20 years after Dune: Ornithoper Assault stopped development, the game will be released on Steam under the name Elland: The Crystal Wars.
The influential Dune series was originally going to be expanded in 2001 with an offshoot for the Gameboy Advance called Ornithoper Assault. However, financial difficulties of the then publishing house Cryo Interactive Entertainment, which eventually led to bankruptcy in 2002, led to the cessation of development work. Last year, Hungarian development studio Soft Brigade secured the rights to the Ornithoper Assault code, but had to relinquish its Dune naming license.
For the Kickstarter campaign that started after that, the title was rebranded as Elland: The Crystal Wars, which can now celebrate its release on Steam. The publisher Retro Room Games is responsible for this, which in their own words sees their most important task in preserving older games. As the company explains on the official Steam page of Elland: The Crystal Wars, the Dune spin-off is “finally seeing the light of day after twenty years.”
Elland: The Crystal Wars itself not only had to work on the name due to the lack of a Dune license, the setting is also different. Instead of the familiar planet Arrakis, the retro game is set on the eponymous world Elland, which, analogous to the source material, is supposed to represent a “rugged desert world on the edge of the galaxy”. Retro Room Games promises more than 20 varied missions in the flight simulation, which are equipped in different aircraft, each with its own equipment adapted to the task.
The game itself runs as a GBA emulation, which, according to the publisher, supports common features. Most conventional gamepads should work as a control option and can be configured completely manually. Memory levels can also be loaded and saved at any time. In addition, the image resolution must be scaled up from the 240 x 160 pixel format of the Gameboy Advance to modern formats.