Dust 514 PS3 preview
Dust 514 has been a bit of an unknown quantity. It’s a shooter, it connects to the huge PC MMO EVE (more on EVE’s hugeness in a minute) it’s recently gone free to play aaand that’s about it. Having finally seen the game in action at this year’s EVE Fanfest, the scale of what’s on offer is only just starting to sink in. For example, it’ll take seven years to unlock everything in Dust 514 and you can make and sell your own Dust 514 gun for real money.
A quick lesson on EVE first. It’s an online space war sim that sees globally run virtual corporations fighting huge battles with enormous and highly customisable ships. The time investment is incredible with a vast in-game economy and players actually taking out insurance on their vessels. It also currently holds the world record for the most people playing online at once with 63, 170 ships blasting the space junk out of each other.
The thing is huge, with regional corporations and alliances fighting, scheming and meeting in a largely emergent universe. Most of what happens is unscripted and unplanned. It’s just what you get when you give a few tens of thousands of people big spaceships with lasers and shoo them out into the galaxy to enjoy themselves.
It’s also deep like the Mariana Trench. A quick look at a single average PC screen shows enough menus and displays for several other games, plus battles can involve thousands. The way the two link up is that PS3 players on the ground, fighting multiplayer battles, will be working for and supported by the corporations in EVE’s ongoing PC war.
Chief marketing officer David Reid explains the link. “A lot of what happens in Dust is the idea of being a mercenary and part of a clan of mercenaries accepting contracts from EVE corporations. You’ll be able to take your avatar from a Dust 514 game, you’ll take a space elevator up into a space station and you’ll negotiate that contract with a virtual gin and tonic.”
The scale that EVE possesses has carried over to the PS3, albeit in a far more manageable FPS format, with a bank of social functions, almost limitless customisation and a PSN-sized market where you can buy gear and upgrades (if you want to that it is, you don’t have to spend a penny). There are augmentations, dropsuits (which function like load outs) fully customisable vehicles, guns, armor mods… Christ I saw a lot of options.