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.