Why Prolong the Inevitable? A New Dune Game is Life

Illustration for article titled Why Prolong the Inevitable? A New emDune/em Game is Life

Is anyone doin' a new Dune? Commenter Nameloi thinks it's about time we revisited the sands of Arrakis once more as the video game players of Dune in today's Speak Up on Kotaku.

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Watching the 1984 Dune movie based on Frank Herbert's novel I suddenly felt like there hasn't been a proper game for this amazing work of science fiction.


Yes we can count on Westwood's Dune RTS games, but they focused more on open warfare between the houses rather than invest their time telling the story of Paul Atreides, the main character in the novel.

There also was a PC game that did focus more on the novel's story in 2001, but it was a commercial failure and likely most people didn't know about its release.

So in a post-Mass Effect era, could there ever be a well-done Dune game?
I think it's time we get one.

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.

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My issue with a new Dune game would be that it would be forced into a genre that it doesn't deserve. The RTS games, regardless of their quality as games, took a big hefty dump all over the source material. The books weren't about epic wars and explosions and building bases that pumped out soldiers and tanks. They were mainly about politics, humanity and the evolution of societies through the use of religion.

In order to make what I would consider a "proper" Dune game, it would have to be mainly an Adventure game with little to no combat. Perhaps take a cue from modern games like Heavy Rain or Sam and Max; both games that have managed to do well in an age that turns its nose up at games with a beginning, middle and end that don't last 40+ hours.

Then in an age of Mass Effects, we have the issue of choice. How close to source material can we be if there are choices to make with branching paths and all that? Is it even worth exploring as a possibility, or do we force the user down the "right" path? This has the potential of being alleviated by making the game focus on a new character that lives during the events of the books, creating and affecting their own destiny and watching it run parallel to the stories we are so familiar with.

Running with the new character idea, we could explore the idea of telling the story of an orphaned child adopted into any number of the Dune universe's families or factions. Imagine playing as a member of the Bene Gesserit or Spacing Guild or the Tleilaxu. You spend time in the beginning doing things for your faction as you hear whispers of things from the books, eventually finding yourself on Dune itself as the Atreides arrive...

Multiple playthroughs, check. A level of freedom of choice in how your story plays out, check. Creating a story that can surprise the fans without defecating all over the source material, check.

Hmm... I think I'm on to something here. Send me your moneys and it shall be done! :P