EVE Online Windows and Mac players duel in space, while Dust 514 Xbox and PlayStation players slug it out on the ground, and the latter informs the former in Icelandic developer CCP's surprise GDC Europe announcement breaking this morning across the pond. You read right: Dust 514 (EVE buffs, explain the name please?) is a "first-person-shooter-massively-multiplayer-online-real-time-strategy-MMO" (one sec, catching my breath) designed for consoles, and it's linked with EVE Online, CCP's sophisticated science fiction space-trading game. Linked, according to CCP, in that Dust "becomes an input" for the computer-based MMO and "dictates" aspects of its content.
Imagine snapping the locks off planetary abstraction in EVE and you've got the gist of Dust 514. Now you'll be able to visit the planets in the EVE Online universe and see what the fuss is all about up close and personal. According to CCP, you assume the role of a marine doing, well, what marines do best in conflict zones. The backstory involves something to do with cloned soldiers, and we'll see more teasers in an upcoming EVE book. You knew there were books about EVE, right? The first just arrived in the US on August 4th.
Dust 514, how grim you look. (Click to enlarge)
Remember the 1990s? When we speculated about the day an MMO might combine the AT-AT and Snowspeeder planet-side fighting on Hoth in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back with dueling high above the planet in X-Wings and Tie-Fighters? Looks like that day may finally be here. So it's not Star Wars. So what. Between you and me, EVE Online is better.
According to CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson (quoted by Develop):
There are ways in which these communities will meld in time. Our hope is that alliances will start to form and we will have social structures that spills over from the console game to the PC one. Or you might be able to control parts of the universe with both games. So while one fleet does the flying, the troops do the dying.
I mention Xbox and PlayStation gamers in the intro--both seem likely--but know that CCP's only saying "consoles" at this point. Dust 514 for the Wii? Hey, anything's possible.
Further details will be revealed at CCP’s annual Fanfest event October 1-3, 2009 in Reykjavik, Iceland. No word on release timeframes yet.
Looking a bit Halo 3: ODST, no? (Click to enlarge.)
CCP says Dust 514 has been in development at the company's Shanghai studio for the past three years. Props to CCP for keeping it under their hats this long then. Surprises in a rumor-riddled industry are actually kind of nice.
Oh, and Sony...take notes.
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