The timeline of 2011 is receding away from us, shifting into the red as the memories of New Eden’s past year fade into the mulch of half remembered battles amongst the star-scape. The future of New Eden it transpires is one already foretold by those prophetic Mayans and their fiendishly clever calenders – one of TOTALHELDEATH. 2012 looks to be the year when EVE Online morphs into something else entirely with the coming of DUST514.
I say ‘something else‘ because DUST514 defies easy categorisation. I’ve looked for a convenient box to put it into, somewhere on the shelf between MMO and FPS but it doesn’t seem to fit. I also say ‘something else‘ because quite what DUST514 means for EVE itself is still an amorphous gelatinous goop of an idea – not fully formed its edges bleeding off into dimensions we cannot see.
How will DUST514 link with EVE? Will its coming signify a radical and fundamental shift in the nature of War, Trade and Diplomacy? Will the denizens of DUST514 be welcomed with open arms by New Edens cheery and huggable forumites? Will planetary warfare be relevant or an irrelevance?
Few of these questions can even be approached with an answer.
It is with not a little concern that we read that closed Beta trials of DUST514 are starting, yet with no word of how DUST514 will link to the complexities of EVE. The cynic within me nods firmly in the direction of the sign post marked ‘irrelevance’ – how can something so fundamental to DUST514s success (namely an FPS within a MMO sandbox universe) be left undisclosed?
Herein lies the Great Dilemma. If DUST514 and the conquest of Planets determines how the socio-political map of New Eden is drawn then EVEs F’iS depends rather greatly on the success of DUST514. Alternatively if those battles fought down on the rocky surface of EVEs planets are little more than a side show, largely ignored by Capsuleers, then DUST514 could fade into the memory abyss of 2012 as 2013 dawns. A passing footnote in the history of console games.
Not a few have predicted (perhaps with Mayan calendar at hand) that DUST514 will be a “failure!”. It can’t compete with the console behemoths of COD / MOH / HALO they cry. Consoles are dead! Wail others arms flailing in the general direction of sales figures, mobile gaming et al.
Of course it would be a foolish thing to do to judge DUST514 on release sales alone: even if this is the accepted ‘norm’ for the FPS genre. DUST514 – at least in its fuzzy quantum potential state – isn’t truly like other FPS games. DUST514, like EVE, has the potential to be a “slow burner”, adapting, morphing and shifting as it develops alongside EVE. One cannot escape however that symbiotic relationship where once EVE and DUST are conjoined into a singular MMORPGFPSTHINGY it will be difficult (and therefore costly) to dis-conjoin them.
Our first taste of what DUST514 means to the pantheon of EVEs experience will come not from the flicker of electrons but from the pen of author Tony Gonzales with his forthcoming novel Templar One. Having cut his proverbial teeth on his first work (The Empyrean Age) it will be interesting to see how TonyG has evolved as a writer albeit with the bitter after taste that his talents have been scythed down in the recent cull of CCP employees. Sacking your lead IP writer for your forthcoming new gaming title is indicative of CCPs unhinged approach to, well almost anything. I have it on good authority that one segment of the Mayan Calender translates as follows:
Gaming Hack “So Tony! Great to see your latest book “Templar One” has hit the shelves you must be very excited! Tell me what are you doing now with CCP Games? What new project are you working on?!”
TonyG “Er…actually I just got sacked. I’m looking for a job”.
Gaming Hack “……..”
2012 for New Eden and DUST514 – relevance or irrelevance? Only the Mayans know.