On the occasion of the new Dune movie being delayed by almost a year, RPS asks: who would you want to make a Dune video game? Frank Herbert’s sci-fantasy novel about spacelords, spacedrugs, spaceprophecy, and giant murderworms has been the subject of several games, the best-known being the RTS precursor to Command & Conquer from Westwood Studios. But as the films (and attempted films, lookin’ at you Jodorowsky’s Dune) have shown, Dune can become all sorts of things in different hands. So what would you like to see, reader dear?
I tell you what I wouldn’t want from a Dune game: a Hans Zimmer cover of a Pink Floyd song.
It is strange that a series of political intrigue, prophecy, and party-gathering hasn’t been an RPG more. Or a strategy game of lineage and treachery in the Crusader Kings vein. Or a visual novel focused on a few quiet scenes. Or something tripping across the galaxy. Or having a great time just riding sandworms. Or the body horror of becoming a giant spaceworm yourself. Or… look, I’m giving you a blank cheque to fund anyone to make anything. God help me, I’ll even give you free rein to draw from the billion sequels and prequels and spin-offs.
I nominate myself, and offer myself a budget of £370 million. I once had plans for an unpleasant controller to use for an event game. On the outside, it would be a wooden rectangular box about 50x20x20cm, with thick black rubber flaps over the open end. Inside, it would be lined with meaty rubber with all sorts of knobbly, flappy, dangly, and squishy bits, through which would run elastic and metal ‘tendons’, nodules squirting harmless fluids, and other general awfulness. You’d have to feel, reach, tug, stroke, squeeze, and push bits to discover controller inputs, manipulating a Cronenbergian/Tetsuo: Iron Man-ish horror from the inside. I never did make that, so now I’d be content just making a Pain Box that really hurts when you put your hand in. Fear may be the mind-killer, but my box would really mess up your hand. And that’s the game. But maybe not the Dune game you want to play?