From Dust is an upcoming video game, designed by Eric Chahi and developed by Ubisoft Montpellier. Ubisoft described it as a ‘spiritual heir’ to Populous, a British game developed by Peter Molyneux and Bullfrog in 1989.
Announced on 14 June 2010 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Ubisoft is publishing the game on Xbox 360 on 27 July 2011 as a part of XBLA Summer of Arcade event and later in 2011 on Playstation 3 and Windows. From Dust will be distributed online via Steam, PSN, and XBLA.
In From Dust, players assume a god-like third-person perspective from which they manipulate an archipelago environment in an effort to save, and enlighten, a nomadic tribe. With a spherical cursor, the user controls certain types of matter, namely soil, lava, water, and vegetation, in real time. Lava cools to form solid rock, vegetation propagates in soil, and moving water quickly erodes terrain. Physical changes to the world occur extremely rapidly, allowing players to restructure islands within minutes. Campaigns in From Dust are structured as a sequence of missions, whereby completing certain objectives expedites the tribe’s progress and bestows additional powers, such as the capacity to jellify water.
Tribal shamans alert the player to natural disasters, notably tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, shortly before they occur. These disasters can be inhibited through creative, physical manipulation of the environment: a tsunami can be jellified, wildfires extinguished, and lava flows diverted. Although there is no ‘explicit sandbox’ mode, Chahi stated that each mission features a distinct map, which the player can return to and manipulate further.