In our ongoing discussion on whether game companies can be evil, I welcome Louis Cyphre from Hellware, developers of the upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game EVIL ONLINE for an interview. Louis, can you tell us something about EVIL ONLINE?
Louis Cyphre: Our motto is: "Real evil, real emotions". EVIL ONLINE does away with the boring and repetitive do-goodery of typical MMORPGs, in which the players are forever condemned to perform helpful chores for NPCs. Instead we offer player the opportunity to crush your enemies, see them driven before you... and to hear the lamentation of their women!
Tobold: So EVIL ONLINE is a PvP-only game?
Louis Cyphre: PvP-centric. We found that there are no real emotions involved when interacting with NPCs. We have quests in which you can be cruel to NPCs and torture them, but in the end there is nothing as exhilarating as making a real other player cry. We do have PvE areas that give n00bs a false sense of security, only to make it doubly bitter when they are betrayed and assassinated there.
Tobold: What other features than combat does EVIL ONLINE have?
Louis Cyphre: Well, we learned a lot from the real world: Simple violence is just a minor evil. To really get to somebody, you need to appeal to his greed. Thus we have an extensive player-run economy with crafting, trading, and all sorts of financial instruments. In addition we have a political system. These systems together offer extensive opportunities for all sorts of treachery and scams. Which by the way are made legal in EVIL ONLINE through our terms of service.
Tobold: Speaking of which, there are some really strange terms in your terms of service, about players selling their soul.
Louis Cyphre: (peeling an egg) You know, some religions think that the egg is the symbol of the soul, did you know that? (takes a bite out of the egg) That part is completely optional, a quite favourable deal for the best status items from the item store.
Tobold: So, back to the initial question: Are game companies evil?
Louis Cyphre: We are just giving players what they want. Do you know any successful games which are about pacifism, harmony, and working together for a greater good? We here at Hellware are convinced that EVIL ONLINE will be a smash hit, because players *want* to hurt other players emotionally and clearly demonstrate their own superiority. But we are offering a sandbox game, if the players use it to commit evil, it isn't our company that is evil, but the players.
Tobold: Thank you for that interview.
[NEWSFLASH: Shortly after the interview I got the message that EVIL ONLINE was cancelled. An Icelandic judge had ruled that the game in both name and content infringed upon the intellectual property of a local company.]