CCP’s session-based shooter MMO that shares a universe with its long-running space MMO Eve Online showed up on many more radars after being declared a PlayStation 3 exclusive at Sony’s E3 2011 press conference. Many unanswered questions about the project remain, though, as Dust 514 has only been shown as a brief trailer. CCP didn’t show any more of the game on the E3 show floor, but the company did clarify a few things.

How does Dust 514 tie into Eve?
Dust 514 doesn’t just feed into the ongoing player-determined corporate wars in Eve Online. It will be part and parcel of them. Corporations (guilds or clans by another name, though Eve’s free-for-all structure means that social constructs carry more weight than in other games) can take over planets, and when Dust comes out next summer you’ll fight over them on the ground. Eve and Dust players can chat with each other, sell items and money back and forth, and more. Eve and Dust are better described as two different ways to play the same game.

What is playing Dust like?
Dust 514 is a competitive session-based multiplayer shooter. You fight over objectives with sci-fi gadgets like hovertanks, pulse rifles, personal armor, and the like. The maps and goals change depending on where you’re attacking – each match (outside of “high-security” matches, which are really just training wheels for the real player-driven game) is a battle over a particular piece of territory in the galaxy. You can wrest control of a planet or lucrative mining station from an enemy clan with victory, or defend your own holdings from aggressors. Planets built up with defenses and infrastructure by their owners will require multiple discrete assaults to fully conquer; you may have to capture orbital defenses first, then take out planetary shields, then fight your way past defensive emplacements, then finally capture the planetary command center.

How do you affect the greater galaxy by playing Dust?
You can obviously gain or lose control of planets and other installations, but you can also band together into corporations (or join existing Eve corporations) and build up infrastructure on your holdings. Things like artillery powerful enough to shoot massive spaceships out of the sky is expensive, and will take many players working together to construct.

How can Eve players affect Dust players?
Galactic politics is the biggest way for Eve and Dust players to interact – unless you count “flying to the worlds Dust players are fighting over and bombarding the battle from orbit.” Spaceships can (imprecisely, from what I understand) shoot at ground targets, and the aforementioned planetary artillery can shoot right back. Additionally, you can send money back and forth and trade appropriate items (Dust players can’t own spaceships, for obvious reasons).

Wait, so how do I defend my own self from enemy spaceships?
Mostly you stop the orbital bombardment by making friends who have bigger spaceships. You’ll be wanting to coordinate assaults between Eve and Dust players unless you want to wave your handheld rifle ineffectually at the doom falling from the sky.

What happens if I die in this big persistent galaxy?
You’re dead. Well, the clone you’re currently inhabiting is dead. You can respawn, provided you have another clone ready to deploy at your location. But your equipment is gone. So be careful about what you bring into battle.

You lose all your stuff?
Yeah, but it’s not like you can’t buy more. The CCP representative I talked to said that he buys around 40 sets of armor and weapons for an evening’s gaming, and it doesn’t set him back all that much in relative wealth.

How much does Dust cost?
Dust 514 is set up as a “cover charge” model. You pay a one-time fee (how much, CCP hasn’t determined yet) that gets converted into in-game currency. From then on, you pay no subscription fee but can put more money into the system by buying in-game currency to purchase everything from more guns to space-faring transport ships.

Is there a PC version?
Nope.

When does Dust come out?
Probably next year. CCP plans to have a closed beta running by the end of this year.