A series of new job postings on CCP’s career portal has confirmed that the EVE developer aims to build an entirely new MMORPG. With EVE Online’s 15th anniversary on the horizon, and with a string of under-performing experiments in the rear-view, it’s clear that CCP is anxious to lay the foundation for the next fifteen years. But if they succeed, what will that game look like?

CCP London is the company’s newest studio, only a year old. The studio has a broad slate of new positions available, including Art Director, Lead Designer, and half a dozen senior design and engineering roles. Some of those job postings include details that indicate the kind of game CCP wants to develop.

Lead Designer

  • “…experience of RPG gameplay and systems design development.”
  • “Fantastic games knowledge (both classic and contemporary), especially in MMORPGs.”
  • “Experience with the UE4 engine and blueprints is a real plus.”
  • “Ownership of the accuracy of both economy and balance modeling.”

MMOs as a genre have declined in recent years, and a callback to classic MMOs may strike a positive note with players. Back in 2013, the British game design academic Richard Bartle noted:

“…they cost too much to make; too many of them play the exact same way; new revenue models put off key groups of players; they lack immersion; they lack wit and personality; players have been trained to want experiences that they don’t actually want; [and] designers are forbidden from experimenting.”

These are some of the greatest pitfalls that any MMO designer needs to face, and CCP will certainly run into some combination of them. In my opinion, EVE stands head and shoulders above the crowd for the uniqueness of gameplay, immersion, and sensible revenue models. EVE has struggled, though, with ‘training players to want experiences they don’t actually want.’ I spent a year or so as a miner. Enough said?

UE4 (Unreal Engine 4) is a common, performance-optimized game engine. It’s the same engine used by EVE Valkyrie and the successor to the engine used by DUST 514. UE4 blueprints allow developers to prototype new games easily. UE4 can support a broad set of platforms, including PCs, consoles, VR, and mobile devices. Perhaps, fortunately, none of the new London postings speak to VR. It looks like CCP may intend to build a stable, competent PC or cross-platform game – a return to meat and potatoes after playing around with virtual reality.

Art Director

  • “Hands-on experience driving the early concept development of a game’s art style, covering environments, characters, and UI.”
  • “Good sense of storytelling and continuity.”

Yes, EVE has story elements, and yes, ships are technically characters – but I can’t be alone in seeing a more normally-scaled MMO here.

Engineer

  • “You will have experience in the implementation and maintenance of various game systems, including AI, navigation, combat and real-time networking…”
  • “…experience developing or playing MMOs is definitely a bonus.”

Senior 3D Artist

  • “They should also be confident working in a number of areas, creating environments, weapons, armor, and props.”
  • “A passion for AAA video games, ideally MMOs, MOBAs and ARPGs.”
  • “Keen understanding of current and new world-building techniques and technologies…”

Senior Animator

  • “…help develop and deliver a strong animation style for a new IP.”
  • “Experience with the creation of Rigs and Skinning of Characters.”
  • “Experience with motion capture shoots, and the management of the returned capture data.”

Note that mention of a new IP probably excludes the old White Wolf license and all EVE spinoffs.

Senior Backend Engineer

  • “…ideally for scalable, complex MMOs.”

Senior Character Artist

  • “Strong understanding of the use of silhouette in the readability of characters.”
  • “…demonstrated expert knowledge of organic and hard-surface modeling techniques…”
  • “Good understanding of human anatomy and body mechanics.”
  • “Knowledge of Marvelous Designer [a 3D tool for clothes and fabrics].”

UX [User Experience] Designer

  • “The ideal candidate should demonstrate a passion for developing frictionless easy-to-use designs and systems that enhance the players’ game experience.”
  • “Ensure players have the information they need at precisely the right time while not overwhelming them with unnecessary data.”
  • “Propose a range of creative UX ideas that deliver an intuitive and enjoyable user flow experience.”
  • Several other notes about intuition and ease of use.

At this point (between the mention of a new IP, a strong focus on human characters, and an easy-to-use interface) it’s fairly clear that this game will not be EVE 2.0. There might even be reason to hope it’s not World of Warcraft XXVII.


Jenne Exupery

Jenne Exupery is a low-wattage independent who dabbles in shipping, salvage, trade, exploration, and nearly victimless heists. He can usually be found bumming around Derelik and Domain under one name or another. Preferred contact method: in-game mail to Jenne Exupery of Manticore-Horizon Shipping [MANHO].

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