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January 2022

Dune: Spice Wars

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: Funcom
Developer: Shiro Games
Release Date: 2022

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'Dune: Spice Wars' Reveals Multiplayer, DLC, Mod And Campaign Details In Latest FAQ

by Rainier on Jan. 14, 2022 @ 9:25 a.m. PST

Dune: Spice Wars is a real-time strategy game with 4X elements based on Frank Herbert’s groundbreaking novel Dune.

Spice is the most valuable resource in the universe. The spice extends life, it expands consciousness and makes interstellar travel possible. Create your own story and play as one of several factions, including House Atreides and House Harkonnen, and compete for power over Dune and the spice.

Scan the landscape for wormsign or risk losing your troops and spice harvesters to titanic sandworms who will burst through the sand dunes to swallow and devour them whole. Best your opponents through political intrigue, crush them in combat, and undermine them with your network of illusive spies.

Dune: Spice Wars features asymmetrical gameplay, will have several playable factions, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as multiple ways to achieve your ultimate goal – control of the spice on Arrakis. You can deploy agents to sabotage, assassinate and spy on your opponents, use political means to influence the Landsraad and pass beneficial resolutions, amass incredible wealth and simply overwhelm the other houses through economic and technological supremacy, or you can opt for open war.

Dune: Spice Wars is based more on the original novel than on the movie, but since we’re both drawing on the same intellectual property, there will be some similarities.

What is Dune Spice Wars?

Dune Spice Wars is a real time strategy game featuring 4X elements based in Frank Herbert's Dune universe

How much will it cost?

We’ll announce a price point when we’re closer to release and we know how much content we have in the game.

Is it an RTS or a 4X?

It is both. The game is real time, but the pace is slower than in a typical RTS (and you can pause and fast forward). The game also features exploration, territory control, economic growth, combat, politics and spying, features that make it a true 4X game but do not detract from the RTS experience.

Will there be base building in the game?

You can construct buildings in your base of operation (Arrakeen for the Atreides for exemple). This is shown as structures added to the base itself and it is interface based. You don’t manually place buildings on the ground as the game is at a much larger scale than your typical RTS.

What similarities does the game have with your other title, Northgard?

Both games are real time games with a slower pace. Beyond that the games are quite different. Dune Spice Wars is on a much bigger scale, featuring politics, trading, covert operations and a deeper resource management system. Game length is also 2 to 3 times longer than Northgard (although this could still change at this point).

Has any of the game been reused/recycled from Northgard or any of your other titles?

Vikings are well known for their very bad water discipline, so no. All aspects of Dune: Spice Wars have been developed from the ground up specifically for this game.

Which houses will be available to play?

We’ve announced House Harkonnen and House Atreides as playable factions. We’re planning to have 2 other factions at launch, followed by a 5th faction during Early Access (and more later!).

Will houses from classic Dune games make their way to the game? (Ordos)

House Ordos was first mentioned in the Dune Encyclopedia and then in the video game Dune 2, but never in Frank Herbert’s works. We’re starting with what’s in the books, and we’ll see what would be best beyond that during the Early Access.

Have you taken any inspiration from previous Dune games for this title?

We’ve played all the Dune video games (Dune and Dune 2 especially) and all board games as well so there will be some influence. That said, Dune Spice Wars is very much its own game with a unique take on the struggle for the control of Arrakis.

Will the game feature procedural map generation?

Yes the maps will be procedurally generated, with different options for size, wind strength, sandworm activity and many others. Deep deserts are used as a kind of blocking feature (like seas in other games), at least until you develop technologies to survive longer in the desert, or build a network or airfields. Maps will also feature unique places that readers of the book will recognize.

Why is the House Atreides green in game when in previous games it was blue?

To stay true to the books. Many things in Dune have been represented differently in shows, movies, comics or games over the years. The Atreides banner and uniforms are described as green and black in the books so that’s what we went for in the game.

Why did you choose to release the game in Early Access instead of as a full game further down the line?

We had very good experiences with Early Access on our previous games. We were able to balance things better with player feedback and we changed our release schedule to fit player expectations on several instances. Our goal is to have a very good game on day one, but we still want the opportunity to tweak or change systems and add content depending on what the community feels.

Why did you choose the somewhat cartoonish and bold art style?

Creating a game on a desert planet has quite a few challenges, one of which is making sure what you look at for a few hours is not bland even if it’s just rock and sand. We spent a lot of time working on the environment and even worked with a geologist specialized in deserts to create things that could exist on such a planet. The stylized art direction comes into play by adding things that bring a variety of colors and shapes so that the environment can stay harsh while not getting boring.

Which languages will be supported?

The final list will depend on metrics we’ll get before Early Access so it’s a bit early to say, but we’ll have at the very least English, German, French, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and Russian.

Will there be multiplayer?

We will definitely do multiplayer, but that’s obviously a big chunk of development and we prefer to focus on the core gameplay initially. So the short answer is yes, and it will be a major update during the Early Access.

Will there be a campaign?

The campaign will not be present in the initial launch build but is planned to come to the game at some point during the Early Access period.

Will you have mod support?

There are no firm plans on this front at this time, but should we see enough demand for mod support, we would be more than happy to look into the possibility.

Will there be DLC?

There are no DLC plans at this time, as we are focused on Early Access and ensuring the core game is enjoyable, feature rich and complete ahead of the full release further down the line. If there is still demand for more content and we can find a good reason for DLC, it may be something we explore, but it's too early to think about anything like that just yet.

What platforms will be supported?

PC initially, we’ll be looking at other platforms during Early Access.

What involvement does Funcom have with the development of the game?

Things are simple: Shiro Games is in charge of the whole development process and Funcom takes care of publishing and marketing.

Where will I be able to buy Dune Spice wars?

We’ll have a Steam release in 2022. We’ll also look at other potential distribution platforms in the coming months. 

Key Features:

  • Frank Herbert’s Dune: Experience the unique Dune universe – one of the most influential sci-fi settings ever created. Play as iconic characters, such Duke Leto Atreides, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and more, and guide your faction to victory. Watch for the constant threat of the massive sandworms, who dominate the dangerous landscape of Dune.
  • Forge your own path: Choose between subterfuge, political influence, economic supremacy, or open warfare toprevail and gain control over the most important planet in the universe! Use secretive agents to sabotage the plans of your opponents. Vote on political resolutions in the Landsraad to further your strategy.
  • 4X in real-time: Explore Dune with ornithopters to discover resources, villages, and points of interest. Expand with your troops to take control of more and more regions. Exploit the resources through buildings and spice harvesters to dominate the economy. Exterminate your enemies with a strong military but beware as outright aggression can have high political repercussions.
  • Growing throughout Early Access: The game will be updated and expanded during Early Access based on your feedback. More features and content, improved balance and new game modes will be added in the Early Access period, based on the crucial input of the community.

Dune: Spice Wars is the first game based on the Dune IP to be published by Funcom and is not to be confused with the open-world survival game the studio is developing. Dune: Spice Wars is created by the same team that released critically acclaimed RTS Northgard in 2017, using their expertise in creating strategy games to bring the Dune universe to life.

Dune: Spice Wars will be released into early access on PC (Steam) in early 2022.

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