The vast majority of our mostly-set-in-stone development plans are only for a year or so into the future for the project we’re currently focused on. Anything further beyond is far enough off that they’re much more malleable. Both the gaming market and technology change significantly over time, which is why we don’t set our extended long-term plans in stone. This means that, a year or so from now, things that were impossible before might actually be possible – both from the audience that wants the thing, and from the technology that makes the thing possible.
As an example of this, the design team on a big MMOG I worked on decided that large group raid content was done. We weren’t seeing the engagement numbers for the existing large group raid content and we felt that there were other types of higher-engagement content we could better spend those resources on, so we killed raids. At the time, there were zero plans to ever bring raids back because the engagement just wasn’t there. A year and change later, however, the team leadership decided to add a new raid to the next expansion. Circumstances had changed, team leadership had changed, technology had changed, and the previous “never” decision was rescinded because the leadership decided that a new raid would be worth the resource cost at that time.
Ultimately, “never say never” is the general rule because circumstances do change over time. We might not ever do it, but it isn’t because we decided to once and can’t go back on our word – it’s because we have to evaluate all ideas through the current set of development constraints to determine feasibility. Plus it’s just easier to respond in an interview with “We don’t have anything to say about that for right now, but we may in the future” than for every interviewed dev to know everything about everything going on in development (especially if the team is 100+ people).
The FANTa Project is being rebooted. [What is the FANTa project?]
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