Dust 514 entering open beta – and free-to-play
Dust 514, the upcoming PS3 first person shooter title in the EVE Online universe, has been announced as going into open beta on January 22nd.
The description of being “in” the same universe is an understatement; the two games, despite being different genres on different formats, are intended to tie player actions directly together. For example, players in Dust 514 can be hired by corporations in EVE, fighting to take control of planets and so influencing EVE‘s economy; and in turn, players on the ground in Dust can mark targets that pilots in the Eve can then bombard.
In many ways, the on-ground aspect of Dust can be compared to the original Planetside – fighting to capture key locations, using soldiers who are classless but can be trained into more specialised roles. However, Dust also differs in having a player commanding the troops in a manner more like an RTS, overseeing the planet from a command fortress. On destruction of one side’s fortress, the other wins and the planet is claimed.
CCP Games, the developer of both EVE and Dust 514, reported that the two games were merged on EVE‘s central server on January 10th, which already hosts a claimed 300,000 active subscribing players. However, only time will tell whether the appeal of joining a persistent universe will attract an equally impressive number of console gamers.
On entering open beta next Tuesday the game will be following a free-to-play model. However, access to the closed beta is still available for players who buy a bundle of Dust 514 items from the PlayStation store, presumably paving the way for funding via cash shop content on release.