Mojang studies what other survival games do well when considering Minecraft’s future development. Before 1.19’s release, I queried Mojang about their plans; Agnes Larsson who oversees Minecraft and Nir “Ulraf” Vaknin who works on it didn’t want to discuss specific features for an update but rather talked about learning from competitors while keeping “Minecraft’s charm alive for at least 10 more years”.
Minecraft first entered alpha testing back in 2010. Since its debut, survival and crafting elements have become staples, even among competing voxel-based crafting games like Voxel Dungeon. Mojang remains unchallenged as leader of this genre; but after being at the helm for so long it may become complacent, insular, and dependent upon developers and gamers within its community for survival and advancement.
Larsson and Vaknin acknowledged their game wasn’t necessarily the best; (they could) simply boasted about it! Knowing what makes their game unique helped keep players coming back – something Larsson refers to as intrinsic motivation; she stated “We should encourage and allow gamers’ creative freedom without forcing creativity on anyone,” according to her view.
Vaknin recognized that his game excels at self-motivation: “Many games today seem to stray away from this approach because many players want some guidance – that is fine!”
Recently I’ve played various survival crafting games. Valheim with its Viking crafting, session-based survival in Icarus and vampire crafting in V Rising have all held my interest, with Valheim playing over 100 hours (I helped push for its selection as our game of the year in 2021!) being my personal favourite but no longer drawing me back in.
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Vaknin noted he enjoys following competition. In particular, he found Valheim’s food and hunger systems fascinating as many other crafting games (such as Minecraft) allow players to ignore or disregard such systems or consider all meals equal in terms of nutrition. “I ponder about it often and contemplate its meaning for our society”, Vaknin states.
Vaknin highlighted V Rising’s cutting-edge tracking system as its main attraction: to locate bosses you must track them around an area similar to Minecraft’s Eye of Ender or “V Eyes of Ender,” for finding their stronghold.
Vaknin on Minecraft
The Vaknin believes Minecraft will not chase its players like it follows trends, instead acting more like an old friend who will wait patiently until you return if and when necessary.
The Vaknin described his Minecraft journey, from playing extensively for years and then returning annually when the mood strikes – something which I myself do, to my great satisfaction; Mojang clearly acknowledges it is perfectly okay with.
“Unlike so many other games that immerse me so completely that it becomes hard to come back, Minecraft never loses my interest – something else other games do too often – I find so refreshing!” “Minecraft keeps drawing me in time after time; therefore I must hold onto it!”
Larsson: When playing Minecraft for pleasure rather than obligation, I find comfort knowing the developers have confidence to stay current on crafting and survival trends without following them blindly.
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