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CCP: “We’re going back to spaceships” with EVE Online

Friday, 21st October 2011 03:40 GMT By Brenna Hillier

CCP has completely thrown out the content it had planned for upcoming EVE Online updates, and gone back to a spaceship-shaped drawing board.

“Our customers didn’t like the direction we took, so we sat down and said ‘Let’s go another way.’ We had a lot of people dedicated to Incarna and virtual goods, and we sat down with them and said, ‘We’re going back to spaceships.’ And that’s pretty much it,” lead game designer Kristoffer Touborg PC Gamer.

“The winter expansion that’s coming… we’ve been effectively working on it for a few weeks. Not a few months. We threw away all the stuff we’d planned and just said, ‘Let’s make a list of what our customers like and make it.’”

Touborg said the shift back to spaceship content is “definitely not a temporary re-focusing” as a sop to angered fans, but an admission that the Incarna content is a dead end.

“It’s definitely not a temporary re-focusing. If I were to give an example – and I’m just making up the numbers here – we imagine that 80 percent of the guys working on EVE were working on Incarna and 20 percent were on flying in space, we swapped that around. The large majority of people are working on flying in space, and there’s no real plan to change that, he said.

As for why CCP took off in a direction which proved so unpopular with players, Touborg said the company wanted to bring “lifetime” to Eve, because eventually, CCP will run out of spaceship content and endgame offerings.

“You have to move on and try something new. For us, last year we said ‘What’s the biggest change? What’s the new direction we can take this game in?’ So we had the flying in space part, but we wanted to see if we could build other parts onto it,” he explained.

“Avatar and virtual goods were the things we wanted to branch out into. Virtual goods and character customization are just becoming very standard parts of gaming. And we thought that they’d kind of enrich the environment.

And I think they could. The problem was that we were doing it for the first time, and it just didn’t go as it well as it did for some companies who’ve been at this for years. We didn’t have the experience to do it properly. We screwed that up a bit, but we just see so many games where people react positively to being able to customize their character. We thought it’d be a natural fit for the Incarna expansion.

“You know, there are some people who said, ‘We’ll be quiet and trust you guys and give you whatever time you need to make Incarna good when it comes out.’ And it wasn’t. So there aren’t any illusions at CCP that we’ve been delivering what we want to,” he concluded.

CCP has offered discounted subscriptions to players who left EVE Online en masse in protest of content introduced with Incarna, and cut its workforce by 20 percent following serious losses.

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8 Comments

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  1. humanfish

    Before people jumpin with the bitching, moaning and negativity towards CCP, I thought this comment from someone in the know was quite interesting, rather than the usual hormonal teenagers complaining about a business trying to make money

    ”Just to add my opinion to the backlash that seems to be hitting CCP at the moment…
    I worked at CCP in Newcastle for a year before starting up Pitbull and, I have to say, they were one of the best companies I’d worked for. They treat the staff well, give Christmas bonuses, don’t expect people to work crazy amounts of overtime, don’t put unrealistic schedules onto people, and, yeah, are really friendly as well. It was an honour to work with them.
    Hillmar, too, seems to be getting a lot of flak here… and I think it’s all going a bit far. An internal document was leaked which, oh my god, showed that CCP had plans for increasing profits. Shit, they shouldn’t be doing that!
    Apple sell their hardware for hundreds of pounds over real market value and, yet, are only met with praise. CCP look to see a bit of in-game content – and they’re hated for it.
    The people that have been let go from CCP, while sad, I don’t personally connect this with the recent events… sure, the timing is extremely coincidental… but I suspect the bigger picture is that World of Darkness isn’t working out as well as hoped… so CCP are looking to concentrate on their success, Eve, and their hopeful side-success, Dust 514.
    Hope it all works out well for them.”

    Source: Develop Online comments box

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Freek

    The backlash against CCP wasn’t exactly hormonol teenagers. They were from loyal players who paid a monthly fee who suddenly saw their game hijacked to become a rather cynical micro transaction feast of absurdly priced vanity items.
    They were from the people who worked closely with CCP via the in-game “government” of player representives.
    And when that diden’t work, they simply voted with thier wallets and CCP saw their income decrease.

    Make bad game design = people stop playing = no more money.
    Seems reasonable, and how nice CCP is to work with becomes irrelevant if you are a customer paying for a service that turned bad.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DarkElfa

    Well said Freek, well fucking said.

    I loved EVE. LOVED it. Even after my friends and guild members dropped it, I kept going, alone. I flew my Machariel with abandonment and wonder.

    But enough was enough. They stopped listening and so I stopped paying.

    EVE is a spaceship game. If they wanted to successfully create a character customization add on for EVE, they should have done it with the damn spaceships instead of trying to shoehorn in the tech they developed for their upcoming Vampire MMO to avoid having to do the extra work of changing EVE itself to make customization in ships work.

    After all, in the end, that’s what they did.

    They wanted a piece of the MT pie and EVE hadn’t been set up for customization of spaceships. So, they took the character creation and customization system they were developing for their vampire MMO and wove it into their code for EVE. And by wove, I mean stapled it on.

    That’s why it ran like crap. But what could they do? They couldn’t use it in EVE for the ships, since that was almost entirely different code. So they made several excuses about changing the avatar system and finally bringing in part of Incarna so that they could tack this crap on in the hopes of generating MT sales.

    Now it seems, they’ll have to actually recode the game a bit to support ship customization if they want accepted MT in EVE and that will most like work. After all, it’s a spaceship game, not a person game.

    Make no mistake, they haven’t given up on MT, only accepted that they will have to do the work this time if they want it to be accepted by the community.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. viralshag

    “we imagine that 80 percent of the guys working on EVE were working on Incarna and 20 percent were on flying in space, we swapped that around.”

    Ah, and those poor 20% are the ones that recently just got axed. So basically it went like this:

    “Hey guys, we’re going to do something totally different that no one asked for!”

    “Hey guys, wow, people aren’t too happy with this new direction, eh?”

    “Hey guys, listen, I knew we gave you these jobs to work on some fantastic new content that no one wanted but, well, no one likes it. There’s the door, thanks for coming. Cya.”

    #4 3 years ago
  5. DarkElfa

    Nope, actually, most of those who got axed were from the Atlanta office and were working on their vampire MMO.

    So basically, they nixed the Americans.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. viralshag

    Really? The only reason I guessed that was because they simply happened to use the same percentages. Weak link, I know, but it’s the internet and I have to work with what I get. ;)

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DarkElfa

    Understandably. I only know because Hilmar talked about it more in his blog.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. viralshag

    I don’t follow CCP and EvE that much. I played it for a bit (a bit being something like 50 hours apparently, according to Steam), so I’m not 100% down with the news about the company and the game other than what I read here.

    Just from what I have seemed it did seem like a few bad decisions led to a reasonably large chunk of employees losing their jobs. It’s sad that in a relatively small business, some choices can have large consequences.

    I imagine quite a few of those people imagined they had some job security being in a small company (about 600 staff I think, not sure if that is small for a game company tbh) with a rather successful game.

    #8 3 years ago