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EVE Fanfest 2009 highlights: DUST 514

James Egan

The keynote presentation also gave fans some more information about DUST 514, an ambitious project that ultimately aims to integrate console MMOFPS gameplay into the setting of EVE Online. CCP Games Asia Creative Director Atli Már Sveinsson showed fans what they've been working on in Shanghai for the past few years. DUST, he explained, is a game where the "actions of both DUST and EVE players resonate throughout both communities".

There will be small links at first between DUST 514 and EVE Online, but by design each game can stand on its own. (Perhaps this will quell some of the criticism EVE players have had about DUST tying in with their gameplay?)

The DUST 514 presentation explained the concept of the Theatre of War, "the container for all non-player corporation and player corporation conflict that takes place within the game." The game will have districts that are staging areas where EVE players strike a bargain with DUST mercs. There will be dynamic battlefields where spawn points are chosen by the players. (Commanders will have control over deploying ad-hoc installations and spawn points). Accruing war points will allow for bigger installations and vehicles, which will be both ground based and aerial, with fitting options in the spirit of how EVE Online's ship fitting works.

The modules and weaponry you use will be tied in with DUST 514's economy. CCP likened the monetization of DUST to booster packs rather than going the subscription route: "The game will utilize a microtransaction payment model that allows a la carte purchasing of blueprints for thousands of weapons, turrets, modules, and equipment for use in-game."

It wasn't all talk about what they plan to create, though. CCP showed a video of live gameplay, with a player-controlled Mobile Command Center (MCC) flying overhead, deploying the vehicles and gear that players will use to achieve their objectives. In fact, that artwork released with the original DUST 514 announcement (of a command center view from space of a blue planet) isn't concept art -- it's the interior of your war barge as the video showed. The footage showed a mix of ground-based combat and vehicle flight.

They also showed off chill-out areas and trophy rooms, and a staging area within a Mobile Command Center (essentially a hangar). CCP also emphasized their plans to have EVE and DUST players interact on a corporation and alliance level over time, creating one expanded setting where EVE has the fleet, DUST has the infantry. While CCP Games hasn't made an announcement of the DUST 514 release date or which console it will release on, we did note that Executive Producer Nathan Richardsson was playing the game with an Xbox 360 controller. This is not to say, however, there won't be a PlayStation 3 release as well.

These are only a few highlights of what DUST 514 is all about. For a closer look at the upcoming title you'll want to check out Eurogamer's DUST 514 preview which likens CCP's new title to large-scale FPS games like Battlefield 2142.

Video footage from EVE Fanfest 2009 is forthcoming, and should appear on the YouTube channel for CCP Games soon™.

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