A canceled GameBoy Advance game set in the Dune universe has finally been released twenty years later.
As spotted by Twitter account The SpaceshipperDune: Ornithopter Assault has been released on Steam as Elland: The Crystal Wars.
“Elland: The Crystal Wars will be released today on Steam,” they said. “This Game Boy Advance game was developed by Hungarian studio Soft Brigade 2 decades ago as Dune: Ornithopter Assault, before being canceled by Cryo Interactive in 2002. This is an unexpected return!”
Elland: The Crystal Wars ↖↗ will be released today on Steam.
This Game Boy Advance game was developed by Hungarian studio Soft Brigade 2 decades ago as Dune: Ornithopter Assault ↙↘, before being canceled by Cryo Interactive in 2002.
This is an unexpected return! pic.twitter.com/w9ap9Kfnxo
— The Spaceshipper 🚀 (@TheSpaceshipper) October 3, 2022
Dune: Ornithopter Assault was originally developed for the GameBoy Advance with gameplay focusing on the iconic ornithopters from Frank Herbert’s Dune universe. Unfortunately, the game was sheltered in 2002 with most of the game completed and all of the missions completable.
Here’s the game’s original synopsis (via unseen64):
“Trained by Gurney Halleck, the most efficient and honored officer of the House of Atreides, you are going to become a specialist in piloting and fighting ornithopters. Involved in all-out war for the spice, you must surpass all of your flying skill to survive the fall of the House of Atreides and help Paul and the Fremen in their fight for Arrakis.”
The game would have featured more than 20 different missions, including escort duties, guarding, destroying troops and vehicles, and capturing vehicles and spice supplies. It also included five solo and multiplayer modes using link cables.
Now, however, the game has been adapted into something else… though it does sound rather familiar.
“You are Ethan Lancashire, one of the finest of Elland Inc.’s fighter pilots,” reads the game’s Steam description. “Across more than 20 dangerous missions you will pilot advanced flying machines that can move, turn and hover, and come equipped with a variety of weapons and utilities, fitted as the mission requires. Weapons can be set to lock-on or aimed manually.”
Switching up Arrakis to become Elland, the game sounds almost identical to the original. Even the ornithopters have simply been redesigned as “raptors”.
“As an ace raptor pilot, protect the Gatherers as they harvest the precious Crystal from the remote desert world of Elland from the vicious forces of the Trafford Corporation.”
The game is available to download now via Steam, where the store page also gives its own account of Elland’s history: “In 2001, development began on an ambitious Game Boy Advance game based on a popular franchise. Maybe the project was a little too ambitious , because it was canceled in 2002 and the team walked away. Twenty years later, this game finally sees the light of day, albiet without the original franchise license. Experience the game now in this enhanced, emulated version.”
Want to read more about Dune? Check out what we know about Dune: Awakening, the recently announced Dune survival game, as well as our review of this year’s Dune: Spice Wars strategy game. As for the movies, check out the upcoming Dune prequel show’s latest castings as well as the latest Dune 2 plot details.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.