EVE spinoff Dust 514 is preparing to launch its beta test, but developer CCP Shanghai is attempting to avoid the term. "We're not calling it a Beta," executive producer Brandon Laurino said.
Instead, the company is planning a "private trial," one that will be careful to preserve the ongoing EVE story. Progressive waves of trials will slowly introduce the story behind the game's mercenary wars, and their role in the EVE universe. According to Laurino, a normal beta test would break the EVE fiction.
"We’re not taking the usual 'on / off' method of rolling out a build and then taking it back and tweaking it, then rolling it out again," executive producer Brandon Laurino told the PlayStation Blog. "When we roll out with those first few users we are introducing mercenary technology to EVE, our 'game as a service begins', and the story will continue from there as that technology develops, further empowering the DUST 514 mercenaries from test subjects in war games to ultimately allowing them to take hold of their own future. It's what we call a thematic rollout."
At the same time, Laurino hesitates to call it a spin-off of EVE. "The EVE universe is comprised of three experiences: one is the classic EVE Online play, 'flying in space' or what we call FIS; there's WIS or 'walking in stations', where you can now get out of your ship and explore the interiors of space stations; and the final piece is DUST 514 and we’ve nicknamed that SIF, or 'shooting in face'," he said. "None of those three are spin-offs, they’re experiences of equal value that can be played independently or fully connected. If you’re connected then you’re going to get the rich emergent gameplay that runs through all three."