Dune: Awakening to focus on 'topical' war 'between humans and artificial intelligence'

Soldiers advance alongside a flamethrower tank
(Image credit: Funcom)

Joel Bylos, chief creative officer at Funcom and creative director of Dune: Awakening, has stated that the game will focus on a "topical" war "between humans and artificial intelligence." 

In an interview with Eurogamer, Bylos shared some juicy details about the upcoming game. Though plenty was revealed in what panned out to be a fascinating conversation, perhaps the biggest unveiling was that Dune: Awakening will take place in an "alternate history" set to occur "a few years" before the events of the books.

This may come as a shock for fans of the source material, given that Frank Herbert's Dune series is famous for its complex plotlines and intrigues. 

"Things are slightly different in our universe," said Bylos. "Many events are still the same, so it's not like we've gone all  'thousands of years ago, a rock slid in the wrong place and changed everything'. It's just a few years back. But the significant thing - it's really close to spoiler territory, which I can't really go through - but let's just say that for the large part, we sort of sidestep religion."

However, this doesn't mean that Dune's themes are falling by the wayside. Bylos stressed that Dune: Awakening will focus on the Butlerian Jihad - a historical war in the Dune setting between humans and artificial intelligence (AI). 

"I found a point in the universe - like it was a really fun thing to go back to the Herberts and be like, 'Hey, if we say this happened in our universe, and then this is the flow of consequences from that, so at this point, things changed, are you okay with that?' Because then I can kind of position everything for a video game, and they were like, 'Yeah, actually that's great', and then you're not stepping on the lore."

In other Dune: Awakening news, it's been revealed that players will be able to choose between Harkonnen and Arrakis factions, with a third arriving after launch.

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Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.