Home Dune Awakening’s alternate history set to annoy fans of sci-fi classic

Dune Awakening’s alternate history set to annoy fans of sci-fi classic

The forthcoming Dune Awakening MMO from Funcom has been highly anticipated in many quarters, not just because of the success of the recent movies, but because of the studio’s success story with Conan Exiles – a game that initially only got any interest because you could change the size of your genitalia in the character creator, but has gone on to be one of the best examples of the MMO survival base-building games of all time.

It’s fair to say Conan is now more popular, years after its release than it ever has been, so when Funcom started to tease they had the license a few years back, those in the know took instant notice.

The similarities between Conan’s harsh desert landscape and the barren dunes of Arrakis, as imagined in the legendary sci-fi by Frank Herbert all those years ago are clear, but it seems, that when you are dealing with science fiction literary canon you have far less wiggle room with the story than, as a game developer, you might wish for.

We have recently seen an official Dune tie-in with Microsoft Flight Simulator which may not really have fit the bill with fans of the original text, but what has irked some of them more is an interview in Eurogamer where the game’s Creative Director, Joel Bylos, said the game will “sidestep” religion as a main theme in its “alternate history” world set just before the events of the books.

It’s not so much the alternate history or even the time period that seems to have hardcore fans up in arms but the sidestepping of religion, which is so fundamental to the original story.

Comments such as:

“Probably shouldn’t call it Dune then,” and, “So it’s not actually a game based on Dune then? Got it. I’ll skip it then,” currently little the responses to Eurogamers post on X about the feature.

Every change in the game though has been meticulously cleared by the Herbert Estate. The game was planned before the new movies were released and they have highlighted Dune to a vast new audience. It seems that Dune Awakening intends to live alongside the new subject media rather than be a part of it.

Canon it may not be, but if it plays half as well as Conan Exiles, it would be foolish to write it off for a little artistic license.

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Paul McNally
Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media. Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020. Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine,…

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