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The GBA’s Unreleased ‘Dune’ Game Is Being Revived, Minus The IP Rights

Dune Not Dune
Image: The Retro Room Games

If you happen to have Nintendo’s retro handhelds in your collection, there are still multiple interesting releases and projects emerging. The latest to pop up is Elland: The Crystal Wars for Game Boy Advance, a game that publisher The Retro Room Games is reviving minus a famous IP.

Originally, way back in 2002, it was a GBA game that was pretty much finished but got cancelled due to the financial issues of its publisher Cryo Interactive, which was no doubt a source of huge disappointment for developer Soft Brigade (hat-tip to Unseen64). At that point it was called Frank Herbert’s Dune: Ornithopter Assault, licensed to use characters and settings from the iconic novel; no doubt you’ve seen a lot about the latest film version in the media, too. It was a flying / shooter with over 20 stages, and even had some multiplayer modes for use with the portable’s link cable.

Now after around 20 years The Retro Room Games has acquired rights to the title, but evidently couldn’t renew or acquire the Dune IP; as a result the game is being re-tooled with some visual and script tweaks to remove specific Dune references. Hence the new name, and for those that have always wanted a chance to own the cancelled game this looks like the best option to get an actual cartridge and ‘complete’ version.

It should be noted that, in the past, it’s been highlighted to us that projects like this – acquiring lapsed rights and retooling older games – aren’t always approved of by the original creative teams. There’s certainly a perspective that the work of the original team at Soft Brigade, which was no doubt keen to work on a licensed Dune game, should be left alone.

Either way, with the rights being in place minus the Dune IP the game will be coming to GBA in the future, assuming there’s sufficient funding and orders – a Kickstarter page is due to go live.

If you want to see what this one’s all about, Unseen64’s archive footage of the original build is below.

Let us know what you think of the project, as always, in the comments.

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