2011 has been an excellent year for videogames, I'd say - but one videogame it has not been an excellent year for is EVE Online. The space MMO has been through the wringer in recent months: leaked internal memos, poorly-received updates, a misguided move towards microtransactions, protests, fan-angering dev blogs... More recently, devs CCP announced they would be sadly pruning their ranks, refocusing on the core EVE game and trying to win back their fans' ardour. Part of that, it transpires, involves occasionally notorious senior producer Arnar “CCP Zulu” Gylfason handing the captain's chair to someone else.
Gylfason was something of a public face for CCP when it was trying to defend itself during virtual clothing-gate, authoring some rather contentious statements on the matter. Eventually, he confessed to "hubris" and promised action to correct it. Here is that action, I guess: falling on his sword. In a brief farewell, he claimed that:
"This has been an incredibly intense time. The EVE team here at CCP has certainly been pushed to the limit and beyond and we as a company learnt quite a few harsh lessons. It‘s been a tough time but I know we will use this as an opportunity to improve, to grow and to mature.
To ensure and facilitate that happening properly I‘ve decided to step down as Senior Producer and Jon Lander, previously the head of our Carbon Technology group, will take the reins while we transition the EVE project into a better and more efficient organization.
Lander, aka CCP Unifex, has been quick to make reassuring noises to the playerbase:
"We are changing EVE’s internal project structure to bring it in line with a product that has nearly 200 people working on it and making sure that everyone is concentrating on delivering a game which has real value for our players. As well as changing the project organization, we will also be spending time on improving our internal tools, pipelines and processes to improve our efficiency and effectiveness for the future.
Finally, we will be concentrating on those features we already have in the game after 8 years of development. Yes, we will be iterating (it‘s not a dirty word) on those features which need some polish, balance, fixes and general love. The releases throughout 2012 will be an extension of the type of release we had with Crucible with the addition of a theme to help us scope and tie the work into a really compelling and coherent package. The first theme is going to be War and everyone is getting very excited about it."
It's war! Hopefully war spells good news for the beleaguered spaceships game - certainly sounds like they're trying to make their wheel spin more efficiently instead of reinventing it.
Also, they're firing a special pod containing the names and avatar images of all their players into space at the next Eve fanfest, which is rather lovely. Unless it's all a ruse, and they're actually going to fire all their players into space to stop them moaning. That wouldn't be lovely.
More details on the regime change and SPACE POD here.