Dust 514 Merged With EVE online, Open Beta Starts Next Week

Starting January 22, PS3-exclusive FPS Dust 514 will move into an open beta stage after several months of being enclosed to a gated community of play-testers. This announcement arrives shortly after news broke recently that the servers of Dust 514 and sibling game EVE Online have been officially merged, allowing the games and their players to affect each other (for better or worse) on the wide-open battlefield. CCP chief executive officer, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, said:

“The launch of the Dust 514 open beta is another step toward our long-term vision for CCP and Eve, but this is just the beginning. As we have done with Eve Online, in the coming weeks, and for years to come, we will continually improve upon and add to the Dust 514 experience as well as add deeper integration between the two games and their communities.”

As an added bonus, CCP has revealed that anyone who's taken part in the game's closed beta so far won't have their stats reset, so there's no reason to stop playing if you currently have access to the title.

While everyone can participate in the open beta beginning Jan. 22, the impatient can still get in early by purchasing the Dust 514 Mercenary Pack from the PlayStation Store. The specially priced $19.99 downloadable content contains access to the closed beta; 40,000 Aurum (in-game currency); and a bunch of items. That add-on normally costs $50. Players who take part in a match before Jan. 22 will receive an automatic bonus of 100,000 skill points.

The full release of Dust 514 will be a free-to-play FPS in which the actions of mercenaries on the ground effects the world of EVE spaceship combat above, and vice-versa. CCP is making a big deal of the innovative nature of linking one game genre to another, and of linking PC to Console, but the real gain is this: For the first time in gaming, you can grief your friends with an orbital strike while playing an entirely different game.