E3 2011: Dust 514

We get a look at Dust 514, the upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive shooter-MMO from developer CCP that will communicate directly with EVE Online.

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QUICKTAKE: Dust 514 is a an incredibly ambitious massively-multiplayer shooter, tied directly to EVE Online, the internationally acclaimed space-faring sandbox MMO. Whereas EVE Online allows players to choose one role from a variety of specific professions and strategically participate in a persistent universe that accommodates up to 360,000 simultaneous players (and is PC-only), Dust 514 is a PlayStation 3-exclusive title (not coming to PC) that will allow console players to form factions and take part in battles orchestrated by EVE Online players, with events in each game being instantly reflected in the other. THE DEMO: In a closed-door meeting at E3, developer CCP gave an overview of EVE Online's evolution, teased a bit of the June 21-due (free) expansion called Incarna, and explained how Dust 514 will blend entirely new gameplay into EVE Online's persistent universe. It was also revealed that events in each game will inform the other in real time, and PS3 gamers playing Dust 514 will be able to communicate directly with PC gamers playing EVE Online. In a nutshell, despite providing completely different types of gameplay on two completely different platforms--space-based strategy and action in EVE Online, and planet-based combat in Dust 514--both games take place in the same universe, at the same time. DETAILS: To provide some context for Dust 514, the behind closed-door presentation began with an example of EVE Online's emergent, player-driven gameplay. A "pretty-old" map of EVE Online's solar system was shown (it's huge), showing each of the game's numerous Alliances ("super-groups" of allied players, around 1000-5000 players, each) and their controlled territories. It was explained that a relatively weak Alliance called Stain (comprised primarily of Nordic and French gamers), kept attacking a much more powerful Alliance (primarily Russians), despite repeated defeats. It was only after the Russian alliance dispatched spies that they discovered that the Stain Alliance was being funded by a third Alliance (of American players). Upon discovering this, the Russians blocked the trade route between the two conspiring factions. It's these same types of player-created (and driven) objectives that will inform the action in Dust 514, albeit on a planetary level. Prior to diving into more information about Dust 514, developer CCP also showed off some footage from the June 21-due expansion for EVE Online, called Incarna. The core enhancement provided by the free expansion gives players full-body avatars that allow players to explore space stations (as part of the "Captain's Quarters"). A "New New Player Experience" feature also promises to help teach new pilots more effectively, and all of the game's more than six-hundred turrets are receiving cosmetic enhancements.

An early look at the 'Captain's Quarters' feature from EVE Online's upcoming free Incarna add-on.

Not long ago, EVE Online received an expansion that allowed players to interact with and build upon planets within the galaxy. As it turns out, this was a very important step in making Dust 514 possible. A brief explanation was given about how players could conquer planets and build infrastructure (in EVE Online). Following the sandbox design ethos, the in-game objectives in both EVE Online and Dust 514 are determined by the players themselves. However, Dust 514 will also include a "High Security Space" for new players that features matchmaking functionality to help teach players the ropes. One player (in EVE Online) might build several sets of structures (like mines or cloning facilities) and defenses on a planet. Another faction might hire a group of mercenaries to conquer the planet, but it's up to them to decide which structures to attack and secure. Capturing a cloning facility on an enemy planet, for example, will enable that faction to more easily create and deploy troops to the front lines. Mercenary corporations formed with friends in both Dust 514 and EVE Online can be enlisted to carry out planet-side portion of the missions, which are played out in sessions of Dust 514 that will accommodate between thirty and forty players at a time, and last an average of twenty minutes. Some examples were also shown of how Dust 514 will let players customize their character and choose whether to be a specialized pilot (vehicles are also customizable), logistics specialist, or heavily armored infantry. Equipment, weapons, vehicles, armor, and more can be purchased via the EVE Online's primary or secondary (player-driven) market. Dust 514 aims to add another layer of depth to the (already incredibly deep) universe of EVE Online. Both games compliment each other like two sides of the same coin, with the EVE Online players focused on interstellar control, and Dust 514 players focused on capturing land, riches, and resources by engaging in planet-side firefights. It will be interesting to see how the PlayStation 3 community reacts to a massively-multiplayer shooter that's directly tethered to such an intricate MMO. Nothing quite like it has been done before, but it seems like CCP's careful and incremental approach to expand the EVE Online universe to a home console via Dust 514 could be a real boon for gamers who want to participate in battles whose outcomes have overarching impact on a huge, persistent galaxy. Dust 514 is headed exclusively to PlayStation 3 in the Summer of 2012. Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.
From The Chatty
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    June 10, 2011 4:45 PM

    Jeff Mattas posted a new article, E3 2011: Dust 514.

    We get a look at Dust 514, the upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive shooter-MMO from developer CCP that will communicate directly with EVE Online.

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      June 10, 2011 4:59 PM

      real time events and communication? That's awesome. Reading and watching now but what is the communication? messaging?

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        June 10, 2011 5:08 PM

        wouldn't be surprised if its ingame voice comm

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          June 10, 2011 5:10 PM

          hell just chat would be fine but ingame voice would be HOT.

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            June 10, 2011 5:13 PM

            GIVE US SOME DETAILS JEFF

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              June 10, 2011 8:27 PM

              Voice communication is platform-restricted. No PC to PS3 voice. All the ways that the 2 games inform each other is pretty cutting edge stuff though, I think.

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            June 10, 2011 6:04 PM

            they've already got the ingame voice comms working from evegate, i can't imagine it would be too difficult to get it working on ps3 as well

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            June 10, 2011 10:22 PM

            I would hope since EVE Online already has ingame voice chat, Dust 514 should have this as well.

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      June 10, 2011 5:21 PM

      CCP's studio where they're developing Dust 514 opened a month or two ago here in Atlanta. My boss and I were just talking yesterday about how we'd quit our jobs in a SECOND to work there.

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        June 10, 2011 5:26 PM

        [deleted]

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          June 10, 2011 6:41 PM

          Huh. A contact at a datacenter provider we use said he went there to pitch them and they said they were working on Dust. Maybe it's a bit of Dust there but mostly WoD? I dunno, I wasn't there.

          Still, their facilities are amazing. Incredibly thick concrete walls.

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        June 10, 2011 5:52 PM

        Dust is in Shanghai, World of Darkness is in Atlanta.

        and this line, "persistent universe that accommodates up to 360,000 simultaneous players" is a little misleading. 360,000 is the current number of EvE subscribers. The game can handle a lot more.

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          June 10, 2011 6:44 PM

          man i would do unspeakable things to intern for CCP atlanta

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      June 10, 2011 5:30 PM

      [deleted]

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        June 10, 2011 5:37 PM

        I will play the shit out of this game when it's on PC. I am much more of an FPS guy but I like EVE's player driven world.

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          June 10, 2011 6:57 PM

          Think they ever will? Wouldn't the mouse+keyboard crowd mop the floor with the consoleers and their poor controllers?

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            June 10, 2011 6:58 PM

            i don't think they will. they stated they wanted to draw a new demographic of players in to their IP. the last thing they want to do I think is divide their player base's time by introducing a competitor to their main game

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              June 10, 2011 11:32 PM

              Makes me sad

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              June 11, 2011 5:02 PM

              All they really wanted was a vehicle to raise extra funds to support the MMO - I'd guess that was their primary motivation for releasing on PS3 only. :(

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      June 10, 2011 5:56 PM

      Wake me up when they decide to release for PC or X360.

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        June 11, 2011 3:51 AM

        You'll be sleeping forever waiting for a 360 release, I doubt it will ever happen thanks to Microsofts XBL architecture of monetize EVERYTHING.

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        June 11, 2011 5:01 PM

        This. Sure seems bizarrely short-sighted of them to not release for the same platform where, you know, their MMO resides. Pretty lame, actually.

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      June 10, 2011 6:07 PM

      i resubscribed yesterday :(

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      June 10, 2011 6:22 PM

      Sure would like a quality PC shooter MMO.

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      June 10, 2011 10:58 PM

      A Console game where you are a PC Gamer's bitch!

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        June 10, 2011 11:13 PM

        Really, I wonder about this. I can't imagine Dust players being able to do much of anything to the larger game, the pc players will foam at the mouth.

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          June 10, 2011 11:39 PM

          Why do you think this?

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            June 10, 2011 11:40 PM

            Or, actually, could you further explain your position?

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              June 11, 2011 12:25 AM

              I would find it hard to imagine they would risk the ire of "professional" EVE players by allowing console players too much influence in the larger picture. Also, I'm not sure just how much influence you can really give to Dust players. In other words, it's all very mysterious to me.

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                June 11, 2011 12:51 AM

                Oh. Well it seems to me from everything they've said that the EVE players are going to be the ones doling out orders. The structures they set up on the planets are the structures that the DUST players will see on the ground. It's still gonna mostly be controlled by the EVE players, but the ground troops will play a large role, I think, in spearheading the forces to get control and retaining control.

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                  June 11, 2011 7:30 AM

                  I'm betting most of the big alliances end up pushing their members to get Dust just to have finer control over events.

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      June 11, 2011 1:34 PM

      I'm sure CCP will pull it off. They're one of the most competent development houses in the business.

      I just wish I could get into EVE. I've tried several times but it's just too dry for my tastes.

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      June 13, 2011 4:50 AM

      Cool concept but the game itself looks really dull. Granted, we haven't seen all that much yet.

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      June 13, 2011 2:14 PM

      Lost me at "PS3 only"

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