Dust 514 is Not Dead


Previously I talked about the EVE Universe as an IP. In that piece I mostly touched on the future of EVE in regards to their two new offerings: Gunjack and Valkyrie. In the comments of that piece it was asked/stated: ”I wonder whatever happened to Project Legion.”  More recently, a movement known as #portdust514 has grown in traction, causing many to both be hopeful for the future, and worried for the fate of the game. With what we know up to now, it may be possible to make some educated guesses to these questions.

Rouge Wedding

The last time someone with a CCP shirt stood on a stage and mentioned Dust 514 was almost two years ago when CCP Rouge took the stage and announced Project Legion. In order to understand this event we must have context for the time surrounding it. Tensions were high; the game had been launched less than a year previously and since then the game was an unmitigated disaster. Many of the features promised for the game were nowhere in sight, and what we had was a buggy shooter that would be barely competitive in 2005, let alone 2013. The community was upset, but still passionate. The energy going into this announcement was through the roof; people expected, and were promised a big announcement that would turn around fears about this dying game on an antiquated console.

“What was hope turned to ash as betrayal sunk in.”

Many people who were in the audience that day had Dust as the only CCP game they played. They differentiated themselves from most of the other Fanfest attendees in being predominantly console gamers. They sat in the audience hopeful that the promises they had heard from CPM members and CCP would be manifested. Instead, they were informed they were being replaced. The question wasn’t “when will Legion come out?” but “how could you just abandon your core players?” What was hope turned to ash as betrayal sunk in. Quickly this event was nicknamed the “Rouge Wedding” as a reference to the grand betrayal of the popular “Red Wedding”. The reaction was explosive, it was the Dust’s summer of rage.

The Keynote

With all of the passion surrounding the keynote of 2014, much of the information imparted was lost. The keynote lasted almost 24 minutes, and the first chunk was a standard recap of how “awesome” the last year was. At 8:45 the topic turns to what comes next. This was the moment everyone was waiting for. At 9:10 CCP Rouge discusses the “Four Pillars” of what they want Dust to be. These were:



  • Multiplayer at Core



  • Emergent Gameplay



  • Player-Driven Economy



  • New Eden



It is important to note that of these four, only the last one was even close to being realized at this point. So what came next?

Dust keynote

At 10 minutes and 30 seconds into the keynote he discusses how the senior members of the team had formed a vision of what it would take to build a Dust on these four pillars, and they soon discovered this thing they were making was infact distinct from the Dust that we knew. They realized this would take a massive change, and so they started exploring what this would be and this new thing was codenamed “Project Legion”. However, before this could even be processed, at 11 minutes and 25 seconds in, the most polarizing statement was made: Project Legion meant Dust is coming to PC.

CCP Rouge never said that Legion would be a new game. In fact, later reports suggested that Legion was simply an exploration of new design space. All we know from that time was that CCP felt they had hit the limits of what the PS3 could offer, but this announcement was so poorly done, and the angst going into the keynote was so high, the entire subject became a firestorm of rage. CCP went into triage mode once again.

“…assuring the faithful that support for Dust would not end, and that ‘Project Legion’ was a new effort.”

The message quickly changed; a dev blog came out assuring the faithful that support for Dust would not end, and that “Project Legion” was a new effort. But the damage was done, the narrative was warped, and eventually CCP fell into radio silence as to the future of Project Legion. The last thing we have heard publically was an announcement that the project was not dead, but that main focus was on Dust, following the narrative, and speaking directly to those paying them money.

So to examine anything past that point, we must watch what they do, and piece together the clues.


The Fate of Legion

The biggest concern people have about the fate of Legion stems from the abandoning of the trademark of “Legion” on April 13th 2015. At the time the Nosy Gamer provided an excellent analysis of this event and what it could mean. However, we have the power of time on our hands. Four months later, another game company announces their own game. Activision-Blizzard presents their latest expansion at one of the world’s largest expos, the name? World of Warcraft: Legion. We also know that CCP has been actively raising 30 million dollars for Valkyrie, and additionally sold their other IP, World of Darkness, and at the same time as dropping the Legion title, also purchased back 20 million in bonds. This is a company that was in dire financial straits a few years earlier.

So what is more likely? They abandoned their now somewhat successful IP and their vision for its future? Or did they simply sell a name they didn’t care about anyway, in an effort to stabilize themselves financially, and set themselves up for the next step?

So What About Dust?

Meanwhile, on the now ancient PS3, Dust 514 had been coming a long way. Several patches have come out to support Dust, and other live events have kept things lively for those who continue to play. The expansions and patches in the last year are as follows (these are patch notes announcement dates, not deployment dates):













With the exception of Uprising 1.9, none of the patches above required anything that involves Playstation 3 tools design. Balance was tweaked, skins were added and UI was altered. These are all changes that would directly affect any future effort. CCP had two fundamental problems with Dust. The first was that the PS3 was a very limiting platform, both in terms power and an increasingly diminishing player base. Secondly, they were confronted with the fact that their game was just not good. This problem could be addressed live.

In much the same way that EVE Online was put into a “beta” mode to prepare for next Spring, so to was Dust put into “beta” to get the game right for whatever the “Project Legion” would unlock. Porting the game would be useless unless they learned how to make it fun. Over the year they have done just that.



So, with all this in mind, why hasn’t CCP announced Dust 514 on PC? The answer is actually pretty simple: they likely can’t. As I mentioned, the last time a CCP member stood on stage and discussed Dust on PC, it was a disaster. 30 million dollars is a lot of cash, and no one has any illusions on how much is riding on the success of Valkyrie. They literally cannot afford to rile up the Dust crowd for fear that they could potentially scare people away from the extreme financial investment VR tech will mean for potential player’s entertainment budget. The #portdust514 movement plays into the narrative that CCP games are worth playing, and worth supporting. Better to have that then the controversy risked with the actual announcement either way. The potential in this case is safer then the realization.

Furthermore, 30 million dollars means investors, investors that couldn’t care less about Dust but do care about VR. I wouldn’t be surprised if CCP is actually incapable of mentioning Dust 514’s future thanks to the amount of money and risk invested in their other IP offerings.

So when do we know for sure?

Oculus Rift is set to release in Q1 2016, which ends on March 31st, and Valkyrie is set to be a launch title. EVE Citadels is set to release around Fanfest, April 21st to 23rd, which puts it as the perfect time to celebrate the successes of Valkyrie, and either the launch or near launch of Citadels, but they need something to talk about for the future. I see no better time to showcase the new Dust 514 for PC and consoles.

Make it happen CCP – I have faith in you. Dust is not dead.


Tags: Ashterothi, dust 514, Project Legion

About the author


Ashterothi has spent the last five years learning and teaching EVE Online. He is a host on the highly successful High Drag and Hydrostatic Podcast.

  • A very well researched piece. If I were to put my tinfoil hat on, I would like to think that the HUGE server upgrades Tranquility will be getting soon may be promising for being able to support a Dust port……..

  • Bill Bones

    I think that people ask to port DUST 514 as if this wasn’t akin to doing again 80% of the game in about 110% as much time as would take to just a make a new PC game from scratch.

    • frankster

      what? lol no, the effort to create an entirely new game is surely about 5x that to port and update an existing game.

      • Bill Bones

        So think the misinformed. Games can be ported with moderate difficulty only if they’ve been conceived to be ported.

        But porting a game that was not conceived for porting, is akin to making a whole new game, PLUS dealing with the issues caused by the port.

        FAI: art assets are designed with a resolution and polygon count in mind. You can’t just “upgrade” them because you’ll have acces to a larger poly count and higher resolution. They were not conceived to be seen at that resolution. They will look poor and uncomplete and every tradeoff made to reach their final design will make them look bad. So they must be done again, from scratch. And as each asset is developed into the new poly count and resolution, it will face the same issues as if it was a new asset…since IT is a new asset. All that will show even before you try to make the new, higher definiton asset look like the older ones.

        “But, but, a Yaris is a Toyota car, and a Corolla is a Toyota car, what you mean I can’t “port” my Yaris into a Corolla?”

        Because they’re conceived from the draft board to be either a Yaris or a Corolla. All the little pieces that make the final product are developed for it and can’t be rehashed into a new one.

        Digital art assets are just a bit less complex than a car…

        • frankster

          Dust is written to the unreal engine which is broadly cross-platform. Though there will no doubt be some parts that are very specific to ps3, there won’t be that many because the unreal engine deals with a lot of that stuff. So the software/engine stuff would almost certainly be vastly quicker to port, than to rewrite from scratch and solve the same game design issues and defects as you already solved the first time around.

          Lets now turn our attention to the art assets. As you point out, the worst case is that you have to redesign all the assets. But designing assets from scratch is exactly what you would have to do if you made a new game from scratch. So the absolute worst case is that it takes exactly the same time to redesign the assets in a port, as it would take to make them for an entirely new game. In practice, as you are not creating new concepts but merely improving from an existing template, the art process will be quicker than starting again from scratch.

          Regarding your silly car analogy, the Yaris and Corolla probably have the same chassis or the same engine. But the concept of porting a car doesn’t make any sense, so the crap analogy doesn’t shed any light on an entirely different manufacturing process.

          So all in all, porting is in almost all cases vastly quicker than starting again from scratch. As a real example, look at what Feral Interactive are doing porting games to Linux. They are porting games that took a few years to write, in a few months (albeit probably not having to redesign the artwork).

  • Kamar Raimo

    In 2013/2014 CCP were at least confident enough to make a product placement of Dust in the movie John Wick (Keeanu Reeves). Still, I remain sceptical whether Legion will ever amount to something. It would not be the first time CCP totally misjudged their ability to produce a meaningful PC game that was not based on spaceships.

    • Niko Lorenzio

      Honestly I don’t think eve is really about spaceships. It’s about much more than that. Space and spaceships just provide a convenient backdrop.

      Unfortunately CCP has not really realized this fact which is why Valkyrie will eventually fail after a short success. It was obvious after the last fanfest presentation.

    • 10 seconds of footage, that was shown in rapid succession, isn’t really “product placement” in my mind, but okay, dude.

  • Other People’s Money

    Amen. And amen. And amen. You have to forgive me. I’m not familiar with
    the local custom. Where I come from, you always say “Amen” after you
    hear a prayer. Because that’s what you just heard – a prayer. Where I
    come from, that particular prayer is called “The Prayer for the Dead.”
    You just heard The Prayer for the Dead, my fellow stockholders, and you
    didn’t say, “Amen.”

  • I did some research on this a while ago also. Although CCP has a nice record of vaporware, mentions of Project Legion waned after CCP announced that DUST 514 is now profitable, which has been slowly but steadily gaining players much like EVE did at launch, although I’m sure the dying platform will kill it much faster. If this delayed a PC port, this is a good thing, because the small team working on DUST 514 is getting better at FPS development, guaranteeing a port or Project Legion will be less likely to be bad. Also, even if DUST were ported to PC, Planetside 2 would still be better, so it makes a lot of sense to delay it until (a) CCP gets better at FPS development and (b) Planetside 2 wears out its welcome. I have high hopes for something good in the not-so-near future.

  • Tornike Khomeriki

    “30 million dollars means investors, investors that couldn’t care less about Dust but do care about VR”
    I can’t see why we should be so sure DUST and VR are mutually exclusive.

    “Better to have that then the controversy risked with the actual announcement either way. The potential in this case is safer then the realization.”
    It’s “than”.

  • Gosti

    When they port Dust to PC, they should also port it to PS4. As you said, Dust has it´s playerbase which don´t like to play on PC but prefere Consoles, which is their good right, so with porting it to PS4, they can still play like they want it.
    There would also be the possibility for Crossplay between PS4 and PC, something that isn´t possible on the XBox. Final Fantasy 14 has shown that it works, so there is no excuse for not making it cross-platform

    • Kai Koivula

      New Elite has crossplay with PC and Xbox, that I know.

      But back on subject, I wish CCP just focuses on EvE from now on, even Valkyrie has huge risks as being only-VR game, with limited potential customerbase (similar mistake as with Dust being published to PS and not PC)…

  • Cazaderon

    “They sat in the audience hopeful that the promises they had heard from CPM members and CCP would be manifested.”

    The part about CPM making promises is just not true. Considering we learned about the FF14 announcement in december 2013 , no one felt like making any promises.

  • frankster

    that keynote looks amazing! would love to see that on PC (or even PS4) soon!

  • Heracles Porsche

    If you’re looking for a good Dust 514/ Star Wars Battlefront Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYzz0FbBPVUbF6yWex1wb_A

  • Liner Xiandra

    CCP recently was searching for a new Dust 514 brand manager ( https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/3qejjs/ccp_games_is_hiring_a_brand_manager_for_dust_514/ ) which hints that yes, Dust is not dead (yet). It’s also interesting to know that the Shanghai team is (partly) responsible for EVE Gunjack. Or at least, we know CCP Rouge is executive producer for it.

    I would like to think that with CCP’s VR investments, we might see a VR version for Dust514 in the future.