You don't get to lead a holy war in Dune: Awakening, but you do have to think about religion

  • 12-03-2024 |
  • Nolan Gallagher

The latest adaptation of Dune has sparked considerable debate regarding its thematic elements, particularly around the topics of appropriation and religion. Funcom, the developers behind the upcoming survival game Dune: Awakening, have quickly sought to clarify their stance amidst the conversation. In a recent update, they emphasized that while religion plays a role in the Dune universe, the game sets a different course for the player's journey. Unlike the narratives explored in the books, in Dune: Awakening, players will not assume the role of a savior leading a crusade. This is designed to immerse players in life on Arrakis, where survival is the core challenge, involving battling the harsh climate and managing scarce resources rather than engaging in religious or political conquests.

Funcom's approach reflects a broader trend in the gaming industry to avoid potentially polarizing topics. Many developers opt for a more neutral stance to broaden appeal and avoid alienating any segment of their audience. Dune: Awakening promises a rich experience focused on survival elements, from enduring the planet's extreme temperatures to the peculiar method of procuring water, yet decidedly sidesteps the inclusion of sandworm-riding — a choice that might disappoint some fans.

The idea of steering clear of the political and religious undercurrents in Dune: Awakening contrasts with the rich tapestry of themes the source material is known for. However, it raises intriguing questions on how immersive and engaging the game could be if it chose to explore these aspects in depth, inviting players to navigate the complexities of leadership and belief systems within the Dune universe.

While there is no confirmed release date for Dune: Awakening, anticipation continues to build for its arrival, which is speculated to occur sometime this year. Regardless, it's clear that players should not expect to play the role of a messiah in this adaptation.