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‘Dune: Awakening’ is a Breathtaking Glimpse into a Savage World of Sandworms


With the next cinematic chapter in Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune universe now in cinemas, Funcom is giving us even more reason to fall in love with Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic. The studio’s upcoming Dune: Awakening offers a chance to dive back into the harsh world of Arrakis and experience the unforgiving desert planet firsthand. Initially announced back in 2022, this upcoming open-world survival MMO will let players carve their own path on the hostile desert planet and is slated to come out on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.

As part of the recent Dune Direct, the developer showed off a new gameplay trailer titled ‘Survive Arrakis,’ which gives us a much better look at the game’s vast desert landscapes and familiar survival mechanics like resource gathering and base building, alongside unique elements specific to the Dune universe, such as the ever-present threat of sandworms and the political machinations of the Houses.

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'Dune Awakening' trailer released | Image: Funcom
‘Dune Awakening’ trailer released | Image: Funcom

The visuals in the new Dune: Awakening trailer look stunning, brought to life thanks to the power of Unreal Engine 5. From the relentless desert sun and towering sandworms to thrilling cliff-scaling and intense combat, the trailer showcases a diverse range of gameplay mechanics. In Awakening, players start their journey as desert castaways, but through mentorship and in-game contracts, they can rise from their humble beginnings to become powerful barons.

You will not only face the unforgiving environment and its monstrous inhabitants but also engage in thrilling ornithopter combat and build intricate bases. While the trailer doesn’t show much of the survival aspects, glimpses of the player character scavenging for resources and navigating the vast open world hint at the ever-present struggle for survival, just as it did in Frank Herbert’s iconic Dune universe.

'Dune Awakening' trailer released | Image: Funcom
‘Dune Awakening’ trailer released | Image: Funcom

“Arrakis is a test, is what the Fremen say,” explained the game’s creative director Joel Bylos in the newly recorded Q&A about the upcoming game. “And the player comes into the very heart of that test immediately in Dune: Awakening.” What probably sets Dune: Awakening apart is its promise of “political survival,” where players can choose sides with Atreides or Harkonnen and climb the ranks to power. “The universe of Dune is a perfect place with these politics and intrigue,” Bylos said, noting that Funcom’s goal was “let’s get players hooked on the survival and then bring them into the political survival of the Dune universe.”

While Funcom remains tight-lipped about how Dune: Awakening fits into the broader narrative, the game will be featuring a bunch of familiar characters, of which we know currently nothing. Discussing how Dune: Awakening builds on the base-building mechanics from Conan Exiles, Bylos emphasised the importance of sharing blueprints between players. He also talked about the variety of abilities players can learn from the “great schools of the universe,” including techniques like Bene Gesserit’s power of voice that compels “enemies to come closer so you can stab them with a knife.”

'Dune Awakening' trailer released | Image: Funcom
‘Dune Awakening’ trailer released | Image: Funcom

He further revealed that closed beta tests for Dune: Awakening have already been happening for a few months now and the devs plan to gradually open it up to more players. However, Bylos emphasised that the development team is taking its time and Funcom has no intention of “rushing it out the door,” prioritising quality over a rushed release. Those interested in checking out the game can sign up on the game’s official website for a chance to participate in future betas.

Dune: Awakening still has no release date but it’s set to hit the PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X / S when it eventually comes out.

'Dune Awakening' trailer | Image: Funcom
‘Dune Awakening’ trailer | Image: Funcom
'Dune Awakening' trailer | Image: Funcom
‘Dune Awakening’ trailer | Image: Funcom
'Dune Awakening' trailer | Image: Funcom
‘Dune Awakening’ trailer | Image: Funcom