Recently, it was officially announced that EVE will be handed over to NetEase for a release in China. Chinese gaming news site 17173 sat down with Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP Games, at China Joy to discuss the future of the EVE universe. They talked about changes that might be made to the Chinese version of EVE, the upcoming mobile games, VR, and the progress up EVE-related movies and TV shows. Check out the translation of their conversation below.
17173: Why did you choose to partner with NetEase?
Pétursson: Among many other possible partners, we finally chose to work with NetEase for two main reasons. First, NetEase and CCP were both founded in 1997—it’s fate. NetEase also has a wealth of experience in the computer game market.
Secondly, during the team arrangement process, we found that there are many old EVE players at NetEase who are very familiar with the game. NetEase Games is very similar to CCP in many ways, so we finally chose to partner with them.
17173: What new changes will this partnership bring to EVE?
Pétursson: At present, our goal is to synchronize the latest content of the Chinese version with what’s already in the global version.
Specifically, first, add more fortification buildings which are related to in-game industry and scientific research. Secondly, we will also introduce the Alpha and Omega clone mechanism from the global version, and, of course, the latest game content from Into the Abyss which was released in May in addition to the follow-up content from Lifeblood. At the same time, the in-game currency, Plex, will also be recreated and adjusted.
17173: The Chinese version is expected to enter beta in October. With NetEase taking over, what new changes will the Chinese version have?
Pétursson: On the one hand is the data aspect, we guarantee all the Chinese EVE player data from the past 10+ years will be kept, including definitely keeping anything worthy, and completely handed over to NetEase.
Also, new content from the global version, the newly added fortress buildings, including design changes to the in-game currency, combined with the player data will finally bring together an efficient and perfect state of affairs. If this content is prepared well, then we’ll be able to enter the testing phase in October.
17173: EVE players are a special group, they are very hardcore, and the loyalty to the game is quite high. How do you view Chinese EVE players after working with NetEase, and what are the ideas and plans for the community?
Pétursson: As the CEO of CCP, I have participated in many player gatherings worldwide. EVE players around the world are very enthusiastic and hardcore, but Chinese players have a special situation. Chinese players are relatively young, which is quite unexpected.
One thing we’re doing now, I hope that through our new partner, we can try to make Chinese players feel a sense of belonging in the EVE world.
Moreover, there’s a growing interest in the world for developing Chinese versions of games. After cooperating with NetEase, we’ll try to carry out more esports activities, including bringing the global version’s Council of Stellar Management system to the Chinese version, allowing players to interact more closely with developers. I hope that everyone under the common universe will find the same sense of belonging.
Polishing the Mobile Game, Hoping to Reproduce the Computer Game
17173: At the press conference, NetEase and CCP also announced the latest mobile game, Project Galaxy. How will CCP consider and arrange the mobile games field in the future?
Pétursson: Based on observations of player behavior in global game markets by CCP over the past two years, we found that players, especially in Asian markets more so than in Western markets, are beginning to be more willing to try mobile hardcore MMOs.
NetEase’s attempts to move some of their own subsidiary MMOs from computer to mobile have been very successful. During our communication process, NetEase also expressed such a desire, which was a good opportunity for EVE, so we made that decision.
17173: When you port a game from computer to mobile, there are many choices you must make. How is EVE mobile made? Will it be possible to play an authentic, perfectly similar EVE on mobile in the future?
Pétursson: When the mobile game is launched in 2019, it may be the same as when EVE is launched on the PC. It will have the complete core experience. However, to ensure the experience is optimized, it won’t be unduly overloaded with functions.
Instead, it will take more time, and rely on the strength of the community to create this game together. Like the EVE computer version, it will be polished little by little. In our opinion, the most important thing is quality, not content quantity.
17173: Large-scale battles have always been a core part of EVE. How will they be implemented in the mobile game?
Pétursson: Similar to the computer version attempt, when you start, there aren’t thousands of players fighting in the same place. Rather, it gradually develops to a larger scale.
We believe that along with the development of the game and with help from better performing mobile devices, we’ll be able to reproduce the magnificent view of those massive battles.
The EVE Universe Isn’t Just One New Product Launch; Investment in VR will Depend on Market Changes
17173: CCP’s current absolute focus is on the EVE universe. What kind of plans are there for new products in the future based on EVE?
Pétursson: In addition to several VR games mentioned before, there are a lot of projects currently being developed. What I can mention now is an FPS game, Project Nova, which is based on Dust 514.
In addition to the mobile game being co-produced with NetEase, there’s also a mobile game being jointly developed with a Finnish company (PlayRaven) called EVE: War of Ascension, which is already now in the online testing stage.
17173: CCP has invested in a lot in the VR field. What do you think about VR’s current situation? What considerations will CCP face in the future?
Pétursson: CCP has produced a variety of games for VR, two games in the EVE: Gunjack series, EVE: Valkyrie, and Sparc. Players continue to experience them, and they have a very healthy community. These couple of games, whether it’s in terms of quality or gameplay, maintain the leading position in the industry.
We think that VR itself is a very good experience, but the current group of games may be a little slow in adapting to it, and the system power hasn’t developed as quickly as expected these past few years.
Our next strategy is to preserve the operation and maintenance of existing games. At the same time, we’re also observing the changes and developments in the system power of the VR market. In the next three to five years, depending on market changes, it’s entirely possible that we will be involved in the VR field again.
17173: In addition to games, you’ve previously mentioned EVE-related films and television shows. What progress has there been now?
Pétursson: At present, there isn’t much progress. Because there is a considerable amount of work to do, we are in the process of pushing forward methodically.