I’m really excited to reach out to you again, and I hope you are following EVE Fanfest 2014. It’s a blast and a great chance for me to meet some of you in person and get feedback on our current and next endeavors. No pressure!
DUST 514 has seen a lot of improvements since launch and I hope you all enjoy the content the most recent update, Uprising 1.8, brought you. The community has banded together like never before and has simply smashed apart events like the Million Clone Challenge! For all of that, I am incredibly proud of our team and our community.
I promised some big news, and today we delivered it: One of the highlights of our DUST 514 Keynote was a sneak peek at Project Legion, an early prototype that a part of the team in Shanghai has been working on for the past few months.
Involving the community as early as possible has always been the way we build features and games at CCP and that’s not about to change. This is a great opportunity to share something exciting and special with you all and get early feedback. But, let me give you some more context…
When I came to CCP several months ago, it was to fulfill a vision that was our goal since DUST 514 was first announced: Merge a deep sandbox experience with an FPS in New Eden, to create a massive living world more meaningful as real life. As the team and I worked on that vision, we came to understand the effort centered around four pillars. We had to build the right ecosystem incorporating a fun and balanced competitive shooter; player vs. environment allowing for emergent behaviors; a player-driven economy that is distinctly CCP; and deep immersion that brings it all together.
We realized we would never be able to do it by iteration, any more than one could overhaul the engines of a plane in flight, and to do this right it would need to become something new -- a distinct and separate experience from what we’ve previously offered on DUST 514. We also feel that, to do this right, we need to do it on the PC platform first.
To achieve this, we'll need much more focus on the user experience than ever before. As I mentioned during my keynote today, the starmap will play a larger role in the way you'll interact with that huge universe. I envision New Eden’s mercenaries scanning the universe for loot, battles, Guristas-sponsored tournaments and such, and then making meaningful choices from there.
Let's start with the loot. I didn't want to add drones simply to have AI to shoot at; instead we tried to find a way to make that meaningful. That's when the idea of scavenging emerged. What if the loot being dropped is gear that the other players and reclaimer drones (which, by the way, are cool so long as you don't get too close!) are fighting for in "open" scavenging grounds? In High-Security space the loot is more basic and the drones less aggressive, but in Low-Security the stakes get higher. As all those in New Eden know, with greater risk comes greater reward. So in lowsec, with CONCORD nowhere to be found, the line between friend and foe becomes very blurry – you and I might team up to go after better loot against more powerful drones… but you won't shoot me in the back and steal my stuff, right?
A lot of work will also be going into the shooting mechanics, emergent gameplay and diversity of roles. An overhaul of the progression tree supports this effort.
Levels, environments and visuals will also be enhanced, with the sole objective of making the experience even more immersive and dense: How is the surface of a planet in the EVE universe supposed to look – exotic, scary, calm...? Should atmospheres have an effect on gameplay? That's what I’ve tried to demonstrate today on stage with the live demo. Even if it's still early, I hope some of that thinking was well communicated.
Finally, the economy piece, the cement of that ecosystem as I call it. A player-driven market is not a “nice-to-have”, it's a must. Loot can be used or sold through the market. The ones who don't want to go scavenge can make big ISK through Mercenary contracts and restock or upgrade from the market directly.
Although DUST 514 and Project Legion will function independently of one another, and are different projects on different development paths, DUST itself has a lot more shooting-in-the-face action to come. The team and I remain committed to continuing to improve the experience on PlayStation 3, while simultaneously making sure “Project Legion” becomes the experience we’ve all dreamt of.
The journey continues.
Executive Producer - DUST 514 / Project Legion