Survival video games generally is a grind—simply ask anybody who’s ever tried to craft a splint for a damaged leg whereas baking within the solar, dying of starvation, and affected by intestinal parasites. Not that survival followers do not love discovering themselves in these type of conditions, however the trials of hardcore survival video games aren’t for everybody, and a few current video games within the style, like Valheim, have made these methods extra interesting for gamers who do not need to spend all their time managing starvation meters and curing themselves of ailments.

Final week I spoke to Joel Bylos, inventive director for upcoming open world survival MMO Dune: Awakening. We first noticed the cinematic trailer final 12 months, giving us a fast glimpse of Funcom’s MMO primarily based on the Dune novels by Frank Herbert and the 2021 movie (and deliberate 2023 sequel), which is ready on a “huge and seamless Arrakis” that shall be shared by “hundreds of gamers.”

I am not an enormous MMO participant, however I’ve performed loads of survival video games so I used to be curious simply how deep and complicated Dune: Awakening’s survival methods are. We already know from the books and movies that staying alive on the desert planet of Arrakis is extraordinarily difficult, contemplating the lethal warmth, the truth that everybody has to put on a “stillsuit” to recycle their physique’s moisture, and naturally, these darn sandworms coming out of the bottom to devour anybody who takes a false step on the sand.

“We’re very centered on a number of tight core survival mechanics. Like shelter: sandstorm shelter,” Bylos mentioned. “Sandworms themselves are a large menace on the earth. When you stroll on sand, they’ll come. When you create vibrations, they’ll come. So it’s important to take into consideration the way you strategy traversal within the game world. And clearly, water. These are our three key [systems].”

Spice is energy

These aren’t the one threats on the earth of Dune. There are hazards like quicksand, and the intense temperatures of the desert, that Funcom desires gamers to have to think about and put together for, however not be overly punished by.

“We would like gamers to really feel these tensions on a regular basis,” Bylos mentioned. “We would like them to be frequently excited about, if I am going throughout the open sand, I’ve to consider the sandworms. If there is a sand storm coming, I’ve to know where there’s shelter close by. If I have not constructed one thing I must know where I can cover where I can get away from the sandstorms. So we’re making an attempt to create this stress. However we’re additionally approaching it from the perspective of a bit of extra accessibility, one thing like Valheim, where it isn’t like simply gonna kill you immediately. So you’ve gotten a bit of little bit of  leeway.”

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Spice, worms, and water: First particulars on survival methods within the upcoming Dune MMO

New Dune Awakening idea artwork. (Picture credit score: Funcom)
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Spice, worms, and water: First particulars on survival methods within the upcoming Dune MMO

New Dune Awakening idea artwork. (Picture credit score: Funcom)

Valheim efficiently did a number of issues, as Fraser put it, to reject boring survival methods and make them extra interesting for gamers who do not usually play survival video games. Meals, as an example: you will by no means starve to demise from not consuming. Whereas meals stays a deeply essential a part of Valheim for sustaining your health and stamina, you will get by whereas neglecting it. That is the kind of thought Funcom goes for with its personal survival methods in Dune: Awakening.

“We’re not making an attempt to punish the participant by killing them if they’ve do not take spice for some time, however we’re making an attempt to provide them good causes to keep up their spice ranges.”

Joel Bylos, Inventive Director

“There are assumptions which have simply been there because the begin of the survival style, as a result of the primary [survival] game did them,” Bylos mentioned. “And all people else kind of copied that, so we’re rethinking a few of these paradigms. And so I might say that we need to create these very sturdy survival tensions, however we additionally do not need to punish gamers in a ridiculously harsh approach. So we’re we’re type of looking for a pleasant stability with that.”

Whereas water is the important thing to life on Arrakis, Bylos mentioned, “Spice is energy.” Initially of the game, gamers haven’t any sturdy affiliation to spice however over time it should start to permeate their bloodstream, which can permit them to reinforce their talents and study new expertise. In some methods, spice appears like Valheim’s meals system: one thing essential to the game however not lethal if uncared for.

“So that you need to keep above a sure [spice] stage to continue learning talents, you may need to keep above a sure stage to just remember to have 100% of your most health on a regular basis,” Bylos mentioned. “We’re not making an attempt to punish the participant by killing them if they’ve do not take spice for some time, however we’re making an attempt to provide them good causes to keep up their spice ranges.”

Sand crafts

(Picture credit score: Funcom)

Crafting is one other massive half the survival style, and Bylos defined how crafting will range from the way it works in one other Funcom multiplayer survival game, Conan Exiles.

“In Conan Exiles, you had a tech tree and as you leveled up your character, you spend factors within the tech tree. And that is type of the standard arc and Conan fashion of issues,” Bylos mentioned. “In Dune: Awakening, you are really going out in search of particular schematics that you should use to craft particular objects.”

For instance, in case you have info {that a} botanical testing station someplace within the desert was experimenting with a sure type of know-how, you will head on the market to search out the schematic, Bylos defined. “So the crafting is a bit more bespoke, rather less [tech] tree pushed and a bit of extra exploration pushed.”

Spice harvesting is clearly going to play a significant half within the player-driven economic system, however crafting shall be a path to participant success, too. The harmful sandstorms of Arrakis aren’t only a menace to gamers, however a chance.

(Picture credit score: Funcom)

“There is a pillar of the game we name ‘infinite exploration.’ And the thought is that outdoors of the defend wall, the sands really shift throughout these Coriolis storms, and the whole map outdoors of that area adjustments,” Bylos mentioned. Because the storm buries present places, like testing stations or crashed spaceships, it should additionally reveal new ones. When you’re the primary participant to go to considered one of these new places, you is perhaps the primary to discover a schematic nobody else has discovered but.

“And it is a schematic for a kind of gun that no person is aware of make,” Bylos mentioned. “So you’re taking it again, and also you’re the one who has that schematic. After which you may craft these weapons and promote them on the trade, and also you’re the one one who can craft them till the subsequent time any individual finds that schematic. However that not won’t be for the subsequent [storm] cycle.”

There’s nonetheless no introduced launch date for Dune: Awakening, however the second chapter of the brand new Dune movie sequence is due out this 12 months, and we would not be shocked if the MMO launched at across the identical time because the film. Within the meantime, you may join beta entry on the official web site.

(Picture credit score: Funcom)