Project Legion – The facts as best we know them

This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ persective to discuss the known facts about Project Legion and the future of Dust514 post-Fanfest 2014.

DUST514_GroupShot3

Following the bomb-shell revelation of CCP’s latest new initiative that is Project Legion and what it means for the future of Dust514, I have been by turns disappointed, angry and even warily excited by the potential outcomes.  Mostly, I have been in full-on nerd rage over CCP’s spectacularly poor communication of this change in direction.  If you have been reading the blog over the weekend you might have noticed. 😉

I do not like to be so explicitly negative so have decided to do try and something productive for the community.  There are a huge number of misconceptions and rumours floating around over what CCP have actually announced and little in the way of a definitive list of information.  So I am going to try and set out a simple FAQ of hard information along with references of where I got it from.  I will try to keep conjecture and opinion out of this and follow up with a ‘what I think’ post.

What is Project Legion?

Project Legion (PL) as demonstrated live at Fanfest 2014 is a prototype running on PC for a new game in the EVE Universe.  It is a fresh attempt at taking the Dust514 concept back to the drawing board in order to deliver a sandbox first person shooter experience in the EVE Universe.  It is not a simple port of Dust514, it is a separate and distinct product.

Source – Fanfest 2014 Dust514 keynote.

So it is a brand new game in development?

According to CCP at this point PL is a prototype that they wanted to show the players so that they can gather feedback.  It appears very likely to go ahead however.  It is currently in a similar place to where EVE Valkyrie was when demo’ed as EVR at Fanfest 2013.

Source – Fanfest 2014 Dust514 keynote.

Why is it a new game rather than an update to Dust514?

CCP have taken stock of Dust514 (following CCP Rouge joining as new executive producer) and come to the conclusion that Dust514’s game mechanics do not allow for meaningful sandbox gameplay.  The match format it is built around does not give players room to go exploring, it has no player driven market and is built on now last-gen technology.  CCP want to take the lessons learned from creating Dust514 and create something closer to the original vision.

Source – Fanfest 2014 Dust Keynote, ‘Dust514 – Putting more sand in the box’ presentation & EVE TV interview immediately following the EVE-Online Keynote.

What platform is it on?

PL is being developed for the PC.  CCP Praetorian has clarified that their intention is to develop first for the PC as this requires a robust game engine that is able to accommodate numerous different hardware configurations.  Achieving this first means that it will be a simpler task to then build a version for next-gen consoles at a later date, rather than going to a specific console first.

Source – EVE TV interview immediately following the Fanfest 2014 EVE-Online Keynote.

What do CCP mean by sandbox?

CCP want PL to include open map areas that players explore for salvage that is earned through more PVE activity like shooting Rogue Drones.  Hi sec sandbox zones will (probably) not allow PVP while low sec zones will.  Salvaged equipment will be superior to standard gear and can be used personally or sold on a player-driven market.  Some items may be of value to EVE-Online players increasing interactivity between games.

Overt EVE-Dust link features like Orbital Bombardment will still still exist in PL but will not be the focus of the initial release. Social and economic connections would have a greater focus than they currently do in Dust514.

Source – Fanfest 2014 Dust Keynote & ‘Dust514 – Putting more sand in the box’ presentation.

But I just want to shoot players in the face!

PL will still feature contract battles in a similar style to those currently in Dust514.  Players will be able to buy equipment from the market (supplied by NPC’s n the case of basic gear or other players for more advanced stuff) and largely ignore the sandbox elements if they so choose.

Dust514 will continue to run as it is for the foreseeable future.  Assuming that players continue to play it (and therefore keep it economically viable), it will run alongside Project Legion even after PL is released.

Source – Fanfest 2014 Dust Keynote & ‘Dust514 – Putting more sand in the box’ presentation.  pcworld.com article interviewing CCP Rouge.

What graphics engine is the PL prototype using?

Unreal3 or 4.  It seems likely that PL will move over Unreal4 tech once CCP move from prototyping into full production (if they haven’t done so already).  CCP have confirmed Unreal tech but not which version.  EVE Valkyrie has now made the move to Unreal4 so it seems logical.

Source –  pcworld.com interview with CCP Rouge.

When will Project Legion be released?

I have found no comments whatsoever from CCP about a release date.  We know from the Dust514 keynote that the prototype shown is the result of approximately 3 months work and that CCP do not consider it to be a full game yet, or even officially in full production.  Personally, I would not expect to play even a beta for at least 12months.

Source – None!  Unless you count the keynote.

So development of Dust514 is dead? 

CCP were slow to address these concerns (and failed to do so at all as part of their prepared presentations) but are now insisting that Dust514 is not being abandoned, will continue to run on PS3 for the foreseeable future and that it will still receive updates.

CCP Rouge made an apparently unscheduled appearance in the Fanfest 2014 CCP Presents keynote to clarify these points.  He has also been quoted in several media articles stating that development will continue.

Source – Fanfest 2014 CCP Presents keynote.  Also this blog post by CSM Ripard Teg.  A couple of useful interviews here & here.

What sort of updates can we expect for Dust514?

Difficult to say.  CCP Praetorian stated at Fanfest that CCP are currently in a planning phase following the PL prototyping effort.  The Fanfest presentations themselves were exclusively focused on Project Legion with discussion of Dust514 itself coming entirely from player questions.  CCP Rouge has been quoted by Polygon as saying:

“Is Dust 514 stopping? The answer is no, we’re still working on a lot of stuff; planetary conquest, balancing, there is a lot of work happening. Obviously the firepower may not be the same, but we’re still working on making the experience as good as possible,”

This seems to imply more Uprising point release style updates although manpower will be diverting to work on Project Legion in tandem.

Source – Polygon article.  Fanfest 2014 presentation ‘Dust514 – Putting more sand in the box’.

So what happens to my Dust514 character and assets?

CCP have pledged to hour our ‘footsteps in the sandbox’ to date and allow for some sort of transition to move our characters across to PL when the time comes. CCP Rouge from  that Polygon article again:

“You will be able to keep your identity, your player name, what you have, what’s applicable to the new experience obviously,” he stated as the audience cheers. So if you spent a lot of time, or money, on Dust 514, your efforts weren’t in vain.

CPM Nova Knife reports that:

As a council, our primary concern in the transition process is to make sure that the people who stay are taken care of, and that for as long as dust514 keeps running (It will) that those players are not in the cold either.  CCP will not openly commit to specifics because they are learning from their past mistakes….  However, they are totally on the same page and they want to do everything possible to make the transition as smooth as possible.  Things like preserving character names, progression, and assets have been discussed, but a lot of those systems are changing so a simple copy/paste wouldn’t really make sense. 

This is still very much an ongoing discussion regarding the transition, and we’re urging CCP to talk more in public about how this will all work, ASAP. As soon as this stuff is nailed down internally, you can expect the CPM to be on CCP about releasing it immediately.  I’ll just note that for those biomassing your characters, you might want to keep them if you have any intention whatsoever of even trying out the Project when it become playable. You’re just throwing away free shit by biomassing. For those that have already biomassed, be advised you can get them back via support ticket.

Emphasis mine.  CCP do seem to be committed to the principle of honouring the community investment and support of Dust514 long term, but are not able to specify exactly how this will work until PL is further developed.

Source – Polygon article.  CPM Nova Knife blog post.

What is the CPM doing about this?

CPM Nova Knife reports that CCP are hosting a two day summit over today and tomorrow (immediately following Fanfest) to discuss the future of Dust514 and Project Legion.  Minutes will be taken and published to the community.

Source – CPM Nova Knife blog post.

I would like to keep this post updated in the coming days and weeks and will be cross-posting it to the Dust514 forums to I hope act as a useful reference point for constructive discussion between the community and CCP.  Please let me know of anything that should be added or amended.

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