CCP chief on layoffs, mistakes: "We had the mindset that we could achieve anything."
In many ways, CCP is once again becoming "the EVE company." Once you're through with this phase of retrenchment, how will you diversify? What will you differently next time?
HP: Well, what we will do differently is not to make three games at the same time. When we get to WoD, then we will be focused on WoD and we will then be working on WoD and EVE. Dust will obviously still be on the development roadmap, but once it's out to market, that's a different situation. ...When we start to focus on WoD again, then we will not spin up another game at the same time.
You've put so much emphasis on Dust for PS3, which is not exactly a stronghold of EVE fans. What do you think is going to make Dust a success on a console platform that's already crowded with shooters? And what is CCP's position if Dust is not warmly accepted by PS3 players?
HP: Even though Dust is an FPS, it's very much a different FPS than you've seen before. There's a lot of meaning and consequence to the outcome of battles, and there's a lot of MMO features and character development. We brought successful things in from EVE into Dust, and in our internal playtests that is something people speak very highly of.
Even though it is a shooter, it feels like a very different type of shooter. With much more meaning and consequence than shooters tend to have today. Their battles might rank you on a leaderboard, but they don't have an impact on the universe.
As we say in our title, "A single shot can topple an empire." That's something that people really feel inspired by. That is definitely the differentiation that people are going for.
The other part of my question was: you have a great deal invested in Dust. What is CCP's position if this launch on consoles does not go well?
HP: We are self-funding the project. It's never good to release a game that does not do well. But CCP will do fine even if that is the case. But by focusing on these things and prioritizing around that, we're making sure that that doesn't happen.
What can EVE Online players expect to see over the next several months as you begin to put things right?
Well, you will see much more focus on the sort of classical EVE Online, the flying in space. We will be back in the spaceship business from now on, more so than ever before.
People have often looked at expansions like Apocrypha, where we have added fundamentally exciting things to EVE, so you should expect something like that. But also there's a lot of just little, simple things which have been left in the game un-fixed, and there will be much more focus on making the game stronger and better by completing some of the things which we have added to the game but not followed through on.
What is the one last thing you would like to have gotten across to readers?
HP: We have grown really fast as a company. We've had many issues to address as a result of that. As we have gone from success to success, we have extended what we are trying to achieve. That has resulted in execution which is not what people are used to seeing from CCP prior to us embarking on such a big plan.
Now we are more focused, and you will see things that you used to see from CCP come back. You will see our tone change as a result of our realization of where we are. You will see us more focused on adding value to the product that people have spent so much energy and so much love on. Throughout all of this, they key takeaway is how much people love EVE Online. And their basic criticism is that they have not been feeling the love from CCP for EVE Online.
We will now really demonstrate that we really love EVE Online as the players love EVE Online.