Friday, November 18, 2011

Notch exits, hands Minecraft development to Jens Bergensten (@jeb_)

From Minecraft: Beyond "Final Release" by Anthony Gallegos on IGN:
Mojang doesn't have a plan for content after Minecraft's "final release." According to Jens Bergensten, who's leading up Minecraft development post-'launch', he hasn't "planned out anything yet." But many "simple things" are swimming around in his head. Only one "big" feature is in the works right now, but he did let us in on a couple of smaller details he's personally out to change in the coming months.

The big feature Mojang's tackling after the final release is NPC A.I. In the final game NPCs exist, but don't really do much more than meander. With a new A.I. programmer on board in December, Bergensten says the goal is to "give the NPCs in village some kind of purpose" or "predictable behavior that's more interesting than just wandering around."
So Notch has reached the abandonment stage of Minecraft. I'm sure that after two years he'd like to move on to something new. It's not in the nature of highly creative types to add the finishing touches to their game systems, or to do the hard design work required to make a good mod API.

I'm very much in favor of this turn of events. Notch's Minecraft fatigue has become somewhat evident, so it's great he's handing the lead over to Jens, who actually wants to work on it. Jens was originally hired for the Scrolls team, but talked his way onto his preferred project, Minecraft.

No mention of APIs or new mod-enabled launchers in IGN's article, and no mention of Jens' ascension after Notch's abdication during Notch's "keynote"/Minecraft launch session. Perhaps these will get mentioned during the Q&A later today.

Update 11/28: A number of diehard Minecraft fans on the official forums didn't think the articles by IGN and gamespy were credible enough to be believed (yeah, I know). They could only accept the news directly from Notch himself, or from Jens.

That news has finally arrived:

Jens Bergensten tweeted "@MinerFlat64 I will still be fulltime Minecraft, but Notch will be working on new projects"
I find it interesting that Mojang chose to downplay this bit of news until well after Minecon.

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