“It’s a terror-genre space opera.” – just one of the lines we loved from the latest EVE Online interview between MMOGames’ Head of Content Alex Sinclair Lack, CCP’s Creative Director Bergur Finnbogason and CCP’s Brand Director Sæmundur Hermannsson.

We run these interviews regularly; readers can find them by searching via topic or by browsing the full catalogue. This time around, we tried to get to the heart of what EVE Online really is, assigned movie roles, talked interactive media, and dove a little too deep on the issue of whether technology will be our saviour or undoing. Read on.

Alex: If the story of EVE Online was a novel or a film, what genre would it be? An intergalactic drama? A grand cosmic comedy? A harrowing tale of bloody conquest and unnecessary destruction?

Bergur: Ha! I think the answer to that question is “Yes.” It’s a terror-genre space opera. I mean it’s definitely not horror, it’s way more terror. It is an opera, it is drama, it’s all the emotions. It’s empires locked in combat, it’s rags to riches.

“It would be the best sci-fi material on Netflix. I genuinely believe that.”

Sæmi: It’s a really good question, we’ve had discussions on what the EVE Online movie or tv show would be. It would have to be a TV show, you couldn’t fit it all in a movie unless you did a ten-part franchise. That’s the beauty and the challenge of marketing EVE too. How do you say what we are? You like PvP? Okay. You like PvE? Okay. You like market trading and social gameplay? Okay, okay. Each of those things can be games inside EVE. The universe is so big, these intergalactic empires with intergalactic war, and that’s without even going into what’s actually happening on the planets. The sky really would be the limit if we did a show about EVE, we’d really just have to pick one specific part and hone in.

Alex: Once again, you’ve anticipated my next question. Will we ever see an EVE Online movie or TV show?

Bergur: It’s one of the worst kept secrets at CCP that we’ve been looking into making a movie or show for many years. It’s something we definitely want to do but making a show or movie is such a different cadence than making a computer game. It uses totally different skillsets. At one point we thought we could probably wing it with our great content alone, but no, sadly that is not how it works.

Sæmi: I’ve now had a little insight into that industry and it’s like, “Okay wow. We’re just making games, yo.” But obviously it would be awesome. No promises or commitments or whatever, but even just a TV show, it would be the best sci-fi material on Netflix. I genuinely believe that. Obviously, I’m 100% bias, but the IP is just so cool and rich. It allows for so much freedom in visualization and storytelling with so many strong characters and lore. We are working now on developing some of these characters which would give more “oomph” to the background world.

Bergur: We really want to strengthen the characters and faces behind the empires. EVE is so much about humans dealing with humans, and we want to push that further. We want it so I’d be shooting Sæmi in the face, not Sæmi’s vexor or avatar. I think there’s a huge opportunity there.

Sæmi: Hey!

[caption id="attachment_387261" align="aligncenter" width="560"] “Like Bandersnatch – the EVE Online version.”[/caption]

Bergur: But then there is the question of the future of TV and movies to consider too. Is the future just in-game? Look at how much things have changed in ten years. We’ve started to see some interactive shows coming through, you have to wonder if the natural progression will be moving away from linear storytelling to more dramatic interactive entertainment. You see fantastic story-driven games out there that are already giving TV a run for its money, I’m confident we’ll see more and more of that.

Sæmi: Like Bandersnatch – the EVE Online version.

Bergur: It’s like how revolutionary mobile phones were in sub-Saharan Africa. They didn’t have landlines there but now it’s 3G and 4G everywhere. Phone companies are probably still thinking about how they’ll get copper wires in the ground meanwhile the countries are ten steps ahead. Perhaps without even knowing it, we’re already ten steps ahead.

Alex: And of course, you know you’d have to star in it; at least a cameo!

Sæmi: Oh yeah, I’ll be a trashman hiding in the corner. Or hey, maybe I could finally live out my youth’s dream of being an econometrician?

Bergur: And I’ll be the Architect of New Eden!

Alex: If you ever need a red-shirt to die dramatically in the first mission, sign me up. If you were transported to New Eden today (and given a ship), what would be the first thing you’d do?

Sæmi: Find somewhere safe, man.

Bergur: I would needlejack myself into some random location and find my way back. Giving myself a chance to explore the great unknown while trying to find a way back into safe space. Sæmi, I think maybe this says a lot about us?

Sæmi: GTFO man! You know you’d find a dark corner of a station with me and just hide.

Bergur: Just hide. Hide and cry.

Alex: As promised in one of our previous interviews, I’ve been keeping a sci-fi nerd-out question until last. So without further ado – Technology is a potent force for construction and destruction, do you think it will be humanity’s saviour or its undoing?

Bergur: I think it’s going to be humanity’s saviour. I think at their core, humans are lazy and that’s one of the driving factors that move technology forward. We like to be entertained much more than we do turning up to a normal job to do a nine-to-five. Even if you look at something like the internet, we had grandiose ideas about its potential, but it’s ended up largely in cat memes. Rather than viewing that as a failure, I view it as kind of beautiful. It’s a reassuring lens with which to view other technologies that appear scary.

[caption id="attachment_387264" align="aligncenter" width="619"] “At our core, as a species, we are remarkably adaptive.”[/caption]

Bergur (continued): Take the example of the Boston Dynamic dogs. They have created these beautiful, advanced creatures that also feel a little scary and dystopian. Yet I believe we’ll just end up with an amusement approach to much of this technology. New businesses will form around buying new clothing and skins for our pet robot dogs. In many ways, while there will be job losses and more automation, people will seek refuge in technology and science, and I think it will answer that call.

Sæmi: Maybe I’m simpleminded and probably I am. But to this date, technology has helped mankind. Perhaps we’re working on a curve where suddenly things will go downhill with advancing tech, but I don’t see why that should be the case. At our core, as a species, we are remarkably adaptive – it’s been the key to our success. Of course, there are downsides of tech, but the benefits undoubtedly outweigh them. Once again, humans will adapt to meet the challenges of the future.

Alex: You don’t think we could be marching blindly towards some awful techno-fascistic future where only a few people wield control of these ever-more-powerful technologies?

Sæmi: No, but it would be kind of cool as well. Probably not to live there, but in a purely theoretical sense.

Bergur: The Skynet future!

Sæmi: On the Kardashev Scale, we are a Type-Zero civilization. A Type-One civilization is called a planetary civilization that can store and use all the energy available on its planet. A Type-Two is a stellar civilization that can control energy on the scale of its planetary systems. And it just goes further and further. It’s fascinating to theorize about what this would look like on Earth. We’ve never seen any of these types of civilizations though so it’s compelling to speculate on whether civilizations can ever reach these sizes before crumbling in on themselves. I don’t know.

Bergur: I think there will always be this forward momentum driven by our amazing ability to adapt. Take Covid as an example, while clearly not on the scale that we’re discussing, you see organizations adapt at lightning speed. Within a matter of hours, my kids’ schools switched to online teaching. It’s even true of the workplaces we see as the most inflexible – the Icelandic DMV actually went digital overnight. If they can do it, anyone can.

Alex: I never thought I’d be drawing inspiration from the Icelandic DMV.

Bergur: Then take another example. We’re in earthquake season now in Iceland, we’ve been having regular, massive quakes. There’s a tiny town at the edge of the earthquake zone and they haven’t even evacuated. Sure, they’re getting a little tired of their kitchens toppling over and stuff falling from the walls, but they just keep on living and adapting to their new circumstances. It’s this propensity to adaptation that gives me hope, really; no matter how much we push forward, I don’t think that will ever disappear. It’s like we talked about previously, humans have basic needs and longings – for care, for love, for sex. Much like our supposed vices of gluttony, greed, and envy; no matter how much we push forward technologically, these things will never become obsolete.



Bergur: Wow, we got really philosophical really quick there.

Alex: I did promise…

Bergur: I’m just feeling sorry for the guy I have to talk to next.

We always stay up to date with CCP and we’ve amassed an impressive catalogue of interviews. To read our previous EVE Online directors’ interview on personal achievements and breaking into the games industry, click here. Alternatively, to browse all our incredible EVE interviews from the past year, click here.

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