|Distributor(s)||XBLA, PSN, Steam, OnLive, GamersGate, Chrome Web Store|
|System(s)||Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation 3, Web browser|
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From Dust is a simulation 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 Productions in 1989. Announced on June 14, 2010 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Ubisoft published the game on Xbox 360, July 27, 2011 as a part of XBLA Summer of Arcade event. The Windows version was originally scheduled to be released at the same time but was delayed to August 17 due to undisclosed reasons. A PlayStation 3 version was released on the PlayStation Network in September 2011. On March 7, 2012, Ubisoft announced that the game will be made available as a web browser game for Google Chrome.
In From Dust, players assume a god-like first-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 and water—in real time. Lava cools to form solid rock, vegetation propagates in soil and spreads naturally once a village is built, 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.