We're back with another edition of our fantastic EVE interviews, where our Head of Content sits down with the amazing folk at our favourite Sci-Fi MMO. In this month's edition of "In Conversation with EVE Online's Directors" we covered the very end of the Foundation Quadrant (don't worry, we'll be exploring Gateway soon too); intergalactic peace, and reconsidering the questions of aliens in our solar system. Enjoy!
Alex: So, what happened in Foundation and New Eden over the last few months? Are there any interesting player dynamics that you didn’t anticipate?
Sæmi: The end of war!
Bergur: Before we open that can of worms, let’s touch a little on the Foundation Quadrant. We’ve been giving each of the empires a stronger voice by emphasizing their leaders. It always makes me so happy seeing this lore come to life and seeing the roleplay-heavy players super excited. But even the players that you think will have no interest in the backstory, they participate and get really engaged when we create these leader assets with walking, talking personas. Honestly, it warms my nerdy heart to see something like the Minmatar trailer get so much love from people who usually just argue spreadsheets and ship balance.
Sæmi: It’s been awesome for me personally, more as a fan, to watch these videos. I just think they’re super well done. Obviously, I know I’m completely biased because I’m working at CCP, but I really have nothing to do with them. Just being on the side-line and watching them come to life, it’s so immersive – it gives you a taste of what this world could look like. It just makes me want to watch a New Eden Netflix series. It’s crazy some of these cool phrases, like “Cross us and you’ll swiftly find the blade…of steel…or something.” I’m butchering it, but watch it, it’s the Gallante one. Or there’s the talk of beams of holy fire in the Amarr Empire’s video. You can feel how obnoxious and nasty they are. I love it.
“Cross us and you shall quickly find the steel beneath the velvet.”*
Bergur: The game has been out for 18 years, and we’ve been writing this rich backstory and players have been adding to it and writing their own story, so of course there is so much to show and sometimes we can lose ourselves in the nitty-gritty details of the problems of today. These videos were an opportunity to take a step back to just appreciated everything as a whole.
Alex: We did say that if EVE Online did a show, it would be the best sci-fi on Netflix.
Bergur: Oh yes, absolutely.
Sæmi: Totally unbiassed of course.
Sæmi: Also on tech side, we’re bringing EVE to a native mac client. It’s a significant improvement for the EVE Apple player-base, which is approximately 5%. Apple are also releasing some killer stuff; I’ve had some smart people explain how Apple are connecting software and hardware development for optimization suggesting that Apple will be a gaming juggernaut in the future – which is super cool.
Alex: I know a few Mac MMO Gamers that’s going to make very happy. Is it time we spoke about the war yet, or rather the lack of it? This peace, was it inevitable?
Sæmi: It’s like in sports when teams reach a winning streak, you always say the more you win the closer you get to losing. So, in a way it was inevitable, it was just a question of when. But you know this war has been super cool to follow and learn about. We have regular internal presentations where we get subject matter experts from the community team or other pockets to update everyone and the folks at CCP are always super entertained and eager to learn about it. And this is just my opinion, but I’m sure most people are relieved now that the war is over. War is great, but this war was a long one during an unprecedented challenge in real life too re Covid. I think people are now ready to learn how to make ISK again in New Eden, to try different things, not just being locked up in three systems in null sec.
Alex: “War is great” – Sæmi Hermannsson. Looks like we’ve got our title.
Bergur: Ha! And even though leaders have had their speeches and they’re pulling the troops back, there’s still a lot of activity going on. There are all these post-war wraps-ups with people moving assets, returning home, cleaning up the waste the other side left behind, reclaiming space or defending space they’re not willing to give back. So there’s a lot of activity that’s interesting, skirmishes popping up left and right and even a few big fights.
Alex: One of our previous interviews was entitled “Peace Among the Planets? Think Again.” Do you think there’s a chance of new war breaking out any time soon?
Sæmi: It’s like any big war, it never really ends after the big stuff ends. It will fizzle out, the defenders will go on the attack, the attackers will go on the defence. Alliances will break down, you know, it’s an interesting time.
Bergur: I second that. Wars are extremely interesting but often you can’t tell the story of the war until after it’s done. Now we’re going into the rebuilding phase, we’re taking stock. The futures of PAPI and Imperium are yet to be written.
Alex: And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the hyper-nerdy geek-out question. We previously discussed alien civilizations and to paraphrase your answer you said you didn’t believe in little green men kidnapping people off rowing boats in the Bible Belt, but that chance dictates alien civilizations exist or existed, we’re just too separated by time and space to encounter them. In recent months, there has been a lot of clamour over newly released CIA reports and declassified footage, has any of that swayed you at all?
Bergur: So, errmm, well…no! With these reports I’m in the camp of these were experiments that went horribly wrong, and the alien card was the easiest card to play. But I’m fascinated with this idea that we have all these agencies trying out new technology, especially during the Cold War when paranoia was rife about the other side having next-level tech. Each side assumed that the best way was diving into science-fiction and comics and throwing money into discovering whether say teleportation or saucer-shaped planes were feasible. Then when they inevitably realised that disc-shaped aeroplanes with jet boosters on the back wasn’t the best idea in the world that they played the UFO card, wrapped it in red tape, and classified it for 50 years.
Alex: “Oh we definitely didn’t waste three billion dollars researching this.”
Bergur (continued): Exactly! And I think in many ways it’s just a massive trolling moment, knowing that they’re throwing fire on the flames and that people will be debating the footage forever. Having said that it’s like you say, if you look at the statistics, there must be some life somewhere. Maybe it’s just some bacteria somewhere on the surrounding planets, but also we’re constantly finding more planets in habitable zones, and I think there is a real chance of discovering something more developed going on. I don’t know if it’s going to happen in my lifetime or my children’s lifetimes, but I’m super super stoked to see what’s going on.
Alex: Ha! Yes, I’m with you there.
Bergur: Though I do think it’s hilarious that there were these grey-haired men in the 50’s with thin ties genuinely trying to figure out strange structures or weapon systems they read about in their kids’ Superman comics and bringing it to a NASA meeting like “Yes, let’s do it!” Then six months and 300 million dollars later realising “Oh this was a really stupid idea.”
Alex: “But, but what about the Soviets?”
Bergur: “Ah yes! The Russians! What about the Russians and their spy wasps!?” What was the recent one in the seas of Norway last year?
Alex: Spy Dolphins? Cyber Manatees?
Bergur: Spy whales, I think. But after a few weeks of debates, it’s like, “Oh wait, no, it’s just got a GPS tracker on it and they’re using it for marine research. But everyone’s heads immediately went into this Cold War mentality of “Oh yes, looks like they’re definitely building evil weapons of mass destruction and using belugas to hit up our secrets of how to fish cod more efficiently.”