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EVE Online's Jon Lander Discusses The Inferno Expansion (Part 1)

Posted Wed, Apr 04, 2012 by Space Junkie

Jon Lander is the new Senior Producer for EVE Online, which means that he is essentially in the driver seat when it comes to deciding what to do with the game. He was kind enough to sit down with us at Fanfest 2012 and discuss his upcoming keynote speech. In the process he gives us his thoughts on the general direction of EVE, war mechanics, factional warfare, new modules, and more.

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This is the first half of the interview. The second will be published later this week.

Are you having a good time at Fanfest?

I am. There is a real buzz about the place. I was a little nervous about this new venue. Were we going to all fit? Were we going to be a big enough presence for something as grand for this? And what was the mood of the players going to be like? These are interesting times, and all that.

I went to the Celtic Cross bar last night for the #tweetfleet thing. And as I walked in there, the great thing was that nobody knew my face yet. Nobody knows what I look like. I walked in there and didn't have a Dev shirt on or anything, and everybody was like, la la la. One of the guys had his Dev shirt on and everybody was like, "Why is he talking to that guy? Does he work for CCP?"

I was quietly standing in line for a beer and Mittens comes up and goes, "hey, Jon!" Then the Mittani gives me this big bear hug, and everybody is asking, "Who is he? Who is he?" It was very strange. Tomorrow I'm going to get up on stage, and everybody is going to be like "Oh, it's that boring English guy."

This is kind of rough for me as an interview, since I am interviewing you the day before the keynote. What can I ask you that will not immediately be obsolete twenty-four hours from now?

We're taking a little bit of time to recognize what happened last year. The key thing is that we are going back to our roots. We are planning sensible stuff for 2012. Let's not make any mad ideas or plans that we can't deliver on. Whatever we say we're going to do, we'll do this year. The spaceship game is what we're doing, not any of the grand, new, insane sort of ventures which we are to a certain extent known for. Let's go back to delivering things for the players that we have, the players who come in expecting something. Let's go back to making them happy by delivering the stuff they want.

Since I started as EVE's senior producer, we have been focused internally on making sure that we're in a better place with this nine year-old game. We've made it easier to deploy changes, so that we can deploy faster and we can deploy more. And we did some restructuring around making the company -or rather, the various parts of the EVE project- so that they really focus on a specific thing that they're delivering to a customer.

Before, we had an engineering department which didn't do engineering, as opposed to a group of people who were making a game, were making a web presence, engaging with non-English speaking people for localization, or doing customer support. We're going to focus back on the customers, and what's the easiest way to do that stuff.

After that, it's really about looking forward. We have a patch coming out in April. We're putting the Crucible expansion to bed, here. The way that we were scheduling things gave us a patch date that we knew we could hit with some really good content in April. So we're having a sort of escalation to Inferno. It won't be a massive content patch at first, but rather a date where we start releasing things. April is the escalation to Inferno, and then in May, we will be releasing the real Inferno patch.

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Fanfest is really a good platform to work up on the skills you have in the graphical context. This helps you to get better in the game interface designing for sure. Eve would reach to greater levels with these approaches set for sure.
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