Darkpaw Games Interview – Holly Longdale Talks About Future of EverQuest Franchise
We sat down with Darkpaw Games’ Executive Producer, Holly Longdale, to talk about the EverQuest franchise as parent Daybreak Game Company restructures.
EverQuest was one of the first massively-multiplayer online roleplaying games to break ground, landing in 1999 and defining the landscape of gaming for generations to come. Modern titles like Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft owe their existence to innovations first introduced in EverQuest. Since the game was originally released, its developer Verant Interactive has reformed twice — first into Sony Online Entertainment, then later into Daybreak Game Company.
On January 21, Daybreak Game Company announced that it would split into three separate studios to focus on each of its major game franchises, and now EverQuest lies in the care of Darkpaw Games. In the wake of this major change of focus, DualShockers got a chance to speak to Holly Longdale, the Executive Producer of the newly formed Darkpaw Games, about what this change actually means for EverQuest fans.
Gabriel Moss: How will the Daybreak studio split impact the future of the EverQuest series?
Holly Longdale: We’re excited to be able to focus entirely on the EverQuest franchise both with our current games and the future and do what’s best for everything EverQuest from our present to our future.
GM: How will the newly formed Darkpaw studio continue supporting existing titles?
HL: Just as we always have and hopefully better. We are beginning to focus on the health and future of the games and what we need to do to improve – which is always our goal.
GM: Will Darkpaw focus more on retaining older players or bringing in new ones?
HL: We’d like to do both, but our priority is to ensure our current players enjoy the game and we are doing the best we can for its future. Naturally, we love to see new players and former players come into the game and will do our best to entice them with Norrath.
GM: What is your favorite part of the EverQuest series today?
HL: I could easily just say “Dragons!!1!1!” to your question, but it’s our players, without a doubt. Our player community fills my heart with their unending competitiveness and desire to excel in the game and at the same time, how deeply they care and support each other and want to live in these worlds named Norrath. We’ve built more than simply two games. We’ve built worlds of human relationships.
GM: How do the original two EverQuest games, released in 1999 and 2004 respectively, manage to stay alive alongside titles like Final Fantasy 14, World of Warcraft, and Elder Scrolls Online?
HL: We have dedicated players who love our game and the people they play with. There’s nostalgia, the challenge, the social dynamics and more than bond our community unlike a lot of games. Many players consider EverQuest their home game. Sure, they will branch out and try a variety of games, just like I do, but they often come “home” to EverQuest and EverQuest II.
GM: Where do you see the EverQuest franchise going over the next 10 years?
HL: I feel like we have entered a world without limits as Darkpaw Games. We have this gift of an internationally known franchise that is beloved by those who played it and even those who haven’t. We have over 20 years of story and history that is enviable to any content creator. The development teams, past and present, have built a rich world that has unlimited potential we want to tap into for our current and new audiences. We are currently digging into where this franchise could go and not limiting our ideas. We have a history of being creative and innovative. We want the next 10 years and beyond to be just as magical.
Other new studios created in the shift are Dimensional Ink Games, which is in charge of DC Universe Online, and Rogue Planet Games, which handles PlanetSide. You can grab EverQuest and EverQuest 2 for free on Steam today.