SOE President John Smedley has been granting interviews to any and every gaming website about Planetside 2, Free-to-Play, and the upcoming EverQuest Next, and today, Gamasutra landed some rather interesting quotes to be sure. First off, the article leads off with a subject line not entirely substantiated by Smed’s comments: “MMO devs will lose the fight against content churn, says SOE’s Smedley”
The article leads with:
“Sometimes you make a decision and you’re like ‘Oh God, let’s buckle in and hope everything goes well.’ That’s how it was with free-to-play,” he says. “Now we look back and wonder ‘How did we ever survive before this?’ Living in a world where retailers control your software was horrible.”
Then the titular quote:
“In my opinion, the days when companies can make content [generation] the number one strategy, in the kinds of games we make, are over, because we can’t win the war. Star Wars [The Old Republic] proved that. Players bought it, loved it and they played the game. Then they left.”
Now we get into EverQuest Next:
“We’re betting the company’s future on this game. … The last EverQuest game launched in 2005. We’ve blown up two design ideas over the last four years because they were too ‘me too.’ It wasn’t enough of a change. We settled on a design that, when we looked at it, everyone in the room thought we were crazy. We gave it a week and came back, and we all said ‘yeah, we’re still crazy, but we can’t get the idea out of our heads. … It’s going to be the world’s largest sandbox game.”
And… here’s the quote that has everyone losing their minds thinking EverQuest Next will be released this year:
Players will have to wait a bit longer to try it themselves, but maybe not as long as you’d expect. “Players will get their hands on an actual release version of what we’re doing late [this] year – and I don’t mean a beta,” says Smedley.
Folks! EverQuest Next’s current form has been in development for just 21 months. At last year’s October SOE Live event in Las Vegas, John Smedley promised us that we’d be able to “see and touch” EverQuest Next at SOE Live 2013. The idea that EverQuest Next could be ready for release in a total of 32 months is pure folly. It would be the fastest development cycle for any MMO of this size in history.
Time will tell, but my money is on a playable demo at SOE Live with the absolute earliest possible “official” release in November 2014.