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Why Funcom didn't give Dune: Awakening an 'endowment slider' like Conan Exiles

 A base on a sandy planet.
A base on a sandy planet.

Back before survival MMO Dune: Awakening was a glint in Funcom's eye, the Norwegian studio was working on another multiplayer open world survival game: Conan Exiles. The gritty survival sandbox had a lot going for it, like a base building system, bloody combat, and a punishing survival experience, but there was one feature in particular that caught everyone's eye.

Conan Exiles had a… well, the game labels it "endowment" but we wound up informally calling it a "dong slider." In character creation, you could change the size of your character's penis (if they had one) from demi to venti, if you catch my drift, and all the sizes in between. What's more, your character's junk was fully physics enabled: when you jumped up and down while naked, your package would jiggle and shake and bounce around. It was quite the sight.

The revelation about the game's genital physics blew up, and I'm not exaggerating: our story about Conan Exile's endowment slider was our biggest news story of 2017, and a tweet where I demonstrated the slider with a video clip was still getting likes and retweets months later.

So when I attended a Dune: Awakening gameplay presentation at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, and got my first look at the MMO's extensive character creation system… I just had to ask. Eventually, I mean. It took me a while to work up the nerve, but I finally popped the question to Dune: Awakening's executive producer, Scott Junior.

That's not one of the main, I would say… pillars of the IP.

"Conan Exiles famously had a genitals slider in character creation," I asked. "I didn't see one in Dune. Why don't you have one?"

"Ah," Junior said. "So, Dune's not as… sexy? As Conan Exiles. That's not one of the main, I would say… pillars of the IP. So we want to focus more on the Dune things than what we were doing in Conan Exiles."

"Did you at any point consider it?" I asked, cognizant of the fact that I didn't have quite enough to justify writing a story—this story—about it later. "Did you talk to the Herbert estate and say 'Can we put in… adjustable genitals?"

"I do not believe so," Junior said. "It was a pretty conscious decision at the start to focus more on Dune than the savage, sexy world of Conan."

Sci-fi character from Dune
Sci-fi character from Dune

Fair enough. As a consolation prize, I can report that the character creation system in Dune: Awakening does look otherwise pretty extensive. There are sliders for everything from arm and leg thickness to neck length to freckles density. Just for your character's eyes alone I saw a half dozen sliders: for iris and pupil size, eye height, width, and angle, and even the degree of "eye squint" and "sclera tint," not to mention makeup options for eyeliner and eyeshadow.

But a slider for dongs? Not in this universe.