The Asia branch of CCP Games had modest beginnings -- the company's Shanghai office was simply formed to administer EVE Online in China, although there was always the hope that the team would eventually be able to develop new games as well. Now CCP's Shanghai office is growing into a full-fledged game development studio with their work on DUST 514, a ground-based console MMOFPS that ties in with the galactic struggle for control between players in EVE Online.
A recent interview with Gamasutra's Christian Nutt discusses CCP Asia and their work on DUST 514 from both a western and eastern perspective. Environment Director Larry Herring and Lead Level Designer Jing Yu Zhu give us a better idea of the challenges (and red tape) involved with developing games for Western markets in China, and a look at the console game development scene in Shanghai.
The Gamasutra interview also touches upon the process of working out how DUST 514's gameplay will ultimately integrate with Sovereignty game mechanics in EVE. Herring tells Gamasutra: "One thing to note is that the two design teams have worked very closely over the last year and a half to really iron out what can be mutually beneficial and at the same time what will have less negative effect on both as well. I think that's important. There's a lot involved even outside of game design with actually writing back story and figuring out where DUST fits into the universe."
This idea of striking the right balance is a crucial one for CCP Asia, and there are a few dimensions to it: the interplay of DUST 514 with EVE Online, of course, but there's also the challenge of bridging the cultural divide with Chinese designers working on Western games. You can read about this collaboration in the full interview with CCP Asia over at Gamasutra.