We got the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Nathan Richardsson, the new Senior Producer for Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade, and ask some questions in regards to the upcoming transition and the current state of development of the game. Needless to say, it's exciting times for Warhammer 40k fans, considering Eternal Crusade is gearing up for it's first alpha / beta / early access and with Richardsson at the helm, we can be assured that a lot of successful MMO experience is coming to the table.
Richardsson started out as Senior Producer for EVE Online, then moved on to becoming Executive Producer at CCP, managing all of CCP's properties at the time (World of Darkness, EVE, Dust 514). He then moved to Trion, to become Executive Producer for Defiance, the first multi-platform sci-fi shooter MMO. When it comes to sci-fi MMOs, Richardsson has been in the business since 2004 or earlier, on a more executive level.
One critical concern for Warhammer players (especially in reading the comments) is if Richardsson knows the lore and, without a doubt, my first question was "so do you Warhammer bro?" to which Richardsson threw down some impressive knowledge, including having read over 100 of the Black Library books with some of his favorites being "Gaunt's Ghosts" and "Night Lords." He's an avid tabletop player (Blood Angels), but sadly do to the limits of living in Iceland, going full on ham on warham is costly, so no Forgeworld in his arsenal, although that may change with his move to Canada.
Nathan's views are community first, much like Miguel Caron, who is stepping away from the project. Eternal Crusade will be heavily influenced by the community, including the founders (early adopters) of the project. With that said, I can confirm that the early access will be coming within this year, if not as soon as absolutely possible. Nathan wants the game in the player's hands ASAP so they can help steer development.
One of the interesting things about having Nathan join the team is that he's got an extensive history working on console launches, including Dust 514 and Defiance, and is bringing that experience to Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade. He firmly believes that the game is definitely console friendly and will be looking at bringing to the modern consoles, which in his experience are much easier to get an MMO on then in the past. Players shouldn't fret though - PC is first priority and getting that in the player's hands is top priority, to quote Nathan himself, "[the] hurdles are not that big anymore for console."
Is Eternal Crusade really a good fit for the console? I think so, considering the Ork horde model would give F2P players on a console a chance to sit back and play something not only outright silly, but have an easy play and forget scenario. However, time will tell if bringing a massive multiplayer shooter on the console is viable, considering the feat hasn't been accomplished yet.
One other thing I learned is that the team is working on an accelerated schedule right now to get the game in player's hands ASAP and that just needs repeating because again, community focus was a big belief of Miguels and will continue to be a focus and without the game in the community's hands, they can't provide feedback.
I think that having Nathan onboard for WH40K:EC is going to be a great fit, especially with his experience in past successful sci-fi MMOs (including Defiance), knowing what does and doesn't work, and bringing that to a team that's highly enthusiastic about not only the game, but the Warhammer universe. His extensive knowledge of the lore and enthusiasm for the tabletop game, combined with his sci-fi MMO experience should play out well for WH40K:EC.
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