Our monthly EVE Online Interviews with the charismatic CCP directors are back with a bang.
Future Crossovers | Space Oddities | EVE Forever – EVE Online Interviews
Our informal EVE Online interviews are back for 2022! And this month's conversation with CCP's Brand Director Sæmundur Hermannsson and CCP's Creative Director Bergur Finnbogason revolved around lessons from the Doctor Who crossover and the potential for some more IPs to get the New Eden treatment. Plus, we got a little too carried away discussing EVE's homage to David Bowie and got personal when philosophising about the concept of EVE Forever.
We'll be able to kind of co-exist on different dimensions – whether that's something that you can call a metaverse, I'm not sure.
It was hard to miss the Doctor Who crossover. I'm bias because I'm British, but did everyone enjoy it as much as me?
Bergur: Yes, it's safe to say the good doctor created a lot of heated conversation after it was first announced, but once people got their hands on it, they got really pumped. The great thing about doing events this far-out is that we're able to break the mould and push the boundaries of what's possible. This was one of our most fun events, I really enjoyed it – not because I'm a big Doctor Who fan but more because I had a lot of unadulterated fun, and I made money which is a first for me.
Sæmi: There were some rumblings in the community when we announced the event, but as players were able to get hands-on with it, we saw a significant shift in opinion. Once people tried it, the good word spread via podcasts and streamers. And not just established EVE streamers, through our global marketing campaigns we had a real influx of new players, new influencers, and new player-made content.
So, what's next? Star Wars or Star Trek? Surely EVE Online is begging for an Expanse crossover?
Bergur: There are a lot of I.P.s that reach out to us, but we say no to 99.999% of them. We have some that we pay homage to with a few things in-game, things that have been an inspiration to us – David Bowie or 2001 Space Odyssey for instance. But this is the first time we've gone this deep into an IP collaboration and it's a scary endeavour. We took a half step with Project Discovery, working with third-party content while taking real science into the game. But yes, there are certain IPs… they know my name from all the fan mail… if I hear back from them, who knows what evil darkness we might attempt?
Well, I'll await a Ring Gate opening and MCR forces coming flooding in
Bergur: Probably best that we take the time to digest our learnings before we flood New Eden with Belters and Martians.
Sæmi: It's also very important to do these crossovers in a graceful way that is respectful of EVE's 18-year legacy. We're certainly not in a rush to start doing this every month. EVE is 18 years old and thriving. 2020 and 2021 were the biggest years for new players joining us. We clearly don't want to do this all the time, but we didn't get to 20 years by just sticking with the status quo.
I want to talk to you more about this concept of EVE forever, but I can't change the subject without finding out more about the David Bowie tribute.
Bergur: David Bowie had an incredible impact on a lot of people here. And you know we're mostly of a generation that lived with him from birth - we were born into a world with David Bowie, and he played a big role in our generation's upbringing. I still remember first seeing the old Ziggy Stardust album covers and it had a huge impact on the person I became. And when he sadly passed away before his time, we felt like we wanted to pay homage to him. So, if you're lucky enough, you can come across Major Tom floating through space.
Sæmi: I remember the day that Bowie passed away. It was the first time in my life where I got sad because another person that I didn't know passed away.
Bergur: Myself and a few others just stopped working that day when we found out. We just went to the bar.
- Redacted: 10 more minutes of David Bowie fan-boying from Sæmi, Bergur, and Alex -
I want to talk about a concept we've discussed a lot in our monthly conversations, "EVE Forever". Exact predictions are an impossibility in a player-led universe, but I'm intrigued to know your vision for the next 20 years of EVE Online.
Bergur: We've spoken a lot about giving more control to our players, and that's something we will always strive to do. How will we give players that autonomy? What is the moment that will allow players to get paid for their activity? It's a fascinating end goal that ties into questions of "What is nature in EVE Online?", "What are the laws of that nature?", and "How do we give more control to those powers of nature?"
Bergur (continued): Living in Iceland, nature plays a huge part in our lives. We're constantly failing due to nature, and we spend enormous amounts of power and energy manipulating our closest surroundings to deal with this literal beast of nature. There is something extremely engaging about it. One of the biggest drawbacks in EVE today is that nature is extremely static – you get the same asteroid belts spawn in the same place every day.
Bergur (continued): The road to changing that is through this beautiful idea of the rules of nature. So, in 20 years' time, I want players to have more control and for nature to have more control. There are a million incredibly interesting paths of getting there, and that's something I'm excited to see realised.
You're an optimist, what about the next one hundred years of EVE Online?
Bergur: Ha! Look at gaming today compared to gaming five years ago. Already in five years' time again, it will have radically changed. But there is a trajectory. Gaming is becoming a more integral and integrated part of our day-to-day lives, and this blurry line between realities is going to become almost non-existent. We'll be able to kind of co-exist on different dimensions – whether that's something that you can call a metaverse, I'm not sure. But these concepts are extremely cute, and I love that in 2022, people are finally realizing how awesome EVE Online was when it came out in 2003. But they need a new word for that emotion, and for now that's "metaverse".
Sæmi: 100 years is just one unfathomable too far – society 100 years ago is unrecognisable – it gets too crazy to talk about. However, 20 years from now we'll surely have many more diverse ways to participate in EVE – not just in spaceships but on planets, inside ships, and everything in between.
Bergur: Oh, I'm confident we'll have that way before than 20 years.
Sæmi: Very true. They say of humans "We overestimate what can be done in a year and we underestimate what can be done in a decade."
Bergur: In our EVE World Tour in 2019, the two of us spoke a lot about how hard it is to see further than five years in the future. We have no idea what it will look like. My great grandfather passed away in 2010, he was born in 1910 so he was just over one hundred years old when he passed. Just before he died, we were talking about the big moments in his life, what were the actions and inventions that brought about the biggest changes? He lived through two world wars, and his answer? Rubber boots. Not mobile phones. Not the internet. Not medicine. Rubber boots. Why? Because every other weekend he would walk up to two hundred kilometres to see my great grandmother who lived in a different part of Iceland. He'd do it in leather shoes with leather soles. He'd visit her whatever the weather, walking through the highlands – and that was his reality. That's less than one hundred years ago, but it's insane to think about that today.
That's a truly beautiful story, thank you for sharing it.
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