Brad McQuaid, one of the principal game designers for Verant’s hit game Everquest, is returning to work on the game again, after nearly 12 years. For long time players and fans of the game, this is exciting news.
Since McQuaid left in 2001, roughly two years after Verant was purchased by SOE, the franchise has released 19 expansions, a sequel with several expansions of its own, and a third sequel in development. Still online after more than a decade and a half, Everquest and its loyal fan base are now looking forward hopefully to some exciting changes. McQuaid announced his return with little fanfare, posting a message on the game’s forums stating:
“Well, I’m back… back on EverQuest after 12 Years! When I was given the opportunity to return to the team it was something I just had to do! I started playing right away and got a paladin into his mid-30s. I found, in addition to all of the great new features and UI elements, that the game, at its core, was still very much the EQ I was involved with. In fact, some of my first work as a game designer on the team will be working on areas that have been alluded to since launch. I can’t say more than that, of course, but I’m sure you can imagine how exciting this is for me.”
Everquest was one of the original graphical MMO’s, sporting a race class character creation and leveling system that helped define the genre for years to come. Not only has it been tremendously influential, but for designers, it is also living proof that games can survive in the long term if they are just given the TLC that they deserve. The EQ community serves as a wonderful example of how a game can bring people together and build friendships inside and outside of the game, as well as building strong relationships, for better or worse, between the community and the developers.
As a gamer that beta tested the original EQ, and a long time player of the franchise, this is very welcome news. While there is no doubt that a lot of the revisions made by SOE were definite improvements, many feel that the game lost much of its original personality after the buy out and subsequent expansions. Having one of the original designers on the not only reassures players that the game is going to keep on going for years to come, but that there is hope to see a resurrection of the glory days.