The first gameplay trailer for Dune: Spice Wars has been revealed, showcasing this latest take on Frank Herbert’s science fiction universe, and the latest attempt to translate it into a real time strategy game. The game will be heading into Steam Early Access in 2022.
Taking players back to Arrakis, you will vie for control of the spice, the most valuable and important resource in the whole universe. Coming from Shiro Games, the makers of Northgard, the game will feature real time 4X elements as you seek to expand control across the planet’s villages, sending out harvesters to gather spice, fighting to defend your settlements, and capture those of others. Oh, and there’s always the sandworms that might come and disrupt whatever it is you’re doing.
Playing as Duke Leta Atreides, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and other characters, you’ll also have diplomatic options available to you. You can use political influence through the Landsraad to further your goals, use subterfuge to undermine rivals and exert economic supremacy, in addition to simply sending troops into battle.
In some ways, Dune: Spice Wars follows in the footsteps of Dune II, the pioneering real time strategy that Westwood Studios created before their iconic Command & Conquer series. Of course, where Dune II laid the foundations for RTS games to come, Dune: Spice Wars gets to sample and experiment with fully formed gameplay ideas. In particular, the scope of this game is much wider, looking to take in the whole conflict for the planet, going from controlling units from a relatively close overhead angle to viewing the different areas and factions in play across the planet.
It’s an intriguing new attempt to adapt the notoriously difficult to adapt sci-fi setting, but absolutely makes sense that it does so as a strategy game, giving players control in areas that were only loosely described in the books.