Although far from perfect, Dust 514 was a solid effort that filled a void I didn’t realize I had. For the first time ever, we were able to experience the world of New Eden from the perspective of the boots on the ground. However, despite its aspirations it never quite delivered on the promise of a true Eve FPS. Although marginally connected through the orbital bombardment mechanics and faction warfare it never truly felt like it was part of the larger universe. With the recent announcement of a third (yes, third) FPS project in the works, I would like to take a moment to discuss what I think would be both necessary and ideal for this to be a success.
First, the game needs to be accessible. A major factor in the failure of Dust 514 was that it was exclusively on the PS3 platform. For this to be a success, the new FPS needs to be be available both on the PC and all major consoles. Beyond that, it will require that the UI and game mechanics are more modern and streamlined. Although true to the Eve Online experience an unnecessarily complicated skill and fitting system is not conducive to a successful shooter. They will want to design a system that is true to the feel of Eve without excessive complexity. Obviously, a well-thought out matchmaking system will be implemented that takes into account player allegiances, squads, and awoxing.
Second, the game needs to be integrated. In order to both appeal to Eve Online’s current player base and offer the depth needed to make it stand out in a crowded marketplace, the new FPS needs to be fully integrated into Eve Online itself. In other words, this FPS should just be another way of connecting into the same shared universe. You login using the same accounts and have access to the same assets and wallets. You share the same markets, and contracts. You can update your skill queues, trade, do contracts, and check all your fits no matter whether you logged into the MMO or the FPS. This is the same universe.
Third, the game needs to be meaningful. The primary source of Eve’s continued success is that what you do really matters and is limited only by your influence and ambition. That same significance of choice and action needs to translate into the new FPS. Likewise, actions taken in the MMO need to have a real impact on the nature and outcome of the FPS engagements. Neither of these should feel bolted on but like a natural and reasonable complement to each other. That isn’t to say that there can’t be shoot-outs for their own sake or other unrelated (or even single player) game modes. However, most of the action should impact the MMO in some way.
Fourth, the game needs to be fun. This should be obvious, but if the game isn’t fun nothing else will matter. While the idea of “the grind” might appeal to Eve’s core players it won’t attract the new blood needed to make it a success. This game will need to stand on its own merits if it is to stand at all.