The innovative Playstation 3 exclusive Dust 514, which ties into the Eve Online MMO universe, has long been labelled as a ‘free-to-play’ game – however, you won’t be able to begin playing without paying a ‘cover charge’.
Whilst it’s strictly true that you won’t have to pay a recurring subscription to play online, it’s now been revealed that you’ll have to buy between $10 and $20 of in-game credits before you can get into the online world. You won’t have to redeem the money on in-game equipment and weaponry straight away.
Part of the justification for the cover charge is to discourage ‘spam’ accounts that could disrupt the flow for other players, and to ensure the game progresses in a slow and predictable way.
It’s due out in Summer 2012 with a private beta test starting towards the end of 2011. We have to admit we’re still intrigued by the tie-in to Eve Online, but limiting the game as a Sony exclusive, and then adding a cover charge does suggest the player base will be smaller than might be ideal, and given that Eve Online has 400,000 subscribers, it might struggle compared to the 10s of millions of gamers already in the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises…
There wasn’t much given in the way of more details, but we do know that the sci-fi shooter which allows players to work as planetary mercenaries for the Eve Online community, will support the Move motion control system and include some type of functionality for the Sony Vita handheld.
We’ll find out more when the closed beta arrives for PS3 at the end of 2011, followed by the full release in the Spring of 2012. It’s being developed by CCP, the creators of Eve Online, and utilises Unreal Engine. Apparently it will include micro-transactions in some way, although the exact details haven’t been released.
As fans of all the console platforms it’s sad news for those who prefer the Xbox 360 – the cross-platform opportunity between PC and Xbox 360 would be have been interesting with Microsoft’s support. And presumably the agreement was reached long before Sony became such a popular (and successful) target for hackers, given that noone wants to see their MMO hit by hackers.
The innovative console FPSMMO Dust 514 will utilise Unreal Engine 3, along with the Enlighten real-time lighting product to create FPS battlefields which tie into the existing Eve Online world.
“In DUST 514, CCP is creating the very first game of its kind, and thus requires an engine versatile enough to handle these new demands,” said Paul Meegan, CEO Epic Games China. “Unreal Engine 3 will enable DUST 514 to build upon the standards of visual excellence that CCP achieved in EVE Online. We’re avid fans of CCP and their games. The results will be spectacular.”
“Standardizing on Unreal Engine 3 gives CCP’s development team the time and flexibility to focus on extensions such as Enlighten, and to perfect the optimal client-side engine and pipeline to fully realize CCP’s vision for creative and artistic excellence. With its own Core Technology Platform (CTP), CCP can provide a fully scalable and persistent online gaming experience that meets both the visual, technical and creative demands for DUST 514.”
Dust 514 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and innovative FPS games in a genre currently dominated by Call of Duty and Battlefield. In the game, console players will operate in the FPS environment, but their results will affect players and the balance of power in the online MMO Eve Online, with console gamers able to act as mercenary forces for their MMO-player counterparts.
It’ll be free to play, but will aim to make money via micro-transactions – something relatively familiar to MMO gamers, but still new to FPS players. And it’s a game we’ll be following with a lot of interest and details!