DUST 514 Community Manager James Egan of CCP has shared an E3 2011 video today introducing a persistent shooter for PS3 called DUST 514.
To quote: I'm the Community Manager for DUST 514, an upcoming title from CCP. This is the first time you'll have seen DUST 514 highlighted on the PlayStation.Blog and we're happy that we can reveal more about our game to you.
DUST 514 is a very different type of game. Yes, many people say this about their respective game titles - everyone thinks their baby is special, right? We really mean it though.
When playing your FPS title of choice, have you ever wished that there was something more to it beyond your rank, weapon unlocks, your kill/death ratio and leaderboard prominence? Those things are all great - but what if those matches you fought in actually meant something?
What if your successes and failures against your opponents impacted the course of events in a vast setting, potentially changed a virtual world and the gameplay experience of thousands of other players? More than that, what if that impact was felt across two separate games - one on PS3 and one on PC/Mac - that share the same sci-fi universe?
DUST 514 is that game.
The Persistent Shooter Concept
Some may know CCP as the creator of EVE Online, a sci-fi MMO with an open galactic setting. It's a game perhaps best known for its sweeping fleet battles involving thousands of players, its dynamic player-driven economy, and for having (and allowing!) espionage and spycraft.
We think of EVE as the ultimate sci-fi simulation, and that's where DUST 514 comes in. It's a whole new way of experiencing the EVE universe through what we call a "persistent shooter".
"Persistence" is the key word here. The world of DUST 514 doesn't spawn when you fire up your PlayStation 3 - it's always there and always being experienced and influenced by other players in the EVE universe. When you take part in events in the EVE universe through combat in DUST 514, you're taking part in something greater than your own individual experience of that world.
Your Battles Have Impact
Your actions have significance. We think that's a compelling approach to a game, and something that's currently lacking in the industry. But impact on what? The EVE universe is made up of thousands of solar systems, each with a number of planets within those systems. Those same planets seen in EVE Online, where the MMO players create various planetary structures and colonies, are the potential battlegrounds of DUST 514.
Your fights impact the entire EVE setting, comprised of both DUST 514 mercenaries and EVE Online starship pilots, known as "capsuleers". When you capture or destroy planetary structures, you are asserting dominance over regions of that planet - perhaps eventually the planet itself.
As you profit while wiping out your opposition in DUST 514, the outcomes of these conflicts can affect territorial control of vast regions of space in EVE Online, something of great importance to EVE's starship pilots.
But making allies of some capsuleers makes rivals of others... and that's where things get even more interesting. (Can you say, "orbital strike"?) Players of both games will have ways of influencing each other, and actions will ripple between DUST 514 and EVE Online.
Part of what makes EVE Online uncommon among MMOs is that the open setting allows for emergent gameplay. Large-scale fleet warfare is fought among the stars in complex military campaigns that can span months, while spies can infiltrate corps and funnel sensitive intel to the opposition.
Industrialists plot and topple rivals on the financial markets rather than through violence; skilled corps of hired guns settle disputes through... aggressive negotiations. This is just a fraction of what players accomplish in the EVE setting, which DUST 514 mercenaries will find their own unique ways to engage in. The possibilities are all there to become a part of this, but what happens is up to you.
Of course, either game can exist on its own without the EVE-DUST Link, but both sides benefit from it greatly when the players of each respective game choose to use the connections for all they're worth.
A Single Community That Spans DUST 514 and EVE Online
Ah, an aspect of DUST 514 that's near and dear to my heart. Those friends and enemies you make between the games leads to a great deal of player community interaction. CCP provides the setting with the EVE universe but ultimately it's you, the players, who really breathe life into it. And people have certainly done so already, long before DUST 514 was even a twinkle in our eye.
EVE Online has history spanning more than eight years, with a vibrant and (usually) mature community linked together through EVE Gate, a social network for EVE players that is tied in with their characters.
EVE Online players use it to communicate with their friends and enemies alike, and interact with their corporation even when not playing the game. We will open EVE Gate up to DUST 514 players as well. Opportunities will always be there for those who want to be part of the social fabric of this linked community, the wider EVE setting.
There are definitely challenges ahead, with a unified console and PC gamer community each influencing a shared setting through their respective types of gameplay. Rivalries, alliances and, dare I say, even some drama. Interesting times.
The Virtual Goods Economy
A strength of EVE Online is the depth of its economy. We are taking a similar approach to DUST 514, though we will do so carefully, with a slow integration of economic activity between both titles. (Fun fact: CCP employs two economists to oversee the EVE universe's virtual economy, one for EVE Online and another focused on DUST 514.)
Virtual goods will be a major part of the in-game economy, and our business model for DUST 514 is built upon digital distribution and virtual goods transactions rather than following the traditional boxed games model. In fact, that's another key thing that led us to abandon the FPS label in the first place - as a persistent shooter, our approach to creating and operating DUST 514 is more like an MMO.
We will continually develop and improve upon DUST 514, but that won't be funded by going the 'map pack sales' route. DUST 514 will have free expansions, and that development will be funded through virtual goods sales. Plus, everyone likes having customization options, right?
The virtual goods themselves will provide all manner of weaponry and defensive technology, vehicles, and more. This perpetual arms race will provide DUST players with variety in their gameplay and an array of virtual goods that supports a chosen playstyle.
"Would you like to know more?"
We are just now beginning to pull back the curtain and reveal more about DUST 514. So this is an important time for CCP, and we're very much looking forward to bringing you something that's quite unique in the gaming world.
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