I find it interesting that people are going to play on planetary surfaces. A traditional shooter would have maps.
How does that work from your perspective of like, "This is really happening on Planet A. This is really happening on Planet B." I'm assuming it's classes of planets, or whatever.
TF: Yeah, so we create what we call mission terrain. We create outposts that are larger structures, like Biomass Reprocessing. We can change certain aspects of those maps. For example, we can socket in different outposts. We can change the environmental texture sets and things like that to better represent the planet.
Again, so we can better represent where you are, the maps aren't static. It isn't always like, "Oh, I'm just playing this map again." But you'll still be able to learn them. Because, you know, in first-person, you want that familiarity of being able to learn good positions.
But it won't be as static as you usually get in a first-person game. "I'm endlessly fighting this battle." Again, over time, we plan to develop those systems more and more so we can create more and more variation in terms of how we change the environments depending on which planet you're on.
Have you made any announcements about how the business end of this is handled? Obviously, EVE has recurring fees.
TF: We're not using recurring fees. There will be a cover charge for the game. That cover charge will actually then create in-game currency, that you can then use to start building up your modules and stuff. And after that, there's no charge. There will be microtransactions, so you can pay for things if you want to, or if you don't want to.
Because Sony has been starting to support microtransactions.
TF: Yes. That was one of the reasons why in talks with Sony we thought this was a good relationship to have.
If you're a market watcher, just one of the simple obvious things was which console version of Portal 2 had Steam implemented on it, and which one didn't. Right? Just saying.
TF: [laughs] Yeah. Their goals, you know, what they wanted to achieve and what we wanted to achieve aligned really nicely for both of us, so it just made sense. Actually, as a developer, it's just really nice to work on one platform, rather than always having to split focus or make compromises to make sure it will work on both.
Have you guys given thought on putting it to PC?
TF: Yeah. We thought about all kinds of things. Right now, we're pretty much just entirely focused on PlayStation. That's what we're going to remain focused on at least for the foreseeable future. But you know, who knows what happens in the future.
Just a second ago, you were talking about currency, microtransactions, etc. That's going to be your in-game currency, ISK.
Like the same ISK that's in EVE. Does ISK flow freely in between EVE and Dust?
TF: Yeah. ISK flows in between games.
That's going to be interesting.
TF: Yeah, it is, isn't it? [laughs]
I know you guys have a lot of economists, but I'm sure they're still going, "Hmm."
TF: Yeah, you know, Eyjo [Gudmundsson], our economist over in the Shanghai office, he's puzzling his way through all that right now. It's going to be very interesting. Again, it's something that, you know, we'll test it, and we'll see what people do, how people behave. We'll have to tweak and balance and get that to work right. Certainly, it's a challenging thing. Again, with EVE and the kind of complexity of the market we have there, we've got quite a lot of experience with it.
If high-level corporation play requires having an army on the ground, that's going to really affect EVE profoundly.
Have you guys given a thought to this kind of stuff?
TF: Technically, that was a pretty tricky thing to do, but it was something we felt was important because of what you were saying. You know, the corporations are going to want to bring mercenaries into the fold, so to speak. I think we need to be very careful with how game-changing and unbalancing... I mean, this is one aspect of a huge universe. Many of the things we do, we're going to have to give it to the players and see what they do with it.
Talking about Dominion and preparing for this, you've got the land battle stuff already going, and people already know how it works. If there's a player threshold that's required to make things function from a Dust link perspective, those land battles are still going to be going on.
It's not going to fundamentally change things.
TF: Right now, with planetary gameplay, there's no conflict at the moment. There's development but no conflict. The way Dust will change it is by introducing the element of conflict into that. When you're building your space elevators, you're having an influence on sovereignty. It isn't going to entirely govern sovereignty. That's a balance we can control.
You must be very tightly wound in with the design of EVE. Neither of you can function in a vacuum.
You must have a lot of conversations, documentation.
TF: Actually, the day I get back to the Shanghai studio, a bunch of the design team from Reykjavik will actually be there. [laughs] So, yeah, we're having some fun working together, working through some of the stuff. So, yeah, we talk a lot.
Because anything either of you decides to do... It's not even like it affects each other. It's a decision you have to take in tandem.
TF: Yeah. It's, you know, it makes for interesting discussions. Again, it's like, I think a lot of people have used the word "link", and again, you're trying to get away from looking at it like it's a spindly little connection. We're just sitting in the same universe. We're a part of that universe.