We were first introduced to DUST 514 at the CCP fanfest in 2009. CCP’s vast ambitions with this first-person shooter set in the EVE Online universe were impressive to say the least. The implications of a console shooter having long terms effects on a PC MMO is unheard of, and despite CCP lacking a prolific history, the quality of EVE Online is unquestionable.

We have now seen multiple trailers for the game, but the information on actual gameplay has been limited. We know that players of DUST 514 will be contracted mercenaries of factions from the EVE universe, and gameplay looks very similar to Battlefield. Just Monday, Sony revealed that DUST 514 will be coming exclusively to the PlayStation 3 as well. Now that CCP is going to be able to focus on a single console that they claim has a “dedication to providing a flexible and MMO-friendly platform,” DUST 514 may turn some heads in a very crowded year for the FPS market.

In our meeting with CCP, the discussion was mostly focused on EVE Online’s expansion over the past 8 years, and the years of set-up that the EVE universe has experienced for the inevitable launch of an entirely new kind of game. Ryan covered CCP’s EVE discussion, but some of the most interesting information came from the DUST half of the meeting, and the unbelievable amount of integration the two titles are going to share. Check out the E3 trailer for a glimpse of this:

[bitsontherun S2TmngtT]

First of all, as I mentioned, the structure for DUST 514’s existence was established several expansions ago which allowed EVE players to build limited amounts of infrastructure on the hundreds of planets they fly by on a daily basis. These planets will be the battlegrounds for PS3 gamers, and every move they make could influence the entire newly connected universe.

During the Q&A session after CCP’s presentation, we wanted to know just what inspired the developers to so radically shift what had been a consistent game design philosophy after so many years. The developers at CCP had known for many years that bringing the EVE universe to the consoles was something they were extremely interested in, and once the idea for a first-person shooter came to mind, the restrictions this new genre created for the previously sandbox-only developer were both enticing and challenging to face. By forcing themselves to think much more narrowly about the possibilities for the game, they were able to streamline what they think will be a very successful and competitive title, primarily for an entirely new market of gamers.

Halldor Fannar, the CTO of CCP Games, clarified that DUST 514 isn’t actually tailored for¬†EVE Online players. They want to expand the brand, and although some EVE players are confused or even downright unhappy with the announcement of such a drastic shift, Fannar stressed that the last thing on their mind was “dumbing down” EVE to attempt to usher in gamers that find the massive space MMO daunting. In fact, some of the technical decisions made for DUST are going to be implemented into EVE in the future in an attempt to make exploring the galaxies more intuitive.

Although specific details regarding DUST 514 were sparse, we learned that players in EVE will be able to acquire biomass which they can send to the planet-bound corporations, enabling an increase in clone production. Players will also be able to set up mining colonies on the planets to harvest resources for their armies. Our experience with this universe is about to explode in terms of CCP realizing and implementing each of its individual aspects.

It’s unfortunate we have yet to see extensive gameplay from DUST (not to be confused with From Dust), but the sheer scale of CCP’s vision is enough to tide me over until they are ready to show more closer to release. As a huge fan of the fiction CCP has created, but one of the many who has not taken the time to get well acquainted with EVE Online, DUST 514 looks like it’s shaping up to be a fantastic introduction to the world(s) of EVE. Oh yeah, and it’s gorgeous:

DUST 514 is slated to drop for the PS3 in Summer 2012.

Stay tuned to Game Rant for more news and updates as E3 2011 continues through the week.

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