Project Nova: Rising From The Ashes


May 30, 2016: a day insignificant to many people, but to the veterans of EVE: Dust 514, it marked the end of an era. Dust 514 was a PS3-exclusive game developed by CCP, and officially launched on May 14, 2013. It ran parallel with EVE Online on Tranquility, and could also interact with EVE in several ways: most prominently, EVE players having the ability to orbitally bombard Dust battles, directly influencing their outcome.

At Fanfest 2016, CCP presented Project Nova, the spiritual successor to Dust 514 that would bring Dust’s mixture of economic elements and gunplay to the PC. Unfortunately, since Fanfest 2016, CCP has been largely silent on the subject.

But one does not silence the Dust 514 community easily, and for that time we remained strong and held on. In the meantime, many Dust veterans migrated to EVE Online, populating the various corporations in New Eden. Some even founded their own organisations in EVE.

Fanfest 2017: Restoring Faith

If ever there was a time and place for news about Project Nova, it was on April 6, 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland at the annual EVE Fanfest a year after its announcement..

The Dust community watched the Twitch stream intently. Throughout the event, I witnessed both Dust veterans and curious onlookers for news about Project Nova. The opening ceremony, in which CCP talks about its various projects, had come. Project Nova was nowhere in sight, and many lept to the conclusion that CCP had decided to cancel the project.

As we were about to give up hope, the Dust community was treated with a miracle. After the scheduled progress reports, there were a few seconds of silence, and a slide with the words “Project Nova.” The crowd and Twitch chat cheered, celebrating this more than any other moment in the opening ceremony.

CCP’s CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson then went on to tell us that development on Project Nova is still very much active. Not only that, but the Nova team would be transferring over to Reykjavik; one of the primary complaints raised against Project Nova so far was that it didn’t feel “EVE” enough, so naturally the perfect place to develop Nova is the same building where EVE Online itself is developed.

The rest of opening ceremony was a blur, and many Dust vets, along with other EVE players interested in Nova, rejoiced. Afterwards we got a flurry of Nova updates, though no exact dates as of yet.

Here’s some important information that we know for sure about Project Nova:

  • You will not be choosing your race when you begin playing Nova
  • Weapons will bear characteristics of their respective corporations, rather than their related Empire
  • CPU and Powergrid have been combined into a single resource
  • Suits will have a capacitor-like function, much like mana in other MMOs
  • Most of the maps will be based on the interior of EVE ships. Confirmed vessels include the Chimera carrier and the Maelstrom battleship.
  • The Nova beta should be released sometime around the “next Star Wars movie” according to CCP Rattati. This means a target of  December 15, 2017.
  • To unlock certain weapons or suits, you must gain standing for the corporation that produces them
  • Many of the weapons from Dust 514, such as Nova Knives, Submachine Guns, and Rail Rifles, are in Nova

Why should YOU care?

Project Nova is important for a variety of reasons. It represents another source of revenue for CCP, which will help fund the studio. The core premise of an MMO-FPS resonates with a much larger group of players than Valkyrie or Gunjack (no offense VR guys, just being real here) and will introduce a lot more people to the world of New Eden. It will also offer a fresh perspective on the universe of EVE Online.

But perhaps most importantly, it keeps the vision of Dust alive. A persistent MMO-FPS where every action mattered, no matter how small. Dust 514 had a shaky start, but thanks to the efforts of CCP Rattati, who took charge of the game around halfway through, Dust started to be a well-rounded FPS by the end of its lifetime. I believe that CCP will learn from the mistakes it made in Dust, and make Nova that much better.

Project Nova has the potential to be CCP’s next big hit, and with the right handling it can be just as popular, if not more popular, than its parent game, EVE Online.

If you are interested in learning more about Project Nova, the Biomassed Podcast has been keeping track of the game’s development. Biomassed is a podcast that has existed throughout much of Dust. While it is mostly about CCP-related news—especially relating to Project Nova and EVE Online—it covers a large array of topics including movies, politics, and other games. Pokey Draven, a fervent Dust 514 veteran compiled this list and continually updates it.

Finally, please enjoy some footage of Project Nova from a tech demo at Fanfest 2016.

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  • Caleb Ayrania

    So looking forward to what comes out of the whole Nova thing.. I suspect we may be surprised in a really good way. #brandunification 🙂

    May 18, 2017 at 7:49 AM
    • Casey Patterson Caleb Ayrania

      I am also looking forward to the future. The interest in Nova has been apparent ever since Fanfest 2016 and I think that they can learn from their mistakes in Dust to make Nova more refined from the very beginning.

      May 18, 2017 at 1:22 PM
  • Pew Pew

    “Project Nova has the potential to be CCP’s next big hit”

    I’ve always disagreed with this. Trying to make an FPS has to be pretty much the hardest thing to do in games. Whatever they make will always be underwhelming next to the triple A’s out there.

    IMO CCP would be 1000x smarter to make something unusual and new rather than run into traffic again. DUST was a huge flop in part because there were just so many better, more polished, options.

    May 18, 2017 at 8:00 AM
    • Or that they got trapped in a Sony PS3 exclusive deal which was quickly shat all over when they announced PS4 soon after.

      May 18, 2017 at 9:42 AM
      • Soraya Xel Jason Quixos

        When CCP made that decision/presumably signed that deal, the PS3 was a young console. Do recall that DUST was plagued with delays.

        May 18, 2017 at 1:46 PM
    • Casey Patterson Pew Pew

      I don’t believe Dust was a flop, it may not have been very popular but it created a loyal and dedicated fanbase and it had its moments. 😀

      I agree that in terms of refinement Dust had a very very shaky start. However I believe, as someone who stuck around from beginning to end, that towards the end Dust was starting to become a very good and balanced shooter.

      But I think the biggest reason Dust was not as popular as other games, like Jason said below, was that it was PS3 exclusive. In my opinion, CCP released Dust too early and to a diminishing playerbase.

      However on PC there might be a lot of FPS competition, but Nova can offer players things that no other FPSs out there have. That was the same for Dust.

      May 18, 2017 at 1:56 PM
    • Markonius Porkbutte Pew Pew

      I think Dust was an ambitiously cool concept with a lot of abandoned potential. Dust is what got me into EVE. I loved the idea of an FPS that was connected to a larger MMO world where my actions in the FPS affected the MMO world, it just ended up, well, those actions didn’t really matter in the end. The idea of having an FPS element in a game with the depth and complexity of the EVE universe is neat – but again it’s all in the execution. Like, if your actions in pew-pew land have galaxy wide effects, that’s cool.

      The cynical side of me doubts Nova will be anything more than a Dust-like clone just without the dumb Playstation-only deal. I know this b/c CCP has a bad history of forgetting what makes its #1 property great – empire building. Arguably, one of the reasons Dust might not have had a huge success was that it was console based and not PC based, which is where most of EVE’s players are, but also, it just didn’t have that “eve” feel where the stakes were high and what you did mattered. That said, I suppose it worked for a couple of us like me and Casey in that it eventually led us to EVE, so I guess mission accomplished.

      May 18, 2017 at 5:48 PM
      • Casey Patterson Markonius Porkbutte

        One of the things I loved about Dust was the idea that your choices mattered and that dying mattered.

        I honestly hope that they bring a EVE-esque player controlled market to Nova as it would add even more to the idea that choices matter.

        May 18, 2017 at 5:56 PM
    • Joshua Pew Pew

      lol what? Making a profitable FPS is nowhere near the hardest thing to do in games. There are plenty of AA FPS games out there that have done well, like Blacklight Retribution, Planetside, Red Orchestra 2. Compare that to making a profitable point and click adventure game or RTS, which is basically fucking impossible in the current landscape of games outside of alternate funding methods like Kickstarter. It’s like game development on ultra hard mode. Making an FPS profitable is nothing, hell even DUST was profitable by the end of its life.

      May 19, 2017 at 1:24 PM
      • Casey Patterson Joshua

        This is very true. Not to mention that Nova already has a huge fanbase, and it’s not even released yet!

        May 19, 2017 at 2:19 PM
      • Pew Pew Joshua

        I think the situation with DUST is that it paid it’s upkeep costs (as in paying for the servers and the devs working on it). I don’t think it ever started to pay back the capital invested in it.

        May 20, 2017 at 8:30 AM
  • Theron

    Thanks for the article, where did you get the information about December 2017?! I never saw or heard CCP Rattati say anything like that.

    Good information, I’m extremely excited for Nova!!

    May 18, 2017 at 8:12 AM
    • Casey Patterson Theron

      He shared the information on the Dust 514 Veterans discord channel if I remember correctly.

      May 18, 2017 at 5:30 PM
  • Stephanie Daugherty

    good to know that this is still alive and moving forward, eagerly await shooting players in the head instead of in the hull.

    May 18, 2017 at 7:13 PM