EVE Online devs on DayZ, Elder Scrolls Online, and what'd make them quit the games industry
On Saturday, we showed what EVE's lead game designer Kristoffer Touborg and senior producer Jon Lander had to say about their own game. Today, we ask them what they think about some other games currently in development and they don't pull any punches.
PCG: Earlier this month on PC Gamer we posted an interview with Matt Firor, the game director for Elder Scrolls Online. And I just want to get you guys' thoughts on something he sai. He told us, "At this point in the evolution of MMOs, every MMO has tried something at one point or another that you're going to do in your game. There aren't any more truly innovative features." I'm curious, do you think that's true?
Kristoffer Touborg: No, and if I ever said that, Jon should fire me. No, really. That's... Yeah. I think that's... Yeah, I wouldn't agree with that. The best MMOs are entirely different. If you want my top five MMOs, they're all completely different. Other people have tried to replicate it afterwards, but the fact is that the unique MMOs are the ones that are going to survive for a long time. Those are the interesting ones. This genre has so much left.
Jon Lander: I'll be honest: nobody in the world has ever mixed a PlayStation game with a PC game, where you can interact with each other in the game world and shoot each other in a third-person-style sci-fi spaceship game and a first-person shooter. If that's not unique I don't know what it is.
I've come out of some meetings where we're talking about what we're going to do next and... No, I fundamentally don't believe that. I think that if we thought that [there was nothing left to innovate in the MMO genre], I would probably leave the industry, because what's the point?
I know we've got a lot of things up our sleeves which nobody else has done. You can't force innovation. You can't think about what the next innovative thing is—you won't find it. The harder you try and look for it, the more difficult it is to find. You've just gotta have a crazy dream and roll with it, see what happens. Sometimes that doesn't pay off, sometimes it does. But when it does pay off, you get something which is absolute gold dust. I've seen it happen here. I've seen unique things that have never been seen before in the world, in the history of gaming, that have happened at CCP. I wouldn't agree with that statement.
KT: I think also, it's kind of waving a white flag. Like, yeah... I don't like that statement. Because I think that's part of why there's such an attrition with MMOs. People go in and play an MMO for a month and they just want to throw up because they've leveled to 60 in ten different titles
Just assuming that that's the only thing that's out there is deeply wrong. I think the next time there's a massive smash hit MMO, I hope it's something different. Otherwise the same ones are just going to continue on the trend we see every time, where they sell a load of boxes and people play it for three months and then they go somewhere else. There has to be something else out there.
We see it, even with shooters. Shooters, I think, is one of the least imaginative genres, really, but tons has happened anyways. Team Fortress, PlanetSide. Something always comes up with something fairly awesome. DayZ for example. I enjoy playing Diablo, but DayZ is the best game I've played for months. That's innovation, that's taking something. A sandbox shooter is awesome.
When we were playing Left 4 Dead, we had people claiming that it was an open-world game with multiple solutions, but there's always really one optimal route. With DayZ, there is no optimal route. DayZ is, you're on a beach with a gun and a can of beans.
I was about to say "Here's a Rubik's cube, go f%$^ yourself," because that's what we do with EVE Online. DayZ is super innovative, and that's a shooter—one of the least innovative genres in my opinion, and there's tons to do. Somebody is going to do the same for MMOs, and hopefully it will be soon so we can see some new fun stuff.