Behind-the-Scenes of the ‘Dune: Spice Wars’ RTS Game – More Features and Visuals Revealed

We covered the announcement of Dune: Spice Wars at 2021’s The Game Awards just last week. Now further information on the upcoming 4X real-time strategy video game has surfaced in an interview with gaming news site IGN. The developers revealed more key gameplay features, mechanics, map details, as well as visual design elements that players will experience.

One of the highlights noted about this RTS game will be the variety of ways which you can tackle a playthrough. If you want to be a military powerhouse and decimate your enemies, you can do that. If a player decides to instead approach a scenario in a diplomatic manner, that brings paths to resolution as well. How about utilizing the idiosyncratic characteristics of their faction to win? Well, those all offer possibilities in Dune: Spice Wars.

Concept art from 'Dune: Spice Wars', a new strategy video game from Funcom, featuring visual design of the House Atreides troopers.
Concept art for the House Atreides troopers in Dune: Spice Wars. Funcom and Shiro Games

Speaking of factions, the interview elaborated on two sides that will be available when early access launches:

The two factions that have been revealed so far are House Atreides and House Harkonnen, and true to their lore, the former has more options for diplomacy and indirect control while the latter is focused on brutal military domination.

In addition, every House will have “sub-leaders,” which will each provide their unique gameplay effects. For example—as commented on: “Lady Jessica is an adept politician, for instance, while Duncan Idaho will give benefits to your military.”

Strategy games often involve a currency, and this one is no different. Spice will be the main resource that players will have to acquire, trade, and use, so that they may hold advantage on the battlefield. From what I gather, one will have to be strategic in gathering spice, maintaining it, spending it, and taking into account taxes that need to be paid to the Emperor.

Daytime screenshot of Arrakeen, and surrounding activity, in 'Dune: Spice Wars', an upcoming real-time strategy game by Funcom and Shiro Games.
Patrols around the city of Arrakeen.

Though the game goes further than singular interactions with the Emperor. There’s also the combined might of Houses of the Landsraad, acts of espionage, side stories, etc… Players can expect to have exchanges—good or bad—with these elements and more.

The Emperor isn’t the only political force in the galaxy, though, and interacting with the Landsraad, a ruling council of powerful houses, will also present its own challenges and opportunities. This is your principal link to the greater game taking place beyond Arrakis, where you can vote on resolutions to help yourself and/or hinder your enemies…

Espionage will also be a major system, though you can choose to specialize in it heavily or barely touch it at all…

All the while, we’ll run into side stories that can be anything from a one-off involving the recovery of a crashed ornithopter, or a multi-step event wrapped up in political subterfuge.

Screenshot of the desert of Arrakis at nighttime, with its two moons in the sky. 'Dune: Spice Wars', a new RTS video game, comes to early access in 2022.
Nighttime vista of the Arrakis desert, with two moons in the sky.

Where will all of this be taking place? Faction leaders will begin their conquest of Arrakis around the North Pole of the desert planet. An area that Shiro Games worked hard to properly emulate what they acquired from Frank Herbert’s novel—the main source used to construct Dune: Spice Wars. Though, rest assured, in terms of visual aesthetic, there will be a diverse desert landscape to tame. The developers even hired a geologist who provided expertise on sandy and rocky biomes, similar to descriptions of the spice planet.

For a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the development of this video game, check out the video below (four minutes):

As an avid RTS fan and 4X aficionado, what I’ve learned from the above information has got me super psyched for this new installment in the Dune gaming universe. Keep this one on your radar as we head into 2022.

Source: IGN via Leana Hafer