EVE Fanfest 2016: Project Nova rises from DUST 514’s ashes

On May 14th 2013, CCP Games optimistically launched its first attempt to penetrate the console & shooter markets with DUST 514. The game had made huge waves in the media for its ambitious plan for realtime links to PC MMO EVE Online, with EVE and DUST players living in the same sandbox universe and fighting on separate fronts of the same ongoing wars of New Eden. The reality never quite lived up the the plan, unfortunately, with both games having minimal impact on each other and DUST 514 failing to attract the millions of console gamers CCP courted in pre-launch marketing.

While it attracted a small dedicated following and reportedly turned a profit, DUST 514 was essentially dead on its feet and CCP recently announced that it will be officially shut down in May this year. The game’s only hope of salvation came in the form of a complete reboot on PC codenamed Project Legion that was announced at Fanfest 2014, but at last year’s event we learned that Legion may have been relegated to development limbo. Today at EVE Fanfest 2016, players cheered as CCP announced that Legion is back with the new name Project Nova and a reinvented focus as a more traditional first person shooter.

Read on for information on Project Nova and some first-hand impressions from EVE Fanfest 2016.

Project Nova is not a DUST 514 reboot

It can’t be stressed enough that Project Nova isn’t just a reboot of DUST 514 on PC, which is why it’s got a new name. While DUST players shared the same universe as EVE players in realtime, Nova is its own self-contained game like Valkyrie and is actually set in the future of the EVE universe. The maps and missions will take place locations modeled after EVE ships, planets, asteroids and other facilities, which serve as a backdrop for more traditional first person shooter gameplay.

Nova has been built on Unreal 4 and is currently in an early pre-alpha stage of development, with development focusing on the core shooter gameplay so far and features such as customisation still to come. There is no release date yet and there are no guarantees at this stage, but CCP has brought a complete playable vertical slice of the game to fanfest in order to get player feedback.

ProjectNovaScreenshot1

Hands-on impressions of Project Nova

Nova looks and plays like any one of a dozen other free-to-play sci-fi PC shooters already on the market, which may not sound that impressive but is honestly a big step forward from DUST 514. The map we played took place inside a Caldari carrier and involved hacking control nodes that spawned throughout the match, with a Battlefield-style ticket system used for determining victory. In between control node spawns, players could either just kill each other or fight for control of the various spawn points on the map.

The three different sizes of drop suit from DUST 514 (Light, Medium and Heavy) still exist, but the choice felt like it impacted the game far more than that ever did in DUST. The light classes can get behind enemy lines and hack objectives from under the enemy’s nose, the medium dropsuits can take a beating and make good use of cover and various gadgets, and the heavy class is a tank but very difficult to use without support. I played two rounds with the same group and once everyone was used to the gameplay the second round saw some interesting ad-hoc strategies emerge with some deployable structures and choke points on the map.

ProjectNovaConceptArt

The framework of a potentially very good shooter is definitely there even at this early stage, and it’ll be interesting to see it evolve over time. What interests me more is what’s not in Nova at this point, as there isn’t much of an EVE feel about it yet and it’s not clear whether it will have any kind of persistent gameplay or sandbox elements. If it’s to stand out in the shooter market even on PC, Nova will have to have a unique gameplay hook and compelling long-term gameplay. Dropsuit customisation and squad-based tactical gameplay may hold players’ interests and could even see the game become an e-sport, but many ex-DUST players are sure to be interested in whether there will be any persistent or territorial gameplay. CCP will be taking the feedback from Fanfest on board and we’ll likely hear more about Project Nova as it progresses throughout the year.

Disclosure: In accordance with Massively OP’s ethics policy, we must disclose that CCP paid for our writer’s travel to and accommodation at this event. CCP has neither requested nor been granted any control or influence over our coverage of the event.
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57 Comments on "EVE Fanfest 2016: Project Nova rises from DUST 514’s ashes"

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calculusbandit
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calculusbandit

Everything about this reaks of just repeating what happened with DUST. Only difference is it will start with full racial dropsuit and decent infantry weapon parity from the get which means the infantry gameplay will be more balanced hopefully. The lack of having a semi-sandbox like effect on the world through player actions. The lack of MMO. The continued drive on non-persistent non-sandbox territorial lobby combat game mode. The lack of vehicle integration from the start (CCP isn’t looking to have vehicles in at release if it does get greenlit). The fact that everything is balanced around a 16v16 lobbyshooter….ugh. If it is greenlit it will find itself stuck like DUST514 was. The change in platform does nothing to alleviate it if they aren’t actually going to use it to the players’ initial wants/needs and not just their own developmental advantage for the core FPS. And once it cements itself in that rut CCP isn’t going to be able to implement anything of interest because they’ll have pulled all resources from the project like they did DUST.

rioinsignia
Guest
rioinsignia

Simon_NT There is “financial” failure and then there is the failure that is in the eyes of the players.  2k – 3k players is far from being a “success”.

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

JimGriffiths I didn’t get any information on whether pirate factions we can gain reputation for are changing, and I don’t think they’ve revealed where we will be getting the new pirate capital ship blueprints from. There will be a new PvE live team that will be following the story of the pirate factions building capitals though, I got an interview on that and it’ll be out at some point.

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

korsobar Simon_NT Yep, ED was a case of extremely poor expectations management. This is a problem EVE Online had for years, even if the devs themselves don’t officially say something the fans can just imagine what they like and it’s up to the developer to correct them. If ED wasn’t a vertical slice and the players thought it was, they should have been corrected.

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

disUserNameTake Denice J Cook From what I could gather from devs on the handover of WoD, they did try multiple times over the 7 years to build the game but it never went to plan. Most often when a game fails during development we never hear the details, so we may never know exactly what went wrong.

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

Smiggins Nyphur That makes no sense. It’s not like they just took DUST and removed the link with EVE and renamed it to Nova. It’s a new game.

JimGriffiths
Guest
JimGriffiths

Hey Brendan you got the info for the pirate ships we can get and the pirate factions we can gain rep for?

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

There is a lot of great news from FF; IMO, this is not at the top of the list.  It may be a fine game, but yet another fine shooter or MOBA has a real tough time getting noticed and gaining traction.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

EpicViking  Listening to twitch stream yesterday i think the dev said something like “less like EVE skills”

korsobar
Guest
korsobar

Simon_NT You are absolutely correct that this doesn’t apply to other games.  It just gets a little chuckle out of me.  It was the people using ‘vertical slice’ as a defense for ‘lack of content’ that didn’t understand the concept really.

Simon_NT
Guest
Simon_NT

I understand. One bad example truth for all other games.
So for example you see no different between Minecraft pre official release and official release or curent staus. Or between Dust beta and the final (current) version. Or… you got the point.
As someone working on the game industry im well aware what’s the different between vertical slice and beta or even alpha gameplay. What we saw is a vertical slice. A concept. You can be skeptical of corse. No harm done.

korsobar
Guest
korsobar

Simon_NT During Elite: Dangerous beta, Frontier announced that they would be releasing the game in a few weeks.  The game was extremely bare bones.  Many people in the beta were shocked.  The biggest fans defended the beta by claiming that it was just a ‘vertical slice’ and that Frontier really had tons more content and deep systems, but were holding them back for release.  This was very amusing and entirely silly but it was repeated with great vigor and enthusiasm.  The release didn’t have anything much new when it happened.  So now when I hear ‘vertical slice,’ I think about the cognitive dissonance those poor fans must have been experiencing.  It amuses me.

Simon_NT
Guest
Simon_NT

1. Dead has a financial impact like in Dust (lose gear/gear cost isk)?
2. Dust players can bring they’r progression to Nova or will they get anything?

Simon_NT
Guest
Simon_NT

I dont get it. You dont understand the concept of vertical slice?
Its 2016 now. Games made by instant feedbacks and shown on early stages. Where you were when Minecraft was “released”?

Simon_NT
Guest
Simon_NT

The game lived 4 year and produced money. This isn’t fail in any way.

Cromica1
Guest
Cromica1

Smiggins plakia

quark1020
Guest
quark1020

EpicViking No reason it can’t in the far future.

After closing down dust, if I were in their position, I would try something smaller scale to see if the gameplay of my shooter goes well with customers. After that, release content patches as appropriate.

Smiggins
Guest
Smiggins

plakia Arnt lobby shooters arena shooters? Whats the difference?

Smiggins
Guest
Smiggins

disUserNameTake  Planetside 3?

Smiggins
Guest
Smiggins

kgptzac Smiggins Very true. Which is why I dont play any MMORPGs or FPSs right now.

Hopefully CU will make MMORPGs fun again.
Archeage was a nice divergence from WoW clones but they screwed it with the F2P/P2W.

Smiggins
Guest
Smiggins

Nyphur Smiggins Dust was already a lobby shooter. BUT it had the link with EVE that made it interesting.

Take away that link what are you left with?

kgptzac
Guest
kgptzac

disUserNameTake Nyphur mmonerd Greaterdivinity Battlefield 4 launched pretty bad and broken, and Dice fixed it over time and now I think most people would give the game a positive response.  Maybe soon people will realize and vote against (with their wallet) on the yearly release of major FPS titles.

kgptzac
Guest
kgptzac

Smiggins Same thing can be said about MMORPGs after wow’s success.  There’s very little to no evolution to the core gameplay, yet those games still get made and I assume there’s money to be made from doing that.

plakia
Guest
plakia

I would have preferred an arena shooter, but I don’t guess that would have matched the EVE universe too well. I hope it is more like CS and less like CoD. I know some people really want vehicles, but they’re just a mess to use in most FPS.

My personal opinions aside, if they really want this to be successful they will need some kind of link to EVE. Without that it won’t stand out and ultimately won’t establish anything more than a very niche playerbase. Plus I will be more motivated to play this over CS/Quake/UT4 if it somehow benefits my EVE character.

dLinden
Guest
dLinden

I said before they launched Dust that it will fail and it failed :D

Waiting for PC version and hope for a good price ><

EpicViking
Guest
EpicViking

disUserNameTake Denice J Cook Still not happy what they did to WoD MMO. :( Would love to play that.

EpicViking
Guest
EpicViking

I hope they keep the skill system Eve is known for, i loved that in Dust, and the only reason i quit playing that game was because i upgraded from PS3 to PS4. Shame this one wont be conncted to eve online either, that stuff had such potential.

disUserNameTake
Guest
disUserNameTake

Nyphur mmonerd Greaterdivinity The problem with this model is that historically CCP has been awful at supporting and building on new products aside from Eve, which has seen many updates over the years.  But that is a natural development cycle for an MMO, to start with a core set of features and then build out more complex systems through major patches and expansions.  But for other genres such as shooters or MOBAs, this does not tend to work that well.  People expect a fully fleshed out and more-or-less complete product from day one, and additions are usually just adding additional content or items rather than making large additions to the game mechanics or features.  At least, in my experience, most gamers are not generally going to give you a second chance if an initial release is poor or lacking features.  There are a few exceptions and these are mostly in MMO land (ESO comes to mind).

disUserNameTake
Guest
disUserNameTake

Lateris CCP has had real trouble on follow through for years now.  It probably stems from poor management from the top, a weak product development team, and a lack of internal focus.  Various projects within Eve like walking in stations have been abandoned or left in a broken state (current implementation of walking in stations is a cruel joke and has been for years).  The tie-in to Eve from Dust was never completed properly, and the game floundered — releasing it only for a console system was a big mistake as well.  The WoD MMO was abandoned before it was even really given much of a chance to turn into something interesting, even though that setting is ripe for a decent multiplayer game.  Eve Valkyrie I’m not sure about in terms of its current status (saw some pretty cool footage), but I don’t see them being able to compete with games like Star Citizen, Elite, or No Man’s Sky, especially with a lack of proper polishing and follow through.  They really need to complete projects and polish them up, not continually make spaghetti and throw it against the wall, starting a new batch whenever they run into some minor roadblock.  I’m not sure if they are “failing utterly” (typical exaggerated internet language I guess), as I believe Eve is still quite profitable for them, but it can’t last forever.  As Eve continues its slow decline, which it will as the current uptick in players is unlikely to continue, they will be in some real trouble if they cannot buckle down and vastly improve their system for developing new products.

disUserNameTake
Guest
disUserNameTake

Denice J Cook I honestly believe it was a big mistake for them not to follow through on developing one or more WoD games, including an MMO.  That setting is a fantastic and incredibly well-developed repository of cool ideas which they picked up for a bargain.  Sure, it would have been a bit of a stretch for them and outside their comfort zone of the sci fi genre, but it could have been a way for them to branch out from Eve.  I just don’t see these Eve spin-offs as having much appeal or much to distinguish them from games that are already popular.

disUserNameTake
Guest
disUserNameTake

I’m kind of baffled as to why CCP thinks that a shooter could be a successful project for them.  It doesn’t appeal to their core audience of hardcore MMO players.  This is also a genre that is hard to do well, or at least there are so many quality options for shooters out there that they are unlikely to be able to carve out much of a niche.

I would really like to see them add additional mechanics to Eve to make it feel more alive and sandboxy.  For instance, planetary warfare and bombardment would be pretty badass.  Additional customization of ship paint and skins, etc.  Things of this nature that improve their core IP would likely bring them and the players a lot more benefit.  I just don’t see anyone wanting or needing yet another sci fi shooter (why not just play Planetside 3 for instance?).

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

Smiggins No, at this point it’s wildly premature to call it a lobby shooter or even comment on what the final gameplay will entail. What we were shown was a pre-alpha test designed to showcase the minute-to-minute shooter gameplay. I’ll try to get a hold of a Nova dev at some point during Fanfest and get some more info on the long-term plans, any unique features and the intended gameplay format.

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

DPandaren Nyphur MorpayneRADIO Heard some interesting info on this from someone, I’ll try to grab a hold of a Nova dev to confirm and get more information, and I’ll write another piece on it.

Smiggins
Guest
Smiggins

So its just another lobby shooter?

The only reason Dust was interesting was because it was supposed to connect with EVE and players could interact.

I stopped playing lobby shooters years ago. Theyre all the same. I could get reinstall Modern Warfare 2 and have the exact same game.

Armsman
Guest
Armsman

LOL – so now CCP is reduced to doing your garden variety shooter – instead of adding an actual ground element to their existing EVE Online MMO. Why am I not surprised?

Denice J Cook
Guest
Denice J Cook

I have the creepy feeling it’s going to wind up being Just Another Console Shooter, but Destiny managed to do something a little differently; you never know.

CCP has to do something, though; it’s not like Eve is getting any younger here.  Isn’t it set to ding 13 next month?

Ha, lucky 13!  Maybe Mittens will quit altogether.  ;)

*ducks*  Well, one can always hope!

Bullnoxx
Guest
Bullnoxx

Definately more faith in this project than Ubi/Massive with the Division!

Lateris
Guest
Lateris

Yes how large will heights be ?

Lateris
Guest
Lateris

The comments that CCP games is failing is utterly ridiculous. In fact I call BS on those comments. The fact that they listened to the demand for a PC New Eden FPS should be applauded. And it is not a VR exclusive. CCP games is on a upswing so kiss my pod.

DPandaren
Guest
DPandaren

Nyphur MorpayneRADIO Not to mention they never said that they wouldn’t integrate it into EVE. they just don’t want to put that out on the table unless they have something meaty to give to the game instead of the semi once a while orbital strikes.

Koshelkin
Guest
Koshelkin

SallyBowls1 Nyphur 1: It’s set in the future of the current Eve universe so no impact.

korsobar
Guest
korsobar

I can’t help but laugh at ‘vertical slice’ now whenever I see it due to the ridiculous defense of E:D’s pre-release lack of content as ‘just a vertical slice’ by dedicated fans.  It’s just a vertical slice people, there will; be so much more in the final release lololol.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Nyphur
 impact by/with EVE
One of the new CSM winners was talking about their push was eSports. How do they see eSports for this? i.e. how many resources will they fritter away in a doomed attempt to catch much larger and successful eSports companies like Arenanet :-)

Oskiee
Guest
Oskiee

arktourosx The problem with that is the way things work in eve. Taking a station and systems happen over the course of days. they would have to change how capturing things works (again) in order to make a system that works across both games.
Its a nice pipe dream to have more than one game interacting, where im capturing a planet in eve, and youre on the ground fighting enemies helping me. But it wont work in eve. Youd have to build a game from the ground up to do that kind of thing. :(

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Nyphur mmonerd Greaterdivinity  I agree with that.  I would quibble with the last sentence:

e.g. replace “they probably won’t attempt huge ambitious projects like WoD and DUST 514 again.” with “while they are much more likely to eventually achieve huge ambitious projects than before, there probably won’t be any more huge ambitious press releases with huge planned version 1.0.”

testicus5500
Guest
testicus5500

and another fail idea :) once ccp had a vision for eve…well after 10 years playing i am somewhat glad to have lost interest after one great vison after the other is  shattered by ccp for eve.

Kanbe
Guest
Kanbe

Are there any talks about adding in flyable eve ships (I would imagine just frigiates) to be used in combat?

Pashgan
Guest
Pashgan

And as usually – third person view images to advertise first person shooter (which nobody was asking for).
Like someone said on EVE forum lately “I don’t want ‘walking in stations’ but I’m ok with its development because that way we can be sure CCP isn’t pursuing much worse ideas”.

arktourosx
Guest
arktourosx

Nyphur What sets Project Nova apart from the (to use your own words Brendan) “any one of a dozen other free-to-play sci-fi PC shooters already on the market”?

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

Anyone have any questions they would like to pose to the Nova devs if I can get some interview time with one?

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