VideoGamer.com: Is it only the interface that’s holding EverQuest back from a console release?
RB: I think it’s definitely an issue. Especially because the social interactions are really the reason people stick around for these games, and it’s really hard to do that with a joypad. But a lot of the Halo type games that are doing a lot of voice chat, will break through that. The typing and stuff – I don’t think you need a keyboard to play an MMO. You need a keyboard to communicate in an MMO. But even some of the stuff with Warcraft, if your guild is pretty serious, they’ll probably have a Ventrillo server, or Team Speak, or even use the in-game chat. We’ve got an in-game voice chat system as well now. That’ll help get by that interface crutch we have with consoles. The next big game will be able to be played on consoles. It’ll probably be able to be played on things even smaller than consoles. If you could play it on your iPhone to some extent, that’d be a big deal too. I don’t think it’s a complete killer. It’s just another hurdle to be leaped.
VideoGamer.com: So when will I be playing EverQuest on PSN then?
RB: I don’t know if it’ll be EverQuest but it’ll be some game we do in the future. I’m pretty sure of that.
VideoGamer.com: A lot of recent new MMORPGs have struggled. Why is it proving so difficult to break into the fantasy MMO space?
RB: The fantasy MMO space is super saturated just because of the presence of Warcraft. Warcraft is a clean, well executed game that has a lot of social momentum at this point. That’s a hard thing to counteract. Some of the games that have come out recently are good. I had a lot of fun playing Warhammer. I didn’t play Conan. I heard it was fun though. I can’t say why they haven’t done better than they have. I would say they’re just going up against a whole lot of social momentum, and you’re going to have to be a lot better than the game that’s already there to break that. You not only have to be as good as Warcraft, or whatever game anybody else happens to be playing, you have to be better than that, to make them abandon their character, abandon their several years of character development and all their friends may or may not come with them to the new game. It’s a big wall to go up against. As we’re seeing it’s a lot more difficult than everyone anticipates.
VideoGamer.com: If I said to you there wouldn’t be a World of Warcraft if there hadn’t been EverQuest, how would you respond?
RB: Oh I think that’s definitely true, and I think most of the guys at Blizzard would say that too. They had a comment at BlizzCon where somebody mentioned EverQuest and a few people in the crowd booed. I don’t remember who was up there at the time, but they were like, hey you can’t be knocking on the grandfathers there. I think it’s definitely true. I don’t know that Warcraft wouldn’t have happened eventually but it definitely wouldn’t have happened now if EverQuest hadn’t been around. Perhaps it would have been a different game, not EverQuest, that was breaking that ground. But EverQuest did it and there’s been a whole genre of games that leapt from that original spark there. So, completely true.
VideoGamer.com: Is there a feeling within the team of, I don’t want to say jealousy, but a missed opportunity? Are you looking at Warcraft and thinking, god that could have been us?
RB: Yes and no. We definitely had our day. EverQuest was top of the heap for years and years and years. Yes that’s true to an extent, but it’s so easy to look back with hindsight and see what we could have done along the way. We took some gambles with some games. Some of them played out, some of them didn’t, and here we are. But I think we’re still looking forward and we’re trying to make the next big game after Warcraft, and hopefully we will do that. But when you see those giant numbers, it’s hard not to be a little bit!
EverQuest is currently available for PC from Station.com.