The new Dune MMO pushes players through four phases of survival

(Image credit: Funcom)

Dune: Awakening has plenty to live up to as a game based on a popular series. Funcom, the same developers that worked on Dune: Spice Wars, are responsible for the series’ first open-world MMO. Even better, it just revealed the latest details about Dune: Awakening’s gameplay loop on the PC Gaming Show.

Viljar Sommerbakk, the game director of Dune: Awakening, lists the game’s phases in four parts: Survive, Protect, Expand, and Control. 

“You start out in the desert surviving, clinging to life, and in the end, you might become someone like the Baron Harkonnen,” says Sommerbakk. “And then, you try to cling to power.”

You begin your story as a castaway with only a knife that you’ve crafted out of scrap metal. Ideally, you would use this knife to stab enemies in order to steal their water. Thus, Survive. Next comes Protect, when you’ve gained something you want to protect like a base or resources. Expand means spreading your influence, gaining more power and eventually building a guild. Finally, Control is when you’re big enough to fight as part of a guild against other guilds. 

Creative director Joel Bylos describes the game’s battles as large-scale conflicts with weapons and vehicles, where you compete for spices and resources in the harsh desert of Arrakis. These vehicles include ornithopters, sand bikes, and other mounts shown in the series.

“By the end of the game, perhaps you’re running a guild,” says Bylos. “You drive to a spice bloat in the distance in order to harvest with your guild, and you see in the distance another guild coming towards you.”

“Just as you clash, you hear the rumble of a sandworm coming. That’s combat in Dune Awakening.”

Funcom has yet to describe the intricacies of how you can control your fate in Dune Awakening. However, it’s clear that they spent plenty of time recreating Herbert’s iconic world for the most immersive experience – complete with the rough politics and desert strife.

Dune: Awakening is currently in development for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.

Freelance contributor