AI developer Dave Mark has weighed in mightily on the EverQuest Next cancellation. Mark worked on the game’s expansive AI system years ago alongside the Storybricks team — in fact, he says, Dave Georgeson’s famous “Orcs by the road” speech was based on his lectures and ideas.
“Please hear me when I say, emergent AI was not born at SOE/Daybreak or born of EverQuest Next,” he writes. “It also did not die with it.”
“All of those things that were promised with the AI were true and deliverable. It was not vaporware. In fact, after leaving the project (something I did not want to do), I ended up going straight to ArenaNet (thanks to my dear friend Mike Lewis) and spent a year implementing much of the same architecture and design. Some of it was used in the Heart of Thorns expansion to GuildWars 2 — the rest was prototyped up for possible use in future ArenaNet titles. (Much of the reason that some things were not used is that they were too much of a departure from the established gameplay of the GuildWars 2 franchise.)”
Mark is currently working for Pixelmage Games on Hero’s Song — John Smedley’s upcoming project — “implementing the same sorts of things that were intended for EverQuest Next… a large, dynamic, living world driven by emergent AI from the ground up.”