“We have the future written on our hearts” Our Latest Exclusive EVE Online Interview (2/2)

Welcome back to our latest exclusive EVE Online interview where we’ve been getting nerdy and…


Welcome back to our latest exclusive EVE Online interview where we’ve been getting nerdy and philosophical with their Creative Director, Bergur Finnbogason. In the first part of this EVE Online interview, we discussed EVE’s recent world-record breaking “Massacre of M2-XFE” (a battle causing $340,000 worth of damage), the depth of politics in EVE Online, a Christmas truce, and an almighty hidden Easter Egg woven into the very core of EVE Online. In this entry, we’ll discuss competitors, futurism, the human-condition, tribalism, belonging, and CCP’s excitement around 2021.

There are a few upcoming sci-fi MMOs such as Dual Universe that have clearly drawn some major inspiration from EVE Online, do you pay much attention to them?

Yes! I’m usually super excited for these games. We draw a lot of inspiration from other titles, as well as from board games, music, art, film, literature, and culture. We’re very humbled by people being inspired by us, and I hope that we are continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible. We love to be challenged at every level, our tech-stack, our art, our game design, our audio – it helps us push forward even further.

I don’t play as many games as I should right now. I’d love to be playing more, but I tend to fall back to the same few games when I need to wind down. Anything from Civilization to Transport Tycoon. But right now, I’m getting the most inspiration from books. There are a lot of very theoretical concepts in EVE – while seeing inspiration can be great, the excellent thing about books is that they force your mind to enter a more original and creative state of imagination.

Of course, I’m not a huge fan when people blatantly, lazily copy things. But as a rule, the more people making sci-fi, the more people will gain an interest in it. There’s a lot of fascinating sci-fi out there, and I’m always happy to see more.

Healthy competition? Come and get us.

“The dream is becoming a surreal reality in front of our eyes.”

That’s a great attitude. Now we’re on the topic of sci-fi, that brings me nicely onto my next question…

Yes!

In a previous EVE Online interview with MMOGames, you said the elements of sci-fi that interest you most aren’t the futuristic technologies but what these portrayals of the future can reveal about our own culture. That said, what do you think humanity’s chances are of reaching a truly spacefaring future of planetary colonisation?

Ohh that’s a really good question. I hope so! We don’t have hovercars or hoverboards yet, but I hope this fictional reality that we’ve created at CCP inspires people to build new things and push science forward. On a daily basis, we already use so much technology that was just 15 years ago considered to be bizarre futuristic sci-fi.

I have a smartwatch on my wrist that has more computational power than was used to take us to the moon. The dream is becoming a surreal reality in front of our eyes.

Even video calls were the territory of sci-fi when I was a kid!

And there are many more on the way, look at CRISPR, cloning, implants. I’ve got a lot of friends who work in the field of futurism and their work literally becomes more relevant by the day. One thing that we’re seeing a lot more discussion around in that field is human connection and happiness. Can we manufacture happiness through AI? Do we always need human beings? Perhaps we thrive on the happiness from our bizarre connections with other human beings?

“If you stop, you breathe, and look around – this alone could occupy all the time in the universe.”

Sure, we might have intergalactic gateways in our homes in the future, we might have faster-than-light travel and crazy spaceships, but the things we’ll always seek are love, companionship, happiness, the satisfaction of letting our brains solve complex problems. I think these fundamental human emotions will be just as relevant as they were thousands of years ago.

Let’s say we’re in agreement that we stand a good chance of reaching a spacefaring future, what similarities will it have with New Eden?

I’m not talking about medical scanners or DNA implants, brainwave manipulation – all of that stuff will happen, it’s a matter of time. People will work out warp speed, Elon Musk seems able to break some physics already. There are scientists in Sweden and Denmark working on hyper-cool stuff that you just don’t hear about because of the volume of cool stuff being worked on all over the world. I’m not too worried about the technical elements, I’m fascinated by the psychological similarities.

I think on the human, emotional level, it will be quite similar in many ways. One of the things we’re experiencing now is the world becoming smaller but infinitely larger at the same time. As we become more connected, the world shrinks but simultaneously infinitely scales; and that’s something EVE Online got right from the get-go. If the world is 7000 solar systems large, it may as well be infinitely big but because you can travel so fast and communicate across galaxies, it’s infinitely small.

If you stop, you breathe, and look around – this alone could occupy all the time in the universe. I think that’s one thing the future will hold and will continue to hold true as we develop.

“It’s us, the people of today, that are the true futurist manuscript because we have the future written on our hearts.”

Anything else?

The ideas of being, of belonging to tribes. I’m proud of being Icelandic, of my family and its achievements, but also of being a member of Eve Online, of being an architect – I’m a member of all of these simultaneously existing meta-communities. There is something fundamentally appealing about it, but also dangerous. You can see it now in the tribalism of American politics – people are unable to talk to each other, they may as well be living in parallel universes.

This is something EVE does well too. People align themselves with factions, with deep seated communities of belief tied-up with a deep human need for pride, a need for belonging.

Perhaps EVE Online actually is a futurist technological manifest of what will happen. But when you really look deep… it’s us, the people of today, that are the true futurist manuscript because we have the future written on our hearts.

Thanks for poetically nerding-out with us once again, any closing thoughts?

Just that I’m super excited about 2021. 2020 was a great year for us; we really turned a corner in how we work with rapid releases, thorough testing, and confidence-building when addressing the elephants in the room. It has created firm ground for us to push things even further. I’m really looking forward to some crazy stuff in 2021.

 

We interview the EVE Online directors on a regular basis, so be sure to let us know if there are any questions you’d like us to ask them. Which other game developers would you like us to schedule a call with?

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