EverQuest Next severs ties with Storybricks

Daybreak continues to trim its asset portfolio, as the former SOE studio has cut loose artificial intelligence software company Storybricks from the EverQuest Next project.

“We are not working with Storybricks any more,” Senior Producer Terry Michaels said on a livestream chat yesterday. “We made the decision that it was in the best interest of the game to take that work in-house. They did a lot of work for us and we’ll be utilizing that. It’s not like that work is lost.”

The team said that it is “still committed” to making strong AI happen in the game.

[Source: Livestream chat. Thanks to Ranging Berserker for the tip!]
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MathewChilton
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MathewChilton

The emergent AI was literally the only reason I was even considering EQ Next.

dularr
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dularr

WildarX The idea is you hire a team to develop the tools and then pass on the tools to a game development team.  Developing tools and using tools are typically two different skill sets.

dularr
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dularr

TLOGuild paragonlostinspace Greaterdivinity Sadly, I’ve never seen a project that was brought in and actually completed.  Typically, they attempt to get the code to work, give up and restart from scratch.

dularr
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dularr

Greaterdivinity From my experience, bring a project like this in house will last a few months before the code is abandoned and the team restarts from scratch.

CthulhuDawg
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CthulhuDawg

wolfyseyes I lol’d +1 internets

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

So, is this the first promised feature to be axed?  is ANYTHING we were promised in the EQN reveal going to happen that isn’t already built in Landmark?   This was a pivotal feature to the evolution of the game once it was up and running.

TheJewishMerp
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TheJewishMerp

Esoteric Coyote ManastuUtakata Vexia Whelp…there goes my appetite

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

Darkdrakke Except I don’t think anyone let go was part of their engineering teams. I know a lot of project leads/community managers and some of the art folks lost jobs, but I don’t recall many engineers being cut.

Darkdrakke
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Darkdrakke

Greaterdivinity They fired half the staff..i don’t think they have engineering staff capable of doing the Job anymore.

mrnastybutler
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mrnastybutler

So we are only quoting part of the livestream?

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

On an entirely unrelated note, I always love how Dr. Doom always appears to have just finished dropping the sickest rhymes.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Greaterdivinity Golden_Girl 
Personally, I don’t appreciate the sex based ad hom. As, “When are going to stop posting your hate drivel?” would more than suffice. No need to get into the bigot speak to get the point across. Just saying.

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

Here’s a thought: If you’re not gonna use Storybricks, then why not hire a small army of Mechanical Turks for the chickenfeed that we Turkers are often paid in, to play humanoid enemy NPCs like goblins? Then you’d have some top-notch Artificial Artificial Intelligence making your world come alive, and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than actually trying to program up real AI, or even advanced scripting.

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

mysecretid Fuuuuuuuum… I’ve sadly gotta agree with this… does this mean that EQN is slated to just become another least risk for the best profits (I shudder to utter) wow-clone?

mysecretid
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mysecretid

Gonna keep it short (for once?). This does not bode well. Not at all.

devin007
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devin007

I was pretty doom and gloom when I found out PWE was taking over Cryptic and Never winter but I actually think they are doing a decent job with it maybe EQN will be alright as well time will tell

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

TLOGuild paragonlostinspace Greaterdivinity

“We’ll have to wait and see I guess.” About sums it up, and great points in your reply. I think my problem issue is that it just doesn’t bode well based on what we’ve seen over the past few decades in regards to how investment firms tend to operate. It feels like to me at times that Daybreak/CN are following the typical flow chart of how these sort of things work. :(

TLOGuild
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TLOGuild

paragonlostinspace Greaterdivinity  I have to admit I was gutted when I first heard about this.  It seemed like another major blow to the project that many of us have been looking forward to for many years, even before EQN with all its shiny new tech and ideas was even announced.
That said, Storybricks has been on board and working in-house closely with SOE on integrating their AI technology into EQN and potentially Landmark for possibly close to 2 years now, so it’s fairly likely that a lot will have been done and achieved during this time using their specialist AI knowledge and tech already.
I don’t believe there are any reports of this parting of the ways being anything other than amicable, I haven’t read or heard anything that may suggest that, and it might well have been the case that both parties always knew from the outset that it was always going to be transient relationship which would end when SOE had got what they needed from StoryBricks.
A lot can be achieved in two years, and I would wager a lot has been achieved behind closed doors.  Whether StoryBricks will get the credit for any AI tech that does finally end up in EQN or not remains to be seen.  But I can’t imagine for a second that the work achieved with StoryBricks in the last two years has simply been scrapped though, but I could of course be entirely wrong.  My guess is that this happened entirely as part of Daybreaks cost-cutting exercises, and they have possibly given StoryBricks a conditional severance payout which allows them to use what they’ve already done with StoryBricks and tinker about with it themselves exclusively for EQN / Landmark, so costs don’t escalate unnecessarily outsourcing.  It’s probably just a case of good business sense.  It doesn’t necessarily mean the game will not be as good.
I definitely hope we’ve heard the last of the bombshells relating to Landmark and EQN though.
I suppose the next looming bit of controversy might be whether either game is launched F2P, B2P or subscriber only.  I know the intention was and still is for both games to launch free to play, but there were indications during the livestream that it’s still up in the air for both games, probably moreso now there are new overlords in place.  Personally I’d like it to remain as F2P for both games with an optional sub for additional perks and whatnot.  For me this seems to be a good way to go.  A physical B2P option with a collectors boxed set and a bunch of digital assets and other perks wouldn’t go amiss either. Not the way SOE have done things for awhile now, but maybe things may change with Daybreak.  We’ll have to wait and see I guess.

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

CrowingOne breetoplay tazuras Wratts

Ding, ding, ding! Exactly the point I made when this first broke. This is an investment company and it has no background in mmos. Anyone who has watched how investment companies operate during the last thirty or so years can tell you how this tends to work. That this has to kept being said just shows how hopefully ignorant most are being about this. :(

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Nonsensicles devin007

And we saw how that worked for Bioware with the alpha version of HeroEngine. :)

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Elikal Ialborcales

Exactly.

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Greaterdivinity But GD, they got rid of a lot of their talent. So bringing it in house is a bad thing to me. :(

paragonlostinspace
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paragonlostinspace

Bad sign, and I’ll double down on my comments in a previous article and say this does indeed bode ill for the future of EQN. Storybricks was one of the big strengths in my opinion for this mmo-rpg, not the voxels.

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

Greaterdivinity Golden_Girl  The irony being that drumming up support for game companies shutting down isn’t going to bring some indie utopia like she’s hoping…it’d actually mean she’d be out of a job making MMOs.
This also assumes, of course, that she actually works in the industry and not at a fast food joint like I suspect.

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Greaterdivinity I think that is part of the issue when the name change went through we were told all is well nothing will change blah blah PR speak, then a week later staff are let go and now a little later we see this.  Daybreak have a trust problem at the moment in that they are saying one thing and actual actions seem to point towards something else entirely.
They are going to have to shore up and do more than PR reassurances as I imagine that even the most ardent fan of the company is a little bit shaken at this point. While I have been critical of them in the past I do generally support and like what they do with mmos but I am still feeling a little leery about their recent actions, its kind of hard not to.
Hope they are able to move forward and provide something a little more positive in the near future because any further stories like this will hurt a lot.

pid
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pid

Kevin_G Denice J Cook Agreed, because in a holistic sense:

“David Georgeson, Linda “Brasse” Carlson and Steve Danuser would still be with the company”

is just like saying “it is still SOE”. Instead, once those were gone, the very nature of EQ* has been altered and isn’t the same anymore.

pid
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pid

That’s ridiculous because *STRONG AI* is currently impossible, so please… they should at least ues correct words. At most it is a narrow AI based on deep learning, which would already be a total BLAST, but *STRONG AI*… pfft.

And then, what about Storybricks’ intellectual property? Will they be paid handsomely or will they have to sue Daybreak for using their ideas and algorithms?

Caec
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Caec

So, over/under on the eventual news that EQ Next ends up being a browser game as Daybreak continues to reassess costs?

Kevin_G
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Kevin_G

Denice J Cook I actually kind of wish that Smedley would have went with PWE instead.  From everything that I have seen PWE seems to treat the studios working under their banner with respect and take a more hands off approach.  Runic Games(Torchlight 2) and Cryptic Studios(Star Trek Online and Neverwinter) have had a great working relationship with PWE.  They have been able to do their own thing without having to lay off people every year like some other companies.  

If PWE would have got SOE I am willing to bet that David Georgeson, Linda “Brasse” Carlson and Steve Danuser would still be with the company.  Plus Storybricks would still be assisting on EQ Next.

I know some people have complained about PWE’s cash shops in their games, but honestly games developed by other studios seem different.  I played STO before and after PWE acquired Cryptic and nothing seems worse or outrageous with the in game shop. 

I am not trying to sound all doom and gloom about Columbus Nova but this latest move makes me slightly skeptical.   I still have hope and will support the games to show support for the rest of the Daybreak employees(plus I love the Everquest franchise).  But I guess in the end time will tell whether or not this was the best move for SOE.

I am not a Blizzard fan anymore but it would be hilarious if announced that they are re starting development of a new mmo.  And in that very same press release announced the hiring of David Georgeson and a partnership with Storybricks.  Now that would be interesting and make me an instant Blizzard fan again  lol.  Just a dream and it will probably never happen but hey it could!  The mmo industry is a crazy business.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

ArbsX Golden_Girl Sorenthaz It was like a test run for Wildstar :-p

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

RicharddeLeonIII Golden_Girl adamaitch I’m, not suggesting that that’s what they SHOULD do – just what they’re likely thinking of doing :-p

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Golden_Girl adamaitch Sorry GG, I may agree with you on a lot of things, but *bleep* you for even suggesting it. >:(

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Golden_Girl Denice J Cook Despite the obvious sarcasm, Ive been to enough fan faires and visited their san diego offices to almost believe they are down to that amount.  Even the last one that previewed EQN last year prolly had at most 30 employees handling the event with maybe a dozen in the offices :(

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Elikal Ialborcales I’d rather you used the pic from Robot Chicken >.<

Kayweg
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Kayweg

I think, right about now i could do with a few month’ WITHOUT any “Daybreak” news.
You can’t help but worry about EQN, and even more so about it’s predecessors.

StClair
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StClair

MesaSage Elvoc Golly, Mr. Peabody!

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

Golden_Girl Real talk: When are you going to stop being a miserable bitch?

Greaterdivinity
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Greaterdivinity

On the one hand, from the viewer/reader standpoint, this doesn’t seem good in any way, shape, or form. Like, this is very troubling.
But on the other, them bringing it in-house isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, provided they have the engineering staff capable of finishing the work that was started.
It’s easy to freak out about change, even if it’s not always bad. But damn if the past few weeks events haven’t seemed to be pretty troubling for fans.

Dystopiq
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Dystopiq

Satyros Dystopiq More like “We are finishing the work started”. We need MOP to do a follow up with the devs and ask them.

ArbsX
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ArbsX

Golden_Girl ArbsX Sorenthaz oh GW2 the hype levels broke the ceiling than disappeared 2 weeks after launch ;).

devin007
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devin007

So in essence its like how Ubisoft licensed cCy Engine 2 than stopped and started thier own branch off that tech called Dunia Engine ?

Elikal Ialborcales
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Elikal Ialborcales
Xijit
Guest
Xijit
Tierless
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Tierless

To me the best AI is people and the best content comes form them. GIve them the tools, the content will come. I need no NPC for such things.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Golden_Girl ManastuUtakata 
….

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Denice J Cook wolfyseyes 
They’re still here as far as I can see on my browser from my machine. But that’s not to say you can’t see them from your end. I had a similar problem with another post I posted yesterday.
If you where to look in your “View Full Profile” by scrolling over your avatar, then clicking it should be still there. Or change the filter from “Newest” to “Oldest” in the filter option on the top left corner of the comments here…and look for it that way. Either way, if they’re still there…then they haven’t been moderate out, as they wouldn’t appear in either option. I hope this helps.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Nonsensicles Golden_Girl devin007 This is from their statement on the day they announced the takeover:
“It will be business as usual and all SOE games will continue on their current path of development and operation. In fact, we expect to have even more resources available to us as a result of this acquisition.”

Now less than 3 weeks later, it makes for a fun game of spot the corporate lies ;-)

Nonsensicles
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Nonsensicles

Golden_Girl Nonsensicles devin007
When did they say that? Pretty sure they also said they were changing owners, for one thing.
Anyway, I’m not saying that this is definitely what will happen and they’re not obfuscating some serious trouble, what I’m saying is that is all their announcement means. As in that is what the words themselves literally mean. Anything else is a matter of speculation.
Also, aren’t you supposed to be making a CoH successor? Your conduct around here is horribly unprofessional for someone supposedly leading development of an MMO.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Celestia SOE’s been embarrassing themselves for years, so this is at least a sign of some form of consistency following the sell-off and gutting of the staff.

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

Nonsensicles devin007 Just like said that They Break Games was just a name change from SOE and nothing else? ;-)

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