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Dune Awakening changes key detail to stop you nuking other players

Dune Awakening will change a vital piece of Frank Herbert’s lore to ensure PS5 and Xbox players won’t nuke the spicy sands of Arrakis.

Dune Awakening nukes: An image of the player on Arrakis in Dune Awakening.

Entering the Dune universe can be a lot to take in, but Funcom’s Dune Awakening could be your perfect entry point. The forthcoming Xbox and PS5 MMORPG will create its own lore in between Frank Herbert’s universe and Denis Villeneuve’s on-screen adaptations, which means certain details are getting altered, like being able to nuke players into oblivion. There’s a good reason for this change, though, as you’ll ensure the fate of Arrakis in the process.

Speaking to PC Gamer about the upcoming multiplayer game, creative director Joel Bylos elaborates on why Funcom had to ask Frank Herbert’s for permission to change how shields work within the Dune universe. “There’s an incident with a lasgun and a shield that occurred and from that point on, all CHOAM imported lasguns to the planet now have a safety built in so they cannot target a shield,” Bylos explains. Dune Awakening allows players to wield lasguns, one of the common weapons in the Dune universe.

But while it may be tempting to blast away PS5 and Xbox players in PVP skirmishes, Dune lore states that “if a lasgun beam hit a Holtzman field [shield], it would result in subatomic fusion and a nuclear explosion.” The chances of a nuclear explosion are said to be random, but this level of danger isn’t worth the risk. In fact, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve showcases his own iteration of this rule on screen, as a squad of soldiers deployed by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen turn off their shields to avoid a combat catastrophe.

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So when the Dune Awakening release date arrives, don’t expect to shape Arrakis into a nuclear sandbox. Bylos adds that “if you aim a lasgun at a shield in our game, it just turns the lasgun off automatically.” Furthermore, Bylos expresses, “we went through it with our partners at Legendary and the Herberts as well, and got their sign-off so we could do it this way.” An earlier version of the game did let players play with nuclear consequences, but the idea was ultimately scrapped.

However, as the Dune Awakening Direct shows us, you can still expect to use melee weapons like the Crysknife. The blade is typically made from the tooth of a dead sandworm, and is often used by the Fremen. Although, the Direct showcase confirms that we won’t be able to defeat sandworms (sadly).

Now that we know nuking each other is off the table, we’re still to see how Dune Awakening mixes co-op game elements with survival aspects. You’ll be able to play the MMORPG with friends, because forging your destiny on Arrakis was never going to be easy alone. As long as we can cultivate some true desert power with an impressive base and an Ornithorpter, we reckon it’ll be a good time.

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In the meantime, if you are looking for a multiplayer fix, you don’t want to miss out on the PS Plus March 2024 games selection.