EverQuest Next - The Story So Far
EverQuest Next - The Story So Far
By Stacy "martuk" Jones on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 7:55 PM
We’re less than one month away from the official reveal of EverQuest Next. That short wait can feel like an eternity if you’re a fan anxiously waiting on the edge of your seat to find out what exactly the devs at Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) have been cooking up down at SOE headquarters. But there’s a lot more information out there than you might realize. Luckily, good ol’ Martuk is here to break it down for you.
EverQuest Next - The Story So Far
Just over a year ago, our own Ben de la Durantaye had the chance to speak with Dave Georgeson, director of development for the EverQuest franchise, and that seems like as good a place as any to start. While EverQuest Next was still under lockdown at a high security bunker with heavily-armed New Conglomerate soldiers standing guard at SOE HQ, Georgeson did offer a few interesting tidbits during his time with Ben.
"Wait until you see spellweaving in the next EverQuest," Georgeson teased. "I've said too much but you've never played a game like it. I can promise you that.
"We have two EverQuest games we can already use as testbeds for what we plan on with the next one. While we're doing that we're putting a huge focus on storytelling over the next year. We want characters to become memorable parts of the story arcs. We want to bring back the world to virtual worlds. This is a re-imagined Norrath. Think of the EverQuest games as three separate universes--a multiverse."
And given that the Destiny of Velious events seem to be coming to a head in EverQuest II, you may also find this little nugget somewhat useful in fueling your speculation.
"We need to finish up with the Destiny of Velious stuff in EverQuest II first," he responded. "We have a very specific plan for the reveal and until the vision can be realized we won't reveal much more about it. We have four pillars to overcome. We've just gotten over one and a half now. But expect more next year. " Georgeson then smiled mischievously and laughed, pulling back a bit. "I just can't wait to show you guys."
All that stuff above actually becomes a bit more intriguing when you factor in this little tweet from Georgeson late last month.
@TuxedoMat each Norrath is different plane. CT dead in EQ, not EQII. Reverse true for rallos zek. But all Norraths touch in Ethernere.— David Georgeson (@DaveGeorgeson) June 26, 2013
For those less familiar with the lore, Ethernere is a realm introduced to EverQuest II with the Chains of Eternity expansion. It’s described as “a realm never intended for living souls.” There’s been a few, um, “god and dragon incidents” since that have wrought havoc across Norrath. It’s also a testament to just how far ahead SOE was thinking about this in terms of the lore and weaving it into the project in some way. But what they’re up to, and where this is going, is anyone’s guess.
EverQuest Next and Storybricks
Another thing worthy of note from earlier this year is that Storybricks creator, Namaste Entertainment, confirmed a new partnership with SOE to bring Storybricks to the EverQuest Next project. For those unfamiliar with Storybricks, it’s a toolset developed with the goal of making more complex and realistic A.I. in games to provide more immersive environments and emerging behavior. In their announcement newsletter, the Storybrick team called EverQuest Next “the biggest sandbox ever designed.”
But Martuk, some of you say, that's not enough information on the Storybricks? I need to know more. Well grab a snack and an ice cold beverage (with or without alcohol, it’s your choice) my soon to be inebriated friends and check out this video that talks all about it.
Free-to-Play(er Studio) and the ForgeLight Engine
For you creative types out there in the community, you'll be happy to know that Player Studio will also be a big part of EverQuest Next as confirmed by Dave Georgeson in an interview with Massively, teasing that the feature will be even bigger and more open to players along with the creative SOEmote that was added to EverQuest II last year.
So what else do we know? We know that EverQuest Next is designed using SOE’s new ForgeLight engine, the same engine currently powering PlanetSide 2. We know that SOE is, in John Smedley’s words, “becoming a completely free-to-play company”, so it’s probably a safe bet to assume that EverQuest Next will, like SOE’s other games, include a free-to-play option. It’s probably even safer to assume that since Dave Georgeson has already confirmed it in a Curse interview.
We also know that SOE have already announced that PlanetSide 2 and DC Universe Online will be joining the PlayStation 4 lineup along with The Elder Scrolls Online, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and War Thunder, so will EverQuest Next be next? It certainly wouldn’t be EverQuest’s first trip to the console scene, and, as John Smedley has pointed out, the possibility is certainly there.
@Vykenos :) there is always that possibility. Coincidentally Forgelight is used on EQN too— John Smedley (@j_smedley) June 5, 2013
Factions didn’t have the same bit of kill-you-on-sight fun in EverQuest II that EverQuest had. So it should be interesting to see how SOE implements factions in EverQuest Next. And on that note, here’s a word from John Smedley.
@mhoward48 you have no idea just how far we are going to make them important. Oh yeah. You will both be very happy.— John Smedley (@j_smedley) June 23, 2013
Smed is such a tease.
One of the juicier bits of news to be revealed thus far came from Smed in another Gamasutra interview in which he discussed the content churn in MMORPGs, a war Smed feels has already been fought and lost by the developers.
In my opinion, the days when companies can make content [generation] the number one strategy, in the kinds of games we make, are over, because we can't win the war. Star Wars [The Old Republic] proved that. Players bought it, loved it and they played the game. Then they left."
In the same interview, Smed dropped this interesting nugget, indicating that we just might get our hands on a little something from EverQuest Next before the end of the year.
"Players will get their hands on an actual release version of what we're doing late [this] year - and I don't mean a beta," says Smedley.
So there you have it folks. That’s what we know so far. The official EverQuest Next reveal will take place during SOE Live on August 2nd, 2013. Stay tuned following that as I know a certain Ten Ton Hammer team that will have some fresh and exciting new information for you when the veil is lifted.
Are you looking forward to EverQuest Next? Tell us your hopes and fears in the comments below.