Eve Online in 2013: CCP to ditch feature-driven updates for expansions with “compelling themes which capture the imagination”


Eve Online’s last year was a resounding success, to hear CCP tell it – Dust 514 integration aside, it saw the developers forget their dreams of base-wandering and return to the very core of the game to do “the right thing”. Retribution was a particular highlight, with its vague theme of bounty hunting – but CCP want to do better than that. They want to deliver large-scale, themed updates, and something else – inspiration.

In practical terms, 2013’s Eve updates are to become less focused, more piecemeal – delivering improvements at a steady rate across the board.

“As we look to 2013 and beyond, I want us to start looking not at individual systems but rather at compelling themes which capture the imagination and give all of us something to strive for, be it as a player or a developer,” writes Eve exec producer Jon Lander in a new blog post.

“Within these themes we can then tackle the various systems that are within EVE Online a piece at a time and weave them together to make expansions people will be drooling over to play. Something rather more ambitious without forgetting that we need to care for this game as we want it to live for many decades to come.”

The upper tier of Eve’s development has already been restructured to reflect their newly split focus. In another post, new senior producer Andie Nordgren talks about how CCP plan to both improve the existing game and expand on what’s available to do:

“We’ll do this with releases that are themed around some aspect of the New Eden universe and we will continue to develop EVE as a rich, coherent sci-fi world with a distinct and awe-inspiring look and deep setting,” says Nordgren.

“This means that rather than having individual teams take on a particular system in the game, we will find a theme that can connect features and changes that touch multiple play styles in EVE across a spectrum of activities like exploration, industry, resource gathering and conflict.”

It’s not all change, exactly. We can still continue to look forward to Modular POSes, Ring Mining and the host of other things CCP have spent the last year talking about. They’ll be delivered gradually via the aforementioned themed releases. And next up is a point release currently planned for February 12th to introduce ship balancing, as well as tweaks to Retribution features and war declarations.

But CCP have already entered pre-production on the first chunk of themed content, the summer expansion, and plan to involve the CSM in the process. What sort of themes would you like to see them tackle? Love? Betrayal? War (again)?