Codemasters MMO Jumpgate: Evolution will be released in the back end of this year, developer NetDevil has confirmed.
"We are planning on launching in the second half of 2008," lead producer Hermann Peterscheck told VG247. "It’s really exciting to announce our partnership with Codemasters Online. They are already running some of the biggest MMO’s and have extensive experience – there’s only a handful of companies out there with their kind of breadth and depth of experience."
The space-based game was recently picked up by Codemasters, and will be shown playable for the first time at Connect 2008 in Birmingham, UK, next month. NetDevil is an experienced MMO developer, having previously created the NCSoft-published Auto Assault. The move to Codemasters for Jumpgate appears to have been a good one for the outfit.
"There was also an instant chemistry between the way we are working on Jumpgate and the people at Codemasters Online," said Peterscheck. "They are very responsive to our goals as a developer, which are in line with their goals as well – and in fact we have learned a lot from their experience – so it’s a great mutually beneficial relationship."
Read all Hermann's responses to our questions after the link.
VG247: It sounds like launch plans are progressing pretty quickly. You must be pleased to finally be able to announce a publisher. Do you have a specific date for Europe and the US yet?
Hermann Peterscheck: We don’t have a specific date, but we are planning on launching in the second half of 2008. It’s really exciting to announce our partnership with Codemasters Online. They are already running some of the biggest MMOs and have extensive experience – there’s only a handful of companies out there with their kind of breadth and depth of experience. There was also an instant chemistry between the way we are working on Jumpgate and the people at Codemasters Online. They are very responsive to our goals as a developer, which are in line with their goals as well – and in fact we have learned a lot from their experience – so it’s a great mutually beneficial relationship.
There's always going to be the elephant in the room of EVE Online when people talk about Jumpgate. Aside from the flight controls (which we've already reported), what are the major differences between the two games? Do you consider EVE and Jumpgate as competitors?
There are many differences between the two games. Obviously the big difference is that in Jumpgate you fly the ship in a sort of action way, whereas EVE is much more of a strategy type game. However I would say that’s like saying the only difference between Everquest and WoW is that WoW is slightly “easier.” I think that as with most creative things, the devil is in the details. In Jumpgate, for example, you jump in your ship, do a few missions, gain a rank, get some good loot drops, go back to a station and upgrade your ship. You might do the same thing in EVE, but the subtle differences add up. In EVE gaining rank is a sort of asynchronous training system. It’s also not a combat, quest, advance centric game. I would say we are much closer to Freelancer or Wing Commander with an online component than that we are EVE with an action component, if that makes sense. Of course EVE is a competitor – in a sense all online games are and, in fact, all games are competitors. I like to believe that if you make a great game people will play it. I suspect that we will get quite a few people who simply have no MMO that meets their needs, as opposed to pulling people from other games – although I expect we will have that as well.
What sort of reaction have you had from the MMO community in general?
From the people I know of, the reaction is very positive. I think that because we are seen as having good graphics and are focusing on a more action-friendly, low time commitment gameplay, we hit a nerve with a lot of players. There’s also a much bigger ex-Wing Commander, ex-Privateer community out there than people would think – and these people tend to say things like, “It’s about time someone made a good space combat game again.” Well, we think so too. The thing that we are very aware of is that the MMO community is incredibly well connected. When you play a bad console game you are unlikely to call your friends and tell them. However in the MMO world you are likely to get on your guild chat and trash the game you just had a bad experience with. Similarly, if you have fun, you are likely to tell everyone that you just had this great experience and all your friends should jump in as well! We are very aware of what people are saying; the weaknesses and worries they have, as well as the things they like. We want to make sure that when we put stuff out there, we are confident that it will be well received – screen shots, videos, beta, everything.
Are you expecting to attract users from existing games or is the main target group for Jumpgate new users?
As above I think this is a bit of a trick question. “Who is the game’s target?” is a very important question; however if you look at the library of most gamers you will often find the same titles over and over again. Why is that? Is it that everyone likes RTSes or does everyone like Starcraft? Is it that everyone likes FPSes or do people like Bioshock? I think gamers like good games; and if a game is exceptional it transcends it’s genre. I’ll let you think about which games those might be, but I suspect if you did a poll you would find many of the same names come up again and again. So; I think that if we make a decent game we will get people who like space combat games, space games in general and some people who love MMOs. If we make an exceptional game we will get people from all over and some whom have never played an online game. I sincerely hope we can make one of those exceptional games.