Now that Denis Villeneuve has definitely proven that a) Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi novels can actually be adapted, and b) there’s a mainstream appetite for Herbert’s universe, gaming developers Funcom (Conan Exiles) has decided to take on a wildly ambitious project in Dune: Awakening.
Announced during the 2022 Gamescom Opening Night Live – and not to be confused with the upcoming real-time strategy title Dune: Spice Wars – Dune: Awakening will apparently draw inspiration from the original source material and Villeneuve’s Academy Award-winning film. Combining the grittiness and creativity of survival games with the social interactivity of “large-scale, persistent multiplayer games,” by all accounts, we’re in for a very unique open-world survival MMO.
“Head into unmapped sectors and be the first to discover secrets and riches before the coriolis storms once again shift the sands and alter the landscape,” reads the official press release.
“Narrowly escape colossal sandworms, build your home from shelter to mighty base, and traverse the dunes in iconic vehicles from the universe.”
That’s right. When players aren’t walking across Arrakis without rhythm, they’ll be given the opportunity to deploy harvesters and protect themselves from rival factions in fast-paced and deadly combat that “shifts seamlessly from armoured groundcars to ornithopters in the sky.”
A ranking system will also be in place, allowing you to build influence by making the right moves (as well as avoiding the wrong ones).
Not much else is known about the gameplay at this stage beyond what’s outlined on the Steam page:
- Survive the most dangerous planet in the universe
“Build shelters against sandstorms, maintain your stillsuit, and master the old ways to walk even the deepest deserts. Avoid or be devoured by the colossal sandworms that dwell beneath the sands.”
- Explore the ever-changing face of Arrakis
“Walk the ruins of long-forgotten biological testing stations, scavenge the wreckage of fallen spaceships, and wander the dusty halls of abandoned sietches. Head into unmapped sectors and be the first to discover secrets and riches before the coriolis storms once again shift the sands and alter the landscape.”
- Control the spice, control Arrakis
“Hunt for spice blooms and deploy your harvester, then protect it from opportunistic raiders and rival factions. Soak the sand in blood as massive battles shift seamlessly from foot to vehicles and from ground to ornithopters in the sky.”
- Make plans within plans
“Make a name for yourself among the inhabitants of Arrakis. Wield intrigue and force to influence the Landsraad and impact the world. Build your own faction through spice harvesting, trade, subterfuge, and open conflict.”
- Awaken the sleeper
“Tailor every aspect of your character. Consume spice to conquer your senses and acquire powerful abilities. Hone your craft to become sought out for the finest creations. Construct your fortress in the style of your choosing. The journey is yours to shape.”
“Dune: Awakening truly promises to bring the world of Dune to life in an exciting new way,” said Sam Rappaport, VP of Interactive Media at Legendary Entertainment.
“We are thrilled to be creating this with a partner like Funcom, who is so adept at capturing the rich detail and wonder of cinematic worlds for the gaming audience.”
While a release date has yet to be confirmed, Dune: Awakening will be available on PC, PlayStation 5, as well as Xbox Series X|S. As of this moment, you can add it to your Steam wishlist, and sign up for the Beta via the game’s official site below.
Check out the epic cinematic trailer above featuring an older Paul Atreides.