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Dune: Awakening to bring open-world survival, politics, and giant sandworms

After its success with real-time strategy game Dune: Spice Wars, developer Funcom is looking to make that a double with Dune: Awakening, its upcoming survival MMO set in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi universe.

In Dune: Awakening, players get to explore, survive, and eventually conquer the dangerous desert planet of Arrakis.

Inspired by Frank Herbert’s novels and Denis Villeneuve’s movie franchise, Dune: Awakening is an open-world game where survival depends on players learning to craft resources, build strongholds, and battle rivals. They’ll uncover lost ruins and eventually master the political game to ensure planetary dominance.

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Plunge into Arrakis

“The Fremen say ‘Arrakis is a test,’ and the player enters right into the heart of that,” said Funcom chief creative officer and creative director, Joel Bylos.

Starting as a lowly scavenger, the player will work their way up from seeking precious water and shelter to building fortified bases and vehicles within the complex ecosystem of Arrakis. Along with the flora and fauna are the threats in the way, which include the great sandworms that will devour anything and anyone in their path.

Watch out for those sandworms

According to Bylos, Dune: Awakening is a first-of-its-kind massively multiplayer experience, dedicated to surviving the dangerous and ever-changing world of Arrakis.

Either in solo play or in the larger online community, players will develop their character and outfit them with new gear, taking on skills from Dune’s most iconic character classes such as the Mentats, the Fremen, and weapons masters.

Over time, players will explore the further reaches of Arrakis with their arsenal of gear, including stillsuits, gravity belts, lasguns, and melee weapons. They can join others and build communities and guilds to increase their chances of survival or face off against opposing rivals for precious resources.

Against the environment

While hostile factions and opposing players are a constant threat, the environment remains one of the greatest challenges. Along with the highly territorial sandworms, there are also massive sandstorms known as Coriolis that sweep the planet.

In some areas of Arrakis, particularly the more chaotic zones of the deep desert, these storms will be powerful enough to change the landscape, altering the terrain of the zone and uncovering long-lost secrets. The storms take place weekly, meaning players will need to constantly improve their gear and tactics to keep pace with the shifting sands.

Choose-your-path politics

Survive long enough and players can become guild members, opening up the path to become ruler of the planet. It won’t be an easy path, of course, as other players will have ambitions of their own.

Depending on choices, a player can become a benevolent leader like Duke Leto Atreides or a Baron Harkonnen-style tyrant. The larger endgame is about letting players live the Dune experience to the fullest.

“We’ve been there in the beginning with survival overworld crafting games, and Dune: Awakening is a combination of those legacies, bringing us forward into the future,” said Bylos. “It’s a combination of what Funcom means as a company and what we can deliver, and this legacy means that we need to pay attention to what we’re creating and how we create it for the fans.”

Dune: Awakening is in active development and is planned for release on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.

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