Today, Shiro Games and Funcom, the respective developers and publishers of Dune: Spice Wars, have announced that the game is in final QA testing and will be available for early access on April 26, 2022 — players can download the game via Steam.
At launch, the game will include single-player combat with multiplayer expected to release later in the games development. Shiro Games have been tight-lipped about whether or not this would be included later as part of early access, or would launch with the full game later this year.
Along with the release date, Shiro Games announced that the fourth faction included with early access will be the Fremen, the native population of Arrakis. The Fremen will be headed by none other than Liet Kynes, the imperial planetologist.
In similar fashion to the movie, Liet is portrayed as a woman in Dune: Spice Wars. When asked about this in the official Discord server, representatives of Shiro Games remarked that this was to keep up with the relative modernity of the books.
Liet is one of the most modern characters in the books (with messages about the preciousness of resources, building a sustainable planet with local communities…). The gender repartition in an otherwise very modern book is an artefact of when it was written. Modernizing the messenger only makes the message more powerful.Shiro Games (Source: Discord).
Liet is joined by familiar faces Stilgar, Otheym, Chani, and Mother Ramallo of the Bene Gesserit.
Perhaps one of the most notable things about the Fremen within the game is that they retain their ability to ride sandworms. This gives them a particular advantage on Arrakis and allows them to strike in the heart of enemy territory.
Alongside this ability, the Fremen have numerous unique units:
- Warriors — the Fremen warriors are masters of the sandy and arid terrain of Arrakis.
- Infiltrators — Infiltrators are able to stay invisible up until they strike, and are able to break the will and focus of an enemy once they strike.
- Fedaykins — Fedaykins are elite Fremen soldiers that can utilise sound to attack their enemies.
- Skirmishers — Skirmishers are able to use grenades to ambush armoured enemy units.
- Kulon Caravans — essentially donkeys that have adapted to live on Arrakis. They carry the Fremen’s water supply and can set up camps to heal units in battle.
Unfortunately, whilst it has been asked for by fans, House Ordos from Dune 2 has yet to make an appearance. Developers Shiro Games teased that they could come at a later date as part of the full game. Focus remains on canonicity from Frank Herbert’s books at the moment, however.
You can purchase Dune: Spice Wars April 26th on Steam. In the meantime, however, don’t forget to check out other coverage of the game or head over to the Dune: Spice Wars wiki to fulfil all of your questions.