Dune: Awakening Shows Off Its Unreal Engine 5 Chops


Funcom just presented its first-ever Dune: Awakening Direct, providing further insight into their upcoming survival MMO and its stunning vistas on Unreal Engine 5. Read on to learn more about Dune: Awakening and its gameplay features.

Dune: Awakening Direct Reveals Gameplay Details

The World of Arrakis is Perfect for a Survival MMO

Harsh doesn’t even begin to describe the desert world of Arrakis, but it’s where you’re going to be toughing it out against other players in Funcom’s upcoming survival MMO, Dune: Awakening. Based on Frank Herbert’s literary classic Dune—and by extension, Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation of Herbert’s works—Dune: Awakening presents a rugged world that’s just begging to be adapted into a survival game.

Funcom just presented the game’s features in its first ever Dune: Awakening Direct, which is a featurette containing actual in-game footage meant to supplement the game’s initial announcement and trailer back in 2022.

In addition to a discussion of the game’s potential in Unreal Engine 5, the following gameplay features were highlighted and expanded upon, further fueling the hype around the recently premiered Dune: Part Two.

A Struggle For Survival Unlike Any Other


Your character will begin their journey stranded in the shifting sands of Arrakis. Without a Stillsuit or any resources to get by with, the early game will be an upward struggle against other players vying for the same tools of survival.

Funcom has likened Dune: Awakening’s early game to a true survival experience, with players engaging in PvP battles over the most meager resources available. They even joked that more experienced players could recruit low-level ones into their legion with the promise of water. The true scope of Dune: Awakening’s PvP is yet to be fully revealed, although the website has alluded to designated "PvP areas" and friendly fire mechanics.

Base-building, Blueprints, and Auctions


Once players secure a means to survive, they may start building bases and outposts around Arrakis. Though detailed, Dune: Awakening’s base-building seems to be streamlined to ignore the monotony of traditional survival base-building, opting to forgo unnecessary base admin like inventory management to keep things moving along.

Another notable thing about the game’s base-building has something to do with the landscape itself. A weekly event called "The Shifting Sands" will see the titular dunes shift and change, causing the landscape to follow suit and destroy player-made outposts caught in its wake. This will also reveal new resource-gathering areas.


Finished bases can be saved as blueprints for easier rebuilding if a player’s outpost does get swallowed by the sands. These blueprints could also be auctioned off in special markets, which means the wealthy would never have to make their own houses, and the architecturally inclined can make a living building custom houses for clients.

Guilds, Minor Houses, and Political Plays


Although Dune: Awakening starts out as a bid for survival that eventually turns into a day-to-day experience, Funcom claimed that as the game progresses, your character will have the chance to influence the world of Arrakis politically. This could be achieved through careful execution of political missions from your of choice, or by changing the economic landscape of the planet.

You may also build your own guild and later turn it into a Minor House with its own affairs, though the particulars of that aren’t fully fleshed out yet.

The Coriolis Storm PvP Area


Lastly, Funcom discussed the Coriolis Storm PvP area at length, calling it "the most dangerous part of the map". This area will host high-level loot but is completely PvP and incredibly high stakes, meaning that your character will lose everything they had on them should they be killed. The event will be happening weekly, with the area’s physical properties changed every week.

Dune: Awakening in Unreal Engine 5


Near the very start of the Direct, Chief Creative Officer Joel Bylos talked about the advantages of their adoption of Unreal Engine 5 for Dune: Awakening. Describing it as "obviously one of the better choices", Bylos went on to praise UE 5 for its flexibility and graphical fidelity. Particular focus was given to how Funcom was using the engine’s Lumen and Nanite features for lighting and rendering, respectively.

Curiously, this wasn’t the Dune IP’s first brush against Unreal Engine 5, as cinematographer Greg Fraser would attest. Apparently, the film crew for the Dune movies, the most recent one included, used Unreal to render and map out some of the movie’s more complicated shots. This helped the crew visualize and plan to a degree that was previously impossible. Considering the commercial success of both movies so far, it seems to have paid off.

Funcom has a lot riding on Dune: Awakening, although many were keen to shrug off the game despite its above-mentioned features because it’s a survival MMO. The most recent fiasco with The Day Before still sits freshly in the public’s mind, and some are already calling this yet another No Man’s Sky situation. Until further information is revealed, we can only take Funcom’s proof of concept for it.

Dune: Awakening Reveals How It Is Using Unreal Engine 5
Official Dune: Awakening Website


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