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Talking the Future of Minecraft


January 27, 2012 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4
 

I can think of a million of reasons Minecraft could never happen in a big company.

JB: Hmm.

I'm sure they all want it to now, but I don't think they're going to allow the atmosphere that would make it possible.

JB: No, it would probably be a very different game if at a large company. But I'm kind of looking forward to bigger companies taking on the same kind of genre, if you should call it that. Because I think it could make quite cool games, you know, the sandbox environment.

One thing that I like about Mojang is that we're allowed to communicate directly to everybody. We don't really have many secrets. It's just sometimes we say that it's probably not a good idea not to talk about this yet. And then, we say, "Everybody, kay, it's fine."

I mean, this legal dispute with Bethesda, or actually Zenimax, I found some people that worked at Bethesda on Twitter, and I Tweeted them, "Hey, how's it going? What's the atmosphere at the office?" But I never got any replies. And I was thinking that maybe they have some policy that they aren't allowed to mention anything that's going on.

I'm sure they've been told not to talk about this.

JB: Yeah. And I don't see why it would hurt. [laughs]

I could tell you.

JB: Yeah?

It's because anything they say, you could then use it.

JB: Ahh, okay. Yeah.

And they don't want to get fired.

JB: Yeah. If everybody is allowed to say whatever they want, there could be a few people that don't say some clever stuff. [laughs] Of course. It's a big responsibility to put on your employees.

You hit 1.0 with Minecraft. Is audience expansion something you're concerned about? I know there have been gradual moves toward making the game more accessible, making the game more directed, at least in the beginning. Is that something that you find important? Or is that more like something that the console version will be for that audience, the audience that wants a more directed Minecraft experience?

JB: Yeah, I think it could be better. I mean, you don't get much help when you start the game. You're almost required to have a friend to explain the game to you to get anywhere. So, it could be better, but I don't really plan to work on that in the current time span.

It comes back to the fact that you don't want to lose what makes Minecraft Minecraft. A lot of people must be telling you different things, "This is the opportunity you should be following," but you have to really stick to what you feel confident about. And you have limited resources.

JB: Yeah. You know, sometimes I get Tweets or emails that say, "Oh, can't you bring back the old Minecraft feeling?" Then after that I think, "What is the old Minecraft feeling?" It must be something that when I first played Minecraft, I was really fascinated. And when I first found my first like dungeon with a chest, I was like, "Wow, this is so cool!" And if I created a new world with every release, I probably would get gradually less excited every time.

So, I think it will be hard to live up to expectations and at the same time... It's hard to keep the game alive and still not change it. Some people will complain about it.

Yeah, I'm not really sure how to answer your question. I think I will probably work more on things that I find more enjoyable. Maybe that's dangerous, because I remember when I started playing the game, I thought building was most enjoyable. But after a time, now I find farming is more enjoyable than building. So, I want to work more on farming, but maybe I will start working on things that are more advanced, that a new player wouldn't understand.

But that's also why it's so fun to work on Minecraft. Because every time I add something, you're almost never forced to use it. The only difference that we made recently was to add a hunger meter to Survival mode because you can't ignore it. You have to do something about it. So that changed the game for everybody. But if I add like, "Oh, now we can grow potatoes," it doesn't have any change at all for people that never grow potatoes. But it's fun for those who do.

You always have the community holding you accountable for the changes you make. So if you end up going down a road that doesn't satisfy the community, you're going to find out.

JB: Yeah. That's the thing.

But there is always a vocal minority.

JB: Yeah. But I can see when a feature gets more than normal amount of complaints. We have a few of those. I'm not sure if you're familiar with that, but in the recent versions, if you dig very deep, when you get close to the bottom of a level, it gets really, really dark. People have been complaining a lot about that because they have been building bases and stuff, and suddenly you can't see anything.

Even with torches?

JB: No. It's very dark. You can only see a few steps ahead of you. So, what I did was that I disabled it in Creative mode, but I will probably end up removing it completely. I'm fine with removing it, but it was Notch's feature, and it kind of becomes sacred ground. [laughs] And he really liked it. So, I'm a bit hesitant.

Right now, Notch's feature feels sacred because you've just taken over. But there's going to be a certain point where you're leaving Notch's features way behind you.

JB: Maybe. [laughs] I can't really tell yet. I think I will probably always ask him about things that I know he has been working on, most likely. At least if they are added.

I think there's also, when a feature is aged, it becomes easier to remove or change it. So, for example, if I should go back and change something that was added really, really early, I don't think Notch would have a problem with that. I don't think he has a problem if I remove new features either, but it's more that I don't feel that I have to ask him about changing old stuff.

Right. I'm sure that if he didn't feel confident, he wouldn't have handed the game to you, right?

JB: No. He has said that he has 100 percent confidence in me, so that's pretty good.


Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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