The recent announcement from Enad Global 7’s Robin Flodin that a new MMO is in the works has gotten me thinking about the distinct possibility that a new EverQuest virtual world might be in pre-production.
The news of a new EverQuest MMORPG would be a momentous occasion. After all, EverQuest is the MMORPG that started the genre. Without Verant and Sony Online Entertainment’s EQ, there would be no World of Warcraft for Blizzard to copy and innovate upon.
In a recent article, I reported that Robin Flodin revealed that in totality the EverQuest franchise has earned over a $1 billion since it’s inception back in 1999. EG7 knows potential when they see it and they would be crazy not to create an updated version of EverQuest to capitalize on the high level of customer loyalty that this storied IP has.
I’m not even sure that it would be called EverQuest 3. One thing is certain, the name EverQuest would absolutely have to be in the title. It could be titled EverQuest: Beyond, EverQuest: Forever, EverQuest: Legends, ForEverQuest, or something similar.
What Would a New EverQuest be Like?
The safe bet of what a new EQ would be like comes from the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it department” as most loyal EQ veterans just want an updated version of their beloved MMORPG with state of the art graphics, animations and user interface elements. But great graphics and modern mechanics are very commonplace in today’s MMO market. A new EverQuest would have to include some much needed innovations but it should be based on the solid foundation of design principles that EverQuest was based on.
Even with sufficient number of new mechanics, a new EverQuest should stick to what it does best by creating a harsh and unforgiving game where players must band together synergistically in order to survive and thrive. Interdepency must be baked into all game mechanics because it has the pleasant by-product of create player cohesion via camaraderie and community which are the unique selling points of the genre — especially EverQuest.
There Can Only Be One
Since a new EQ MMORPG would cost millions of dollars, the savvy minds at Enad Global 7 who owns the franchise would naturally pick the most qualified person with a stellar track record of MMORPG development. I’ve thought about many possible candidates with the talent and experience to helm such a MMORPG. One name rises above all the rest: Scott Hartsman.
There is simply no one with his background, experience and talent that even comes close. Scott is the perfect person to lead a new EverQuest 3 team into a glorious future. His intellect and institutional knowledge of EverQuest is incalculable. Scott is the real deal.
While I don’t agree with Scott on everything, I still think he is the best possible candidate to helm a new version of EverQuest.
To get a sense of who he is, what he’s done and what he believes, check out this excellent 2019 interview:
The interview was done May 19, 2019. and in it Scott mentions that he’s working on something that he can’t reveal publicly.
Another more recent interview Scott did was was with former EverQuest Lead Designer Sean Lord in June 2020:
So what is Scott working on now? Take a look at his LinkedIn page for a clue:
It’s very interesting that Scott has a full-time job that he still can’t reveal. Clearly it’s a MMO title. A new EverQuest fits the bill perfectly as it would be in his words: massive, online and highly entertaining.
If you look at the dates closely, he did the first interview in 2019 when he was still a consultant at large. In July of 2020, he was hired full-time with his next company. At the time of the 2019 interview and July 2020, EG7 had not yet purchased Daybreak Games — they purchased them in December of 2020. So if he’s working on EQ 3, he was hired by Daybreak before EG7 purchased them.
Ongoing New EverQuest Pre-Production
As I have reported over the last few years, Daybreak Games has expended a lot of resources into charting a course for the future of the EQ franchise since the failure of the ill-conceived and poorly planned EQ Next. There are ample clues for those with eyes to see.
A new EverQuest faithful to its legacy could almost design itself. It has the lore all ready to go. It has the classes all ready to go. It has the leveling system all ready to go. It has future expansions all ready to go. There are thousands of unique talents to pull from both EverQuest and EverQuest 2. Sure there’s room for plenty of innovation but it has to be based on the core pillars of achievement, exploration, and community not on the dubious notion of a destructible voxel world touted in EQ Next. One of the mistakes made by the EQ Next team is that they failed to build upon the core mechanics of EverQuest.
Another Possibility: A New Lord of the Rings MMORPG
Scott may also be working on a new Lord of the Rings MMORPG. Back in the 1990’s, he was working on creating a design document for a MMO that was called Middle-earth Online. This MMO never came to life. Since the cancellation of Amazon Games new Lord of the Rings MMO, a gigantic vacuum that some enterprising studio should fill.
But Scott has been working on a new untitled project since July of 2020, and it was just a few months ago that Amazon cancelled it’s MMO. This fact makes it a bit more unlikely that he’s working on a new Lord of the Rings MMORPG.
If it turns out that Scott Hartsman is not working on a new version of EverQuest, then Enad Global 7 should stop what they are doing and hire him immediately. If they play their cards right Enad Global 7 has both the ambition and resources to become a big player in the MMO genre with a modern version of this fantasy virtual world masterpiece. There is no better candidate to take EG7 to the big leagues than a new version of EverQuest.
And, there is no more qualified person to make this dream a reality than Scott Hartsman. Even the most risk averse investor would bet on Scott every time to make a new EverQuest a reality.
Whomever EG7 hires to create a new EverQuest will be faced with a daunting task and a tremendous burden. The EverQuest franchise has much to atone for with their spate of colossal failures and disinterested absentee owners. This is their last chance to get a new EQ right.
The announcement of a new EverQuest would send shockwaves throughout the industry which has been held hostage to by the suffocating mentality of Blizzard’s anti-social and vapid World of Warcraft.
There are millions of people that have played the venerable EQ over the years. Many have grown up, have jobs, got married and now have families or are even in retirement. Whether it’s nostalgia or a longing to relive the golden days of youth, many of them are currently in virtual world hibernation just waiting to end their slumber to heed the call of adventure into the magical, mysterious and challenging lands of Norrath. With them will come girlfriends, wives, husbands, children, and friends.
If you build it, they will come.
Whatever EG7 will do, it is most likely going to be a western themed and styled MMO. That’s quite rare these days, the genre’s future so far is in the hands of the Koreans atm with Black Desert Online making oodles of money for Pearl Abyss.
There is a cultural barrier between the game and me, it isn’t much the game design, graphic style, characters, the Korean take on European tropes is just not my cup of tea.
Right now, MMOs still have some champions. For better or worse, WoW is still running and The Elder Scrolls Online survived and thrives after a rocky start many years ago. Still can’t put my finger on it, loved Skyrim, but the TESO game doesn’t do it for me as solo or multiplayer game. The general background of TESO isn’t the most exciting copypasta and adaption of Tolkien and western lore. Final Fantasy XIV is japanophile, while I am more tolkienophile and my mind and imagination is coined by western influences.
EverQuest 3/Next, if it is named for the EQ series, would indeed have to be modernized. Focusing on the social aspects would be a new one for MMOs, which funnily worked despite (bold claim) almost no designer ever giving much thought about the social interactions and how they would be caused and influenced by the game, and in return infuse the game with life and more than their very often bare bones mechanics.
A new LOTR(O) MMO? Why not. I would not mind a “relaunch of LOTRO” either. Not just a revamp of assets. The Turbine team did a fantastic job with LOTRO sound, terrain design, all of that. It was despite it being a MMO and many people often being united by a love for Tolkien more a game for single players that followed “the book quests” and regularly wondered why they suddenly had to finish a quest chain in a dungeon.
I would love Scott have major success with EG7, whatever he is working on. Rift, formerly known as Planes of Telara, already showed his passion and talent. Maybe working within a set universe would suit him well, some creative people need funnily some restrictions to channel their creativity into better results.
I haven’t named the upcoming Amazon game New World yet. It has new gameplay ideas, an interesting new era/setting, but in the end, it is so cobbled together, couldn’t get myself to play on during the beta weekends. They didn’t create a world there and doubt they will.
I retired from multiplayer. Friends are on social media, in “MMOs” it’s “hi!” and “gogo”, you have posted about how dungeon runs via group finder work these days. I really don’t need that anymore, not solo or multiplayer, no need for that at all.
I am looking forward to seeing what Bethesda’s Starfield and Scott’s upcoming game will be and will play some non-MMO games till then. I would love a new multiplayer online experience that manages to suck me in again.