Following yesterday’s unexpected appearance of an advertisement for the position of Executive Producer for EVE Online, there was some eyebrow raising from amongst the EVE player community. Before long, official sources stepped in the quell any rumours and today CCP Games CEO Hilmar ‘CCP Hellmar’ Veigar PÃ©tursson released a devblog explaining that the incumbent Jon ‘CCP Unifex’ Lander is changing roles to focus on “mobile strategy” and that his former position will be filled externally.
For the past year, the Executive Producer position has been occupied by Lander, who could be regarded as something of a saviour, having steadied the good ship EVE and steered it into more favourable waters after a turbulent and rudderless period in 2011.
Under Lander’s stewardship, the Crucible (November 2011), Inferno (April 2012) and Retribution (December 2012) expansions restored the shaken faith of the EVE playerbase by focusing on quality of life improvements over new content. It was under Lander that the age of the “Jesus Feature” was brought to an end and a far more utilitarian and logical development process was established.
At the CSM summit in December, Lander was candid about the period, in which CCP’s strategy was to “get our shit together, focus on the core game, and recover from an ‘interesting’ 2011”
Plans in Motion
As Executive Producer, Lander has overseen the evolution of EVE’s development strategy through this corrective period and onto a more aspirational, forward-thinking position. In the summit minutes, he said;
“If we don’t have a goal, if we don’t have something that is aspirational, there are competitors out there that are going to challenge us. There are players who will say, ‘you know what? You’re no longer shooting for the stars’. One of the things that has become clear to me throughout Crucible, Inferno, and Retribution, is that it’s not the way we have done our best expansions. They are good, but they are collections of features that are loosely themed. We want to create something more inspirational, that players aspire to play, while still concentrating on spaceships.”
This new strategy, which aims to “have a broader appeal without losing the things that make it EVE” will be led by a new regime including Andie ‘CCP Seagull’ Nordgren in a new role as Director of Product Development and StefanÃa ‘CCP Ripley’ G. HalldÃ³rsdÃ³ttir as Senior Producer of Release Development, both of whom will work under the the Executive Producer role.
Early signs of this broader development palette is already evident, with increased resources focusing on EVE’s lore in the form of live events and a stunning new backstory timeline website, as well as teaser announcements of the the summer expansion Odyssey.
But what of Lander’s future as leader of “CCP’s emerging mobile strategy”? As PÃ©tursson states in his devblog, Lander has long harboured ambitions to tackle this field and there were further hints in the summit minutes, in which he is quoted as saying:
“If I had it my way, I’d take Planetary Interaction out of EVE, the game, and put it on that [gesturing at Seleene’s iPad] as a fully-fledged game in the EVE Universe. If I want to land on a planet and pull out a gun and shoot someone, I have to ask, does it make sense for me to do that in EVE Online the game? Or in the EVE Universe but through a different interface point?”
It seems that as a reward for his outstanding performance thus far, he might just get his way. I suspect he might tell us more at Fanfest, especially as there has been an edict from on high to ply him with beer:
“I am letting you know now so everyone can plan on buying Jon a lot of beers at Fanfest” – CCP Hellmar
[Check out our other daily Countdown to Fanfest features for more information and speculation on EVE Online‘s Second Decade and the Party on Top of the World.]
Title Photo: Mark ‘Seleene’ Heard
CCP Development Strategy: Delivering EVE Online Into its Second Decade (Devblog)
Planetary Interaction: Screenshot from EVE Online client