Fourteen years after the series’ debut, developer Sony Online Entertainment has unveiled a new chapter in the EverQuest saga – EverQuest Next.
The game has been in development since 2009 although SOE scrapped everything in 2011 and started over, saying that it was intent on abandoning many of the genre’s established clichés.
The studio will break away with the established lore of the series and embark on a fresh(ish) start, although some characters and location names/themes will remain the same.
Chief amongst the changes are destructible environments that are consistent across the game world. In the video below, for instance, a heavy fight results in a giant hole being smashed into the ground, sending players tumbling into an underground cavern.
A new multi-classing system and emergent AI are also promised.
"With EverQuest Next, we're going back to our roots – a space we defined with the EverQuest legacy – and ushering in a new era of MMOs: The Emergent Era," SOE president John Smedley stated.
"Today, many MMOs fail because players consume content faster than developers can create it. With EverQuest Next, we're creating a living world that players are part of and empowering them to produce new content alongside the development team. What does the future hold for EverQuest Next and Sony Online Entertainment? It's in the players' hands, and we like it that way."
The game’s release will be preceded by the release of what’s being called EverQuest Next Landmark which “will combine the powerful and intuitive building tools SOE is using to create the fully destructible world of EQN with all of the social functionality expected from a modern MMO”.
EverQuest Next Landmark will be free-to-play and is due out this winter. EverQuest Next itself is without a release date.
Here’s a debut gameplay trailer: