Bungie is known for Halo, Infinity Ward is known for Call of Duty and CCP Games is known for EVE Online, with the space-based MMORPG being the Icelandic developer and publisher’s flagship IP since their founding in 1997. The studio has only released one other game, DUST 514, the PS3-exclusive pairing to the sky battles in EVE Online as the ground-based gameplay elements of DUST 514 allow PlayStation players to blast bullets at each other in an effort to support the corporations and ships above.
Indeed, CCP has flirted with other franchises having worked on the failed vampire MMO, World of Darkness, but this was recently cancelled due to the project burning through its budget, unsuccessfully coming up with a concrete iteration of the game. EVE Online is still hugely lucrative though, one the remaining pay-subscription MMOs that’s still growing, and CCP is set to capitalize on it once again having now announced Project Legion, an FPS (First Person Shooter) also set in EVE’s world. It’s not quite DUST 514 on PC, but it’s similar.
Unlike the advancements of the upcoming EVE: Valkyrie, the Oculus Rift-compatible starfighter game set in the EVE Online universe, Project Legion is set to “go back to CCP roots” according to Julien Dulioust, monetization director and producer at CCP Games. Keeping in line with CCP’s foundations, Project Legion is also set to be a free-to-play MMO (like DUST 514) albeit rather than being a running and gunning multiplayer affair akin to Call of Duty and Battlefield 4, the game will be both heavily social and tactical with Bourbonnais saying that “It should be a social experience, I go there with my friends, form a squad. I develop tactics to avoid drones and get the best loot ever.”
While the social aspect is something that EVE Online has always prided itself on, the complexity of the game and its lore is something that it has not as players of both the original EVE title and DUST 514 have criticised them for how inaccessible they are to new players. This is something that CCP is looking to avoid this time round, instead using Project Legion as leverage or a gateway in other words to what main-game EVE Online has to offer. CCP is even calling Project Legion “the game that DUST 514 should have been” and the fact that the company has both refused to discuss the possibility of a PS4 version of DUST 514 or even reveal how many people are actively playing it is also telling.
How Project Legion keeps in line with fans’ wishes will be difficult for CCP Shanghai to determin, the developer behind the game (who also developed DUST 514) hope to use fan knowledge to do so. They plan to give the community the “tools” to have them help control the experience and develop the coveted meta game – something that EVE Online has thrived upon, earning mainstream media attention for massive in-game political events and wars – all controlled by the players.
“We want players to be willing to spend money. We don’t want people to feel they have to spend money to get a better experience or to advance. We want to build something fair for all the players. We cannot afford to be a money grab, we cannot afford to be a pay-to-win game, because people would leave instantly.”
In terms of release plans for the game, all that has been revealed so far is a live demo of the title at the recent FanFest 2014 event (an annual gathering where CCP can meet and interact with EVE fans) as well as details that Project Legion will be released on PC. We also know that the game has only been in development for a few months meaning that while we may see Project Legion (likely with a new name that sports an EVE-branded moniker at E3 in June, the full release of the game could be a while from now.