CCP: Dust will outlive PlayStation 3
"We've got a five year road map with a whole load of things we'd love to put into Dust"
Jonathan Lander, executive producer for EVE Online at CCP, has explained that new first-person shooter Dust 514 has a five-year roadmap, and enough development ideas to live for another 20 years.
"Our plan is that we want in another ten years to be having 'EVE is 20' and 'Dust is 10' [events]" he told GamesIndustry International, when asked if the online game would live beyond this console cycle.
"The whole way that we're doing our development process is so that we can push out expansions on a regular basis. We're not going to ship a unit and then in six months it's off the shelves and people have stopped playing it."
The game is a PlayStation 3 exclusive and is part of the massive and persistent EVE Online universe, with players in both games able to join forces and work together.
"Our intention is this game will continue to run and operate for many, many years"
"We've got a five-year road map with a whole load of things we'd love to put into Dust. We've got crazy ideas that will take us through another 20 years of development," promised Lander.
He praised Sony's involvement in the project so far, which has allowed CCP to ensure that the game will offer the same connected and persistent play as EVE Online, the PC title that will celebrate its tenth birthday next year.
"We're working really, really hard with Sony right now on PlayStation 3 and just shipping the game on PlayStation 3, that's where 100 per cent of our focus is. But our intention is this game will continue to run and operate for many, many years."
Not that creating a brand new, free-to-play FPS on console has been easy for the PC developer.
"It's been really hard, it's been very tough, we're solving technical challenges that no one else has ever really had to do," admitted Lander.
"We have to be cognisant of the fact that one of the reasons for doing this is to target a different type of gamer from the guy who has a tower PC, with his mouse, strategising and playing a spaceship game. We want the people who want to play for 15 minutes and shoot somebody."
"We're learning an awful lot about ourselves in terms of how we go about that experience, and we've taken a lot of learnings from EVE. We've got a lot of people on staff in Shanghai who have come from all over the industry with a lot of good console first-person shooter experience to really help us through."
A key part of the game's success will of course be the revenue it generates, but Lander insisted that other factors are just as important. In a persistent world, for example, a player who is active and committed can be just as valuable as one who spends real money.
"We have lots of metrics - everyone loves metrics these days - and we look at things like what are our conversions? How much money are we making? But we also are trying to find a way to measure participation," he said.
"Because in a single-sharded world where every action has a consequence, and everything sort of ripples out, those people are doing something, just by being part of the battle."
It's a huge and daunting idea. EVE is headed into its eighteenth expansion and still going strong - Lander points out the game's subscribers outnumber the population of Iceland - so there seems little need to take on a new and risky genre and platform all in one go.
"If you've ever lived in the winter in Iceland you'll probably realise that they believe that they can do anything"
"You get to learn something about the Icelanders which is only... I don't know of a different country of people that would be quite mad enough to do this. When they formed the company in 1997 they had this vision and everyone said 'you're crazy, you'll never do it' and we shipped [EVE Online] in 2003 and we're still going, into our tenth year."
"If you've ever lived in the winter in Iceland you'll probably realise that they believe that they can do anything, absolutely anything."