Passion for money, Myrshnik, legal issues and the East Village
Right. Time to answer a few of the many questions that have piled up in the past few months.
I’m sorry but I have to get this out. What the hell are you doing with The Longest Journey and Dreamfall?! Is it really going to take another 6-7 years for you guys to finish another chapter? I know you’ve used the excuse of being involved with other games, several times but C’MON! We, the fans made you famous, we bought and loved your game. And to repay us, you (possibly) kill April, leave the story unfinished and say there might be TLJ2? Awsome. When? 2045? Cool, I’ll be dead by then. Oh well, would’ve been nice to see the story end in my life-time but clearly you’ve got more passion for money than art.
Well, to the extent that I have to eat and pay my mortgage and buy clothes for my daughter – then yes, I have more passion for money than art.
Right now, most of the core Dreamfall team is working on The Secret World, a game that we’re very passionate about. Art or not, we really believe in the universe we’re creating and we feel it’s going to be a truly original and engaging online game. We wouldn’t be making it otherwise.
When I have a moment, I play around with the designs and stories for other games. Including one that features a bird named Crow, an assassin named Kian and a very exciting new heroine…
We’re constantly discussing the future of Dreamfall and The Longest Journey, and once we have the time, the people and the funding in place, we’ll get cracking.
And I don’t think you’ll have to wait until 2045.
I apologize to email you directly. I\’ve googled and searched everything I could manage to think of. Several years ago I read your Anarchy Online book “Prophet without Honour”. I think of it fondly and thought I would re-read it. When I open it again I notice that it says, \”Book One\”. zomg – is there a book 2?!
That was the plan – but unfortunately there isn’t and there won’t be. I do have the first couple of chapters lying around somewhere, I think, but they’re not particularly relevant any more.
As I’ve said before on several occasions, Anarchy Online ended up going in a different direction than first intended, and that’s fine – that’s how these things work. The players dictate, not the storytellers, and I never had time to sit down and try to revise the original storyline to accommodate the changes.
If, at some point in the distant future, we decide to reboot the universe – something I’d love to do – I might dig up the original ideas and revisit them. But that’s not going to happen any time soon. Would be fun, though. Would be tons of fun.
I am a 21 year old Film Student, who has recently become mesmerized in the world of “The Longest Journey.” I’m sure you’ve received more than enough praise for your well developed characters and complex narrative, but it was a little off-hand remark by Crow that really struck a chord with me.
The simple phrase, “It’s a Myrshnik-eat-Myrshnik world out there… and only the strongest Myrshnik survives” was so charming and quaint. I’ve never seen a Myrshnik. I know nothing of a Myrshnik. But for some reason, out of this grand adventure, that is what stuck with me the most.
So I was wondering what the rights are to the word “Myrshnik” and the accompanying phrase? I know this must be a rather odd request, but I first want to say thank you for at least reading this and I hope to hear from you soon!
I’m not sure how this works, but the exact quote from Dreamfall is protected by copyright, and if used in any commercial context probably has to be attributed as such. As for the word ‘Myrshnik’ – it’s a creature in the TLJ universe, but it’s also, Google informs me, a surname used by one person only (at least he’s the only one on the internet). I’m not particularly bothered if someone else chooses the use the word, but our legal department may disagree.
Without getting into any quagmire here, companies are required to protect their copyrights or they might lose their rights to such properties or assets – and now I’m starting to sound like a lawyer, so I’ll stop. I’m not the right person to ask, really.
Which leads directly into the next one:
We are a small indie team from Romania.
A while ago, we started working on a small CRPG set in the TLJ world.
Initially it was supposed to be a small, free game, and we were not a legally registered company.
However, the project started to grow, and now we have a full design document based on the world and a nearly complete inhouse game engine.
The questions I want to ask you are: Would there be any legal problems if we were to decide to make the game commercial?
If there were to be any problems, would there be any way to overcome them? (the game would be a low budget production).
Again: not a lawyer and I can’t speak for our legal department – or indeed for Funcom – but yes, there would certainly be legal problems if you make the game commercial. It’s illegal to take someone else’s work and profit from it.
Personally, I would have nothing against fan-made games based on TLJ or Dreamfall as long as they were released for free – but again, I can only speak for myself. I don’t own the rights to those properties, and I wouldn’t be able to make (and profit from) a game set in that universe or using those characters. That’s the way of things, like it or not, and without those rights publishers and developers would have a hard time surviving.
As for overcoming those problems – you might want to try contacting Funcom’s business development or marketing departments and let them know what you’re doing.
How do you start writing/developing stuff? I try my very best (maybe not my very) to go and start something, to rip a piece of imaginative thought from my brain and translate it to ink on paper (or pixels on a screen), but I have yet to actually start something. I seem to ‘trip’, or get sidetracked by the act of writing it down, that whatever it was that I wanted to tell becomes static and eventually shimmers away into unexistence.
How do you do it? How do you think up your idea and successfully write/type down in its entirety?
Most of my ideas end up as just that – ideas. Locked away in notebooks and text files, unfulfilled dreams lost to the ages. But also, most of them aren’t very good and don’t deserve to live.
It’s a difficult question to answer. Having an idea is the easy part. Making something of that idea – a story, a drawing, a song, a game – that’s the difficult part. Creativity is, like most other things, 5% inspiration and 95% hard work. If you want to be a writer you have to write. You have to finish things. You have to see it through, even when it sucks.
I’m lucky in that I have very clear guidelines and a specific outlet for my creativity. We’re making a game and that game has to be finished, regardless of how inspired I feel, which forces me to be ‘creative’ and Get Stuff Done even when I’m not feeling particularly productive. Deadlines are good. Other people are good, too, which is why (almost) everyone needs collaborators and editors. Most of us need to be challenged in order to stop procrastinating.
But more on this in another blog post. Yes, there will be more blog posts.
I wonder if you’d be willing to talk very briefly about accessibility in TSW for gamers with handicaps like limited dexterity, vision or hearing problems. Not an interview, per se, just a blurb.
I have to admit that we haven’t given it much thought. When it comes to vision, I think it’ll be hard to make The Secret World playable for anyone who can’t see what’s going on. Hearing shouldn’t be a huge problem, seeing as the audio isn’t – in most cases (and Simon P. will kill me for saying this) – absolutely critical to the gameplay. Limited dexterity? That depends. The game will require some degree of dexterity, especially in combat, but I hope we can make it possible to play the game – in some form – using only one hand. It probably won’t be optimal, but perhaps serviceable. Perhaps.
I saw online (wikepedia) that you may have attended NYU in the early 90’s and I wanted to know if this was true!
The Longest Journey was an incredible game that was suprisingly deep, rich with atmosphere, and one of the last great adventure games in a genre that I fear is on the slow tread to extenction. While playing the game over the summer during school, I felt that you had a strong sense of what it was like living, and studying, art in a big city (particularly new york city/east village), and I wanted to know if you drew on your experiences in New York for the setting and characters in the game.
I did attend the NYU Film School in the early 90s, and yes, New York City in general and the East Village in particular was a huge influence on The Longest Journey. Venice is, for all intents and purposes, the Village; both from an architectural point of view and from a social and humanistic point of view. I lived in the neighbourhood for three years (plus one year on the Upper East Side, and I missed the atmosphere of downtown) and it’s probably my favourite place on Earth.
I wouldn’t say I’ve met the people portrayed in the game, but they do draw on my own experiences living in NYC.
EDIT: Headline, to reflect that ‘myrshnik’ is both singular AND plural. Thanks, TLJwiki. You’re my number one resource whenever I need to dig into my own convoluted lore. Keep it up!