First 'Dune: Spice Wars' gameplay trailer shows real-time combat

And Sandworms eating lunch.

Shiro Games / Funcom

We got our first look at Dune: Spice Wars at the 2021 Game Awards, and now developer Shiro Games is giving fans of Frank Herbert’s seminal novels a better look at the project. In a gameplay trailer the studio shared on Tuesday, we see how a game of Spice Wars plays out. Unlike most 4X games, including Civilization VI and Humankind, Spice Wars is part real-time strategy game. That means you won’t have hundreds of turns where you can agonize over every possible move to decide how to lead your faction. That should make decisions like where to send your troops, what settlements to invade and how to engage in diplomacy more impactful.

Of course, each time you move your troops or fight in combat out in the open desert of Arrakis, you’ll need to keep in mind a Sandworm may come to snack on your units. Judging from the trailer, you’ll also have access to agents you can send to organizations like the Spacing Guild, CHOAM and even the Landsraad. When it arrives on Steam Early Access later this year, Spice Wars will feature four playable factions. Naturally, the noble House Atredies and fearsome House Harkonnen are among the groups you can lead.

That the first Dune game in two decades should include RTS elements is fitting. In 1992, Westwood Studios helped established the formula for the genre with the excellent Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty. While the popularity of RTS games has waned in recent years, Dune II’s legacy and influence persist. You wouldn’t have MOBAs like League of Legends if not for the work Westwood Studios and Blizzard did in the early ‘90s.