EVE Devs Disagree with TESO Dev about Innovation in MMOs

Gamers often complain about a lack of innovation in the MMO genre — and are justified in doing so, given the number of clones pumped out over the years — but it’s a disappointing admission coming from a developer. In an interview with PC gamer, Matt Firor, the game director for Elder Scrolls Online, said:

“At this point in the evolution of MMOs, every MMO has tried something at one point or another that you’re going to do in your game. There aren’t any more truly innovative features.”

Well, the developers of EVE Online vehemently disagree with that assessment. Speaking with PC Gamer, EVE’s lead game designer Kristoffer Touborg and senior producer Jon Lander expressed their differing opinion.

When asked if he believed there was no more innovation to be had in MMOs, Kristoffer Touborg replied, “No, and if I ever said that, Jon should fire me. No, really.” He went on to say:

“The best MMOs are entirely different. If you want my top five MMOs, they’re all completely different. Other people have tried to replicate it afterwards, but the fact is that the unique MMOs are the ones that are going to survive for a long time. Those are the interesting ones. This genre has so much left.”

Jon Lander weighed in, adding, “I think that if we thought that [there was nothing left to innovate in the MMO genre], I would probably leave the industry, because what’s the point?” He continued:

“I know we’ve got a lot of things up our sleeves which nobody else has done. You can’t force innovation. You can’t think about what the next innovative thing is—you won’t find it. The harder you try and look for it, the more difficult it is to find. You’ve just gotta have a crazy dream and roll with it, see what happens. Sometimes that doesn’t pay off, sometimes it does. But when it does pay off, you get something which is absolute gold dust. I’ve seen it happen here. I’ve seen unique things that have never been seen before in the world, in the history of gaming, that have happened at CCP. I wouldn’t agree with that statement.”

The PS3 exclusive Dust 514 and its tie-in to EVE Online is just one part of the innovation that CCP brings to the table. Do you think the EVE devs are right, or has the genre truly exhausted all possible ideas?

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1 Comment on EVE Devs Disagree with TESO Dev about Innovation in MMOs

Yup

On June 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

Absolutely agree. If you want proof, look at SWG vs SWTOR:

SWG was innovative. Sure, they took some wrong turns in development that didn’t pay off but the whole game was entirely successful.

SWTOR was not innovative. Voice overs were done well but combat and questing were just a copy. Subscription numbers headed for a downhill curve less than 3 months after release.