The spice must flow...
Did you know that there were plans to release a Dune-based game on the GBA in the early 2000s? Hungarian studio Soft Brigade 2 was working on the flying/shooter title Dune: Ornithopter Assault back in 2001, but the game never saw release, as publisher Cryo Interactive cancelled the game in 2022. Now 20 years later, the project has gotten a second lease on life through a different name…and platform.
Dune: Ornithopter Assault has been renamed Elland : The Crystal Wars, and it’s actually seen release on Steam! While names and certain visuals have been changed to avoid copyright issues, the rest of the game remains unchanged from how it was on the GBA. In other words, the game’s Dune origins are very easy to see in this version.
Elland, a harsh desert world on the outskirts of the Galaxy. With nothing but scant indigenous life, the planet is controlled by the cooperative Elland Inc, which mines the abundant minerals and crystals used in the construction of Galactic star cruisers. The mining operations and the abundance of Brem-Nar Crystals have transformed Elland from a dusty wasteland into a glittering and much envied prize.
Notorious for its precipitation, the neighboring world of Mank is home to the headquarters of the Trafford Corporation, the largest constructor of space cruisers and weapons in the Galaxy. Trafford is infamously aggressive, using it’s financial muscle and military power to always get what it wants. At this moment in time it wants to control Elland and it will use all and any resources to get what it wants.
You are Ethan Lancashire, one of the finest of Elland Inc.’s fighter pilots. 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.
Again, this title is available on Steam right now. Unfortunately, we have no idea if a Switch version is in the works. Either way, it’s nice to see a cancelled GBA title get a second lease on life!