Interviews Category

We ask tough questions. Whether the devs answer them truthfully — or at all — is on them! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

The EverQuest team looks back on 16 years of bad ideas

EverQuest has been running for a very long time, and the game’s successes are pretty transparent to anyone who has been playing the game for the whole run (or even a fraction of it). But what about the bad ideas? Executive producer Holly Longdale, lead designer Jonathan Caraker, and assistant lead designer Alan VanCouvering have looked back on the game’s 16-year history and talk about the bad ideas that never quite made it into the game.

Among the stories recounted are tales about the zone of immobile diarrhea, the clock zone, and an entire zone centered on a terrifying gingerbread man. Yes, all of these things were discussed, and some were even prototyped, but none of them ever made it into the live game. Read more about some bad ideas, including some that players got to see if not actively use, in the full article.

[Source: VentureBeat]

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Minsc and Boo go for the eyes in Neverwinter’s Elemental Evil

While fans are surely looking forward to Neverwinter’s sixth expansion, which is launching just two weeks from now, a portion of the anticipation may be due less to the expansion itself and more to the two characters that are headlining it. Elemental Evil is bringing in two beloved characters from the Balder’s Gate series: Minsc and Boo. Come April 7th, Neverwinter players will be able to hobnob with the memorable duo of ranger and miniature giant space hamster that captured many a heart. But how exactly will these two play into the events in-game? How will players get to interact with them? And will they go for the eyes?

We talked to Randy Mosiondz, senior game designer on Neverwinter, to find out.

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This LotRO lore video made me reinstall the game

You know, I need another fantasy MMORPG in my life like I need another hole in my head. But thanks to a nifty lore-centric video published this week by Turbine, I’m (re)installing Lord of the Rings Online and dusting off my stable of alts.

The vid runs for about an hour, and it features lead world-builder and lore monkey Chris Pierson chatting with Mythgard’s Corey Olsen and Wheaton College English professor Michael Drout about Tolkien’s works and Turbine’s interpretations of them. Click past the cut for the full clip!

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Factions: Origins of Malu’s early access launch and interview

Origins of Malu has certainly had a long, bumpy road to launch. Showing up on our radar back in August 2011, this title has weathered two engine changes (each necessitating starting over), unsuccessful cowdfunding ventures, and even a name change as the design changed to offer the battlegrounds first. And this past Friday, at the very last minute, the team learned that the launch would be further delayed because of something beyond its control on Steam’s end. But that’s behind the game now, and the first iteration of the game with battlegrounds is live today.

Throughout the whole process, the team has been dedicated to bringing this game to life, going so far as to keep funding it out of pocket throughout the journey. We sat down with founder Michael Dunham to talk about why the additional wait was needed, what players can expect now, and when the full MMO is coming out.

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Garriott teaches Roberts about zero-G physics in pre-interview footage

Gamers Nexus spoke with industry legends Richard Garriott and Chris Roberts over the weekend, but I couldn’t tell you the first thing about the interview content.

That’s because the pair engaged in a lively discussion of zero gravity physics while the video crew was testing its camera setup, and the resulting chat was more interesting than most of the footage obtained, according to an off-camera commenter.

Garriott, you may recall, has significant experience in zero gravity due to his adventures in spaaaaace, and he spends the better part of three minutes explaining how momentum and various actions work in such an environment. Click past the cut to have a look!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World’s enhanced player experience

Amazing story, awesome cutscenes, phenomenal atmosphere, compelling missions, incredible NPCs… The Secret World definitely has a lot of good things going for it. It is an MMO in a class by itself, unlike so many of the MMOs we’re all used to. But that last positive is also a negative: There are some former players who never got far enough into the game to really experience all it has to offer. Some of the unfamiliar aspects of the game were too unfamiliar to get used to, and some things were just plain difficult (Ak’abs, anyone?). The learning curve was steep enough to put many players off, players who might otherwise have loved the setting and uniqueness of the world.

That’s where the newly released “Enhanced Player Experience” comes to the rescue. I sat down with Lead Designer Romain Amiel and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen to talk about these quality-of-life improvements and get a few behind-the-scenes details about this patch. Of course, you know I had to ask about Issue #11 and beyond as well!

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Crowfall devs: ‘We see crafters as a full-time playstyle’

Crowfall‘s Kickstarter campaign has crossed the 12,000 backer mark and hit yet another stretch goal. This means that the team will be giving an All-Father housing statue to everyone who backs the game. At 13,000 backers, ArtCraft will grant every backer a free month of VIP come launch.

The studio also updated its crafting FAQ to expain how crafting skills are acquired, how decay will benefit the economy, how “junk” crafted items will be disposed of in a vendorless world, and how alting will be discouraged. “We see crafters as a full-time playstyle,” write the devs. “They fill a valuable role as much as a tank or damage dealer does. In addition to being able to enjoy the “meta-game” of inter-World trading between Worlds, Crafters also have a specific niche role — every faction/guild will need to recruit them to turn resources into valuable equipment within the Campaigns.”

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Elite: Dangerous’ David Braben on PC vs. console development

Last week at GDC Frontier announced that Elite: Dangerous is headed to the Xbox One in 2015. Predictably, this caused a bit of consternation amongst the space sim’s PC user base. Frontier boss David Braben took to the forums to elaborate, and soon after we peppered him with questions to further clarify how the console and PC builds of E:D are shaping up.

Click past the cut to see what he had to say.

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Final Fantasy XIV won’t be going F2P any time soon

Would you love to play Final Fantasy XIV if only it didn’t cost per month? According to a new interview with producer Naoki Yoshida, you’ll be waiting a while. “If WoW ever goes completely free-to-play, maybe we’ll consider it,” Yoshida jokingly told PlayStationLifestyle.net via a translator.

He was asked whether or not Elder Scrolls Online’s upcoming buy-to-play conversion has any bearing on FFXIV’s subscription model. “No, we do not feel that we are being influenced by that kind of model shift,” he said. “Especially with an MMORPG, it is a kind of a game as a service, where we are kind of almost in the service industry.”

Yoshida also mentions data that “shows over 80 percent of our players are satisfied with the subscription model and they feel very assured that it is constant.”

[Source: PlayStationLifestyle.net; thanks Scott!]

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PAX East 2015: A chat with SOTA’s Richard Garriott

Richard Garriott casts a long shadow in the MMO industry, with Ultima Online serving as the first fully graphical MMO and ushering in the genre as we know it. His more recent claim to fame, though, is the success of Shroud of the Avatar, a crowdfunded spiritual sequel to his Ultima series, online and off. It’s one of the big crowdfunding successes and something that raises plenty of interesting questions about the viability of crowdfunding and how the game’s financial model influences its development.

I was lucky enough to have a chat with Garriott during my time in Boston at this year’s PAX East, and I started by asking him about another long shadow: Godus. Comparisons are fairly obvious, with Godus being another game project put forth by a well-known developer (Peter Molyneux) for crowdfunding. So what sort of influence do high-profile troubles such as those have on Shroud of the Avatar‘s community, and how can the team avoid the risks?

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Roberts on Star Citizen’s funding model, Minecraft, and more

Polygon posted an interview with Chris Roberts this week, and it’s worth a read if you’re still wearing your Star-Citizen-is-a-Ponzi-scheme cap. “People can only back for a ship when we have it in production,” Roberts says, when asked if he worries about Cloud Imperium Games taking money for assets that never materialize.

He goes on to explain how Star Citizen’s development model was heavily influenced by Minecraft. “My original plan was that I was going to raise some money from private investors to build a sort of alpha that didn’t have everything I wanted in it,” Roberts says. “It would have been enough that I could give it to someone and they could play it and they could give me a reduced amount of money and I would use that money to continue adding features until I built it to my final feature set.”

Now, though, CIG has amassed such a sizable crowdfunded warchest that Roberts has decided against promising even more functionality. “We actually kind of backed off from doing stretch goals recently just because we’ve done so many of them and there is always a bit of a debate,” he said. “First of all, we’re starting to run out of ideas and second of all we have a lot to do and people started complaining.”

[Source: Polygon]

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Crowfall: The ultimate union of MMOs and strategy

What do you get when you take a few of the most experienced developers in the MMO industry and give them the freedom to buck the safe trend of copycatting World of Warcraft? And what would you get if you further challenged them to combine the progression from MMOs with the always-fresh strategy genre? You might just end up with something like Crowfall.

As you read this, Crowfall has launched its Kickstarter funding campaign after weeks of speculation, reveals, and an always-ticking countdown timer. ArtCraft has done all it can to prime the pump for community investment, and now we’ll have to see whether it will pay off spectacularly… or be deemed too niche for primetime.

Last week, I chatted with ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton for a no-holds-barred discussion about Crowfall. Enough with the teases and partial revelation; I wanted the full picture. What is Crowfall, really? And how will it set itself apart from the MMO pack?

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Shroud of the Avatar’s Starr Long on gameplay vs. graphics

Shroud of the Avatar executive producer — and original Ultima Online director — Starr Long was interviewed by The Escapist this week. Long discusses his early Origin days, where he worked on everything from the Wing Commander series to a long list of Ultima products.

He also talks about Tabula Rasa, Kickstarter, and of course his newest project as well as his general design philosophy. “If I see a light, I should be able to turn it on and off. If I see a candle, I can blow it out. If there is a door, I should be able to open and close it, to lock it and unlock it. I should be able to take that cup off the table, hold it in my hand, and drink ale out of it,” Long explains. “That requires a lot of computing horsepower and a lot of memory, which means you have to take it from somewhere else. The easiest place to take it from is the graphics, but I would always much rather have a high degree of simulation than the best, newest graphics.”

[Source: The Escapist]

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