SOE CEO talks EverQuest Next and why it was scrapped and restarted

EverQuest Next

By on October 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm

18 months ago, SOE made a decision that must have been heartbreaking to developers: to scrap all their work on EverQuest Next, and start all over again. John Smedley, CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, has sat down with Joystiq to talk about what that meant for the game, and what they will now be doing differently.

“The engine and underlying technology has not changed. A lot of the guts and infrastructure are staying the same. What we’re really changing is what the game is all about, all the design elements,” Smedley said in the interview. “Once we made that shift, everything else had to follow. And what we saw was RIFT. We saw the writing on the wall with SWTOR. We saw The Secret World. We saw all these games that we knew were in development and very high-quality, but we saw what was going to happen – this big spike and then it goes down.

“That’s the truth of what’s been happening with MMOs. The fans need to realize that if you don’t change the nature of what these games are, you’re not going to change that core behavior. We want to make games that last more than 15 years. That’s why we made the decision to change it. EverQuest, WoW, SWTOR all use the same core loot gameplay, which is kill stuff, get reward, get loot, level up. Very few games have broken out of that mould. One or two have. EVE Online is a great example; it’s not standard level-based gameplay, although I’m not saying we’re going to a big skill-based system. You’re still going to recognize the roleplaying game heritage in it.”

“In EverQuest Next, the world itself is a part of the game. What is the world in these other games? It’s a simple backdrop. It’s nothing. We are changing that greatly. We’re changing what AI is in these games to a degree that we’re going to bring life to the world. That to us is the essence of the change that we’re making.”

SOE talk the talk, but do you think they’ll be able to live up to their claims? Does PlanetSide 2 come into your calculations? What about changing the formula of the genre in the game that defined the MMO genre? Let us know your thoughts.

Source: Joystiq

6 comments (Leave your own)

“The fans need to realize”

Firstly, no many of us have been saying wow has shit gameplay since it was announced. Its no improvement over EQ1 and is in fact worse in numerous ways.
So actually its the developers that need to realise this.

Does EQ next have full terrain deformation that is more streamlined and better looking them wurm online?
If the answer is no then its the same shit, different name.

Does it have a crafting system with integrated on the fly 3d modelling and materials data tracking for unique crafting?
if the answer is no then its the same shit as all the crafting since EQ 1.

Does it have a mouse movement base combat system as good or better then M&B/WotR/DbtS?
if the answer is no then its the same shit, different name.

Is the landscape flat or can I circumnavigate the map as I would the earth due to it being spherical?
if the answer is no then……you get the idea.

Do 5, 10, 50, 100, 1000,000 people all do the same quests/story .etc [even if they have different names] involving gather 5 of this, kill 7 of that interact with object_01?
or are the goals of the game player driven, with trading, economy, pvp and RvR? [emergent gameplay]

“SOE talk the talk, but do you think they’ll be able to live up to their claims?”

With Smedley in charge I would be incredibly shocked if;
1. the game was any good
2. it wasn’t just the same old shit, different name.


I have to say there are some of your points trb that arnt really that well thought out. for instance, regarding the quest style. What makes purely player driven content the focus better. that simply means it would be a very pvp orientated game with little for those who do enjoy pve. I havnt actually seen many pvp based mmo games do that well on a larger scale. It should more be about the types of quests and the effects they have. have a look at the secret world, in that you have the investigation missions which are exellent, you have to explore, think, reason and research to complete the quest.

also circumnavigation can work in some senses and not in others. in the mechanics of many games there are certain ports with which you can sail from, and all that restriction is is simply where the shipping lanes of the world are. saying that because you cant go around the other way is being the same old stuff is kinda ignoring that aspect of the world.

I think it sounds interesting what SOE may be comming up with, a world where AI essentially thinks, and things make sense in the world rather than just villigers standing around waiting for you to rock up to their shop or what ever.


Kesskit i don’t think ANY of his points were well thought out, they’re just whinge fest based on some idealistic crap that isn’t remotely practical for an MMO.

I haven’t played WoW in years but i think it’s time people stopped bitching about how bad it is, people who say “it’s always been bad” have very rarely played/understood the game and TBH I’d say that if you think WoW in the BC/WOTLK era was a “bad MMO” then you’re just not a fan of the genre.

I’ve played everything from Ultima to GW2 and the game I had the most fun with was, without a doubt, World of Warcraft. I’m so sick of hearing about “this next MMO that’s better than WoW and is revolutionary” from morons who buy into the developers hype.

Hot tip: I don’t know anyone who actually plays GW2 any more… know why? It’s not a well designed game.

You want a successful MMO? I’ll lay it out for you, you don’t need any of that bullshit TRB talks about… here’s what you need:

* a fluid leveling system (the opposite of asian grinding ala gw2)

* a centralized meeting point for all players

* dungeons that work ON LAUNCH

* a chat/guild system that works ON LAUNCH

*a real LFG tool ON LAUNCH

* classes that let people play a role (doesn’t have to be the trinity, it can be anything, just dont leave me shuffling my feet and feeling like everyone else in the party)

* raid content ON LAUNCH, staggered in difficulty/requirements so it takes you less than a week to do

That’s it…. that’s all you need for your game to sell millions of copies and not be terrible or get dumped after a month, there isn’t ONE AAA MMORPG made in the last decade (if ever) that has had all those features on launch… NOT ONE FINISHED GAME!!!

Shit needs to be functional on launch and contain a couple months of content for the average gamer, that’s it.


* raid content ON LAUNCH, staggered in difficulty/requirements so it takes you less than a week to do

That’s meant to be “more than a week to do” btw, still lovin the lack of comment editing :(


Did you even read the article?

“The fans need to realize that if you don’t change the nature of what these games are”

He’s saying “fans” need to realise and I was pointing out that many people have been saying for years the very thing he’s now thinking.

IE: if you don’t make fundamental changes then nothing really changes, then I listed a bunch of changes that have all been seen on their own in one game or another already that if brought together would be the fundamental change that the MMORPG market needs to progress past the 12 year old game model still being used in new games like SWtoR, GW2 and secret world.

Rift already has the things you list there so supposedly people can just keep playing that, right? it literally has everything you listed and yet it wasn’t the next big thing, it was popular for a bit and then people hit max level and realised that really its no different then EQ1 with the except of better graphics.

I played EQ1 for 4 years and its a better game then WoW ever was.
UO was also far better yet both of them were far far from the apex of what an MMORPG could be.

But as is the point of the article, you can’t keep doing the same thing if you want to advance the genera.

oh and yeah and with the raid content stuff, what a joke, there is more complex group content in EQ1 then there ever was raid content in WoW.


I still miss SWG. I wish they’d re-do that.

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