14th June, Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium announced a new spaceship that would be made available for people to pledge for: the Drake Vulture.
The Vulture, which costs £112, is a single-person ship designed for solo players who want to get into the salvage career. It looks like this:
It didn't take long before Eve Online players pointed out that Star Citizen's Vulture looks a lot like Eve Online's Venture, which looks like this.
Eve Online fans, as you'd expect, have accused Cloud Imperium of copying the Venture for the Vulture design. When it announced the Vulture, Cloud Imperium said the spaceship's design was inspired by another ship in the Drake family, the Dragonfly. In the video, below (skip to the 21 minutes and 50 seconds mark), concept artist Alek Akstinas talks about the Vulture's design, saying: "You have two arms on Drake Dragonfly, you see them as well on the Vulture. However, this time they have a different purpose, which is dragging in salvage and processing it."
This didn't stop Eve Online players from hitting out at Star Citizen and Cloud Imperium. Inevitably, the Drake meme has been co-opted:
And even Eve Online developer CCP Games has had a dig:
Things took a more serious turn when moderators of the Eve subreddit were accused of "vote brigading", which means sharing links alongside orders to up or downvote to push a certain agenda. (One thread sitting at the top of the Star Citizen subreddit is currently locked due to brigading).
And there are signs this one may turn ugly. One Star Citizen player who defended the Vulture's design on the Eve subreddit, pointing out the Vulture yellow is a result of the colour-scheme of its in-universe manufacturer, Drake and that its shape is common throughout sci-fi, was called a homophobic slur in a reply that was stickied by the moderators of the Eve sub.
Whether the Vulture is a rip-off or an homage of the Venture, or the similarities between both spaceships is a coincidence, the incident is yet another example of the Eve Online and Star Citizen communities crossing the line from the virtual into the real world when it comes to video game rivalry. Here's hoping both sets of players can kiss and make up before things get out of hand.