Daybreak exec on early access, e-sports, VR, EverQuest Next, and the future of EverQuest

    
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Yes, this assuages my nervousness, you bet.

GamesIndustry.biz has published a lengthy interview with Daybreak chief publishing officer Laura Naviaux Sturr on the evolution of the MMORPG studio over the last year. The interview was conducted at GDC over a month ago, but it’s still relevant — Sturr says Daybreak is in “growth” mode, touting 30% revenue growth year-over-year, H1Z1’s top five Steam release last year, and the rehiring of laid-off employees. She also talks up early access.

“[Early Access is] not for everybody, but I think you’ll see the tide turn where more companies do turn towards it,” she says. “For our games, Early Access makes a lot of sense because we know that we’re invested 5 to 10 years or in EverQuest’s case, 17, and in order to really have a game that has those kind of legs, the community’s got to be behind it. And what better way than making sure that they’re part of that process from day one? […] We’ve been doing games as a service since our inception. It’s in our DNA.”

Sturr also discusses the role of e-sports (she believes the community has to be behind it to make it worthwhile), the potential in VR (Daybreak isn’t as into it now as it once was), and what’s in store for the EverQuest franchise after EverQuest Next’s cancellation:

“It’s heartbreaking to have to cancel games. They’re a labor of love, especially with a community and player base that’s as engaged as the people who love EverQuest over the years. But I think the reasons that we did it were so sound and exactly what we want to see in the industry – that if a game isn’t finding that fun factor and isn’t going to live up to expectations, it’s not just in our best interest as Daybreak, but it’s in the players’ best interests for us not to release that game. And there are high expectations for the EverQuest franchise and we probably set them higher than anybody and we really want to live up to what we know Norrath can deliver – I think you’ll see more of Norrath to come I guess is a better way to put it. EverQuest is just near and dear to our hearts as it always has been. And the lessons learned are probably no different than the fundamentals of game development. You find the heartbeat, you find the fun; we did some amazing things on the technical front that really blew industry insiders’ minds and maybe there’s something in there that we can use in the future. Who knows what the possibilities are? […] I’m focused on moving forward and making EverQuest an experience that can live on to the next generation of gamers.” [Emphasis ours.]

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AlexanderDeLarge
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AlexanderDeLarge

Samizdat Margrave If gamers liked MOBAs, they’d be playing one of them. There’s an entire market of disenfranchised MMO players that don’t play MMOs because the genre is nothing but WoW clones and unreleased sandbox titles.

Elven_Seraph
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Elven_Seraph

Everquest Next cancellation is not something I will get over anytime soon.  EQ is too close to my heart having played it since EQ1 came out of beta.

AngelBlack
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AngelBlack

carsont My thoughts exactly

carsont
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carsont

That’s a lot of words to say nothing

ohforfs
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ohforfs

They speak through forked teeth. My no listen.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Veldan ManastuUtakata 
I’ll save that for the next time then.

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

Margrave I generally speaking hate most MOBA games (LoL and DOTA for example).
But I enjoy Heroes of the Storm a lot and I really enjoyed Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes when that was in beta.
So it will come down to how they make it.

Jack Pipsam
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Jack Pipsam

Hopefully this means that Daybreak will no longer publish games not made by them. It never seems to end well.

voidsama
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voidsama

Samizdat voidsama Wandris fangGWJ you just mentioned several niche mmos built from crowd funding.  you ignored that EQN was being built(originally) from a AAA studio with a much larger backing.  Sure MOBA have taken some players away from mmos, but between WoW (still over 5m players) FFXIV (over 3m) GW2 (at least 2m sold) there are still some solid big games out there.  (not mentioning others due to not hearing stats on them) 

EQ as a franchise sure, it was never as large as the others have been.  but thats not to say it couldnt be.  EQ2 launched at the worst time any game could have and survived with a healthy population. (~ 1-2 month before WoW) EQ1 was helped build the genre when it was much smaller.  EQN was poised to step in while much of the market was stuck as themeparks and using dated mechanics and systems.  It was poised to be that big innovator that would draw people, frustrated with the current market, in.  would it beat WoW? probably not. could it beat the other big names? its possible.  FFXIV stepped in and clawed its way up nicely.  showing there is room for a few big games.  it would certainly be much better off than the piddly crowd in comparison playing h1z1.  Im sure there are not 500k+ active players logging in and playing every month and paying a sub.  something EQN could achieve.  

The smaller games you mention have also not launched thus showing nothing of the market trend.  yea they had successful kickstarters, but until a final product is live, and the players show a few months of support while the game shows growth, they show nothing.  What those small games do to generate buzz and interest, is to take one or two new ideas and make those the central focus of the game.  they dont have the money to risk more than that.

EQN was blowing the horn of change from a slow market, it wanted to use several new things to stand out from a crowd that was not innovating.  this alone would have been worth it to see.  Could it have failed in the end? sure its possible, but not likely,  the size and quality of the dev team would certainly have listened to complaints and moved to make the game better if needed after launch.  they had no less power to do so than square enix did to remake ffxiv.  Hell after wow launched the team for EQ2 did a major revamp to change much of the game to be align to wow standards of doing things.

voidsama
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voidsama

Samizdat voidsama Wandris fangGWJ you just mentioned several niche mmpos build from crowd funding.  you ignored that EQN was being built(originally) from a AAA studio with a much larger backing.  Sure MOBA have taken some players away from mmos, but between WoW (still over 5m players) FFXIV (over 3m) GW2 (at least 2m sold) there are still some solid big games out there.  (not mentioning others due to not hearing stats on them) 

EQ as a franchise sure, it was never as large as the others have been.  but thats not to say it couldnt be.  EQ2 launched at the worst time any game could have and survived with a healthy population. (~ 1-2 month before WoW) EQ1 was helped build the genre when it was much smaller.  EQN was poised to step in while much of the market was stuck as themeparks and using dated mechanics and systems.  It was poised to be that big innovator that would draw people, frustrated with the current market, in.  would it beat WoW? probably not. could it beat the other big names? its possible.  FFXIV stepped in and clawed its way up nicely.  showing there is room for a few big games.  it would certainly be much better off than the piddly crowd in comparison playing h1z1.  Im sure there are not 500k+ active players logging in and playing every month and paying a sub.  something EQN could achieve.  

The smaller games you mention have also not launched thus showing nothing of the market trend.  yea they had successful kickstarters, but until a final product is live, and the players show a few months of support while the game shows growth, they show nothing.  What those small games do to generate buzz and interest, is to take one or two new ideas and make those the central focus of the game.  they dont have the money to risk more than that.

EQN was blowing the horn of change from a slow market, it wanted to use several new things to stand out from a crowd that was not innovating.  this alone would have been worth it to see.  Could it have failed in the end? sure its possible, but not likely,  the size and quality of the dev team would certainly have listened to complaints and moved to make the game better if needed after launch.  they had no less power to do so than square enix did to remake ffxiv.  Hell after wow launched the team for EQ2 did a major revamp to change much of the game to be align to wow standards of doing things.