What We Know About Project Nova So Far

EDIT — This page is outdated. For all future updates, please refer to this post


There is a lot of buzz surrounding the recently announced Project Nova with several different interviews with CCP Rattati popping up on various websites. With a lot of confusion, assumptions, and misinformation floating around, I wanted to compile all of the confirmed information as well as offer up my thoughts and opinions. Bear in mind that while these conclusions are based off of actual interviews with the developers, even information in direct quotes from Rattati himself can be misinterpreted or changed, so all of the following information should not be considered set in stone.

Free to Play

  • The goal is to make the game Free to Play. There is no confirmation of what kind of Free to Play model CCP will pursue.
    • “That’s where we want to be … we want to be perceived as a really good free-to-play shooter.” (source)
  • OPINION: I’m mostly curious to see how the source of income will work. Free to Play certainly appeals to a larger crowd but can sometimes feel frustrating depending on how the monetization works. For the most part DUST did a fairly good job at making the game feel like it was not Pay to Win, however some of the pricing decisions on products later on did not sit well with me and I would have actually preferred a subscription based model instead of very overpriced cosmetics. 

16 vs 16 Battles

  • While the tech demo at EVE Fanfest featured 6 vs 6 battles, the final game will be 16 vs 16.
    • “Árnason explains that was only to satisfy space restrictions at a convention; it’s going to be 16 versus 16 instead” (source)
  • OPINION: My first FPS game was MAG which featured battles of 128 vs 128 players, so my tendency is to prefer larger battles. However to be honest, even in the largest battles, you really only interacted on a 32 vs 32  battlefield, and most engagements were 16 vs 16. Honestly I had hoped for at least some game modes in Project Nova to feature 32 vs 32, but as long as the maps and game modes are properly sized for 16 vs 16, I don’t feel that it will hinder the game play experience. 

Planets and Spaceships

  • While the tech demo only showed a ship interior map, Nova will feature maps inside ships/structures and likely planets in connection to Planetary Conquest.
    • “…’It’s very important to me and the team to be very thematically accurate and to take place in EVE in a recognizable way. I want to be on ships, I want to see planets, I want to know where I am. I want to feel like I’m in EVE. That’s a passion to be in EVEDUST 514 was maybe too generic on the planets. You wouldn’t always necessarily know you were in New Eden,’ Árnason commented.” (source)
  • Planetary Conquest is on the roadmap, but may not be a feature right away.
    • “…planetary conquest is something that I consider the key feature of the game. It’s where you had the veterans fighting the veterans, and that is on the roadmap.”
    • “The idea of open maps… we have all the terrain and the assets, so it’s fairly easy to create the maps and with unreal engine 4 and a more powerful PC you can make them look quite vivid compared to the barren worlds in DUST. That’s something that’s on the roadmap, but those kinds of battles would of course coincide with planetary conquest in districts owned by players.”
  • OPINION: In some sense I agree that you didn’t feel like you were part of EVE, a game built around space travel, when all of your experiences in DUST took place on planets. Ship maps were always something the DUST community asked for and obviously the developers are willing to deliver on that wish, but I am hopeful that we will see some more open-air combat on planets as well. 

No Vehicles at Release

  • There will be no vehicles at release but the possibility at a later date is not off of the table.
    • “We’re not planning any vehicles for the first release; it’s the same philosophy that we’re approaching the rest of the game with that we’re not going to do something if we can’t do it well. You add complexity when you are capable of adding complexity.” (source)
  • OPINION: Vehicles have always been something near and dear to my heart, but I also admit that there were some extremely core flaws with how they were implement into the game and the role (or lack therefor of) they played in moment to moment gameplay. I do hope that the ultimately make it into the title at some point in its lifetime.

60 Frames Per Second

  • The game is set to guarantee 60 frames a second for PCs meeting the minimum requirements. What those requirements will be are still up in the air.
    • “CCP also makes a point to emphasize that it’s aiming for an ‘uncompromised 60 frames per second’ for rigs with the right specs.” (source)
  • OPINION: Performance is extremely important when standing up against other FPS games on the market. It will be exceedingly difficult to stand up against some of the larger bigger studios producing FPS games if Project Nova attempts to compete solely on the shooter and performance level. However I don’t think that is really the plan anyways as a fair amount of New Eden will be injected into the game to set it apart and make it feel unique. Regardless, the game still has to feel and play on a similar level to some of the larger names if CCP wants new players to take it seriously as a modern shooter. The big question on everyone mind of course is what the required specs for the game will ultimately be.

No Direct Combat Link to EVE Online

  • No Direct Link to EVE Online. Game will be connected thematically through lore and potentially indirectly though things like economy at a later time.
    • ” there are no direct ties between Eve Online and Project Nova outside of being set in the same universe.” (source)
    • “[Snorri Arnason] told Polygon. ‘If we were to ever go into connected gameplay I would assume it’s on the economy or more thematic stuff like that.'”(source)
    • “We’ve been proposing the following connection stages: thematic, followed by social (being in the same corporations), supplemented by planetary conquest so we have the corporations owning land. The next link for me would be an economic link, so there is the idea that if you own a planetary district, you can farm something, but that unit would be useless to you as a Nova player; it would only be useful to you as an EVE player and vice versa.” (source)
  • OPINION: While this is a touch subject, much of the grand integration schemes between DUST and EVE, while exciting in theory, were almost impossible to implement in practice. In many ways, resources were excessively spent on nurturing a direct connection that was never able to bear fruit. In time, an indirect economic connection would likely be far more appropriate and offer up interesting business opportunities that work better with the difference in time scales between the two games. 

Possibility for E-Sport Game Mode

  • Nova will not be structured to be suited for e-sports, but developers are considering a specific game mode that may be compatible.
    • “We’re not thinking about it as an e-sports game, but there should be rudimentary things like spectator modes and streaming in-game. We have strongly thought about a unique game mode for veterans that’s a free for all last-man-standing thing, and in the EVE spirit I’d like for you to place a bet on yourself.” (source)

Character Progression

  • There are still the three sizes of frame, Light, Medium and Heavy, and then classes built from those sizes. Approximately 6-8 base classes will be available immediately to new players, who will then be able to level up and move into more specialized classes.
    • “In all actuality, branching class trees mean that there are 32 different roles. ” (source)
    • “You’ll be able to access a variety of classes, right now there are ‘eight or so,’ without having to level up to get workable equipment.” (source)
  •  Players progress a certain class by playing as that class and leveling it up. This is unlike EVE or Dust where SP was passively applied to a skill, or accumulated and then allocated.
    • “These are not final, but the progression is a kind of tech tree where you have to play in the loadout to earn it” (source)
  • OPINION:I highly approve of the notion that specializations are available immediately instead of wading through Basic Frames like we have in DUST. Additionally it seems to me that there is really only on “tier” of suit and further progression simply allows one to explore specific aspects of a role which I am also a fan of. Also the shift away from your EVE/DUST style SP system may be a better, or at least more intuitive option in my opinion. I always disliked that pepople could simply play as one role, stock up SP, and buy their way into high level skills of another role without the need to ever actively play and earn that progression. To me this proficiency based system seems far more appropriate for this style of game. 

Character Customization

  • New players will be presented with full loadouts and leveling up classes will unlock options which will allow them to swap out weapons and gear to customize the experience. Unlocking new options doesn’t so much make the character stronger, but more customizable and specialized.
    • “…’I really want to give you a full loadout with all the things you want and that should be on the loadout,’ Árnason said.” (source)
    • “…people are perceiving the loadouts that they start with to be the definitive loadouts. They’re there to help you start the game, and afterwards we’re definitely aiming freedom that you have in DUST 514. We’re trying to learn the lessons of DUST and not just give you all these choices in the beginning.”
  • OPINION: This is the one that worries me the most. The fitting system in DUST 514 was one of my most beloved parts and I enjoyed endless hours tweaking and perfecting the finest detail of a fit to get my optimal performance. Now while it doesn’t explicitly say it’s moving away from the classing EVE/DUST fitting system, it seems to me that it’s a much simpler version. I won’t pass judgement on it until we see more of it, but I am very nervous about losing one of my favorite part of DUST. In general it sounds like they’re moving away from a tiered base progression which I’m a personal fan of. It also sounds like they’re moving towards a more solidified class based system where modifiers can be unlocked. In many ways it sounds similar to the system proposed by CCP Z for Project Legion which I was also not terribly fond of. Again I will have to see what it looks like exactly before I form a solid opinion.

Future Development

  • Developers are focusing on making sure the game is a solid shooter right now, but fully intend to bring “New Eden” elements to the project once the core shooter is established.
    • “That future is all an open map,” says Árnason. “We can do whatever we want, after we demonstrate the correct shooting mechanics.” (source)
  • OPINION: This is really the most important takeaway from the interviews. While CCP is focusing on the core mechanics of the shooter which is exactly the part that was weak in DUST. DUST attempted to start with high level ideas and develop the shooter mechanics after the fact, this obviously failed. Project Nova is taking the reverse approach which is why Rattati is emphasizing the shooter elements so much right now. Its clear to me that the development of this game will not simply stop with core shooter elements, and that CCP is simply saying “Look, we’re trying really hard right now to make sure we avoid the pitfalls of DUST 514, once we achieve that, we can move into the parts that you all love”

The future development of Project Nova certainly seems interesting and will most definitely be riddled with excitement and controversy. The memory of DUST is very real in everyone’s’ mind and emotions run extremely high in this community. However I would like to remind people that change from something you like may not always be a bad thing, and to keep and open mind and a level head to new ideas coming across the table. Hopefully more information will be released in the coming months and we will be here to report and discuss it along the way.

About Pokey Dravon 93 Articles

Pokey Dravon has played DUST 514 since early closed beta and is a founding co-host of the Biomassed podcast and blog. Follow on twitter @PokeyDravon

  • RedBleach

    Great summarization of the information. Thank you. I love Dust but have very little time to invest in catching up by following multiple threads. Thanks again for making this my one stop shop as it were.

    Been listening and reading since ep. 35 or so, the team is a weekly listen for me.

  • Snow Zico

    I agree, some aspects that i like remain on the new game:
    1.- Customization: the actual Dust customization is very funny. I like it.
    2.-Many clases and roles. Cool.
    3.- skill progresión is good.
    CCP must keep on line the dust server until release the new game, The Dust community deserve respect.

    • Soraya Xel

      We already know the date DUST 514 is getting shut down. It’s pretty unlikely that the new game will be playable by that time. Unfortunately, we’re all going to have to take a bit of a break.

  • disqus_xMqKgAXnQ2

    Frankly, building a FPS with solid physics/movement should be the easy part. There are hundreds of FPS games that have already pulled this off. There has NEVER been an FPS with the richness of DUST in terms of depth. It’s like a magical snowflake/unicorn. IMO DUST had it’s problems for sure, but they were fixable if CCP had been willing to invest the resources and had launched on the PS4.

    Instead they gutted the team to build Valkyrie, rushed out the product before it was finished and then threw up their hands. I think the original vision was solid, no need to dumb things down. Instead they should port DUST across, rework some of the FPS engine/mechanics get rid of some of the monetization crap like the war barge, experimental gear, etc. and spend a lot of time building a proper tutorial/first launch experience.

    I fear they’re going to dumb things down way too much and when it fails because it’s overly simplistic (see Valkyrie complaints), we’ll never get to see much else because CCP will pull the plug.

    • Soraya Xel

      Completely bull. DUST 514 was not fixable with the resources it was capable of generating. And DUST, as it was, was not portable or recoverable in terms of producing a quality product.

      And no, the decision to build Valkyrie had nothing to do with DUST. DUST’s team was gutted because DUST was doing poorly and losing the company money. This is Business 101.

      Oh, and the “monetization crap” was the only reason DUST was kept online as long as it was, rather than being shut down over a year earlier.

      Basically, no, no, and no. You don’t understand how video games are made, how money works, and anything about what happened with DUST.

      • disqus_xMqKgAXnQ2

        I’m pretty sure if DUST had been a launch title for PS4 we’d be discussing the next major expansion at Fanfest this year with millions of players. The problem was never the vision, it was the execution, and bad management choices from Iceland. You’re wrong about Valkyrie. If it had never existed I think CCP would have tried much harder to make DUST work and wouldn’t have been as distracted by the new/shiny.

        And look at the reviews of Valkyrie. They’re terrible because the game is shallow and arcady. Sure they want to build complexity over time, but will it even live long enough to get to that point? And they want to take the same approach with Nova, start simple and then add complexity over time? Simply asinine. Speaking of Nova, where is the funding coming from for it? The same place it would come from for a DUST reboot (but I’m the one who doesn’t understand money–maybe you don’t understand how investing works?)…

        I’m all for CCP figuring out the FPS mechanics, but if they simply plugged that engine into what DUST has going for it, they’d be 90% of the way towards a solid game, one that would be a million times more fun to play than an infantry-only, CoD-in-space clone (double jumping–really?).

        By-the-way, there are plenty of ways to monetize a free-to-play game other than gimmicky crap like the warbarge.

        • Soraya Xel

          “You’re pretty sure” and I’m “absolutely positive” you’re wrong. Because I was there, and I know. It is not physically possible for DUST 514 to have been a launch title for the PlayStation 4. And if it was, it would have SUCKED, because the wrong people were doing the wrong things with the game development at that time. DUST would not have lasted as long as it did, if it was even possible.

          I’m not “wrong about Valkyrie” either, you’re just missing the reality that DUST was already a dead game walking before Valkyrie got funded. And Valkyrie was funded because it had promise of being a lot more successful and noteworthy than working on DUST. And it has been, because Valkyrie is incredibly popular on VR platforms, and it’s given CCP a lot of press and notice.

          Where does the money for Nova come from? Yes, I’m sure it’s an investment CCP has decided to make. Because that “monetization crap” worked.

          • disqus_xMqKgAXnQ2

            You were there? I wasn’t aware that you were on CPM0. I completely disagree that the game would have sucked on PS4. If it had been called DUST 1115 and was released in November 15 as a PS4 launch title with that much longer to improve gameplay and bugs on much better hardware, I’m very sure it would be kicking the crap out of Destiny right now. It may not have been possible because of contracts and such but what killed DUST wasn’t a failure of its premise.

            Frankly you’re completely wrong about Valkyrie. It’s got a 4.4 User score on Metacritic, which is LOWER than DUST’s user score. It’s Critic’s score isn’t much higher than DUST’s and the universal consensus is that the game is repetitive and shallow.

            If by worked you mean made people feel like a warbarge in DUST was something worth unlocking and had years left of unlock slots, then, yeah it “worked” wonders.

          • Soraya Xel

            I was there on CPM1, and I was fully briefed by CPM0 on what I needed to know going in. I know exactly where DUST was in November 2015 and I know who was involved at that time.

            There is no way DUST could’ve been launched for PS4 in November 2015.

            Nothing you’re saying demonstrates even remote understanding of anything that has ever happened within CCP or would ever be realistic.

          • disqus_xMqKgAXnQ2

            I’m going to call “bull” on you now. CPM0 wrote a letter after 1.3 stating that CCP wasn’t communicating with them back then. So I find it difficult to believe that you have been briefed on the inner workings of CCP back in the summer of 2013 when the CPM0 didn’t even know what was going on. Furthermore, unless you have a crystal ball, I know you can’t forecast what would have happened if DUST would have had an extra 6 months in the oven to fully bake, be released on hardware that would have allowed it to perform better and is much easier to code for and had few competing titles on the platform with lots of free publicity at the holiday season.

            You’re the one pulling things from your rear if you’re saying with certainty that things couldn’t be very different. Things felt broken, but very much on the right track in the fall of 2013, right up until the 1.6 vehicle rebalance and then CCP Rouge diverting the team to start Legion in secret around that time.

          • Soraya Xel

            No, there was nothing on the right track in the fall of 2013. And yes, I do know exactly what was happening then. I’m sorry, the accusations and baseless claims need to stop. You very simply do not know what you are talking about.

        • I think you’re falsely assuming that the core FPS without complexity is what they plan to release. Typically if a game is funded, it will survive through it’s initial development since it is not being funded by consumer sales, but rather by CCP itself. That being said, The Core FPS tech demo was simply a vertical slice sample to get the concept through this development gate.

          The point I’m making is that the game will have more Dust-like complexity before it’s fully released, so being upset about lack of complexity right now is unfounded because we’re not even to Pre-Alpha stage at this point.

          • disqus_xMqKgAXnQ2

            IMO the approach is wrong. It should be a marriage of DUST with new FPS physics on a new platform. It needs a solid first launch experience with a full-blown tutorial. They’re gutting vehicles, probably much of the progression system, etc and starting from the basics on up. Remind you of the vehicle rebalance at all?

            This is pure speculation, but I believe that this “back-to-basics/complexity later approach” is coming from someone in Iceland–probably someone who made some other really bad decisions in the past.

            What was wrong with Project Legion (besides the marketing poison pill of the name being associated with the Rouge wedding)? How is Project Nova any different if not that it’s a dumbed-down version?

          • Soraya Xel

            Again, you can pull whatever bull you want out of your rear, but I know from working with Rattati for a year that this is how he wants to build this game. And this has nothing to do with Iceland.

            Legion was also for PC, but based on DUST’s crippled legacy engine. I doubt you’d have liked the plans for that project any better. It’s canned for good reason.

          • Well we can agree to disagree on this one. I believe there were some very core elements to Dust that were no healthy for the game (and you may disagree and that’s fine) but for me personally I’m refreshed to see a clean slate to start over on and take a good look at what made Dust great, and avoid what made it not so great.

            Either way kicking and screaming really won’t change anything, and honestly may ultimately be counterproductive to the project actually being greenlit. So while you’re entitled to your opinion, I will ask that we all keep a cool level head and see what the end result is before passing judgment.

          • disqus_xMqKgAXnQ2

            I agree that there were core elements to DUST that were unhealthy. IMO being critical of the project at this stage is the most helpful thing we can do. It’s early and changes are cheap and easy to make before they’re set in stone. CCP is still trying to figure things out, and I personally think that if they release a stripped-down shooter with great FPS mechanics but shallow gameplay at launch with the intent to add complexity over time (i.e. the Valkyrie approach) then that strategy could have disastrous consequences. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not assuming that’s what they’re going to do, but they kinda have been projecting that “vibe.”

            I’m glad they’re spending a lot of time working on the FPS mechanics and performance (those clearly are unhealthy elements in DUST), but I hope they’re more ambitious and add vehicles, deep/rich customization of suits (not just like Destiny), and a rich skill tree that keeps people engaged for many years, all for the 1.0. If CCP tries to add these to the 2.0 or 1.1, I really don’t think there’s much hope. Anyone who disagrees with that should read a review of Valkyrie. CCP’s competitive edge is the ability to do complexity well.

            Also, I don’t really think my response has been “screaming.” If anything Soraya Xel has been rude and throwing ad hominems.

          • Soraya Xel

            There’s nothing ‘ad hominem’ about telling you that you don’t know what you’re talking about, when you definitely actually don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • I apologize if I implied you were screaming or rude, I was more pushing to make sure we all maintain composure, and not just addressing you specifically.

            I do however agree that the depth of gameplay needs to come before 1.1 or 2.0. Room for growth is great but I agree a minimum standard is required for 1.0 if this is to be successful. Hopefully I’m right in having faith that it will, we will see how things play out.

  • Quieo Squared

    So no comment on whether anything from dust accounts will be ported over?

    • Soraya Xel

      Not yet! We’ll keep asking.

      • Quieo Squared

        Good because to be honest, if they don’t I’ll just walk away from the franchise and company altogether.

  • ( DeaDPooL )

    You my hero lol Good unbiased report