Crowd Control Productions' Dust 514 is still one of the greatest mysteries in gaming, but nonetheless this PS3 exclusive is already being dubbed as a “game changer” amongst console FPS gaming.
The title was announced this past year at E3 2011 and further explained at Gamescom. From the details we have so far, Dust 514 is a PlayStation 3 exclusive shooter tethered to the PC-centric MMO EVE Online.
So why all the hype? The game developers are attempting to do something that's never been done before: tie together an existing game with an entirely different game on an alternate platform, and have the events of one become consequential to the other.... quite a mouthful.
Brandon Laurino, the game's Executive Producer, has been the main source of information surrounding this rather ambitious title. Laurino explained the game to the PS Blog with this comment:
"We're breaking so much ground with Dust 514. We're not only building a full console MMO; we're bringing one that feeds into another MMO on a completely different platform. We're breaking more ground by bringing the microtransaction business model to a console shooter for the first time... We accept that there is a barrier to entry with something as deep as EVE Online and we wanted to make it more accessible, providing another portal and dimension into the EVE universe... What's more accessible to a gamer in this day and age than a shooter?"*
Unlike it’s “parent game” EVE Online, Dust 514 isn't a space-borne ship-to-ship MMO. The game will take place instead on the surface of the planets within the EVE universe and will be a vehicular combat game on an extremely large scale. However, when players move into installations and outposts, it becomes an infantry based First-Person Shooter.
Many in the gaming community are speculating that the gameplay will follow a similar setup to popular titles like MAG, yet with the incorporation of its unique features. For example, to mesh with EVE Online, it’s looking as though players will have plenty of customization through the “Fitting System” that long-time fans of the series are already familiar with. In Dust 514 players take on the role of an armed mercenary- a bit different from EVE Online’s role as a "Capsuleer"- the pilot of a spaceship. These mercenaries are freelance fighters, available for hire- receiving their assignments from EVE players. However, although the Dust players will be mercenaries, they can also seize territory from planets within the EVE universe for their own alliance and corporation (which will likely take place in the form of “Corporation vs. Corporation” matches). The current limit for online matches is said to be set at 64 (32 vs. 32). However, CCP has stated that the limit may increase by release or afterward.
What about maps and locations you may ask-- No “map packs” here, Laurino has made mention instead to “thousands of separate planets”* to which players will have access.
While there are obviously a lot of unknowns here, what we do know is that this title won't be hitting store shelves until well into 2012. The question is: what kind of opinion can we formulate about Dust 514 based on the information we have?
Well, its scope and scale seem to be the most important focus at this point. It seems obvious that in terms of depth and content this title will easily become the biggest multiplayer FPS on the market. However, by virtue of it also being an MMO, this title could be the deepest and richest FPS ever conceived. Most importantly though, and this might make things a bit controversial to some, by bringing microtransactions into the picture Dust 514 could very well be changing the dynamics of FPS console gaming forever.
See the Official Dust 514 Preview Trailer by clicking here!