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CCP: Moving On

Magnus Bergsson on what comes after EVE Online.

In part one of our interview with Magnus Bergsson, the CCP marketing director discussed the success of EVE Online so far.

Here, in part two, he reveals why he thinks there is a limit to how well the game will do - and talks more about CCP's next project, an MMO based on horror-fantasy franchise World of Darkness.

Q: GamesIndustry.biz: Both you and Hilmar have said that you're very conscious of growing too quickly in Reykjavik. Your offices are very spacious compared to a lot of game developers, so what's the thinking behind stemming the amount of people you have in this office?

Magnus Bergsson:There are just certain things that happen to companies when they get too big. When you start not knowing the name of somebody, and you're looking at them and thinking, 'Who are you?' even though they've been working for some time - that's a bad thing.

We are just concerned that the corporate culture will not benefit from growing and growing and growing. I mean, we could hire a lot more. That's the reason, really. We're just concerned of the well-being of the company in itself.

Q: Don't you think it's just a reality that as you grow beyond a certain level your core ideals will become diluted? Do you think you can hang on to what made you so special in the first place?

I think we can. We are really aware of it, and we do quite a bit to ensure that it is alive. Also, we have almost all of the original people in the company, and that of course makes a huge difference.

So, as we get new people in, they learn the CCP way. And if the corporate culture is really strong and everyone does the best to protect it, it actually can survive.

Q: What about adding a second game, though? CCP is synonymous with EVE Online. Do you think World of Darkness will be associated with White Wolf in the same way?

I think so. At least in the beginning, because we're going to get so many White Wolf fans in the game, and they will definitely associate White Wolf with World of Darkness.

I think there's going to be a strong connection between those two. At a proper point in time... We want, of course, to have CCP as the name and have the White Wolf studio. Hopefully we can actually ensure that people realise it's CCP, and we have these two products, and so forth.

Again, though, it's being developed in Atlanta by White Wolf, in the White Wolf offices. It's definitely going to be them in that sense, even though we are hiring a lot of people and they are here continuously just to also make sure there's a good pollenisation of cultures.

We've been able to get the White Wolf team in sync with what we think and what we believe in.

Q: Will the marketing for World of Darkness come from an Atlanta team or will it be controlled from Reykjavik?

It'll be controlled from here. There will, of course, be a marketing director for the World of Darkness team, but he will be a part of the marketing team.

We will have to have dedicated EVE Online people and dedicated World of Darkness people, because it is different. It's going to have a much broader appeal, a more general appeal than EVE did.

Q: Will adding a more mass market game allow you to hit a user you can never hit with EVE?

Definitely. We can never grow EVE beyond a million users. There are not that many people in the world, I think, that can get into it. Who knows: EVE may become a million people 10 years from now. With this continual development of the game, no one really knows.

We're not following a path. We're creating a path. No one's really been down this road before. We don't really know. I've been playing this game for over three years, and I actually have more fun now than I had in my first year.

I might not play as much as I used to play then, but I play quite a bit. It's my entertainment. I do not watch TV at all. I like the interactivity, the planning and the strategy, and all the evilness. I'm a really evil person in-game. That's a fact. But I'm not like that.

Q: Surely a second game is going to completely change the dynamics of the company. Are you ready for that?

We're probably not ready for it. We do realise that the World of Darkness team will have its own culture, which is great. And it should.

The EVE team is going to continue to be the EVE team, and that's the nice thing about having it separate completely. They will have their culture, and hopefully we will integrate some of our beliefs into that culture.

But White Wolf, amazingly enough - and this is one of the reasons we're so happy to join forces - has a corporate culture very similar to ours. It's really been a painless process, so I'm not too worried about it. Also, a lot of people here have been extremely familiar with all their products and their games, so it's going to be easier than not.

Magnus Bergsson is marketing manager for EVE Online. Interview by Patrick Garratt. part one of this feature was published last week.

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