The thing that stood out the most to me was Shiro’s insistence on the hybrid nature of Dune: Spice Wars. It won’t be fully turn-based like 4X games such as Civilization, but it will be slower-paced and larger-scale than a typical RTS, with an emphasis on economics, politics, and spying. Shiro claims that these are “features that make it a true 4X game but do not detract from the core RTS experience that players would expect.”
This strikes me as a great fit for Dune’s intrigue-laden, high politics fiction, but I’m really curious how long a typical game of Dune: Spice Wars will last. An RTS match can be over in minutes, while a 4X run can last for hours or even days. Where will this hybrid game fit in that range?
The FAQ also provided a clearer picture of what features Dune: Spice Wars will have at its initial Early Access launch. There will be four playable factions to start, with a fifth planned for later in Early Access. Only the almost-mandatory houses Atreides and Harkonnen have been revealed so far. Shiro is planning on including multiplayer and a campaign eventually, which seems to imply that the only mode on launch will be instanced PvE.
I’m finding myself more intrigued by Shiro’s Dune the more I see of it. Its art style, distinct from any of Dune’s other adaptations, is really striking, and the hybrid 4X/RTS gameplay could hold a lot of promise. I’m hoping to get my “one more turn” fix in one of my favorite science fiction settings when Dune: Spice Wars gets its Early Access release later this year.