Denis Villeneuve’s Dune has been out on HBO Max and in theaters for a few weeks and has been received relatively well. And while this has been a chance for some to check out the original books or David Lynch’s bizarre 1984 film, some have taken it upon themselves to look into more obscure parts of the series’ history. Retro Room Games is trying to capitalize on this by delving into a canceled Dune shooter video game for the Game Boy Advance. The company is stripping out the Dune elements and putting it on Kickstarter as Elland: The Crystal Wars.
The Kickstarter page (that was announced in October) has a meager $7,563 goal, which it is almost assuredly going to hit because, as of this writing, it is over halfway there after just a few hours. The game, called Dune: Ornithopter Assault, was originally started in 2001 by Soft Brigade, but then was canned the following year. Retro Room Games recently secured the rights for the unfinished game and is trying to put it out as a physical Game Boy Advance game with “a case and manual and other goodies.” The studio admits that it couldn’t get the Dune license, which is why it is being stripped out.
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The game takes place on Elland, which is a harsh desert world controlled by Elland Inc. Elland Inc. mines crystals and minerals that power Galactic star cruisers build by Trafford Corporation, a company known for using its pocketbook to achieve its goals. Trafford is looking to control Elland to get its crystals. It’s not clear who exactly the player plays, but Trafford is likely the antagonist.
There are a few stretch goals that consist of a documentary featuring new and original developers, cheat codes, bonus merch, a PC port, localization, an auto-lock feature, and extra missions. Pledging $15 gets users a copy of the game and $45 guarantees players a physical copy.
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Footage for the original can still be found online, as shown in the video at the end of the article. According to Unseen64, a site that is dedicated to canceled and unseen video games, the title was nearly complete but had to be shelved because of publisher Cryo Interactive’s financial troubles. A ROM leaked online thereafter, which is why there is footage of the ill-fated piece of software.
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