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Sci-fi MMO Dual Universe is now in alpha testing

Dual Universe, the ambitious sci-fi MMO that got a McDonald's before it got a release date, is now officially in alpha testing. That's still a long way from launch, but it means that anyone willing to shell out the hefty cost of admission can jump into the game and start exploring, building, and trading. 

The alpha release features a significantly increased land mass, with an area that's close to the size of Great Britain, according to developer Novaquark. The player-driven in-game markets will also be enabled in the alpha, along with "a wealth of tools to help players mine, harvest, transport, store, and sell all manner of building resources."   

Building is the big hook in Dual Universe: Novaquark aims to create a massive interplanetary MMO that can support millions of players on a single server, and that enables those players to build out the universe as they see fit. (Which is how it ended up with a Mickey D's in pre-alpha.) Novaquark founder JC Baillie told us at PAX West last year that the endgame is about mastering Lua, a built-in scripting language that can be used to modify the game and even program different interactive elements—although he emphasized that it's entirely optional. 

The first Dual Universe alpha test is clearly only for committed followers: You'll need to purchase a Sponsor Pack for €120 ($137), or a Patron Pack for €180 ($205) to get in. The less (but still) expensive Contributor Pack goes for €60 ($68) will get you into the second round of alpha testing, which is currently planned for the first half of 2019. Novaquark plans a third alpha test for the second half of 2019, followed by a beta test and release in 2020. 

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.