In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson spoke candidly about future plans for EVE Online, his assessment of its achievements and limitations, and what he sees as an incomprehensible industry pattern of trying to clone World of Warcraft.
Speaking to the website during the Nordic Game Conference, Peturrson said his company was showcasing its planned graphics overhaul for its space-based MMOG, EVE Online, which boasts 170,000 subscribers and fairly impressive graphics for a five-year old engine.
"The biggest element on the horizon is the new graphics engine update," he said, adding, "We've re-written our whole 3D engine and remodelled all the content of EVE. We're very excited about that. It's a totally new game; like a Pimp My Ride version of EVE."
The CCP boss also spoke of a later-planned feature to have individuals walking in stations to perform in-station roles, instead of merely docked spaceships and interfaces.
He said the lack of in-game people has been a barrier for new players: "Everybody is excited about it. We've heard from many people that they haven't wanted to try the game because there's no character representation in it; you can only be a spaceship."
Some veteran players, however, have scoffed at this planned development, saying that pressing existing issues, such as node lag and game balance, deserve more attention.
Petursson's comments are not likely to placate them:
"Because we're going very lightly on the gameplay elements, it's more for socialising. People aren't worried that it'll change the game as it stands today. You'll still be able to play the game as you like to, and have done for years."
Asked if EVE represented the "perfect implementation of a space-based MMO," Petursson demurred, saying the game was still limited by the absence of ground and planet engagements and cities.
He went on to say, however, the title may indeed be the perfect implementation of "a hyper-capitalistic, economically driven gaming environment." Aside from seeding the in-game items and providing commodities, CCP leaves the game's production and industry aspects up to the player base.
The CCP CEO also said he was not worried his relatively small company and player base would be bulldozed by a Blizzard-like competitor that might decide to make a competing product. But he did say he is astounded that others keep trying to replicate Blizzard's piece de resistance:
I just don't understand why people would do yet another fantasy game. It's mind-boggling to me. Why? Why do it? Why make a clone of World of Warcraft? World of Warcraft is the perfect implementation of this. It's been done. Do something else.