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Dune: Awakening Is "Rethinking" Survival Game Staples, According To New Interview

The upcoming survival MMO based on Frank Herbert's sci-fi universe is taking inspiration from Valheim.


Dune: Awakening will take players to the deadly, sandworm infested desert planet of Arrakis, but developer Funcom doesn't want the upcoming survival MMO's various systems to scare away those who might not typically dabble in the survival game genre.

New details about the MMO set in Frank Herbert's sci-fi universe come via a PC Gamer interview with Dune: Awakening's creative director, who shares that Funcom is looking at some of the assumptions of the genre and rethinking what survival game systems can look like.

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Now Playing: Dune Awakening Reveal Trailer | Gamescom ONL 2022

"There are assumptions that have just been there since the start of the survival genre, because the first [survival game] did them," Joel Bylos, Dune: Awakening's creative director said. "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 kind of trying to find a nice balance with that."

Bylos points to indie sensation Valheim as an example of a popular survival game that rejected certain survival staples and was more accessible to a wider audience in its systems. For example, in Dune: Awakening, players will want to consume spice, the most precious substance in the game's universe, but players won't be overly punished for not doing so. Instead, players will be incentivized in certain ways to keep their spice levels high.

According to the interview, Dune: Awakening will focus on three core survival pillars that players will need to be thinking about consistently: shelter, sandworms, and water. Moving across the open sand too haphazardly will, true to the Dune books, attract sandworms, so players will constantly need to be aware of their movements. The sandstorms of the harsh desert will require players to seek out shelter or build their own. Water, of course, is a constant concern out in the deep desert. But like Valheim, players won't instantly be killed if they don't maintain their water levels or find themselves without shelter.

When it comes to crafting, Dune: Awakening will revolve around players discovering schematics out in the open world that can be used to create specific items. One of the game's pillars is "infinite exploration," where the desert sands of Arakkis will shift and uncover new areas to explore or bury existing locations temporarily. The first player to explore some of these locations may be the first to claim a rare new schematic, which will allow them to corner the market on a specific type of item for a limited time until a sandstorm uncovers that location once again.

This latest interview shines finally shines a light on what players can expect from Dune: Awakening, with few concrete details about the game having been shared since its original announcement. One component of Dune: Awakening that has been confirmed is that the game will include vehicles.

Dune: Awakening received a new trailer at The Game Awards last year, but does not currently have a release date. Those interested in participating in a beta test for the game can sign up via the Dune: Awakening website.

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