Tag Archives: Dust 514

The Idea of an EVE Online Shooter Just Won’t Die

An Eve Online first-person shooter is CCP’s greatest folly

-Jeremy Peel, VG24/7

Massively OP posted earlier about a press release from one Sperasoft about how they and CCP are working together on a first person shooter based on the EVE Online IP.

Together for a purpose

The idea of an EVE Online FPS is one that just will not die, and I am honestly confused at this point as to why this is the brass ring that CCP wants to grab so very badly.

We had DUST 514 and the promise of integration with EVE Online back in the day.  That was not a success for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the decision to make it a PlayStation 3 title, and shut down back in 2016, though CCP spent time after that closing off the integration points.

Even before the corpse of DUST 514 had cooled there was talk of something called Project Legion, the next FPS CCP planned to deliver.

That, or some elements of it, later became Project Nova, which CCP showed an early version of at EVE Vegas back in 2018.  It was hinted that the whole thing was closer to being done than we might think.

Then, about a month later, CCP announced that Project Nova had been postponed.  This corresponded with the Pearl Abyss acquisition of CCP for $425 million.  (EVE Online was worth more in 2018 than Daybreak was in 2020 I guess.)

We coasted along for another year or so until, in February of this year… which feels like it was a forever ago now… that, whatever Project Nova was, it was becoming something else, though we were not going to get a new name and CCP was going to try and stop talking about shooters until they had something more concrete to present.

That being difficult to parse as a headline, the gaming media mostly went with “Project Nova Cancelled.”

Which brings us to today and a company called Sperasoft and the following announcement:

USA, San-Jose – December 15, 2020 – Sperasoft, a Keywords studio specializing in co-development is proud to announce its partnership with CCP Games, the creators of the world’s largest living work of science fiction, EVE Online.

CCP is a leading video game developer, founded in 1997 in Reykjavik, Iceland. CCP’s mission is to create virtual worlds that are more meaningful than real life. CCP pioneers technology and design that facilitates emergent behavior, empowering people with compelling means of self-expression. With the launch of EVE Online in May 2003, CCP established itself as one of the most innovative companies in the interactive entertainment industry, winning numerous awards and receiving critical acclaim worldwide.

EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) science-fiction game of galactic proportions, in which space flight is the path to all commerce, communication, and conflict. Set in the star cluster of New Eden tens of thousands of years in the future, in EVE Online every pilot’s greatest asset is their starship, designed to accommodate their specific needs, skills, and ambitions. Featuring a vast player-run economy, EVE Online offers an immersive, community-driven experience filled with adventure, riches, danger, and glory. EVE Online is renowned for its scale, complexity, and its gigantic, world record-breaking in-game battles where thousands of players come head to head in a single star system.

“We are excited to be a partner of CCP Games and share in their mission to create immersive virtual worlds” – comments Denis Larkin, Chief Commercial Officer at Sperasoft – “Our experienced team of developers is focused on delivering cutting edge solutions for our client and gameplay innovations for their fans.“

“We’re delighted to be working with Sperasoft on our unannounced online shooter set in the EVE IP,” said Allen Edwards, Game Director at CCP Games’ London studio. “Together, we’re looking forward to delivering a rock-solid, action-oriented gameplay experience with stunningly beautiful worlds.”

The first details about this currently unannounced title will be revealed via www.ccpgames.com/news in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, follow @CCPGames on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Those are some fine words, with a promise to get some more information in the “not-too-distant” future, and not much else.  I am going to guess that puts it in a time frame beyond “soon,” which itself is an unknowable and possibly quite long unit of time.

Sperasoft’s page shows quite a bit of collaboration with some big name studios and titles.  But the services they offer appear to be geared towards outsource coding and platform porting, with some live game ops thrown in.  So while they have had a hand in on titles from Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed to DC Universe Online and Free Realms… seriously, they have the old Sony Online Entertainment logo on their brag page, a couple spots over from Trion Worlds… it isn’t clear what they specifically did for any of them or if they have ever stood up a game on their own.

Still, they clearly have success, undefined though it may be, under their belt.  So they could potentially be a big help to CCP’s shooter ambitions on the technical front.

What they probably cannot help with is finding a compelling reason for an EVE Online shooter to exist.  New Eden can be a deep, dark IP, full of lore.  But the reach of that lore is pretty small.  EVE Online is a successful beyond niche status game in the MMORPG genre, but the MMORPG market is very much niche in the grand scheme of things.

We will have to wait and see if CCP and Sperasoft can come up with some way for a New Eden shooter to stand out in the crowd of shooters that currently clutter the market.

Quote of the Day – The Hubris of a New Eden FPS

An Eve Online first-person shooter is CCP’s greatest folly

-Jeremy Peel, VG24/7

The money quote was actually the headline, but it will do.

Last month CCP announced changes to their first person shoot plans.  The work around what had been called Project Nova was going to move to a new team and be given a new name.

A number of news sites jumped on the news and declared that Project Nova had been cancelled.  Massively OP doubled down on that line and even brought up in their podcast.

In the end the problem is not that some web sites don’t understand what the word “cancelled” means or cannot resist a good headline.  The problem is that CCP did not simply cancel Project Nova, but kept the whole FPS idea alive with another team and under another (secret now) name.

The problem is that the only lesson learned after more than a decade (the initial DUST 514 announcement is coming up on eleven years) of thrashing and failure on the FPS front is apparently that they shouldn’t announce projects prematurely.  And they did this in the midst of telling us that the FPS project would keep going.  If you take the view that Project Nova was cancelled, then they effectively announced the new project right then and there.  They just were not going to tell us what it was called.  So we’ll make up something to call it I guess.  I’m going to keep tagging it as Project Nova just to maintain a thread of continuity.

And maybe things have changed.  Maybe being owned by Pearl Abyss and having its resources at the disposal of the project will lead to a different outcome.  Maybe better talent or a different vision will make it happen.  Maybe they will be less focused on tying whatever it is they end up developing into EVE Online and more focused on making a good game with its own virtues, a game that people would play even despite its connection to EVE Online.

But we won’t know until we see it, and the track record so far does not lend one hope.

Hat Tip to Wolf Brothers Inc for spotting this.

DUST 514 Goes Offline Tomorrow

And so it goes.

As CCP announced back in February, tomorrow their FPS link to the EVE Online universe goes dark.

Dust514Trans

Normally I would make a point of posting something like this on the actual date, but tomorrow is Memorial Day in the US and I wouldn’t want anybody to think I am using that day to memorialize a freakin’ video game.  Memorial Day is for more important things, like remembering those who have fallen in service to the nation, mattress sales, and pissing off living veterans by wishing them a happy Memorial Day.

Anyway, the game will soon be gone, with Tuesday’s patch to EVE Online removing the last bits and pieces from New Eden.

Miscellaneous:
DUST514 items will no longer appear in the market.

And that will be that.

I know some will mourn the game’s passing, but not many.  It was an odd game on what remains a foreign platform for a lot of EVE players.  Its spiritual successor, Project Nova, carries on, and what it needs to do to succeed was the topic of the most recent Blog Banter.

BB75 – Shooting in Stations

This month’s Blog Banter, number 75 in the series, asks the following:

What Does Project Nova Need to Be Successful?
At Fanfest CCP showcased their current iteration of the FPS set in the Eve Universe. Following on from DUST514 and Project Legion, Project Nova is shaping up to be a solid FPS with CCP taking the decision to get the game mechanics right first. However with so many FPS out there what will Nova need in order to stand out from a very large crowd and be successful? What are the opportunities and perhaps more importantly, the dangers for CCP? How can Nova compete against CoD, Battlefront and Titanfall to name a few?

And the topic of the month certainly hits the nail on the head.

EVE Online Forever

EVE Online Universe Forever

CCP has certainly found success with spaceships.  EVE Online is an enduring money maker, having just turned 13, and while the jury is still out on EVE Valkyrie in the long term, it certainly happened to be the right title at the right moment for VR and so will likely pay off the investment in the title.  But those two, and the board game Hættuspil, are about the limit of success for CCP.  Certainly DUST 514 didn’t pass that bar.

But at least CCP has some experience in that area now.  And they corrected one of the DUST 514 problems already by putting Project Nova on Windows, where most of its fan base resides.   But Project Nova still faces huge competition.

A prophecy?

A prophecy?

I think the last line in this month’s question undersells the market.

That last one is they key here.  According to Steam we’ve already had 30 titles released so far this year that match both “FPS” and “multiplayer” as keywords.  And while they are not all stars or even good or likely direct competitors, they are mucking up the market.

So many titles...

So many titles…

So we have a crowded market where the big players toss out a new, big budget, best selling titles at least once a year (along with a retro title now and again), and only a few titles endure and remain popular over time.  Given that, CCP has some options:

Play to your base – Give it an off-planet, space theme and put it in the EVE Online universe.  I only saw a bit of the footage from Fanfest, but it looked like fighting in stations or citadels was already on the list.  It felt a bit like Marathon updated to me.  Maybe give people a bit of the in-station experience that a small part of the player base craves.

Link with EVE Online – This is a bit more risky.  While a given, and something that would get EVE players interested, CCP should not make anything in one game depend on the other.  We were promised orbital bombardment with DUST 514, but I never ended up dropping rocks on anybody.  On the flip side, links with New Eden could make for a more enduring title, which I think might suit CCP better.  I do not think of them as a studio able to crank out a new title yearly.

VR perspective – CCP already has work invested in VR, so their claim to fame could be in bringing the first space themes FPS to market.  Granted, that would limit, rather than increase, their audience at this point, but it plays to a potential strength that CCP is trying to establish.

I am not sure that any of those would guarantee success even if Project Nova is good.  I am not convinced that being good is enough in a market where being the latest Call of Duty seems to be the key to financial success.  I think the best that CCP can shoot for is to be enduring, like EVE Online itself, to make something that has a solid and interesting base which can improve and evolve over time.  What that looks like though… I do not know.

Of course, my FPS days are long behind me.  I haven’t been any sort of good at the genre since the days of Desert Combat.  I don’t wish Project Nova anything but success, but I am not sure how you get there from here.

And just a couple blog banters ago the topic was what other games set in New Eden should CCP pursue, and my own entry was about as far from an FPS as one could get.

Anyway, that is my submission for Blog Banter 75.  Others answering the call:

DUST 514 to Shut Down on May 30, 2016

And so it goes.  It seemed like an odd idea to create an adjunct to EVE Online on the PlayStation 3.  We all had PCs, right? (Plus PlayStation 3 support is going away at the end of 2016 if I recall correctly.)  Anyway, it officially launched back in May of 2013. (Open beta started in January of that year.)

Dust514Trans

Now the time has finally come to say good-bye, the game lasting just over two years.  Something on the PC will follow on at some point it seems.

Here is the announcement from the forums:

Dear DUST 514 Community,

CCP’s development team in Shanghai has been working on a prototype for a first-person shooter for PC with the goal of building a great FPS set in our sci-fi universe of New Eden (the universe in which EVE Online, DUST 514, EVE: Valkyrie, and Gunjack are set). Their experience is being utilized to build a new game from scratch using Unreal Engine 4 while harnessing all our learnings from DUST 514. This is in many ways an evolution of Project Legion, the concept we announced at EVE Fanfest 2014, but without the limitations of technical debt and development paths we quickly discovered in that effort that could never serve as a future-proof technology base for a full production game. This new project is still in an early phase of production, and we feel like we’re on the right track and plan to give an update at EVE Fanfest on April 21st as a part of the free livestream of the event. Since this new game will be different from DUST 514 (although keeping many of its great parts), we will provide tiered recognition rewards to our loyal DUST customers, details to be announced.

We are very proud of what we’ve learned and accomplished with DUST 514 on PlayStation 3 over the past three years and it is an honor to be a part of such a dedicated community. We consider DUST 514 one of the best free-to-play offerings on the platform, but the years have caught up with us. It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that DUST 514 will be shutting down on May 30th, 2016. We therefore will not be releasing the 1.3 update as we had planned. Players will continue to be able to play for free on our servers until then, but all further PSN packs and purchases have been removed and disabled from the in-game marketplace and the PlayStation Store. Players with existing Aurum will be able to continue to purchase items from the in-game marketplace.

Thank you for being a part of DUST 514 on the PlayStation 3. We look forward to the next chapter, and hope you’ll be a part of it and continue the journey with us.

I’m still annoyed I never got to kill anybody in DUST 514 via orbital bombardment in EVE Online.  I suppose somebody can be smug today as DUST 514 joins World of Darkness on the unfulfilled dreams list for CCP.  I hope that VR stuff is working out for CCP, because otherwise it is just us capsuleers keeping CCP afloat still.

World of Darkness Goes Dark

CCP Games today announced that they have cancelled the World of Darkness massively multiplayer online (MMO) game project in development in their Atlanta, GA studio.

As a result of the change, 56 employees of the Atlanta studio have lost their jobs.  Some team members have been offered roles on other projects inside the company, and CCP has provided severance packages and job placement assistance for those affected.

The remaining team in Atlanta will focus on games in the EVE Universe, which will mark the first time since 2006 that the entirety of CCP will be working on a single universe.

-CCP Press Release

Well, that about wraps that up I guess.  This is the third and final cut, the World of Darkness team having faced layoffs back in 2011 and then again last year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

CCP bought White Wolf, the creators of World of Darkness, back in 2006, and had been working on an MMO version of the IP seriously starting in 2009.  Since then though, little has surfaced about the project aside from bad new.

I suppose this answers the question from earlier this year about what software was “derecognized” as an asset by CCP as part of their 2013 financial report.

CCP is solely focused on EVE Online and spin-offs such as DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie.  We won’t get to see what CCP could do in the realm of fantasy now.

In the gaming world Zombies continue to rule, while vampire fortunes seem to be in a downward spiral.  I blame Stephenie Meyer.

Addendum: But CCP is still thinking about what to do with World of Darkness.

CCP – Losing Money and Getting Closer to Sony

A couple of interesting/odd things around CCP this week.

CCPlogo

The first is that CCP released their 2013 financial report (you can view it here), in which indicate that they lost $21 million for the year.  It says so right there at the bottom line.

However, if your reaction is, “OMG, Tobold was right! CCP is doomed!” you should calm down.

As Jester covered in detail, the loss came from a capital asset… in this case, software which they no longer feel will generate revenue… being “derecognized.”

Bascially, they wrote some software that they felt had value  because of potential revenue it might generate and called it an asset at some point, adding to the total value of the company.  Now they have decided that the software in question does not have value, again revenue potential comes into play, so they have to take it off the books.  To the shareholders, the company effectively “lost” that much in its overall valuation, but no actual cash money disappeared or changed hands.  The operational aspects of the company were profitable and, as expected, completely dominated by EVE Online, which generated most of the $74 million in revenue from games. (Which is a $9 million boost over 2012.)

So the real question has become, “What software got ‘derecognized?'”

Contenders seem to be World of Darkness related development, “walking in stations” code from the Incarna era,  or maybe some aspect of DUST 514, though the latter, as a whole, did actually generate some revenue in 2013, if not as much as CCP hoped.

The whole thing is muddied up by the fact that CCP dropped the financials out there without any accompanying press release or explanation.  This is no doubt why certain gaming sites, who would likely jump on such a headline as sure-fire click bait, haven’t put up stories about it yet.  “CCP Loses 21 Million Dollars in 2013” is a winner on that front, right?  But nobody has told them what to think, so they have yet to act. (I, meanwhile, will act without thinking at all!)

Well played CCP.  More as that develops.

Meanwhile, David Reid tweeted last night CCPs virtual reality game, EVE Valkyrie, which has been shown with the Occulus Rift headset up to this point (and which is reportedly getting closer to an actual consumer model), would also be coming to the PlayStation 4 using Sony’s VR headset, currently flying under the code name Project Morpheus… because The Matrix (and not some NASA lander project).

Nifty stuff.  CCP was already close to Sony through DUST 514, which remains (much to the dismay of many EVE Online players) a PlayStation 3 exclusive title.  Now CCP is getting closer still, being in a position to help boost Sony’s new peripheral with software that is already generating “oohs” and “ahhs” from those who have had a chance to play with it.

Over at The Nosy Gamer, there is also speculation that this further tightening relationship between Sony and CCP might also aim to help Sony crack the China market with the PS4 by porting DUST 514 over so they would have a free to play, made in China FPS game to bring to the table.  Or something.

But, going back to the CCP financial statement, one other theory being bandied about is that the “derecognized” software isn’t anything in particular, at least not a whole project being terminated, but rather a collection of odds and ends bundled up to be removed from the books in order to clean things up for a potential financial move in the coming year.  If CCP was going to be involved in a merger or get a major new investor, it would certainly be prudent to have their valuations rock solid.

And, of course, here is Sony, back in the picture again, potentially in a big way, with new technologies and a chance for “firsties” on the VR front in the console wars.

Completely circumstantial… and barely that… but it is enough to make you go, “Hrmmm…”

DUST 514 Has Launched

Or so says the press release.

Dust514Trans

My ambivalence towards the game continues however.

I like the connection with EVE Online, the idea of continuing the struggle on the surface of planets, the possibilities of the combined in-game markets, and, most of all, the idea of bombing DUST players from orbit while in my spaceship just for the sheer hell of it.

That last bit represents the height of my interest.

But shooters… and console shooters… just really are not my thing.

So, while I have a PlayStation 3, I still have not bothered downloading it.

It has been in open beta for months, and was available to EVE players even before that.

I am not on the Derek Smart “just going to fail” train, but I wouldn’t bet heavily on success either.  Player numbers are starting to become available.  But I couldn’t tell you if they are good or bad yet.  How much is enough with a free to play game?

Meanwhile, I just haven’t seen or heard anything that makes me want to play yet.

DUST got a boost with the Uprising update.  That all sounds good.  But there isn’t the anything I just have to have, anything that is a big draw.

Maybe, like EVE, it would benefit from more public drama.

Or, maybe, like EVE, it will start slow and build over time.

Where will it be in a year?

DUST 514 Open Beta is… Open!

I guess today is the day to write about games getting to open beta.

Today the fine people at CCP announced that their EVE Online integrated console shooter, DUST 514, is now in open beta.

Dust514Trans

Previously DUST 514 beta access was open to anybody with an active EVE Online account and a PlayStation 3.  Now it is open to anybody.  I am not sure if that really broadens the audience by much.

Are there a lot of people who don’t play EVE Online interested in playing DUST 514?  There is certainly doubt about that in some quarters.

CCP has an announcement, a sign up page, and FAQ posted for those who are interested.

But it seems that if you want the real deal about what is going on, you should go look at the mighty, meaty, Monster DUST 514 beta review post that Winterblink has finally unleashed on the world.

I am still not sure when I will ever get around to playing it.  The NHL hockey season finally got under way, which means that the TV where our PlayStation 3 is hooked up is spoken for most evenings.

But it is out there.

Which will mean more people in local in EVE in some systems.

And maybe, some day, I’ll drop a rock or something on them.

Quote of the Day – Flavors of Orbital Bombardment

…I hope one of those flavors is Random EVE Asshole Messing With DUST Players.

Winterblink on DUST 514 finally merging with EVE Online

Dust514Trans

CCP is finally going to bite the bullet and put EVE Online and DUST 514 players on the same grid.

Sort of.

It will be limited at first.

But even in that limited scope, Winterblink captures my own immediate hopes and dreams on the subject quite well.

I am not really interested in DUST 514 itself.  It is a shooter.  I am good for maybe one of those at a time, and at this time it is World of Tanks.  Plus, being on the PS3 makes it difficult, and I own a PS3.  It is just hooked up to a TV that people in our house primarily use for watching… well… TV.

But I wouldn’t mind dropping some crap on DUST 514 players from orbit, just for fun.  All I suspect is needed is something to drop and a bit of feedback indicating you’re making somebody miserable and that will become popular sport.  That is all it takes in EVE most days.  It is sort of like that early Simpsons episode where they are all hooked up to give each other electric shocks and they simply cannot stop zapping each other.

We can see targets from here!

In fact, I think CCP could fake up an interface in EVE that charged you ISK to drop rocks on surface dwellers and people would flock to it so long as they thought they were actually hitting DUST 514 players.  It might be a way to drain ISK out of the economy, if they could just convince us somebody was actually getting an electrical shock… or a rock dropped on them.

Anyway, I am waiting for the inevitable guide on how to make DUST 514 players miserable from orbit.

Maybe I can get my daughter to play DUST 514.  She has shown an affinity for Team Fortress 2 lately.  And then I can drop stuff on her.  If I could get her to complain from the other room, it might be worth it.

Addendum: CCP has a FAQ up about Dust/EVE interactions at planets.  It turns out you cannot just start chucking rocks at ground pounders.