EVE Online devleopers CCP announced that their persistent shooter Dust 514 would be a PS3 exclusive yesterday. That seemed very odd to us, given that Dust is designed to closely interact with EVE, a PC-only game, and given that it's touted as a "thinking man's shooter," with more in common with Planetside and Tribes than typical console fare. So when I went along to meet with CCP, I asked: "yo, dudes, what's the deal?"
Or rather, another journalist was called on first and asked the same question. This was part of an open conference Q&A, so I'll include part of the answer here.
Dust 514 is a PS3 exclusive. Why isn't it coming to PC?
Thomas Farrer, Dust 514 producer: We're looking at trying to expand the players that occupy New Eden, so for now we're focusing on PlayStation.
Halldor Fannar, CCP's Chief Technical Officer We wanted to find an audience that was kind of diagonally opposite of what we already have, instead of trying to cannibalize what we already have. So that's initially what we're trying to do. If you look at all the people that actually tried EVE, it's a really large number, so it also tells us that there is interest out there for people to experience this world, but the gameplay style, whether it's being on PC or whether it's how you play, it doesn't suit them. So we wanted to create something that's very different. So we understand that the EVE players are thinking, 'Oh man, I want to play this game but I need a PS3,' but they have to understand that we're also trying to build this game for a slightly different audience. So that's the difference.
For those of you who have tried EVE, you've probably seen that we don't do a terribly good job in trying to explain it. We're not going to get away with that in Dust, whereas if we were publishing it on PC, we would. Sony wouldn't come over and say, 'Guys, this is sensory overload, this is too much information...'. So that's another reason why we're doing it. We're trying to cater to an audience and get them to... These games are always going to end up being pretty complex, but there's a way to introduce people to them.
The thing about this answer is that it doesn't quite make sense. Wanting to create an accessible experience is great, but there's nothing actively stopping them from doing that on PC, and for all the motions towards making it easy to understand, Dust 514 is still complex. The audience for this kind of game - persistent, with classes people construct themselves, with huge battles, with micropayments - is traditionally a PC audience.
There's also the casual use of the word "initially." They wanted to find an audience that was different from EVE's, so that's "initially what we're trying to do." I followed up on that, asking them whether it meant there was a chance that Dust 514 would come to PC further down the line. Every CCP developer in the room smirked and looked off toward the middle distance, and the audience of journalists laughed.
Halldor gave the non-answer:
"We're exclusive on the PlayStation 3 right now and we're focusing on making a really great game there. You know, I can't speak to what's going to happen in the future, so."
If they've signed an exclusivity deal with Sony, then they wouldn't be able to say anything else. But it seems inevitable that Dust 514 will arrive on PC eventually. It simply doesn't make sense that it wouldn't. Until we hear a hard confirmation that it's never going to happen, we're assuming that Dust 514 is a PC game.
Here is a picture of Tim hugging CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson.