Split Infinity Radio, a gamer-run internet radio station (with a noticeable sci-fi MMO bent) recently interviewed Scott Holden, Lead Content Creator of EVE Online at Gen Con 2008. Holden has been integral in building up all the mission content that's about to drop in the upcoming Empyrean Age expansions over the next few months. Split Infinity asks Holden a question that's been on the minds of a number of EVE players: Can player actions really influence the storyline?
Holden's answer is 'yes'... to a point. He discusses the initiative at CCP to create a system where events are announced in contested parts of space, prompting players to get involved. Their actions would be reported on through the in-game news, and in this way affects (or creates aspects of) the storyline. Participants in factional warfare, or anyone who reads the Interstellar Correspondents news pieces, know that this already exists to some extent in EVE, but Holden states that CCP would like to take the idea further as time goes on.
Certain aspects of prime fiction are immutable, Holden says, but he speculates on some future possibilities for the game. Namely, mission content where players make moral choices. This would be enhanced by greater player attachment to their characters through Ambulation, where they will hopefully identify more with their avatars and not see themselves as ships.
Player-storyline interaction was previously limited to occasional CCP-run events. However, with players choosing sides in the Empyrean Age's war between the four races and joining up with factional militias, EVE gamers want to know if they're just capturing territories or if there are lasting effects connected with their actions. At this point, players aren't truly directing the outcome of EVE's story. But these initial steps into greater player-story interaction in the Empyrean Age may very well signify how the game will move towards being a more immersive experience for gamers. If you're interested in hearing some of Holden's thoughts on how he'd like to see EVE evolve, check out Split Infinity's interview, downloadable as an mp3 file.