Dust 514, the PlayStation 3 first-person shooter created by CCP to tie into Eve Online, had a rocky beginning, and the game seemed to be on its last legs during Fanfest 2014. Much has changed in a year, according to CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson.
"I’m rather inspired how much [the Dust team] has been able to do by really focusing on the right things, and the game is in a much better state now than it has been, frankly, ever," he told Polygon. "And that’s kind of amazing this late in the cycle of the PlayStation 3. I’m a little surprised and inspired where the game is, to be honest."
You expect a CEO to talk up his own products, and the real question is whether the game has a large enough user base to sustain itself, and continued development. Pétursson declined to share concrete player numbers, but he did give us one tidbit that explains why the game continues to be updated on the PlayStation 3.
"I will share that Dust is a profitable business for CCP," Pétursson said, smiling.
Compare this attitude with our interview with Sean Decker, VP of product development at CCP, from Fanfest last year.
"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 at the time.
"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.'"
I asked Pétursson what had changed in the past year.
"Eight updates, super talented, and motivated and focused team, and the fact that we sit here a year later and the game is profitable. That’s what changed," he said.
If the game is going so well, what's in the future for Dust 514? Pétursson isn't in a rush to make any decisions, or announce any new platforms.
"We are in the tail end of the life cycle of a console, and at some point PlayStation 3s are going to go out of commission, there is a point in time when that happens, it’s probably years from now. And we’re getting a lot of new players into the game every single day," he said. "So it’s not like we have captured all the audience on the PlayStation 3, we see thousands of new people come in every single day."
This is one of the most surprising things from Fanfest this year: CCP is happy with DUST 514, and the game is going well. I also asked about Project Legion, the sort of announced game from last year that CCP said may or may not become a product. I was told there was nothing to announce.
"We’re looking into a lot of options for what’s going to happen next for Dust," Pétursson said. "It’s too early to say anything to be honest. The game is now a profitable business for CCP, and that’s a good thing."