On August 13, the servers of the new Eve Echoes game officially open. This is a mobile reinterpretation of the MMO centenarian Eve Online by the Icelandic CCP. Its mobile version was developed by the Chinese NetEase. We talked with the producer of the novelty about its development and differences from the original.
The questions were answered by the senior producer of NetEase Games for Eve Echoes Wei Su (Wei Su).
Wei SuApp2Top.ru : The last stage of the game’s development did not take place at the easiest time.
How has COVID-19 affected workflows?
Wei: At one time we really had to work from home, but in March we returned to work in the office.
It’s great to hear that. Now let’s talk about developing a mobile version of Eve Online. This was most likely not an easy task. Besides, it probably took a lot of time to play the original. How much time have you spent playing CCP?
Wei: Well, I didn’t just play for work. I’m an old fan of the project, I’ve been playing it for 15 years now. As for the exact time spent in Eve Online… Wait, I need a calculator for this (Wei is looking for a calculator, scores something there and returns with an answer after a couple of moments). I think I spent about 3,000 hours in the game.
Wow, that’s impressive.
Wei: Eve Online is a contented complex game with tons and tons of content. Even after 15 years of playing, I still stumble upon aspects that are new to me.
Anyway, I can say with confidence that I am well acquainted with the basic concept of the game, with what kind of experience it gives. And that’s what we tried to reconstruct in Eve Echoes.
Did you have to cut a lot out of the original when transferring the franchise to mobile rails?
Wei: We had three approaches when developing Eve Echoes regarding Eve Online.
As part of the first one, we tried to directly transfer content to the mobile version, modifying only the management and UI.
If the content was too large or complex in terms of volume, we either removed it or tried to change it. This is the second approach. For example, we have greatly simplified the gameplay associated with interacting with planets. In this regard, Eve Echoes is slightly different from Eve Online.
The third approach was to redesign and redesign some elements of Eve Online. At the same time, as I said, we tried to preserve the essence of the original.
Eve EchoesChange is good.
But at the same time Eve Online is a healthy and complex MMO with long gaming sessions. When they talk about mobile, they usually mean a different type of gameplay. Is there even a place for games in the spirit of Eve Online on smartphones?
Wei: In the Chinese market, we have already had a successful experience of transferring hardcore MMORPG to mobile platforms. We can say that this prompted us to take up work on mobile Eve Online.
Plus, it became a challenge for us. We wanted to expand the boundaries of the mobile games market, launch a hardcore 3D sandbox with a complex economic system on it.
Speaking of complexity, by the way. Eve Online is famous, among other things, for its high entry threshold, even for PC games. Many prefer the game — tracking publications about wars and political intrigues taking place in its universe.
Wei: The fact that people are more willing to watch the game than to spend time in it on their own is a common situation that concerns not only Eve Online.
At one time, there was a joke on the forums (perhaps on Reddit): many people see themselves as generals in Eve Online, but as soon as they start playing, they turn out to be cannon fodder.
Be that as it may, such stories (intrigues, alliances, playing the opposition, etc.) belong to the players. They create them.
And we don’t want to limit or change this part in any way. We only give them an environment, tools so that they can create their stories, as well as share them with others.
Eve EchoesReturning to the complexity.
It’s no secret that Excel is sometimes used to play Eve Online. In Eve Echoes, working with data will also remain an important part of the gameplay?
Wei: As you know, Eve Online has been around for almost 20 years. Obviously, it has a huge history, many things have been created during this period. And people could play very differently than they do now.
Our UX development team is aware of this. So UX and UI went through a lot of iterations when creating. We tried to keep the original solutions as much as possible, but at the same time improve something. We tried to reorganize all the data and break it down into priority levels. Hopefully, thanks to this, our game has become easier to master.
So, yes, Eve Online is difficult on PC, but our team has been working day and night to improve every aspect of it for release on mobile devices.
If users need additional tools for the game, like Excel, this is their choice. Now some Eve Online players even use self-written solutions that help them play. The decisions are up to them. We are not against it at all, let them use it.
One of the most important components of Eve Online is its market, where players can directly trade game resources with each other. Was it possible to transfer this system to mobile devices?
Wei: Indeed, the market is a very important part of Eve Online, so we tried to implement a similar experience in Eve Echoes. In our game, players can trade anything they collect in the universe. In this regard, everything is exactly the same as in Eve Online. At the same time, in Eve Echoes, we tried to simplify the mechanics for players.
We have intergalactic shopping centers, they are also shopping hubs. They are scattered across various regions of the universe. To simplify the mechanics, we have introduced a logistics system through which the player can request the shipment of ships or goods between hubs without traveling across the universe.
Eve EchoesWell, how will Eve Echoes fit into the existing chronology, which has been developing for 20 years, which continues to develop now.
Where will the actions of your game take place within the timeline of the original?
Wei: Our story begins with the flash of a new star in YC 116. Its result is the emergence of an independent parallel universe. This point, of course, we agreed with CCP.
Since the story of the game develops in a parallel universe, all the events after the explosion in YC 116 in Eve Echoes develop according to a separate scenario. At the same time, the background is the same with Eve Online.
And the last question I want to ask about how the cooperation with the authors of the original took place. Eve Online was made by an Icelandic team, and Eve Echoes came to us from China. And, most likely, when developing the latter, you worked a lot with CCP. Hence the question: how different was the approach to development, did you see the difference in production processes?
Wei: In fact, the styles of the works are very similar. And we were very happy to work with them. If we talk about the difference in approaches, then the following story comes to mind. When we were all looking for voice actors together, the CCP team wanted someone who sounded more mature, and we, on the contrary, wanted the characters to sound younger. This type of conceptual discussions could arise between teams.
Anyway, we learned a lot from each other culturally, in terms of inspiration and, of course, shared our work experience.
Thank you so much for the interview and good luck with Eve Echoes!
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