Gamescom 2011: Dust 514 Preview

We take a look at an extremely interesting shooter that shares the same overall battles and world as EVE Online.

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With all due respect to Bill Murray, CCP Games wants to move away from the "Groundhog Day scenario" of online shooters; that feeling that you're just replaying the same maps over and over without any sense of overall progress outside of a few unlockable weapon attachments. It's this idea that's led to Dust 514, a new first-person shooter set in a universe that's hardly new itself. CCP Games, as you may know, is the same studio behind the long-running EVE Online, a massively multiplayer space simulation with a vast economy and thousands of star systems where player-controlled corporations and pirate clans are constantly trying to expand their influence. Through a little bit of cross-platform, cross-genre wizardry, the PlayStation 3 shooter Dust 514 will be tightly integrated with the overall events that transpire in the PC-only EVE Online. It sounds crazy, but hopefully, it's just crazy enough to work.

"We've been in a very fortunate position," says producer James Farrer. "It's hard to have a living, breathing world with thousands of people in it, and in EVE, that's something we have." Before jumping into battle, you can take a look at a map of the star system that gives you an idea of which factions are currently in control and where the big fights are happening. The latter is especially of concern because Dust 514 players are essentially mercenaries in the employ of the player-created corporations of EVE Online. It's a shared economy between gameworlds, with the folks on the ground getting paid to do the dirty work for those up in space.

So while the gameworld may be living and breathing, you're hardly guaranteed to be doing that yourself. Dust 514, when you strip away all the interstellar politics, is an action-heavy first-person shooter in the Halo or Battlefield mold. The player counts are big--32 in the objective-based Skirmish mode we saw--and there are a lot of armored vehicles rolling around making a big ruckus. Not having a chance to play, we can't really tell how the game feels or whether it plays any differently from a standard shooter. But there were a few things that happened during the demo that certainly stood out.

The big one is the way orbital strikes work. Players on the ground can call in an orbital strike from a ship up in space, but it's not the in-game AI that pulls the trigger. People playing EVE who belong to your faction will actually receive a request to fire on their screen, and they're the ones who send the strike down to the planet surface where the Dust 514 map takes place. We're not entirely sure what goes into determining who receives this strike request, but the fact that these two different games on two different platforms can interact like this is obviously very exciting.

CCP offered up a lot of talk about the more long-term effect of Dust 514's battles for territorial supremacy. "They can actually have an effect on the innocents of EVE," Farrer suggests. "For some of them, it can be a positive benefit; they can be running supplies and making a lot of money from the conflict and trade. For others, it might be damaging to them to lose space to a damaging power." That's all well and good, but the mercenaries are most interested in the offensive-minded factions with deep pockets. "If you're building valuable infrastructure on the surface of a planet, you're going to want somebody to defend it, so you're going to want to recruit mercenaries to fight for you and essentially have your own standing army."

Getting paid helps you become a better mercenary by giving you currency for upgrades. Whether it's giving yourself augmentations or buying new weapons or vehicle equipment, CCP promises that the game's fitting system will be a deep and customization-heavy system that lets you carve out your own personalized class on the battlefield. And in typical massively multiplayer online fashion, Dust 514 ought to have plenty of updates to keep you in the habit. "There's no finished product; it's all about continually expanding and improving," says Farrer.

So far, Dust 514 has a lot of interesting systems and ideas working in its favor. (And it certainly helps that you don't need a monthly subscription to play it--just a PlayStation Network account.) But ultimately, this is a first-person shooter. It can have the most impressive technical architecture in the world that lets it communicate with the world of EVE Online, but if it's no fun to play, that will be a deal breaker for most players. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to answer that question before long. In the meantime, you can expect to see Dust 514 hit the PlayStation 3 in summer 2012.

Discussion

36 comments
Red_Wyrm
Red_Wyrm

"Never knew this was an exclusive.. Either Sony have got more money than sense or Microsoft are slacking.. Mind you, by slacking I'd mean focusing on kinect.. and by focusing on kinect i mean literally ramming it down peoples throats." It isnt exclusive to PS because of Sony works with CCP, they are not. Its more because MS dont want to make exceptions for CCP. And exception is about let Xbox works more freely with other platforms. Currently cross-platforming for Xbox are very restrained. So unless MS do something about it, DUST will not be released for Xbox.

vico3353
vico3353

Now these are the revolutionary ideas game companies need to implement.

Ares360
Ares360

Sounds interesting, if its as deep as the preview says i think i may just end up getting it, as long as it doesn't end up being like MAG, MAG was great and ate up a ton of time but those clans all had one favored aspect to them and not much difference from one player to the next. Give me mass customization and a rich online experience that'll keep me hooked and feels new every time i play it, then i'll buy.

ThexSilentxOne
ThexSilentxOne

Why does everyone say, 'I'd rather play MAG!" That game is "OK" if you like rage inducing, unbalanced gameplay with subpar shooting mechanics with an unfair faction/equipment advantage and a one-sided matchmaking system along with the usual camping and air strike farming! Other than these things, it is a pretty fun shooter, don't get me wrong! The only things i don't like generally about MAG is that: S.V.E.R: Pro:Really strong guns with good amount of variation Con: Low accuracy General Problem: Accuracy is generally up to how the player can set up shots and if they invest in good scopes, stabilizing hand-grips and stocks, their accuracy will quickly increase, thus kind-of eliminating their weakness and making them the obvious choice! Plus they are the most played so finding a clan is easy!

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

@randomtext I guess you've never played MAG? If everyones constrained by the same rules then its very very fun. Back on point, I'd rather be playing MAG. But maybe it'll be good? I'd love to hear how EVE online players think this will work out. I imagine there will be dedicated EVE online players playing this alongside their EVE counterpart.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Never knew this was an exclusive.. Either Sony have got more money than sense or Microsoft are slacking.. Mind you, by slacking I'd mean focusing on kinect.. and by focusing on kinect i mean literally ramming it down peoples throats.

randomtext
randomtext

Meh, Console shooters are pretty fail(slow turn rates, aim assist, general lack of control options, etc...). I think I'll pass until there is a PC release.

smoman5000
smoman5000

Sounds like some cool ideas. Hopefully more info will be shwon at PAX

j0abell
j0abell

I've got a PS3, and its great for some types of games, but I'd still rather play a shooter like this on my PC...

shinspikes
shinspikes

If I can have an exact game like mass effect with really good control and shootin mechanics, like BF3. I would be in heaven.

oflow
oflow

shouldnt have any kind of connectivity issues. Cross platform gaming has been done before like FFXI on ps2 and pc.

Bungiehalo
Bungiehalo

Awesome idea and really excited for it. Just... why on only on PS3? It's gotta come to PC at some point right?

NojYensog
NojYensog

Like the idea but am betting it won't live up to expectations. The whole thing is a house of cards that will collapse if the EVE community shrinks. Look for future games to take this idea and improve on it- this one will be the sacrificial lamb. That said- I'm still gonna give this on a go!

JohnIndigo
JohnIndigo

I like the airstrike idea above all else. Having a PC player to call in the shots for you just sounds really awesome!

NataiX13
NataiX13

Definitely a cool idea and I'm hoping it does well, but I won't play this on PS3. I get better performance on my PC, and I agree that this being a PS3-exclusive is insulting to all the Eve players out there. If it's released on PC, I'll be all over it.

Centurion95
Centurion95

Got to give them points for a clever idea, still have to see how this plays out in practice.

100proofsoco
100proofsoco

Looks pretty cool. The screenshot above that looks like a command center looking at Earth is amazing!

Henoch
Henoch

@Zues7 100% agree with you, not releasing this also for pc is a clear insult to those that paid CCP's bills for so many years. I will not lower myself to buy inferior platform to play fps which was created for pc at first place. If consolers want piece of action : no problem, but all exclusivity coming from devs like CCP might backfire on them. I would love real crossplatform games where I can kick some consolers asses.

Toplinkar
Toplinkar

Sounds great, never thought a console player like me could end up playing a game along pc gamers. :) Imagine a future where all platfomrs could play together, imagine the XBOX360 vs PS3 players in a conquest match in battlefield 4?! I wish it wasn't just a wild dream.

danielkennedy91
danielkennedy91

wow sounds like a good idea for a game, but let hope they make the idea work really work :/

NL_GHOST
NL_GHOST

@Fozenflame00 that would be cool... i also like eve but 1. i dont want to pay montly (same as wow) and 2. i cant pay it

ferretshob
ferretshob

Microsoft you need to start thinking about exclusives. I am sick and tired of seing the PS3 getting the majority of exclusives. Start paying up before you start loosing alot of xbox fans.

the_requiem
the_requiem

I'm not into shooters or EVE Online but this is a VERY interesting development. As others have said, a great way for people to get into a series they like setting/story of but not the MMO genre. I wonder how long before something like this is added to StarCraft.

Fozenflame00
Fozenflame00

No doubt a dumb question but.. will they have those pilot license things for the DUST players? I enjoyed EVE just never had the interest to keep paying its monthly sub all the time.. if we can use the money the DUST players earn to buy EVE time that would be awesome lol

Zues7
Zues7

It's a crying shame that gaming developers are not creating more games for PC versions. After all, PC gaming is where it's at.... and where it all started btw!

penguins227
penguins227

This would be awesome. But the thing it relies on is the size and continual population of the EVE community. If EVE had the community of World of Warcraft, this would be a great idea. Let's just hope things work out! Innovative!

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I hope it succeeds. More diversity in MMO is definitely a step in the right direction, and merging the space sim/economic MMO of EVE with an online shooter is a great first step. Hopefully other developers will warm up to the idea and there will be more MMO that are not restricted to RPG or FPS or other old school conventions but rather have as much diversity as life (or as permitted by current gen technology and legal restrictions).

revanknight
revanknight

It's an amazing idea, but I'm worried about connectivity issues. If it DOES work out, it will probably be the most innovative (and possibly entertaining) online shooter since battlefield.

jamesAboy19
jamesAboy19

just to inform people. this is a new free to play game that ties into EVE online how ever it will require an initial buy in at the beginning of about $20, how ever this will translate into in game items (sort of like a bunch of microtransactions) just to help get the game get started at launch, hopefully later down the line the devs are hoping to let people even download it for free. So if you buy it for $20 at launch, you get some extra in game bonus's, if you wait until it becomes free, you wont get the bonus's but it will be fre free.....guess the choice is yours, im planning on jumping on board straight away

torbonator
torbonator

this sounds amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've wanted to get into the EVE universe for ages but I don't like the game EVE itself, and this game does look a brilliant way to introduce people to the EVE universe then the game EVE itself one a new player knows a bit of EVE lore.

deathnight_2000
deathnight_2000

@TheRevanent As far as i remember they said it was just going to be the 1 off purchase of the game, no subscription, i think i saw it on the FAQ's on the official site

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator staff

@TheRevanent Ack, forgot to mention that in the story. Updated it now! (You don't need a subscription)

janrabbit
janrabbit

such a brilliant idea, MMO's are gunna get to the point where even all the "innocents" will be players and its just a whole world of players and no NPC's..... not for awhile yet eh?

TheRevanent
TheRevanent

I wonder if this will require a subscription just like EVE does. I've dabbled in EVE on and off for the past few years and the $15 subscription is the main thing keeping me from making it one of my more frequently played games.

tgchan
tgchan

w8ing for it so much!!! I really hope it will be very special sci-fi game