Dust 514: E3’s Most Ambitious Shooter

By  |  Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 8:43 am

If you watched Sony’s E3 press conference, you might’ve dismissed Dust 514 as just another Playstation 3 shooter among countless others. And that’d be too bad, because Dust 514’s latest trailer doesn’t do justice to the crazy ideas that CCP Games is trying to execute.

Unlike most multiplayer shooters, whose individual matches live in a vacuum and don’t support any overarching goals, Dust 514 is tied directly to the massive multiplayer game EVE Online. By fighting on the ground, players try to capture planets on behalf of EVE’s major corporations. In other words, players’ actions in Dust 514 can have a ripple effect throughout the EVE universe.

That may not mean a whole lot if you don’t know anything about EVE Online, but understand that EVE is serious business for the 400,000 people who play it. Coalitions have formed and crumbled over the game’s 8-year history, and player alliances have rich histories that read like something out of a text book.

Not surprisingly, EVE players have already taken an interest in Dust 514. Some have set up websites to recruit strong players, offering to bankroll them with in-game credits. For less coveted players, Dust 514 won’t require a subscription, but will require an up-front purchase of in-game currency. After that, players can play for free, buy more currency or hope to attract the attention of EVE players and get funded.

It’s not clear exactly how the battles in Dust 514 will play out, but Thomas Farrer, the game’s producer, said during a press briefing that it can take hours to capture a piece of planetary infrastructure, of which there are several on each planet. Players will also be able to fight against computer opponents fight in missions generated by computer-controlled corporations (Correction: at this point, CCP is saying that all opponents will be human), but the risks and rewards will be lower. The game will go into private trials at the end of this year and launch next spring.

The thing about ambition is that it doesn’t always work out. CCP has never published a first-person shooter, and if the game isn’t fun, it’s not going to draw many more people into the EVE universe. But I can’t fault CCP for trying. “What we wanted to create with this is an experience that’s about more than shooting people in the face,” Farrer said.

Amen to that.

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  1. Taylor Says:

    So…you're saying I could quit my job and become a professional mercenary online? Sign me up!