Dust 514 is a free to play, Playstation 3 exclusive FPS set in the expansive universe of EVE Online. Something of an experiment for CCP Games, it plans on bringing PC and PS3 players together in sweet triumphant harmony. The Dust 514 open beta has been running since June, and you can still sign up. But how exactly does Dust 514 work? How does it affect PC games? Where does it fit into the already well established Eve Online universe? And most importantly, will everybody get along?
Here's everything we know.
It's not just an ordinary FPS
The Dust 514 developer diaries have shown that CCP have not adhered to the traditional console FPS model, but gone for their own vision of what they think the genre should be like. Instead of conventional FPS classes, Dust takes on a more RPG-style of character modifications called “fittings”. Producer Thomas Farrer explains that you “can create different fits to suit different tactics on the battlefield, and also to respond to the changing behaviours of others.”
Perhaps the most important aspect of Dust 514 is that it will seriously impact an MMO that has already been established for nine years, both in the community and the gameplay. Farrer informs us that “the results of these conflicts and conquests can actually have an impact on players not directly involved in them.” Very cool stuff.
Here's CCP's David Reid explaining why Dust 514 is more than just your average FPS:
It's aimed at console gamers
Although EVE Online is strictly for the PC, it's first spin-off Dust 514 will be exclusive to the PS3. Dust 514's FPS genre is sure to be a better fit for console gamers and the fact that it's free to play is certain to go down well amongst them. Closed Dust 514 beta testing began in June, and has been running every other weekend since.
CCP have also released a Dust 514 Playstation Vita app which allows you to customise, browse and use the market, manage characters and see the starmap. There is even a fancy Dust 514 PS3 Super Slim bundle available for those of you in America, which gives you $30 of Dust 514 content. At the current time it's unknown if Dust 514 will be coming to the PC (but here's hoping), although mouse and keyboard support will be available on the PS3.
It will (hopefully) join EVE and Dust 514 players at the hip
Dust 514 has already been successfully integrated with the EVE Online servers. It's an extremely impressive move that brings cross-platform gaming to a new level. The MMO and shooter now share the same online universe, allowing players to work with and against each other. Factional Warfare is where most of the integration will take place between EVE and Dust 514. Dust 514 players will be be able to call on EVE Online players to assist in their FPS battles, through orbital strikes and planetary onslaught.
What happens in Dust 514 will have repercussions in the EVE world. Dust 514 and EVE players can also live-chat and send in-game mail to each other across the two games. Players of Dust 514 will also be able to make their own or join existing EVE corporations, and eventually the games will share the same marketplace.
All of this is very exciting, but it could rely heavily on the PC and PS3 communities being able to get along. You can read more about Dust 514's links with EVE Online and the beta here.
It's planning on being around for a while
Dust 514 is part of CCP's bold master plan for 30 years of EVE, with Producer John Lander proclaiming “we want a Dust 10-year anniversary”. Lander also announced that they were not intending on releasing a game that could in six months be “off the shelves and people have stopped playing it." This is a pretty risky considering nature of console gaming, but if it works, it could see Dust 514 outliving the PS3.
It has some intriguing ideas for the future
CCP has big plans to include a Gladiator arena in the first expansion for Dust 514, PCGamer reports, which is set to be released next year. These arenas will eventually support capture the flag, deathmatches, and custom matches. The most exciting part? EVE online players will get the chance to observe and take bets on the outcomes of their Dust 514 counterparts.
It's being released at some point this year
Also, remember that you can still register for the closed Dust 514 beta here.