EverQuest Next taking inspiration from Star Trek movie reboot

Q&A: Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley talks about seminal MMORPG's future in wake of Hall of Fame induction and freemium games on consoles, confirms Vita support.

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Last week was a big one for Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game was inducted into the Game Developers Choice Online Hall of Fame, becoming just the second game to receive that honor behind Ultima Online.

Following the awards ceremony, SOE president John Smedley sat down with GameSpot to answer a few questions about the future of EverQuest and the rest of the developer's slate of titles, including the upcoming PlanetSide 2 and already-released DC Universe Online. The executive also pledged his support for Sony's upcoming PlayStation Vita portable and addressed the changing online industry landscape, including the future of the subscription-based business model and the advent of freemium options on consoles.

SOE president John Smedley.

GameSpot: EverQuest just became the second inductee into the GDC Online Awards Hall of Fame. Is that it then? Can we shut down the servers and stick a fork in the game? What's left for it to do?

John Smedley: Absolutely not. EverQuest has been going on for 13 years now, and it's going to go on for a long time. We've got big plans. Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is pretty amazing, but we see this as a recognition of some major achievements by some great game developers and how great our fans have been with the support they've shown us throughout the years.

GS: When did you realize in EverQuest's development that this could last for 13 years?

JS: Probably around the two year mark or so. We realized what we had then. Early on, we didn't realize it because there had been no precedent. Ultima Online had only been out a little while before us, so we really didn't see the future that well.

SOE expects EverQuest to endure for many years to come.

GS: So the phase EverQuest is in right now. I don't know if you want to call it "The Golden Years" or what…

JS: I look at EverQuest the way I look at Dungeons & Dragons. We're on version 4 of D&D and people are still playing in droves. Look at Magic: The Gathering...15 years I think of an awesome game. So we are big believers that this franchise is going to be there for a very long time, and we're investing in it a lot.

GS: Ultimately, what do you think EverQuest's legacy will be?

JS: I think it's going to go down as one of the big MMOs, as one of the pillars of online gaming in general. Our task now is to take the game and evolve it and make it into something new for today's fans. And I would liken that to the brilliant job J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek...the reimagining of it. That's what we're doing, and we've got some cool new things in store for players with the next one. We're hard at work on it, and we don't have anything to say about it yet, but I will say we're very stoked about it and putting our best people on it.

GS: Are there any plans with PlanetSide 2 to bring the game to the PlayStation 3 or other Sony console platforms?

JS: Stay tuned.

GS: Earlier today, a Sony rep was selling developers on making games for the Vita, saying it would support all manner of subscription and microtransaction business models, not unlike the ones SOE uses. You've gone on record as having at least expressed interest in the Vita. Any more concrete details on plans to support the hardware? Any plans to tie in functionality to any current SOE titles, for instance?

JS: SOE will be supporting Vita. We are a proud member of the PlayStation family of companies, and you can expect us to support Vita. I can't say which titles yet, but you can expect us to support it in a big way.

GS: Can you give us an update on DC Universe Online? How much more new official DC Comics content is in the works for the game? How will the new DC 52 relaunch be addressed in DC Universe Online?

PlanetSide 2 for PS3? "Stay tuned."

JS: So we just launched game update 5. We've announced it's going free to play, so a lot of focus is going toward that launch later in October. Things are going smoothly and well. I think we're going to the business model we kind of wish we'd launched with. For so many people, particularly on the PS3, the idea of a subscription makes them nervous because they don't have to do that with other games. What we've invented is free to play your own way. If they want to pay for a subscription, great; we're going to give them a lot of great benefits. If they want to pay for three months or one month, we're going to be allowing that. Not everything is going to be in there at launch, but it will be in there. We're focused on making it great.

GS: What are your thoughts on current and future pricing in the MMO market? Is there still room to continuously launch new games with a retail SKU and a monthly subscription fee? Is free to play (with microtransactions) the future or is free to play itself a model that is perhaps already reaching saturation itself?

JS: Free to play is a big part of the future, but on December 20, we're about to see a huge juggernaut launched at retail [with Star Wars: The Old Republic]. It's going to be a great game and BioWare knows how to make awesome games. And I think the retail model is still there. We're evolving our company into something different. We're in a unique position because we're inside the Sony family and have a lot of good insight into things. We're in a great place for bringing new business models to the console, so we think that's a really strong part of our future. PC is going to be right there neck and neck with it, though.

Discussion

35 comments
Morderwrath999
Morderwrath999

A New CHAMPIONS of NORRATH would be awesome for PS 3 and or 4.Loved the original.

Morderwrath999
Morderwrath999

LOL Everquest, the game that pissed me off so bad I actually tried groups for a few years just to play it, just to down something, ahh "good Times"-NOT Jk,, well not litterly.

 The 75 quests, the endless Grinde, hardly any loots, no compass or map, dial up internet that failed every hour to 3 hours. And those horrible rock monsters that blended into the landscape from the luclin expansion that put me into narcolepsy while playing that pissed off my group for falling asleep at the keyboard. ROFL .How could I forget this game. My friends had no social lives and my marriage went on the fritz for awile. Yes those were the days..

Aside from the Ninja looting and all the Twinks we called em. After the planes expansion is where I lost interest. 

I look forward to Everquest NEXT:) High hopes for a saturated shelf space.I pray a random item loot system is in. Solo can be friendly, should be an option if it cost to play.Afterall if you have to spand money should have content to be played how you enjoy it-that's IMO.

2 was abit kiddie, no town or city dungeons-lame and no interior adventuring areas, ugg the ghost town locals where the citizens walked around or just stood there offering nothing.

I had a 49th level Troll Beserker "Barragash".They whipped some ass two flails were fun.Just got tired of the grinde.

strebis6
strebis6

There's a reason they called this game Evercrack. Everquest was so fun with the huge seamless worlds.Back in the day I had dreams of running through Froglok. Please bring it back!

fightingfish18
fightingfish18

Hmm. Put Champions of Norath on ps3.. One of my favorite ps2 games ever. Heck, I'd buy one of those new fabled "HD Collections" of the first 2 bundled. But CoN 3 would be better! Other than that, I would pay a reasonable amount to Play EQ on PS3. I'll prolly grab it for PC though, I've always wanted to.

servb0ts
servb0ts

SOE is silly, Everquest made them who they are and yet SOE is bringing evedrything out except Everquest to consoles this gen, its just pathetic.

pelvist
pelvist

If they remade Everquest 1 and kept everything exactly the same as the original ( before LOY ) except with an up to date game engine with better graphics and seamless zone loading then id be interested. Unfortunately its more likely to be another WoW wanabe. EQ 1 is still the best Fantasy MMO ever made IMO.

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

Looking forward to see if the next EQ game is something special. Probably not, but maybe. EQ may not have been perfect, or wholly original, but back in the late 90s SoE still had a vision that could compete with the best.

FedCom
FedCom

Ah EQ, back when we had to rough it. Back in my day we didn't have maps in our games! No! We didn't even have compasses! We had to to use a special skill just to find NORTH!!! Ah good times. The XP camping was sort of boring in a way, yet I think that was part of the games core. Overall it was fun while I played. I still remember getting lost all the time starting out. Till I finally got used to the third dimension. Did miss UO's lack of urgency though sometimes. More so now since no one designs that way anymore.

Kan0nF0dder
Kan0nF0dder

Considering MMOs are more popular now than they were when Everquest was at it's peak, they're certainly nothing like as rewarding. Everquest was hardcore man: - Huge open world with massive zones full of stuff that would eat you alive, even non-raid, non-dungeon zones were full of horrible hazards, Kizdean Gix anybody? -When you died your body stayed where it fell, with all your gear making a hazardous (sometimes near impossible) corpse run. It ate a lot of exp too...higher levels = hours and hours worth. Death was terrifying. So the world itself was not only huge but extremely intimidating. You see a lot of people today loving Dark Souls/Demon Souls because it actually punishes mistakes and yes, requires some trial and error to make progress. This makes the game rewarding. Modern MMOs have lost this, too much hand-holding, too much instant gratification. So the worlds never really feel alive like EQ did, you're always aware your playing a game. Something EQ made you forget.

TheTrueObelus
TheTrueObelus

Only thing I ever liked about EQ was the hot female elf on the box cover.

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

I'm ready to journey to Tunaria on the PS3!

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

Guys do not hate on WoW too much. I do not like WoW but to be honest it is the closest thing to EQ. The people who made WoW were hardcore EQ players and thought hey we could make a game like this. EQ is the reason for WoW and is what WoW was based on. That said, EQ and EQOA which is EQ1 for the PS2 crushed WoW imo

cyberslammer
cyberslammer

I play EQ2 and it's way better than World of War Crap.

QQabitmoar
QQabitmoar

Ultima, EQ, Lineage. They don't make MMOs like that anymore...I wish someone would step up and make a real old-school hardcore MMO. But no, it's all about accesibility and carebear instances.

pszone
pszone

I think this time they need think to put in the game. If i was doing this i will take a lot thinking and ask pp what to put in this mmo to make it work for for the fans seriously.

d3c3b4l
d3c3b4l

Oh, Evercrack.. I wish I could say that I miss you.. but I am playing you.. or are you playing me? :)

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

I HOPE THEY MAKE THIS LIKE THE BEST EQ OF ALL EQOA FOR PS2!

Vortec33
Vortec33

Wow EQ. What a amazing exp it was when it first came out. You felt like you Lived in that world.

SSJSasuke10
SSJSasuke10

@oflow Yeah, they need to make it on PS3 because it looks like a great game and not everyone of us has a gaming PC.

Cybertori
Cybertori

I loved EverQuest - played it daily for like five years. Glad to see the game getting some recognition - it really did change things.

oflow
oflow

Planetside 2 for PS3 !! It must happen!

Ringx55
Ringx55

Nothing was better than EQ back in the day... It truly made MMO's what they are today.

monstachruck
monstachruck

I like the nod to TOR- can't wait for december!

Targzissian
Targzissian

I played the Ultima Online beta back in summer 1997, and I played Everquest II for one month when it launched. I never tried the original Everquest.

JasPlun
JasPlun

I think what he means is that it will be something like they had in the movie which was an alternate universe so they can make it different without people saying omg! what have they done.There will probably be folks like that,but taking it in a different direction could be really good for it.I am keeping an eye on this game:P

tachsniper
tachsniper

John Smedley you are a D I C K. Save your company some dignity and resign.

Killjoyrules
Killjoyrules

"So, they're going to hire some lousy writers to churn out a horrible, formulaic script that makes a total mockery out of the original?" Way to be totally wrong, champ.

nparks
nparks

"EverQuest Next taking inspiration from Star Trek movie reboot" So, they're going to hire some lousy writers to churn out a horrible, formulaic script that makes a total mockery out of the original?

svaubel
svaubel

EQ brought MMO gaming into the mainstream. Lost track of how many years I played that game. Good times.

Archontic
Archontic

The graphics and technology are massively dated, but when you give it a real and fair chance it's easy to see why it was so phenomenal. Should be a prerequisite to playing any other MMO.

Brettsky128
Brettsky128

Ah EQ, you took several years of my life. I hate you, and thank you. I love you.

ivanfred
ivanfred

I want Everquest for the PS3, please.