Developer Novaquark has announced that the ambitious, player-driven MMO Dual Universe will launch on PC September 27. The game's been in development for eight years and the pitch is essentially a player-created EVE Online, with a flexible voxel-based crafting system that allows players to build more-or-less what they want.
Dual Universe has been in beta for the last two years, over which time it's gradually implemented stuff like space warfare, asteroid mining, and space markets, without the whole galaxy collapsing. The launch will also feature a new first-time player experience (something that EVE itself has, somewhat belatedly, become obsessive about in recent years).
The developer claims that this features some of "the most advanced voxel technology ever created", and that player creation is only one part of the game's appeal: the point being that most systems are down to players. The economy is player-driven and the idea is that every playstyle should be able to find a niche.
I've mentioned EVE a few times already because the comparison is simply unavoidable. Novaquark talks about jobs such as running an automated mining operation, getting involved in ore processing, creating ships, "sell[ing] codes that control weapons systems", and other such familiar galactic pursuits. The major differences come down to the creation system and that planets play a role, but this is taking many cues from CCP's classic title.
Including, of course, that the game is persistent and takes place on a single server, though it also has quite a neat idea for those who just want to try it out: the launch comes alongside a free trial for new players, which will run on its own separate shard. Anyone who's played the game during beta gets two weeks free, and those who remain active get an XP booster that runs for a whopping six months.
"Since Dual Universe’s beta launched two years ago, our community of dedicated Novean explorers, plunderers, miners, and pioneers have created amazing stories in towering cities, underground bases, and orbital space stations," says Nouredine Abboud, CEO of Novaquark. "We are incredibly thankful for everyone who has embarked on this journey with us so far, and are thrilled to open this new chapter of the game’s incredible voyage."
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Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."