Storybricks, a startup boasting about building the best AI (artificial intelligence) engine for online games, has just revealed that it has joined forces with Sony Online to develop the next game in the EverQuest franchise. The new EverQuest game will be called EverQuest Next, and it will be based in a "parallel world" of the game's previous world, Norrath. The game will feature the same gameplay style as the original EverQuest, but will feature major improvements to its overall design.
Sony and Storybricks's collaboration is fitting because Sony is developing EverQuest Next on its Forge Light game engine, which is said to be able to make in-game characters "more realistic." Storybrick's AI engine is boasted as the "best AI engine" because it is said to be able to give characters emotion. With their combined efforts, they may be able to produce an MMO with the next-generation of non-playable characters, a feat that many players would love to see.
In an email with TechCrunch, Rodolfo Rosini, Storybricks's co-founder, stated that EverQuest Next wasn't the only game that the company was focusing on, and that it had several other game studios interested in a collaboration as well. But for right now, it's focusing all of its efforts on EverQuest. He states that EverQuest Next "could be the most important game of the next 10 years," and that the game is already generating "significant revenue" for the startup.
Storybricks wasn't able to release any more information about EverQuest Next, other than it being "the biggest sandbox ever designed." Currently, because of the size of this project, Storybricks isn't able to collaborate with any other game studio, however in the future, it plans on bringing its engine to other MMOs as well. Storybricks planned on launching its own browser-based MMO, but scrapped its plans after its Kickstarter campaign ended in failure.
Luckily for the team, a group of angel investors supplied it with enough startup revenue to help it develop its game engine. If not for those investors, Storybricks would not have come across the opportunity of working with a major company like Sony. Storybricks hasn't confirmed an official release date for EverQuest Next, however, John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, made implications that we could be seeing the game this year.