Way back in 2019, Funcom inked a deal to build a DUNE survival game, but just how MMO-like the game would be has remained an open question. In 2020, Funcom made it sound like a reskin of Conan Exiles, but then Tencent bought the company and pushed hard on the DUNE franchise, expanding the game’s scope. By summer of 2022, the studio was back to calling it Dune Awakening, an open-world survival MMO in a world “shared by thousands of players.” But in the ensuing months, we’ve been getting a mere trickle of teases and clips and screenshots.
Now, Funcom has begun seeding the press, as we got a slew of interviews this week on mainstream gaming sites, during which Joel Bylos discusses the game’s exploration and survival mechanics. Lest you worry that this will be the sort of survival game where you have to monitor, oh, let’s say 10 different survival indices just to stay alive, Bylos says Funcom aims to keep the tension up without killing the player on technicalities:
“There are assumptions that have just been there since the start of the survival genre, because the first [survival] game did them. And everybody else sort of copied that, so we’re rethinking some of those paradigms. And so I would say that we want to create these very strong survival tensions, but we also don’t want to punish players in a ridiculously harsh way. So we’re we’re kind of trying to find a nice balance with that.”
Nevertheless, water, spice, and quicksand are all concerns the player will have to confront, along with sandstorms and sandworms, and it sounds like players will be spending a lot of time and energy on crafting (not just stockpiling spice). “[T]he crafting is a little more bespoke, a little less [tech] tree driven and a little more exploration driven,” Bylos says.
With the info floodgates slowly inching downward – and Funcom promising beta info in the next few months – expect to see more dribbles like these.