Massive Dune fans rejoice! The first Dune real-time strategy game in 23 years is set to release in Early Access on April 26. Publisher Funcom and developer Shiro Games (of the critically acclaimed Northgard) have been working hard to bring the Fremen into Dune: Spice Wars as the fourth playable faction.
In addition to the Fremen, players will be able to choose from House Atreides, House Harkonnen, and the Smugglers.
Based on the Frank Herbert novel, the game also takes inspiration from Denis Villenueve’s recent movie version (which was a surprisingly well done adaptation, by the way).
What is Dune: Spice Wars about?
Dune: Spice Wars is a real-time strategy game with 4X elements set in the Dune universe, one of the most influential sci-fi settings.
Please read the first book if you haven’t already.
The game takes place on the harsh desert planet, Arrakis (known colloquially as Dune). You choose from a cast of iconic characters like Leto Atreides and Vladimir Harkonnen. Then you lead one of four factions to victory while trying not to attract colossal sandworms (f*ck yes).
Choose your path to victory using clandestine operations, political influence, economic domination, and military power.
Your goal is to gain control over spice, the most valuable resource in the universe on the desert planet. Use secretive agents to sabotage the plans of your opponents.
Use ornithopters to explore Dune, neutral native settlements, and discover resources.
Expand with your troops to take control of more regions. To dominate the economy, use structures and spice harvesters. Exterminate your foes with a powerful military while being cautious because overt force may have significant political ramifications.
Fremen—The Fourth Playable Faction
Here is a description of the Fremen gameplay hot off the Funcom press:
Arising from and forged by the desert, the Fremen are less affected by the environment. They can travel further before suffering from exhaustion or attracting the sandworms. Better yet, they can use the terrible beast to travel faster and strike suddenly at the heart of their opponent’s domain. Experts in stealth tactics, they can also lay devastating ambushes on their opponents’ armies, or hide inside the dreadful sandstorms of Arrakis to surprise weakened, unsuspecting victims.
While their guerrilla tactics are more than adequate for combatting the invaders, their true power lies elsewhere: in rallying all of the sietches across Arrakis, the Fremen will grow even stronger and may be able to completely drive the imperium out of the planet.Funcom Press Release
I’m looking forward to playing as the Fremen because I enjoy rooting for the underdog. And the Fremen are certainly underdogs in the fight to restore their home. Their strict adherence to tradition and community resonates with me from a storytelling standpoint. And I share their appreciation for living in balance with their environment.
Spice Wars Launches Early Access Version
The Early Access version will include the core experience of the game, with four playable factions, three victory conditions, and complete political, espionage, and combat systems.
Throughout the Early Access period, Shiro games will release that add new content to the game, including multiplayer, a fifth playable faction, and a single-player campaign. Additionally, Shiro Games will release the usual balancing patches and system tweaks.
Is Dune: Spice Wars multiplayer?
Shiro has stated they will do multiplayer, but they want to focus on the core gameplay first. So the short answer is yes, and it will be a major update during the Early Access.
The Unique Dune Universe
The setting in Dune is unique and unforgettable. It’s a complex world with a deep history that is ripe for exploration in a video game. Dune: Spice Wars captures the feel of the Dune universe while also modernizing it for a new audience. The developers have done an excellent job of bringing this world to life.
What are your thoughts on Dune: Spice Wars? Will you be playing as the Fremen? What part of the game are you looking forward to most when Spice Wars launches in Early Access?