Dune: Spice Wars: Release Date, Trailer, News, and More

As Frank Herbert wrote, fear is the mind-killer, but after decades of waiting, gamers can finally put their fears aside, knowing that a new Dune game is on the way. There was a litany of reveals and announcements during the 2021 Game Awards, but perhaps Dune: Spice Wars from developer Shiro Games was the least expected. While excitement is building again for this franchise thanks to the new film adapting Herbert’s world-famous sci-fi novels, no one expected a tie-in game to be announced, let alone one set in the would follow in the footsteps of the 1992 classic Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty.

While the origins of most genres are confused at best, there’s almost no doubt that Dune 2: The Building of a Dynasty was the first true real-time strategy game. That makes it all the more suitable for Dune: Spice Wars to return to the genre, and Northgard developer Shiro Games seems a good candidate to bring this series back. This game is closer than you might expect, and while spice is the key to mastering the universe, information is a close second. Here’s everything we know about Dune: Spice Wars.

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Publication date

Dune: Spice Wars has an ambitious lead time from its recent announcement in late 2021 to a window of 2022. Where it gets a little muddled is when we look closer. The developers announced that PC players will be able to play the game in early access to provide feedback on “ensuring accessibility while staying true to the essence of Frank Herbert’s work and creating a unique game that captures the very interesting features of the Dune universe are translated into an immersive gameplay experience.” That’s all well and good, but later they also elaborate on how long this early access period could last.” Our current estimate is 9 to 12 months, depending on how quickly we can reach our milestones and use all of our planned features and content. implement, but there is no rush.”

Based on those quotes, it appears that the “release date” is for the early access version of the game and not for the full product. If early access lasts between 9 and 12 months, then 2023 would be the more accurate window for Dune: Spice Wars coming out in full.

Platforms

There’s no official list of platforms that Dune: Spice Wars will hit, but at least we can say for sure that it’ll be coming to PC via steam, as there’s already a store page for it in preparation for the early access launch. PC was anything but insured for an RTS-esque game like this. As for other platforms, it’s almost unpredictable. Some RTS games, especially recently, have made the move to consoles better than in the past, but if Dune: Spice Wars is too complex, it might just be a PC exclusive. Once it hits early access, or the team officially announce platforms, we’ll have a better idea of ​​what to expect.

trailer

The official announcement trailer for Dune: Spice Wars is only a hair over a minute long, so there’s not much to see, but there’s plenty to dig out of the sand.

The trailer opens up about the desert city of Arrakis under siege as a series of voiceovers quote a few key lines from the novels and make comments about power and war. The voices eventually overlap until nothing clear is heard, as the camera moves further and further away from the city, showing off the vast desert and a giant sandworm before revealing that the entire scene was held in the palm of a giant hand. The last words we hear clearly are, “This is my revenge” before the hand closes and the scene crashes into a wave of sand and all the voices at once say, “This is my dune.”

Other than that, the story is a complete mystery. We don’t know how closely it will follow the books, if at all, with the only mention of the official website’s story that players “make [their] own story and play as one of several factions, including House Atreides and House Harkonnen, and battle for the power of Dune and the Spice. At the very least, the Shiro Games team claims to love Dune property and do it justice, saying, “I think I speak on behalf of every person at Shiro Games when I say we are all huge fans of Dune – both the original novel and the new and spectacular Denis Villeneuve movie. It’s incredible to be able to bring this universe back to life as a strategy game.”

That certainly sounds very Dune, but it seems that details will have to wait until the game gets closer.

Gameplay

We immediately know the broad strokes of what to expect from Dune: Spice Wars, as it is billed as an RTS. Where things get a little more interesting is that it also claims to have 4X elements. For those who don’t know, 4X stands for Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate and is usually associated with the Civilization franchise where these are the main methods of victory.

The team made some comments about how things will work in the Dune environment. “The Dune universe is the perfect setting for a strategy game. You have big factions, like House Atreides and House Harkonnen, with a rivalry that goes back centuries. You have political intrigue, deception and warfare, all centered around what is by far the most valuable substance in the universe: Spice. And then there’s the stage itself, Arrakis, a hostile planet full of hidden wonders to explore. Huge sandworms that can devour whole armies, sandstorms, herb harvesters, all of which have been incorporated into this game by our amazing team of developers.”

The first gameplay trailer showed some basic units, ground and air, moving through Arrakis. Units are moved in groups and new structures can be placed as you would expect from an RTS title. Things get a little more interesting when the map zooms out and the game looks more like a management sim-style game, with designated regions, resources, and political information. The loophole system shows you assigning agents to different places to carry out missions such as setting up probes, fighting drugs and counterintelligence operations. These resources also have levels and will likely be more effective as they grow.

You can choose and invest in political actions. The only example was the chairman of the board, who would show the player all upcoming resolutions during the voting phase and allow a reroll of any resolution. These all cost a currency of influence and determination, although we don’t yet know the details of how they are earned.

All this means that the scope of the game is much wider than a typical RTS, where you just have to outrun and overwhelm your opponent. Other, more subtle and nonviolent options seem to be available. Another quote from the game’s official description confirms these plans. “You can deploy agents to sabotage, kill, and spy on your opponents; use political means to influence the Landsraad and pass favorable resolutions; amass incredible wealth and simply overwhelm the other houses with economic and technological supremacy; or you can choose open war.”

Apart from the two factions mentioned, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, it is possible that the Fremon and Imperial Sardaukar will fill one or more additional slots to balance the game. The mention of the sandworms was also expanded somewhat and will apparently be something like environmental hazards that can ambush and destroy your units and spice harvesters if you don’t scan for them before crossing the desert.

Finally, whatever the game turns out to be when it first arrives, it’s clear the team is going to change and adapt it in important ways. Player feedback will guide the team as it adds more features and content, makes balance changes, and even adds new game modes.

multiplayer

This is another part that has not been officially confirmed but is expected in all other ways. RTS games, and even 4X games, are best played with and against other human players. If it follows the normal RTS structure, which Dune: Spice Wars appears to be ready for, then there will probably be some form of campaign for each of the main factions, then a full multiplayer mode where you pit these factions against each other . As for their comments about early access implementing new game modes, that alone strongly implies it will be multiplayer focused. Again, this is all technically still up in the air at the moment. Multiplayer may be in the plan but won’t arrive when early access launches, similar to how Halo Infinite was launched, but we’ll have to wait and see.

DLC

This is another very difficult decision to make right now. Based on the structure of the game coming out in early access, it looks like the team is more than willing to add features and content, but who knows if that should end once the game has a full release. Multiplayer-centric DLC, assuming multiplayer is part of the pack, makes the most sense. New factions are perfect additions to RTS style games and can help extend the life of the community.

Pre-order

You can’t fully pre-order Dune: Spice Wars just yet, although you can add the game to your Steam wishlist for when the early access period starts. That’s still an unclear time in 2022, and it will be a while before full pre-orders even go live. Moving from early access to a full release, at least on PC, may even mean no pre-orders, as the early access version will technically fill that role. This is another piece of information to keep an eye on in the coming months.

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