They're trying to change the genre, CEO says.
By Jess Colwill 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.