Welcome to our latest exclusive EVE Online interview, where we get nerdy and philosophical with EVE’s Creative Director, Bergur Finnbogason. We discussed EVE’s recent world-record breaking “Massacre of M2-XFE” (a battle causing $340,000 worth of damage), futurism, the human-condition, tribalism, belonging, and an almighty Easter Egg woven into the very heart of EVE Online.
In our last interview, we started by congratulating you on your world-records for biggest PvP battles in gaming history. Thanks to the New Year "Massacre of M2-XFE", we’ll start by congratulating you again for an even more destructive achievement. What can you tell us about your latest bank-busting battle?
Tensions have been brewing in this ongoing war since before the summer of 2020. Unlike some of our other wars, this one only seems to escalate. Following a laying down of arms over Christmas, PAPI attacked the home of Imperium; that’s when things really got personal and sh*t hit the fan.
Thousands of players turned up and fought their hearts and minds out. It was chaos. And then, with 12,000 players scrambling to get into M-2, the second battle commenced. Imperium forces are now in control of the keepstar and playing the waiting game, PAPI forces are stranded in enemy territory desperately looking for an escape so they don’t experience a massacre of their own. It could well become an endless capital piñata.
“Like so many occurrences in EVE Online, it’s like taking a mixture of historical events and throwing them into a blender.”
We saw things we’d never seen before. It was a lot for our servers to deal with, and not everything ran smoothly. But the incredible levels of data we gathered from the battle will help us push boundaries for years to come.
It’s further testament to the depth and realism of EVE’s in-game politics that a Christmas truce occurred. Is that a regular phenomenon?
I’ve been racking my brain thinking about whether this is something that’s happened in the past. We regularly see brief armistices, gentlemen’s agreements out of respect for fallen comrades. But to have a truce of this scale over the Christmas period I think is unique for us. I’ve heard a few stories of how it originated, but we’re still trying to get to the bottom of it.
It’s very cool though, even if it led to a gigantic massacre.
Like so many occurrences in EVE Online, it’s like taking a mixture of historical events and throwing them into a blender. Battles in EVE are on a spectrum ranging from the noble elements of The Napoleonic Wars to a type of victory-by-any-means guerrilla-militia warfare that we have a beautiful word for in Iceland, “skæruliði”.
What else has been happening in New Eden?
We had a highly popular Christmas event that catered to all playstyles, it contained a mining element, combat element, and exploration element. It’s very much in line with how we want to progress moving forward. We want to expand our toolkit while making sure that all our live events are part of a greater narrative. We also recently provided custom year-in-review videos that went down a treat. We’ll certainly be expanding on those in the years to come.
“Someone should stop me if this isn’t public knowledge.”
Another really exciting and fun venture has been our Japanese relaunch. We initially launched in Japan in 2012. But since our Korean launch last year, we’ve learned the value of working with a partner when localizing.
I’ve heard other game developers say the same thing, how localization needs to be so much more than translation.
Exactly! We’ve dug deeper into the cultural elements that can make or break a game in different geographies. Individualism and dedication are much stronger in Japanese culture; the approaches that work in European or NA territories can’t be applied in the same way. Working with the Japanese community has really been paying off, and we look forward to a more sustained, long-term community there. Rival factions are already emerging, which makes it a more exciting experience for everyone.
In one of our previous interviews about the surprising inspirations behind EVE Online, you told me that “42” played a crucial role in EVE. As soon as I got off the call, I started kicking myself for not pressing you for more information. Can you reveal anymore?
It’s the number of years CCP Games will take to complete its world domination! No but really, I’m not sure if I should be telling you this; someone should stop me if this isn’t public knowledge. The algorithm that initially created the universe, all of these star systems and names – the seed was 42. Because that is the answer to all questions. It’s a pretty poetic little homage to everyone’s favourite sci-fi novel.
I wish I’d known that before writing an article on the most epic Easter eggs in MMOs.
Stay tuned for the second part of this interview next week, where Bergur discusses competitors, the sci-fi technology that is becoming a reality in front of our eyes, the future of humanity, and his excitement for EVE Online in 2021.
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