Dune: Awakening is an open world survival MMO game set on Arrakis.

In the context: It’s been a long time since a new sci-fi franchise took the world by storm, but the 2021 Dune reboot has definitely hit that mark. Grossing over $400 million at the box office (on a budget of just $165 million), Dune has extended its reach into the gaming industry through developer Funcom’s exclusive partnership with Legendary Entertainment.

While movie-licensed games don’t have the best reputation in the gaming industry (historically speaking), Funcom has proven they know what they’re doing with Dune: Spice Wars. Spice Wars first launched in Early Access in April as a 4X strategy game set in, you guessed it, the Dune universe. The famous planet Arrakis, to be exact. In Spice Wars, players take control of one of the four factions of Arrakis – House Atreides, House Harkonnen, Smugglers and Fremen – in a brutal battle for supremacy.

However, if strategy games aren’t your thing, don’t give up on the gaming side of the Dune franchise. Funcom has announced brand new project yesterday at Gamescom: Dune: Awakening. Like Spice Wars, Awakening will take place on Arrakis, but Unlike Spice Wars, the game will be an open world survival MMO.

The project sounds ambitious, to say the least. The official Steam page promises to offer an expansive, seamless version of Arrakis available to “thousands of players,” though it’s not clear if those players will be split across multiple servers or not.

The Steam store page also hints at building a camp and “fortress”, some kind of stillsuit maintenance feature, sandworm attacks, and the ability to deploy your own harvester to harvest Dune’s spice. You’ll fight other players on foot, in vehicles, or take to the skies in Dune’s legendary hummingbirds. Apparently, you can even create your own faction and unlock “powerful abilities” through the consumption of spice.

As we said, Dune: Awakening sounds pretty ambitious – and judging by the average MMO launch, it might not be possible to make a game right after launch. It’s not uncommon for epic-scale survival games, or MMOs in general, to be released in a state of feature reduction and then improve over time. We’re not saying that this will be the case here, but some skepticism is always justified with games that make big promises before release.

Funcom has yet to announce a release date or show any gameplay footage. So far, we only have a themed trailer showing a man in a stillsuit (and a spice lover, judging by the color of his eyes) jumping towards a sandworm that has appeared, and a website with a couple of concept art.

You can sign up for the Dune: Awakening beta at Dune Games. Web site, if you want to. I hope we all know more about the Awakening no later than next year.

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