Canceled Dune: Ornithopter Assault Launches 20 Years Later, Called Elland: The Crystal Wars

The canceled Dune: Ornithopter Assault was just released under the name Elland: The Crystal Wars, ending a nearly 20 year wait. The game had to be shelved after the developer, Soft Brigade, lost a business partner to bankruptcy, Cryo Interactive. Dune: Ornithopter Assault would have put players in the role of a pilot flying for House Atreides on the planet Arrakis.

Having raised over $20,000 on Kickstarter, Dune: Ornithopter Assault has now finally received an official release in the form of Elland: The Crystal Wars by Retro Room, a company specialized in game preservation.

“In 2001, development began on an ambitious Game Boy Advance game based on a popular franchise,” Retro Room explains. “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, albeit without the original franchise license. Experience the game now in this enhanced, emulated version.”

Retro Room had to make some adjustments to the game on account of not being able to secure a license to the source material, most notably changing the name. Rather than Arrakis, players explore Elland, a “harsh desert world on the outskirts of the galaxy.”

The developer explains that “with nothing but scant indigenous life, the planet is controlled by the cooperative Elland Incorporated which mines the abundant minerals and crystals used in the construction of Galactic Star Cruisers. The mining operations and the abundance of crystals have transformed Elland from a dusty wasteland into a glittering and much envied prize.” Players have to defend these from the Trafford Corporation, described as the “largest constructor of Space Cruisers and weapons in the galaxy.” The company is “infamously aggressive, using its financial muscle and military power to always get what it wants.”

Elland: The Crystal Wars features a total of 23 levels. The game also includes a number of modern improvements like the ability to save anywhere along with controller support, cloud saves, and image scaling. Elland: The Crystal Wars can be found on Steam.

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