The Dune franchise once had a major position in games. As time went on, however, we hit a drought of Dune titles that lasted decades. With the release of the new films bringing the IP back into the spotlight, we not only got an announcement of a new RTS Dune game, Dune: Spice Wars, but a second one as well that took the entire industry by surprise. While Spice Wars returns to the classic RTS genre that Dune games had previously helped establish, this new title takes the series in a different direction.
Dune: Awakening was first revealed at Gamescom 2022 with just a glimpse at what the game would be. Even though much of the game is still buried, waiting to be revealed, what we do know can at least give enough of a picture to spark some interest. Dune: Awakening looks to be appealing to a much different audience than Spice Wars, so whether you’re a fan of the books, films, or just unique sci-fi games in general, here’s everything we know about Dune: Awakening.
Dune: Awakening was only announced at Gamescom 2022 and has no indication of when it could release. Considering the trailer we saw was just CGI, it is likely that this game is still at least a year or two off. If we had to speculate, we’d say not to expect this game until sometime in 2024 if it really is aiming to be as big as it seems.
For a game as big in scope as Dune: Awakening is setting itself up to be, it will need all the horsepower it can get. That means it will only be coming to the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
Our first trailer for Dune: Awakening is the CGI-only announcement trailer from Gamescom 2022. It opens on a man in the desert recounting the famous Dune quote, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” He watches a pair of massive insects fly by as a storm looms over the nearby horizon before gazing down a sand pit at a strange mechanical structure. The pit opens up, in fact being a huge sand worm, and consumes the object. We finally get a look at the man’s face as he pulls out two hook-like weapons, steps away from the edge of the pit, and readies himself for the worm.
The trailer ends with him extending his weapons and leaping into the sand to attack, with the final narration being, “Only I will remain.” The text fades out to tell us this will be a Dune open-world survival MMO.
The only other details available come from Dune: Awakening‘s official website, but being a survival MMO, the story and plot are either being kept a tight secret — more likely, they will not be a major component. The only small aspects we can gather is that this will indeed take place on Arrakis and you will play as your own custom character in the Dune universe with a journey that you will shape yourself.
While the trailer showed no actual footage of the game, we can once again turn to the official site for a smattering of tidbits and hints as to how the game will play.
First, as stated explicitly, Dune: Awakening is a survival game that aims to mix the gritty, crafting nature of the genre with the social elements of a large-scale MMO. It will apparently be so vast that thousands of players will share the same world.
On the survival side, you will be building shelters to provide protection against sandstorms, maintain a stillsuit, and kit yourself out to venture further into the desert. However, sandworms are always a threat.
Exploration will take you to ancient ruins of science outposts, shipwrecks, and abandoned sietches. While unclear how it will work, it is stated that the coriolis storms will alter the landscapes over time.
This wouldn’t be a Dune game without spice, of course, which you can search for using a harvester. Alternatively, you can attack other players’ harvesters to claim what they’ve gathered — if they don’t do it to you first. Battles can take place on foot as well as on land and aircraft.
There will be some form of NPC factions you can interact with. Trading, subterfuge, and combat are all listed, as well as creating your own faction with enough resources and influence.
Your character, again, will be completely custom. Spice will serve as your way to pick up new skills and abilities, perhaps leading to a system of needing to choose whether to use it on yourself or as a currency.
Being an MMO, Dune: Awakening will obviously have a major multiplayer focus. Again, while not specified beyond the vague “thousands of players” quote on their site, we don’t know just how massive that M in MMO will be. They do hint that there will be a player-driven faction system of some kind, perhaps functioning like a guild in other MMOs.
PvP also seems like it will be dynamic in that you can attack and be attacked at any time by other players. We would hope there are some safe areas of some kind where you’re not in danger, but Arrakis is not a kind place, so it wouldn’t be thematically dissonant to function that way.
What we do still need to know is if multiplayer is required to play Dune: Awakening. Being branded as an MMO implies that it would be, but survival games can often be played by yourself offline as well. We will have to wait for more details to come out to learn more.
Dune: Awakening is, as we predict, anyway, years away. There’s no release window, so there is no way to pre-order just yet. However, if this game does have your attention, you can sign up for the beta to get updates and more. There’s no indication of when a beta period will be held, but this is the best way to be notified and have a chance to participate when it does happen.
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