CCP Games used the press conference for Dust 514, an existing free-to-player multiplayer shooter on the PlayStation 3, to announce a PC title called Project Legion. The team is unsure if Project Legion will ultimately be turned into a full release, and have repeatedly stated that the ultimate decision will be based on the fan’s reaction to the screenshots, ideas and footage that have been released for the game.
The fan reaction has been immediate, and largely negative.
Sean Decker is the VP of Product Development at CCP, and he told Polygon the days of waiting a few years to show off a game while hoping the fans like it are done. "Put it out in front of them, see if they like it," he said. "EVR [later renamed Eve: Valkyrie] was a perfect example of that. Legion will or will not be an example of that, we’ll see, and if Legion does well, great, we’ll continue to invest in it. If it doesn’t, we’ll open up some beers, have some fun and say, "'Ok, that was fun, let’s do something different now and go again.'"
That still doesn’t address the fact that there was next to no news about Dust 514 during the speech, and the small buy loyal following that game has earned have taken to the forums to express their disdain. Decker chalks this up as part of the learning process.
"You announced the game you were promising us since 2009 again ... for PC... with no concrete plans what you can give the Dust players who have supported you for years now," one member of the community stated. "Heck. Had you at least that figured out the backlash wouldn't have been as severe."
This response is indicative of the overall community reaction to the news of Project Legion, which has been largely negative. They want these features in the PlayStation 3 game they've been supporting since launch, and feel as if they're been abandoned for the new PC title.
CCP Games hasn't done much to placate the fans on the message boards, but at Fanfest we were told that sometimes there are bumps on the road to a great product.
"I ran DICE for awhile, and the first shooter game out of DICE was a game called Codename Eagle, which tons of people don’t know anything about, and never would, and probably shouldn’t," he told Polygon. "I think it sold like 20,000 units and got a 50 Metacritic, maybe a 40, something like that. It was horrible, and at the end of the day, teams usually have to do multiple iterations of something to get to something really great."
It takes learning, stumbling and then getting back up to make something great in other words, and CCP is hoping that Project Legion is the game to execute on the concepts behind Dust 514 in a way that’s much more enjoyable.
"And honestly, we didn’t make a great game to begin with. It has to be a great game"
"At the end of the day we want to take the things we’ve learned from Dust, and yes it’s in the same IP, same place and all the rest of it, but we want to do some fundamentally different things with it that we feel we missed out on and that we didn’t do right," Decker said.
"And honestly, we didn’t make a great game to begin with. It has to be a great game. We did all of these things to try and, we tried to do too much honestly in terms of connecting it into the universe and there’s this MMO piece and all the rest of it, blah blah blah, as opposed to, 'I have a blast second to second. I love this game second to second and I love it minute to minute, hour to hour, and so on and so forth.'"
So do they see Dust 514 existing a few years in the future? Does the game have a future?
"How many players do we have?" Decker asked about this hypothetical future. I told him I didn’t know.
"Neither do I, so that’s the question. I mean, in terms of three years from now, if there are tons of people playing it, and people are really enjoying it, we’ll keep doing it. And if people are like, ‘you know what, thanks for all the fish and we’ve moved,’ then we won’t. It’s as simple as that, and I think it’s true for any game service."