By even the most conservative estimate, EverQuest II has been a success for Sony Online Entertainment. How many MMORPGs are still running a decade later? SOE does not publish revenue breakdowns by game, but in the last decade, the EverQuest franchise must have raised some serious bread for SOE. The first two games funded a lengthy gestational development of EverQuest Next/Landmark, the smoothly launched Planetside 2, steady producer DC Universe Online, forthcoming zombie run-and-gun H1Z1, and a couple of valiant but costly efforts including FreeRealms and The Agency.
I was initially excited when the “History of EverQuest II – 10th Anniversary Documentary” was teased seven weeks ago. A game with 10 years of history, touched by the hands of over 100 designers, artists, animators, musicians, and programmers must be bursting with captivating stories to tell. Surely SOE would be ringing their phone off the hook trying to land interviews with EverQuest II’s chief alumni.
I would have started with EQ2’s launch Producer Scott Hartsman, current CEO of Trion Worlds. He shepherded the game’s uncertain launch and is still considered by some to have been its strongest producer. The three year search for a qualified replacement that followed his departure only bolstered the EQ2 community’s unwavering adoration for him.
Next on my call list would have been loremaster Tony “Vhalen” Garcia who wrote the bible of EQ2’s enduring storyline. Woefully overqualified for the languishing Kickstarter dud “Panthon: Rise of the Fallen“, the revered scribe is left patiently waiting for Brad McQuaid to find more people to swindle. Surely even the most cursory historical documentary of EverQuest II would include at least ONE phone or Skype interview with the old guard before segueing into the current team now entrusted to carry the development torch. But it was not meant to be.
Part two of the “History of EverQuest II — 10th Anniversary Documentary” was released today and to be blunt, there is no history to be found. There is barely any documentary to be found. There is scant mention of anything more distant than the current expansion, with the majority of the 11 minute program consumed with fluff, slapstick banter, recycled clips from past events, and the obligatory “What zone would you live in if you had to?” question asked of everyone interviewed.
This was a tremendous opportunity to track down some of the people involved with the launch of the game. Out of over 100 people on the original EQ2 team, surely at least a few would be willing to speak on the phone or on camera. Instead, we got something with the depth and production values of the throwaway “Electronic Press Kits” seen in the dark early days of DVD releases.
For a game that has given players so much, and for a game which has given so much to SOE’s bottom line, it deserved better!
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