Eurogamer: I asked some of our readers what they'd like to ask you, and this is what they said: Are we ever going to see an overhaul of low-sec space?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: We have a number of developers, me included, that really want to push low-sec, and we are looking at a large number of opportunities to do so.
Incursion will involve one good tidbit for low-sec, which will make it more valuable and interesting to people, and we're really curious to see what the effect that will have.
Eurogamer: What is that, can you say? Or is it a secret?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: It's a secret.
Eurogamer: The same reader asked when engine trails are coming back - "Please!"?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: Hopefully next release. We are talking to the graphics programmers about it. But first we will be introducing turret graphics on all the ships.
Eurogamer: That same person asked if they could have a job.
Torfi Frans Olafsson: Sure. Apply on the website.
Eurogamer: Also: when are we going to get that incredible atmospheric flying demo implemented into the game?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: Haha. Do you mean when are we going to lynch the people that fooled people at Fanfest by mocking-up that atmospheric demo?
I guess the right answer to it is that DUST 514 involves vehicular combat on planets, so that will be the first implementation of ever seeing it. The spaceships in EVE are actually not fit for atmospheric flight, and we don't have any immediate plans to allow you to go down to planets.
Eurogamer: You've revealed that Incarna - what used to be called Walking in Stations - is playable internally and will be released in summer 2011, and that the foundations for Incarna will be laid in Incursion's character creation overhaul this winter. What's more, you said Incarna itself will only be the start. So, what's the overarching goal of Incarna - just how much of a change to EVE will it make?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: The end-goal, which will take a number of expansions to realise, is that players will find it unthinkable that this game never had avatars; that the experience of flying your spaceship and entering a space station.
Walking inside an abandoned site the middle of nowhere, walking inside a space station on the surface of a planet - this experience is seamless, and adventures happen in space and in avatar mode. That they're two different modes of the same thing.
Eurogamer: Presumably that goal will mean avatar versus avatar combat at some point. How's that going to work?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: It will never become an FPS. DUST 514 is the FPS in the EVE world. We're not planning to run down corridors with plasma rifles in non-fibre armour.
EVE is a more strategic, slow-paced game than Team Fortress 2, and it will always be that way. But that does not mean there will be no conflict or combat. It just means we are not aiming towards doing an FPS within EVE itself.
Eurogamer: Business models in MMOs are changing. Are there any plans to use micro-transactions in EVE to allow people to re-map their skills?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: Yeah, we are looking at introducing virtual goods within the game, but we feel those things should be vanity items rather than those that give you a clear benefit over other players in-game.
That said, we are introducing a feature this expansion [Incursion], that does allow you to re-map your attributes using Pilot Licence Extensions, which are bought both in-game and on our website. PLEX represents 30-days subscription within the game.
We will evolve just like everyone else. We will certainly not become a dinosaur. That has not been our style.
Eurogamer: How long until you pull the plug on EVE and launch EVE Online 2?
Torfi Frans Olafsson: We've seen other MMOs try to make sequels of their own games with very different success ratios, to say the least. I don't see any purpose in rebooting EVE or doing EVE 2. We have a magnificent community, we have a devoted player-base, we have a vibrant economy, we have the ability to update graphics and game systems and software and hardware - and have been doing so progressively since launch.
There's no way of knowing for how long EVE will survive. It will survive for as long as people are willing to play it and pay for it.
EVE Online Incursion will be released this winter. EVE Online Incarna will be released in summer 2010. EVE Online is, of course, out now. The EVE Online website offers free trials.