Developer CCP Games is celebrating a rare and impressive milestone in 2018 with their flagship MMO EVE Online reaching its 15th anniversary. Even after all this time, EVE Online is still ahead of its time in many of its groundbreaking features.
The entire game takes place in one giant and persistent shared universe where political and economic shifts are the result of community actions. It’s this legendary community that makes the game even more fun just to read about than to play for some people and there are literally books that cover these in-game triumphs and tribulations.
Still, with new content coming every year alongside interface and graphics improvements, there’s no end in sight for EVE – a brand that’s expanded in recent years to other genres and platforms. EVE: Valkyrie brings EVE to virtual reality platforms and the space shooter genre, while EVE: War of Ascension services the mobile market, and the upcoming Project Nova brings a first-person boots-on-the-ground shooter to the world of EVE.
While attending EVE Fanfest 2018 I spoke with CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson about what he hopes to see in the long-term future of EVE Online and what the community will likely be celebrating on its inevitable 20th and even 25th anniversaries.
I want to see the game as relevant as it is today, if not more. I think in many ways EVE has been ahead of its time when it came out. It kind of boggles the mind, really when you think about it. EVE does not at all feel like an old game today. It still feels ahead of its time. I hope it will be able to keep it like that, 5 years from now after 20 year birthday, it will still feel ahead of its time. Because we’ve been able to push it to greater and greater heights.
We also asked Andie Nordgren, Executive Producer of EVE Online, what she's excited about from the game and what she wants to see from it five years from now.
I'm really passionate about this vision we have for truly player-made infrastructure in the universe so I hope that in five years from now we've really gotten there where all of the infrastructure in the universe in some way or shape is up for grabs for players to build or destroy... I think this is a super powerful idea and could be really amazing for the game but it has to be done with a lot of care and it's not like an easy thing to put in. It's easy to say "oh, players should be able to build and destroy everything!" but it's not necessarily easy to put in, in a way that will actually be good for the game. So, we are taking a lot of care with that. That is what I dream about for the game, to just really up the player agency in the sandbox.
Steven Clark, one of EVE Online's Game Designers and a devoted player himself, tells us he's excited about a ton of little features but like the fans he hung out with the evening before at a "Tweetfleet" meet up, he's just happy the game is still around since it's so good how it is.
"I am looking forward to tons of new stuff but I love it a lot. Like the core of what we have. You know, that's something that Hilmar said in his talk too. We have such an amazing core and engine of a game that I'm just excited to keep living in that environment and you know, we can try new things and do all kinds of cool new stuff and it'll be fun to do that but at the 20th anniversary I have a feeling we'll be hearing the same kind of enthusiasm as we hear now because we have something so cool underneath."
One very telling sign of how EVE Online can continue to evolve is in this month’s expansion, Into the Abyss, which was revealed at Fanfest. This content adds a new layer to the game where new environments, gameplay mechanics, and tech can be tested in what’s called “Abyssal Deadspace.” This means that not only will there be a new faction and new ships/modules/content to be explored here but this deadspace can be used as a testing ground for any sort of development ideas without directly affecting the main game world. It’s a genius way to push the boundaries without breaking balance or core gameplay.
In addition to that, the devs are getting to toy with and add substantial story elements to the decade-plus old lore of the game. 15 years in, the game’s lore can still be fresh, new, and mysterious. This is something that excites game designer Nick Bardsley who told me “it’s a dream come true” to be able to write content like this. It's yet another beginning to the continually evolving universe and lore of EVE Online.