Twenty years after the cancellation of Dune: Ornithopter Assault, the game is being resurrected, albeit under a different name.
Westwood was not alone in the development of the Dune games. French developer Cryo Interactive made an adventure game in 1992, and it was called Dune. In 2001, Frank Herbert’s Dune was made by Widescreen Games and tied in with the US Sci Fi (now Syfy) channel miniseries. It wasn’t a success, and Cryo Interactive didn’t last long in the market: the company went bankrupt in the recession of the early 2000s.
It caused a lot of trouble for Soft Brigade, a Hungarian studio working on Dune: Ornithopter Assault for the Game Boy Advance, in which you would take control of a pilot belonging to the House of Atreides on Arrakis. In the arcade flight simulator, you were supposed to protect the spice harvesters from the Harkonnen. The game was ultimately not made in its original form, and an online RTS followed a similar path: Dune Generations, produced in-house by Cryo (Cryo Networks worked on it), was also almost finished. A ROM of the former was leaked, but Soft Brigade’s game was resurrected in other ways.
The project, which raised over $21,000 on Kickstarter, completed the game formerly called Dune: Ornithopter Assault, but said goodbye to the Dune license. It was therefore called Elland: The Crystal Wars and brought to PC by Retro Room Games, a group specialising in game preservation. Set on Elland instead of Arrakis, it’s here that the Brem-Nar crystals are mined for the galactic star cruisers. We control one of Elland Inc’s raptors and are tasked with transporting the crystal collectors to the fields and protecting them, taking out smugglers and attackers from the enemy company Trafford Corp. There are 23 stages, and you can now save anywhere; controllers are supported, handling is customisable, you can store your saves in the cloud, but the visuals can be improved a little too.
Elland: Crystal Wars will be available on Steam from October 3.