CCP re-imagines PS3 shooter Dust 514 for PC as Project Legion

Update: It's being designed as free-to-play, too.

UPDATE 5.30PM BST: Jean-Charles Gaudechon told Eurogamer that Project Legion is being designed as a free-to-play game like Dust 514. He couldn't share any solid timelines for the project but re-emphasised how early into development - a few months - it was. It's at least a year away, I believe.

Dust won't suffer while Legion is developed, and has its own future plans. The CCP Shanghai studio numbers 60 people, who ebb and flow between projects as and when they're needed, making it hard to nail down specific team sizes.

ORIGINAL STORY 2.30PM BST: Eve Online developer CCP has announced a new game called Project Legion, a re-imagining of PlayStation 3 online multiplayer shooter Dust 514 for PC.

It's "a new approach to being a mercenary on the ground", CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson told Eurogamer. "It's almost that experience made anew.

"It's taking all we learned from Dust and almost making a new game from scratch, even though it's the same team doing a first-person shooter, so they're very experienced now. And we've made good headway on it."

It's already "significantly different" to Dust, he said. "It's almost more a revolution than an evolution, and that's why we're calling it Project Legion, because it's, frankly, more like a new game."

The team has been able to get to work quicker than on Dust because it's both more experienced now and much of the world already exists on PC, in Eve. Everything had to be created from scratch for PS3.

Whether Project Legion could come to other platforms - maybe new consoles - is something Pétursson doesn't really know. It's still a young project that needs to take baby steps. Much of its future will also be decided by gauging fan reception at Eve FanFest this week, in a similar way CCP did with Eve Valkyrie last year.

Executive producer Jean-Charles Gaudechon - CCP Rouge - presented a world exclusive live demo of Project Legion at FanFest tpday. He said the game had emerged from the team's desire to move towards a more sandbox first-person shooter within New Eden, and taken on a life of its own.

He asked that the audience not get their expectations up because "it's early stuff", but what he showed looked handsome and complete, with lovely environments to explore.

The demo started in a player's hub, or quarters, which had a view of a nearby planet that spaceships were busily buzzing around. There were lots of menus that linked to the various social and economic mechanics in the game, which will presumably work somehow with Eve Online. And as in Eve, the social aspect of Legion will be paramount, Gaudechon explained.

From your hub you'll also access your star map, which zooms down to a planet view and back up again. It's from here you'll select the tournaments, missions and scavenging grounds you want to visit. The latter will mix PVE and PVP content, lines becoming blurrier the deeper into space you get - again like Eve. Gaudechon talked excitedly about players betraying each other, and the audience cheered.

A planet was selected and the clone body neurologically jumped into, with a nice warp-speed-style effect. On the planet there was top-down view to select where you wish to deploy - a kind of tactical and geographical view of what's going on.

The planet itself was a fiery volcanic one, with volcanoes erupting on the horizon and embers flickering in the hot, dusty air around. Legion has gone to town with lighting and particle effects, as it can on PC. At one point an orbital strike thunders down, a giant dusty doughnut billowing out from the impact.

The architecture and terrain is more plain, but handsome nonetheless.

The fighting was sporadic because the map is "huge", to encourage a more sandbox - make your own fun - experience rather a developer-prescribed one. What we saw didn't have the directed, moment-to-moment intensity of something like Titanfall or Destiny, and perhaps the fun, but whether this works for or against it is, at this point, hard to tell.

Lots about Legion makes sense, and it's great for CCP to be able to give the experience to the audience who plays Eve. Whether enough of them, and the wider world, want it - in a PC space crowded with competition - we'll have to wait and see, but it's a promising contender already.

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