Everything we know about Dune: Awakening

Giant sandworm breaching out of the desert in front of a tiny human.
(Image credit: Funcom)

If you want to brave the sands of Arrakis, Dune: Awakening might be your next favorite online game. Described as an open world survival MMO, Dune: Awakening allows you to explore the ever-changing desert planet alongside thousands of other players.

Dune: Awakening is only a fraction of the transmedia and merch push the long-lived Dune franchise is currently experiencing. Besides video games like Dune: Awakening and Dune: Spice Wars, giants such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Call of Duty, and Fortnite have also landed collaborations with the IP. Moreover, renowned toy companies are putting out products we never thought we'd see, such as the Lego Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter set.

With Dune: Part 2 right around the corner, it's the perfect time to get into all things Dune. Whether that means reading through Frank Herbert's novels, rewatching David Lynch's divisive movie and Denis Villeneuve's first movie installment, or playing one of the many Dune board games available at the moment.

So, here's what we know so far about Funcom's upcoming video game Dune: Awakening.

Dune: Awakening Release date

(Image credit: Funcom)

Funcom hasn't locked a release date yet for Dune: Awakening. In fact, the release window is still up in the air, as closed beta tests only recently started.

While it's half-reasonable to expect the game to drop at some point during 2024, we wouldn't be surprised if it slipped into 2025 should the beta tests tell the developers that more work on the core systems and performance is needed before approaching the public release. We'll keep this article updated with news as it comes.

In the meantime, if you're looking for more great sci-fi video games based on famous franchises then our rankings of the finest Alien, Marvel, DC, Warhammer 40K, and, of course, Star Wars games out there will definitely keep you busy until the arrival of Dune: Awakening.

Dune: Awakening Platforms

(Image credit: Funcom)

Unsurprisingly, Dune: Awakening is being developed with current-gen consoles and PC in mind. That is, the game is coming to PC (Windows), PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.

However, as far as we know, the ongoing closed beta tests are only happening for PC at the moment, suggesting it's the lead development platform.

Dune: Awakening Trailers

So far, we've received three major peeks at Dune: Awakening. The first one was a CG teaser trailer released on August 23, 2022. You can watch it here:

Later, on December 9, 2022, the first-ever in-game footage arrived through a pre-alpha teaser trailer. This gave us a general sense of what to expect from Funcom's rendition of Frank Herbert's universe and Denis Villeneuve's blockbusters. Check it out below:

Finally, on June 12, 2023, PC Gamer was lucky enough to chat with the developers and share more gameplay footage. This preview is an especially interesting one as it details more of how the uniqueness of Herbert's vision is being translated into a survival MMO experience. Watch it below:

Dune: Awakening Plot & setting

Spoilers ahead for the first Dune book and the 2021 movie.

(Image credit: Funcom)

Like most online open-world games, Dune: Awakening will put players into the shoes of seemingly unimportant, small-name characters who become part of the huge power struggle on the harsh planet of Arrakis.

Of course, fans and casual gamers alike should expect to meet a number of familiar faces from the Dune books and movies. That said, the developers have explained the game takes place in an 'alternate' timeline where a certain event didn't play out as expected and everything changed. This allows the creative team to explore Arrakis' richness without being constrained by the pre-existing canon.

For example, Duke Leto Atreides will be alive in the game, allowing players to meet and side with him should they choose to. This appears to imply faction-based gameplay and storylines that will evolve around the players' actions and their online interactions.

Dune: Awakening Genre & gameplay

(Image credit: Funcom)

The first details and original teaser seemingly presented Dune: Awakening as an online survival game similar to Funcom's Conan Exiles and other giants of the genre. We later learned the project is much more ambitious in scope and closer to a full-blown MMO experience in which thousands of players can interact at once.

The core 'gameplay loop' is said to include survival mechanics built around the series' famous 'water discipline' and avoiding the notorious sandstorms and sandworms of Arrakis. As you explore the desert planet, expect plenty of political intrigue and faction missions for you to get stuck into, alongside open warfare. This includes melee and ranged combat as well as the use of vehicles and customization and crafting to encourage experimentation.

(Image credit: Funcom)

In the long run, players will build, develop, and maintain relationships with numerous factions and guilds, gain powers and upgrades thanks to the spice and special training, and even construct their own bases of operations.

Funcom devs have also said that they want character progression to be more involved and exciting. So, instead of simply putting points into skill and tech trees by completing tasks, Dune: Awakening will push players into exploring the world on their own and finding the tools and knowledge needed to rise to power.

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Fran Ruiz

Fran Ruiz is our resident Star Wars guy. His hunger for movies and TV series is only matched by his love for video games. He got a BA of English Studies, focusing on English Literature, from the University of Malaga, in Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On top of writing features and other longform articles for Space.com since 2021, he is a frequent collaborator of VG247 and other gaming sites. He also serves as associate editor over at Star Wars News Net and its sister site, Movie News Net.