Funcom says it’s expanded the DUNE game’s scope with Tencent’s backing

    
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There’s a little nugget of interest in Funcom’s traditional holiday letter to fans and press this week, at least if you’re waiting impatiently for the DUNE game whose development was expedited by the Tencent takeover earlier this year. Apparently, Funcom’s actually expanded the game’s scope this year.

“[T]here is also our upcoming Dune survival game,” CEO Rui Casais says. “It was already an ambitious project when we first announced it last year, but the scope has expanded further during pre-production. With Tencent now backing us, we are emboldened to drive forward our ambition in the multiplayer survival genre and increase the quality and scope of this game. This is the major reason for why we’ve added people to our workforce this year and for why are actively looking to expand much further in the coming year, with more than 50 positions currently open worldwide and more to come in 2021.”

Yesterday, the company bumped off the launch of Conan Chop Chop as well, promising that it will truly launch in early 2021. Conan Exiles’ Isle of Siptah and “sizeable updates” for Age of Conan and Secret World Legends are briefly mentioned in the address.

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Franklin Adams

I just hope it’s more Dune II or Emperor: Battle for Dune and less Frank Herbert’s Dune (which is probably the worst 3rd person action game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a lot of bad ones), but anytime feature creep sets in this early with a game in active development, especially when it’s notable enough for a news article to be written about it, it’s rarely a good sign. Here’s hoping I’m wrong. Dune’s been one of my favorite books since I was in 7th grade, and I’d love to play a game that’s done well, even if it’s another reskin of a Command and Conquer prototype.

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Feyd Darkholme

I’ve been waiting decades for a decent Dune game. This had better not suck, I will be pissed…

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Joss

“sizeable updates” for Age of Conan and Secret World Legends are briefly mentioned in the address”

I am waiting since two and a half month for an answer of the support, because I can’t login. That’s my one and only experience with such a mess of support. And I have used old contacts to the mods, but no chance to get help from the support team.

Gipfeli
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Gipfeli

…and last but not least, we’re happy to announce Anarchy Online 2…

*sigh

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Jon Wax

“Usual, there’s wormsign the likes of which even God has never seen!”

God that movie was a mess

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Richard de Leon III

Considering they only had 2 hours to tell the story, they did ok. I enjoy the film when i dont think of the shortcuts too much.

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Jon Wax

It’s like the stand. You just can’t translate content of this scale correctly in 3 hours. And if you break it up in a mini series you kill the emotional flow.

I remember the book scared me bad. I will say aside from Paul, the casting was legit.

rafael12104
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rafael12104

And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that the latest edition of the movie is due to be released in the coming year.

You strike while the iron is hot. Heh.

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Jon Wax

Well for production it makes sense

All these digital assets and scans lying around being used in a couple shots. Gotta get more traction out of the expenditure. So you cooperative crossover your shit with other companies to recoup costs.

Plus inevitably if hollywood and gaming don’t converge eventually both will die. It’s only a matter of time one way or the other.

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NeoWolf

That the scope has expanded is a good thing.

The last thing any of us need is the DUNE I.p’s release sucking badly, because then the i.p will likely end up shelved for decades more, which would be a tragedy frankly.

rafael12104
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rafael12104

Such a great story. Yes. I agree. “Fear is the mind killer.”

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Ironwu

Funcom now seems to me to be flailing about, trying to find a continuing purpose for its existence as a company.

* Dune survival game? Pretty much Dead On Arrival, I would think.

* Chop Chop? Who is really asking for this?

* Age of Conan? This is still running?

* Secret World Legends? Why is this still running?

* Anarchy Online? Still one of the best abandoned MMOs of all time. Damn shame.

* The Secret World? Another great, but abandoned, MMO IP. Damn shame.

The simple action of selling Funcom should be enough of a red flag for anyone. Not sure what this new owner can expect to accomplish, given all the flaming bridges left behind as Funcom plowed through its IPs.

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Minimalistway

Should people ask for games before developers make them? this “no one asked for it” argument is not a good one to use against anything.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Minecraft is sometimes pointed out as a solid example of why focus testing can’t find innovative ideas. Absolutely NO ONE was asking for a game with intentionally primitive graphics where you punch trees and tame sheep. Until it existed, that is. Now there’s an entire *genre* of games trying to replicate the success of the one no one knew they wanted.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Um, perhaps you should look into where the creator of Minecraft came from.

It’s a game on Massively’s own game list, it’s way at the bottom too (Alphabetically) because it’s called Wurm Online.

The creator of Minecraft worked with another guy named Rolf (as partners) to create just what you’re saying nobody wanted…and then after a difference of opinions, he walked away, and took the idea they’d both had, simplified it down even more, used crappy 8-16 bit graphics, and that’s where you all got Minecraft from…it was all based off a game that essentially ran like a MUD at early stages, and eventually grew into something that quite a few people call ‘home’ nowadays, and he made millions for.

It’s ‘niche’, but it’s not ‘nobody asked for’.

Personally, I’m curious what they’ll do with Dune IP and would like to see.

I actually am rather content chopping away at trees/mining/tending animals/farming/blacksmithing/etc, if those mechanics are done well, but I will grant that I can’t stand looking at awful graphics versions of them anymore…

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Vanquesse V

“Dune survival game? Pretty much Dead On Arrival, I would think.”
Conan Exiles is one of the best survival games ever made so I wouldn’t write Dune off before knowing anything about it.
I’ve seen plenty people say they look forward to Chop Chop, and AoC+ SWL are still running because they make money. Funcom isn’t a charity

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Mark Jacobs

My guess is that one thing that probably factored in Funcom’s thinking in a big way was/is the major commitment that Legendary made (prior to Covid-19 so…) to the Dune IP. It’s a really smart move by Funcom *if* Legendary’s commitment is met and the movie(s) is/are successful. Even if it/they aren’t, if Funcom does a good job on the game it should still do well and benefit by Legendary’s marketing of it. And now that Tencent is involved, budget becomes far less of an issue than it would have been before.

The real question is how close the game will come out relative to the film. I thought that they wanted to be day & date with the first film but if the scope has dramatically increased, it’s hard to see how that could be the case. Obviously, they would lose a lot of the marketing advantages is they are way past the release date of whichever film they are shooting for.

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2Ton Gamer

NM WB screwed them over with their HBO Max nonsense. Just sayin…

rafael12104
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rafael12104

You think so? What did I miss?

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Warner Brothers announced that every film they would have released to theaters this year will now release, day and date, on HBO Max streaming service. No theater exclusivity period. Theater owners are completely screwed, and a few of the studio partners like Legendary are apparently either considering or taking legal action because they weren’t consulted (and I assume are unhappy with whatever profit sharing WB is offering for the streaming.)

A bunch of directors and production companies are also super upset. I think Chrisopher Nolan said something on the lines of “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.”

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Speaking only for myself, if I’m in a position to watch some of them in theaters I probably will. Firstly, I’m not paying for HBO Max. Secondly, I think it’s kind of the *point* of movies like Godzilla or Dune to see them at least once in a theater. Gozilla is like four hundred feet tall. It’s just not the same watching him in my living room. Ditto with the Sandworms and even the desert planet itself.

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Jon Wax

Antlers and Dune I wanted to see in theaters

rafael12104
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rafael12104

Hmm. Ok. A couple of thoughts.

Thanks for the clarification. And yes I’m very aware of HBO Max and what they are doing. And as a consumer I’m all for it.

Theaters have been in trouble for a long time, as you probably know. The fact is that the old days when simple concessions were pure profit and the box office carried the movie are gone. There are a lot of reasons for this and I wont’ hammer it out here. However, I will say that consumers are much more sophisticated in how they choose to spend their money on entertainment and the old fish trapped in a barrel approach doesn’t work. (it always irked me, btw)

As for my personal tastes and preferences. I love the idea of watching first run movies like Wonder Woman at home. I think it is fair to acknowledge that the viewing experience is not the same as in a movie theater. However, the convenience is well worth the trade off.

I’m no fan of crowds, I must admit, but I don’t mind them. What is infinitely more attractive to me is having all of the comforts of home. So, I can eat what I want, drink what I want, lay out on my couch or fave chair, and stop the movie at any point or rewind at any point. And I can enjoy all of that with friends and family without any concern of infringing on other peoples space. I can yell, talk, make jokes, etc. and generally enjoy the movie much more at home.

And I think their is a trend of movie theaters providing a decent dinning experience and comfortable seating to improve their patronage. It is great to see that.

But I’m not that concerned about the theaters and their partners. I’m not saying that callously. Over my life time I’ve paid them quite enough, thank you. It is up to them to evolve and adapt.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

You’re also forgetting that many rich people have just turned a whole room in their house into their own mini-cinema rooms with projectors and all, and many people nowadays have their own giant 65+ inch TV…they paid a arm and a leg for(And are in debt up to their eyeballs over, because they were trying to keep up with the Jones), so they don’t NEED to go to a theater, because it’s at home. If you’ve got a big enough wall, and enough space and money, you too could get a projector and do the same. (You can hook computers up and stream what you watch through them.)

Also, with the virus going around, you’re safer at home.

The other side of this, is that people nowadays have a phone, in their hands, and can literally watch whatever they want right on that device too, and while it may not give you the grandness of watching it at a theater, it gives you the ability to watch where ever you want to…

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Jon Wax

Joker I saw in a theatre that was mostly empty

And they brought me a fing pizza! To me seat. Fold out table and everything

No more pizzaless movies

rafael12104
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rafael12104

Exactly. As usual, right on point.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Personally, I don’t care about the new movie, it won’t beat the version I enjoyed of Dune.

Basing games off books/movies (Or vice versa) is usually a awful idea, as they rarely translate well or are a good adaptation. These companies need to get it through their worker’s skulls that using an IP to milk it for money is the totally wrong way to go about it…pumping out a game for every movie, etc and then pushing out dumpster fires that aren’t thought out/written well/are just a attempt to profit off the name has already destroyed many stories over the years.

The populace is kinda tired of it. They want innovation. They want new. They don’t want the same old very bad formula that people keep doing.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Except people keep falling for it. If it wasn’t making some amount of profit, companies wouldn’t keep doing it.

Probably not helped by the “Guys In Suits Who Run Things” proudly being some of the same people who would *beat up* the kids in school who liked “nerd crap” like Star Wars and Ninja Turtles.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I was the kid who beat up the bullies. So I don’t know what you’re on about. :P

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PanagiotisLial1

I agree on Anarchy Online and somewhat agree with TSW(though it is slightly overrated in my opinion) but for the rest the people are those who decide what they like and what will be successful. Conan Exiles shown its very popular and for good reasons

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2Ton Gamer

You’re a trip man. Just because it’s not on your radar, doesn’t mean it’s not something that’s popular or something that will work. Age of Conan is a big seller for them and is quite well-done as far as Survival games go. It’s cool if you don’t like the genre, but keep your old ass in your house and stop worrying about the kids on your lawn. :P

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Clarification: Age of Conan is their aging MMO. Conan Exiles is the survival game.

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Richard de Leon III

Some of us still hope and pray for TSW/TSWL. The setting and lore is fantastic. Its the rest of the game that is broken or lacking imho.

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treehuggerhannah

An update for Secret World? That makes me cautiously mildly hopeful. I really like Secret World but we’ve been let down by that game so much that I’ll believe it when I see it.

I don’t really care about the Dune game. I’m not invested in the IP; I like it okay but it’s not something I’ve been dying to put hundreds of hours into.

Plus, it’s Funcom. Funcom is really great at coming up with cool, unique, innovative products and launching them… and then apparently having no idea what to do next to keep the forward momentum. They seem to really struggle with knowing how to sustain a game once it’s out there in the world. I would hesitate to get deeply invested in a Funcom game at launch, because I’d worry they’ll just drop it and move on to the next IP once they realize that keeping it going takes actual work too.

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Greaterdivinity

At most I’m expecting additions to the agent system or something else monetization related. I don’t think we’ll ever see the Congo (or any other actual story content) in the future : (

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Greaterdivinity

the multiplayer survival genre and increase the quality and scope of this game.

MAKE IT A MMO PROPER, DAG NABBIT! If it ends up being just a really pretty, really survival focused game I’m gonna be sad. I mean, it’s fitting for the Dune property (at least for a game set on Arrakis), but damn if it’s not a genre that IMO has been done to death by this point. Including by Funcom themselves already.

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Hostagecat

I agree make it a proper MMO, not some hybrid glorified 12 person survival game. I mean the property screams huge battles and political machinations across multiple worlds.

Except they do not listen to people like us, they will cash out on the name recognition, and make a cookie cutter survival game.

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Greaterdivinity

I can’t blame them entirely, as much as I want to. Dune is cool, but not exactly the biggest gaming property (last entry was probably Emperor: Battle for Dune, IIRC). It inherently lends itself to the survival sandbox element too, at least for a game set on Arrakis proper.

To do a Dune MMO RIGHT would take…a lot more money than Funcom has, or than Tencent wants to invest. Multiple planets. Multiple house factions. Battles for the Emperor’s throne. Space travel with the spacing guild. Expansive economic systems and trade. A massive number of hugely diverse art assets. SAND WORMS THAT DON’T DISAPPOINT AND YOU CAN RIDE etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Honestly…there’s need to be SC levels of funding for something as complex as a proper Dune game. I’d like to think that Jodorowsky’s Dune movie isn’t a bad example of the challenges of doing Dune right – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodorowsky%27s_Dune

Especially given what we saw from the David Lynch version (I love it…but it’s so, so bad) or the Sci-Fi miniserries which clocks in at 4.5 hours (with another 4.5 hours for Children of Dune) and has a guy who is WAY too good playing Leto given the budget that show had.

There are more practical approaches…but they’re far less exciting and smaller scale than a truly grand sci-fi epic MMO set in the Dune universe.

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Hostagecat

I agree, it would be quite a task, but i think doable if there was a will. The problem is i believe your right. This is a cash grab with the Dune name. They want to make money, and do not care they are releasing another survival game. Which raises the question are they aware they may cannibalize their current Conan Exile players.. or do they really honestly think the market is there for another one of these games.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

For survival games that aren’t Ark, there seems to be a pretty sharp population drop after the first couple of months. Right now, Ark seems to be floating around 50,000 players most of the time, while Conan Exiles is more like 5,000.

For comparison, 7 Days to Die (a somewhat janky zombie survival game still in Early Access) is more like 10,000. I don’t think Funcom is too worried about cannibalizing the remaining population. They got really strong initial sales on Conan Exiles, and probably another surge when it finally went to full release.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I have a copy of the “extended edition” of the David Lynch production. Quite a lot got cut for the theatrical release. I’m not sure that the longer version is a “good” movie, since I’m not sure what the basis of comparison is. But it makes the story a lot more coherent. I’d say it’s at least “better” in terms of making sense, but it does mean more scenes with talking/backstory instead of just [Mr Torgue] EXPLOSIONS! [/Mr Torgue]

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Jon Wax

MAG with player created factions, planetary travel and larger maps and weapon set, basically?

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PanagiotisLial1

Even better, why not make both a mmo and a survival game? they wont lack the funds, that is for sure

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Loopy

Yet another confirmation that AAA studios are simply not interested in making high quality MMOs anymore.

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Greaterdivinity

AAA’s aren’t entirely uninterested, Bethesda is working on another. Though I don’t know if I’d call Funcom a AAA publisher/developer. They’ve firmly been, and still remain, AA at best. And I don’t think the Tencent money is going to change that in the immediate.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I’m in the reverse situation. I hope they *keep* the ability to play it single player and offline. I can’t imagine anything more nightmarish than playing a survival game on a public server, and logging off every single day wondering if 69NewbStomper69 will roll up in ten minutes and destroy everything I own while I’m offline.

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Greaterdivinity

If it has non-consensual PvP I’m out. I loathe games with non-consensual PVP.

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Jon Wax

Fear is the team killer!!

EmberStar
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EmberStar

It’s not *just* the PVP. It’s the whole system both games use, where you must login basically every single day or your buildings start to decay and your pets/minions disappear. I don’t play *anything* every single day. At most I’ll do “daily login” chores like Star Trek Online’s endless events. But for those I’m growing increasingly resentful that they aren’t taking a break, and I only do the bare minimum to get daily credit towards the reward. (And often stop playing entirely the instant I get said reward… until the next event.)

If I had to deal with structure decay, I would definitely NOT be playing either Ark or Conan Exiles. I’ve taken extensive breaks from both games. In some cases weeks or even months between feeling like I wanted to play it. If I was playing online, that would mean essentially starting from scratch every single time I started playing again. Not interested.