Dual Universe 'pre-alpha' will be released to backers at the end of September

Dual Universe is a sci-fi MMO with serious ambitions: "A 3D, 'single-shard' MMO where everyone plays on the same server across millions of planets," as we described it in our September 2016 preview. Those worlds can be modified or built upon, claimed, shared, fought over, or destroyed, while large-scale space stations and ships can be built from scratch and individual object behavior is modifiable by way of Lua scripting. It sounds like a too-good-to-be-true blend of EVE Online and Minecraft, and especially in light of the hype-and-letdown ride that was No Man's Sky, you'd be forgiven for having your doubts. 

Things have been pretty quiet on the Dual Universe front since it was successfully Kickstarted in October 2016, but that will likely change in the relatively near future as a "pre-alpha" version of the game will be released to Gold-level Kickstarter and in-house crowdfunding backers on September 30. "Pre-alpha" is maybe a bit of a silly categorization, but it sounds like developer Novaquark is using it at least in part to keep expectations under control. 

"We are very excited and impatient to get our first players inside Dual Universe," Novaquark CEO JC Baillie said. "We still have much work to do, so we just renamed the access into 'pre-alpha' instead of 'alpha,' but we did not want to delay it, as it's very important for us and the community in terms of timing to receive early feedback." 

The ultimate ambitions for the game remain the same, however: "One single universe with potentially millions of people interacting in it at the same time," where they can "dig a hole, carve up a mountain or build anything they want, from space ships to orbital stations, at any scale they desire." 

There's still time to get in if you want an early look at what's going on, but the clock is ticking and it's not cheap: Access to the Dual Universe pre-alpha will be restricted to people who back the game at the €120/$142 "Gold" level prior to September 7. Full details are up at the Dual Universe forums, and if you've got five minutes to kill you can watch a non-stop flight from Alioth's moon to the surface of the planet in the July video below. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.