EVE Online is certainly unusual among MMOs. In the staggering ten years it’s been running, the spacefaring sandbox has consistently grown in popularity. Yet Icelandic developer CCP shows no signs of slowing down, releasing Retribution – the game’s 18th expansion, planning a 10th anniversary FanFest and launching shooter Dust 514 on PlayStation 3 later this year.
For executive producer Jon Lander, part of that long-lasting success comes down to the basic concept of the game he leads. “I really struggle calling EVE a game. Certainly I, and a lot of the original developers, and the developers we have now, we all think of this as a massively multiplayer virtual world.” He continued “When you approach it from that angle, you realize that the important things in the real world aren’t necessarily games. The things which make a world meaningful are generally social interactions, and the evolution of history which can then affect the actions of the present.”
As we spoke just after Christmas, Lander went on to explain why his team don’t want to be the focal point for EVE’s stories. “If you play a game, and you play the imagination of somebody else, you’re playing through a single player game. I used to play a lot of the Splinter Cell games, and then I was playing a story which had actually come out of a developer’s head. I wasn’t playing my story – I sort of had to imprint myself on that.”