Lost 'Dune' Video Game Is Being Revived (Minus The 'Dune' Part)
One of the most interesting games being crowdfunded right now is set in a sand planet where big-ass machines harvest a mineral of galactic importance while avoiding enemy saboteurs and even-bigger-ass worm monsters. Yes, we're talking about Dune-- uhhh, sorry, Elland: The Crystal Wars, of course. Oh, and also, this game is for the Game Boy Advance.
As the trailer explains, the game was developed in the early 2000s before being canceled, hence the fact that it runs on a console that's older than Billy Eilish. What they don't/possibly can't mention is that it was originally called Dune: Ornithopter Assault and was set to be published by Cryo Interactive, the company responsible for the first and last Dune video games ever. In fact, this game wasn't so much "canceled" as "put in a drawer because the publisher ran out of money" after their Dune game for PS2 flopped. Which is a shame, because this one genuinely looks way more enjoyable than that clunky 3D turd.
Cut to 2021, when the original Game Boy family of consoles are making an unexpected comeback thanks to hobbyists making all-new games and companies digging up old ones that never got an official release. One of those companies, The Retro Room Games, managed to acquire the rights to Dune: Ornithopter Assault but not the Dune license itself, forcing them to make some changes to the game's text. "Spice Melange" is now "Brem-Nar Crystals," "sandworms" are now "Prixus beasts," and the "ornithopter" aircraft you pilot is now a "Raptor," a name far less likely to get you shoved into a locker if you say it out loud.
The Retro Room not only finished and de-Dune-ified the game, but they're also planning to add two all-new missions if the respective stretch goals are met. Another stretch goal is a PC port of the game, in case there's anyone in the world who doesn't have a Game Boy Advance buried in a drawer somewhere. Note, however, that if you go with the digital version, you'll miss out on the essential experience of opening the physical box, flipping through the instructions booklet once, and putting it away forever. What's the point of buying a game if you can't do that?
The game's Kickstarter page doesn't mention Dune even once, which leads us to believe that they're counting on nerd sites to tell people, "Hey, this is Dune" (you're welcome). Anyway, here's hoping Elland is a success and we see more games set in this universe -- been a while since anyone released one for the Sega CD. Hey, maybe someone could even do a movie based on this franchise! Bet David Lynch is interested.
Maxwell Yezpitelok co-runs a Nintendo-centric YouTube channel, NintendoDuo.
Top image: Warner Bros.