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Definitely not indefinite

October 11th, 2009

The Black HouseSeveral of you have asked me about the following statement, made by Funcom’s Director of Communications in a recent interview:

“Actually, we have put the development of the Dreamfall Chapters on indefinite hold. We might pick them up again, but there are no plans for that as of now.”

Which, admittedly, doesn’t sound good.

Since Funcom’s PR and marketing department is focused on the immediate to near future, however – and on our big deep-into-production titles like Age of Conan’s expansion pack and The Secret World – their wording will obviously reflect that. Dreamfall is, admittedly, small fry compared with our MMORPG behemoths. At least in terms of scope, cost and potential revenue.

The truth is, while Dreamfall Chapters is on hold right now, it’s temporary, not indefinite, and there are most certainly plans to continue as soon as it’s viable to do so. I’m just one person, but when I have the spare time, I tinker with the design, story and characters for the episodic continuation to Dreamfall. And the moment it makes sense to do so, we’ll put together a team and start production.

So do not abandon hope! We have every intention of returning to the universe and to reward our fans with a fitting continuation – and eventual conclusion – to the saga.

Ragnar Dreamfall , ,

  1. Nictel
    October 11th, 2009 at 13:51 | #1

    Please just make sure Funcom doesn’t make the same mistakes with TSW as it did with Conan. I guess Dreamfall is a project that has little revenue and as such isn’t high on the priorities list. I understand, Funcom is a business, still there must be ways to increase Dreamfall Chapters’ potential. Perhaps a remake of the both with improved graphics and removal of other (combat) imperfections combined into one game?

    If all else fails; how much will it cost to get a 51% share in Funcom? ;-P

  2. Nictel
    October 11th, 2009 at 13:54 | #2

    [/lack of edit button] In any case I am happy to see you’re still behind the idea of continuing the Dreamfall saga.

  3. October 11th, 2009 at 16:29 | #3

    We will await the Dreamfall´s new chapters, just as we expect TSW. I hope the crisis will not delay them too much (I must admit that the community is a little worried in that sense). Anyway we believe in both projects because we believe in people working in them. So do not lose hope.

  4. orakel78
    October 11th, 2009 at 18:25 | #4

    “and eventual conclusion”

    And I was hoping that I could eventually take my TSW character and wander the worlds of Arcadia and Stark still working to keep the balance :)

  5. October 11th, 2009 at 20:12 | #5

    Thank you!

  6. fantasy
    October 11th, 2009 at 20:49 | #6

    Thank you for such good fairy-tale.With impatience I wait continuation

  7. Glottis
    October 12th, 2009 at 07:02 | #7

    Wow I’m glad you posted and explained that comment here. It still worries me but if I had read it elsewhere, without your reassurances, it would have ruined my day..

  8. Padme
    October 12th, 2009 at 13:50 | #8

    As weird as that sounds, I’m actually glad to hear that.
    After all, if Dreamfall Chapters were being made right now, I’d have no chance to join all you amazing guys in Oslo and participate! :)

  9. brianpoetzel
    October 12th, 2009 at 22:23 | #9

    That is really disappointing, even if it is only temporary. Temporary in the game business can be a very long time.

  10. Grishmak
    October 13th, 2009 at 05:10 | #10

    That sounds really fun :D . And while i only saw this from your Blog Mr. Tornquist, glad to hear ‘indefinite’ does not always mean FOREVER! ever, er, r….

  11. Uroboros
    October 14th, 2009 at 09:45 | #11

    Well here’s hoping that Dreamfall Chapters (or some incarnation) DOES see the light of day. Else there will be a large group of unhappy people.

    I hope that Funcom realizes that regardless of where their priorities are now; there is pre-existing fan base anxiously awaiting the continuation of something they’re already played and are sold on.

  12. October 15th, 2009 at 19:21 | #12

    Good the hear… read.

    If it all fails, maybe there’s some interrest in continuing the saga in cooperation with TelltaleGames? ^_~

  13. kayakfoster
    October 15th, 2009 at 21:47 | #13

    I cannot share your optimism. To me on hold means “most likely dead”.1 Dreamfall Chapters being resurrected at later time is a puzzling concept since its illogical from the business perspective.

    1 Dreamfall failed (sales, criticism) not only because of lack of funding and other issues but also because the game was released too late. A game that is released almost 10 years after the original is likely to lose fans, not gain them. People grow up, move on and even die. If the game is a direct continuation of the story, this wont work because this will not attract any new players. Existing fan base is likely to deplete.
    2 In game industry, “on hold” usually means cancelled. Look at Starcraft Ghost. The gaming landscape may change in a certain future but it will not likely be radically different. Starkraft developers knew they are not very competitive in shooters but they surely make good strategies. Our interests fluctuate between coke and pepsi but fundamental preferences stay intact.
    3 Funcom clearly puts all of its investments into online games. The company is suffering financially and Dreamfall demonstrated that meager investment = meager revenues. Funcom did not even allocate decent customer support for dreamfall and made a patch to adress many technical issues! This isnt just bad customer service. It also shows that financially priorities are in different areas. Dreamfall lost money for funcom and was a huge risk. A part of the failure of the game is the poor funding allocated. Dreamfall feels cheap, partly due to the small funding allocated to the game. Funcom is now tied to Age of Conan and that new Online game and cannot abandon the MMO ship. In this financial restructing, adventure games are more a relic rather than a realistic financial decision.

    In short, Dreamfall is dead. Thankfully, its not called Longest Journey (the good game) and will likely be forgotten.

  14. liewe
    October 16th, 2009 at 14:40 | #14

    Hello Uroboros,
    I agree. I’m going to be one of the unhappy people if there won’t be a Dreamfall Chapters. It was already difficult dealing with April’s “death” and the cliffhanger ending in Dreamfall. I really hope that Dreamfall Chapters brings April back. I feel that her story is unfinished.

  15. October 18th, 2009 at 17:26 | #15

    I can totally relate. When I worked as a writer/director at an animation studio, one of my main criteria for taking the job was to see my short film get made there. Eventually, funding fell through and I ended up directing some TV commercials and working on other stuff that really didn’t interest me as a storyteller. I left after a while when I realized we’ll never be able to acquire funding for my film again.

    I can tell that the TLJ/Dreamfall universe is very special to you–it’s your baby. Over the years, I’ve found that having to depend on others to get my creative vision realized is a very painful thing–others often will let you down, or things just don’t work out. So, my question to you is, if Funcom keeps pushing Dreamfall Episodes back, would you eventually try to continue the saga via another creative medium–perhaps a novel, a graphic novel, or something else?

    I’m a huge fan of the TLJ/Dreamfall universe, and even though I’d love to see you continue the saga in some other medium than never to see the saga conclude, I do wonder if the story told through other mediums would interest me as much. There’s something very specific and compelling about the feeling be being immersed in a game world, where you’re witnessing the unfolding of a story, but also participating in it as well. A novel or film or comic book just doesn’t have the same kind of magic (but they have their own unique advantages).

    BTW, have you ever been exposed to Visual Novels? They are like very simple adventure games, but without any game mechanics other than making choices in dialog trees and also story paths. I think it could be a very good alternative to expensive full-blown AAA production for a story-heavy premise that does not need to rely on game mechanics in order to be compelling. I’m wondering if the Dreamfall saga could be continued in Visual Novel format.

  16. liewe
    October 23rd, 2009 at 08:28 | #16

    I can’t agree that it would be good to release Dreamfall:Chapters in any other medium. This is my reason: I personally feel that the different storytelling mediums are like apples and oranges. Take this analogy: if the story universe were like a fruit bowl and games, novels, graphic novels, comics, movies, and theatre were the fruit inside the bowl (I’m sure you can also put interpretive dance in there somewhere), one wouldn’t pick an apple if they really wanted an orange. Sure, it’s all fruit. But eating an orange is a different experience from eating an apple.

    I feel that Dreamfall:Chapters as a novel would be very unsatisfactory for the reader, particularly for an educated reader. I know that the amount of research put into Dreamfall is equal to the amount of research put into a good novel, and there are many novels that use the hero’s journey as a model too, but novels have different storytelling techniques. People expecting the type of immersion found in a game are not likely to be satisfied by the type of immersion one gets from reading a novel… and vice versa.

    Novel writing is a completely different art form to the more visual mediums of games and film. Perhaps the graphic novel, which is sort of like a combination of short story and visual art, might be able to effectively approximate the gaming experience. But then again, I think not. And also, it probably wouldn’t work unless Ragnar were working in collaboration with someone like… Neil Gaiman. But it would seem like a derivative product rather than a continuation of the story.

    So for those reasons, it is very important that Ragnar has all the luck in the world and is able to make Dreamfall:Chapters as a game. I really enjoyed the witty dialogue in TLJ and the unexpected outcomes in Dreamfall. Also, while I have read that many people complained about the cliffhanger ending in Dreamfall, I do see potential for Funcom to continue to make money from TLJ franchise; maybe create a series of games around the characters introduced in TLJ and Dreamfall. I don’t think April’s story is finished. But neither are the stories for Helena (who, I feel, made a “Sophie’s Choice” type decision when she put Zoe in a coma), Zoe, Kian, Cortez, or Brian Westhouse. And whatever happened to Zack from TLJ? He was a terrible person, but I would still like to know if something happened to him. [Sorry, I don't remember if anything happened to him at the end of TLJ because I played that game so long ago]. Dreamfall:Chapters would have to be a very long game to answer all the questions left hanging when Dreamfall ended. If Dreamfall:Chapters never comes out (because of funding or because one of the primary voice actors falls ill or a disagreement over platforms, etc… whatever), I will first have a little tantrum, then a little rant, and then I will think it for the best because I trust that Ragnar would rather release nothing than release an inferior product.

    Sorry to be such a fussbudget. I’m doing a creative writing PhD, so I’m very… umm… particular about this “let’s make it a novel” sort of thing. :-)

    P.S. I hope, if a film is made of TLJ or Dreamfall, the actors are unknowns. I don’t like the idea of an established film identity playing an established game identity. There will be too much baggage transfer.

  17. October 23rd, 2009 at 18:55 | #17

    Thanks for the update, Ragnar, even though it didn’t do anything to satisfy my cravings. ;)

    Dreamfall is not dead, how could anyone say that? It lives on within us, cheesy as it may sound. Sure, I can only talk for myself of course. People who like Dreamfall may do so for different reasons — some simply enjoy playing a mostly classical adventure with a good story, others relate to the characters on an emotional level. Me, I’m especially enthralled by the whole Dreaming that encompasses everything. It is the beauty of imagination given shape which I enjoy on various levels. In the context of the Dreaming, Death is relatively powerless as far as I’m concerned.

    And even if, even if Dreamfall really ended in a sad cliffhanger that held on for all eternity, was it not totally worth the experience? I have many favorite games, some of which I’ve replayed because they were so good. I have never replayed Dreamfall. Why? Because I didn’t have to. Because I can still see everything I experienced before my inner eye, like a very fond memory. Memories fade. This doesn’t. Isn’t it strange?

    I’m always on the lookout for similar, dreamlike things. Sandman by Neil Gaiman was the closest I found. Oo, it was glorious! Maybe Brian Westhouse is in truth Dream from the Endless? I’d love it if Neil and Ragnar could cooperate somehow. An animated series that goes in this direction and looks very promising is Illuminated (google for “illuminated full length”), but I’m not sure about its status.

    @Lunatique: Ragnar did say that if it ever became clear that there would never be a continuation to Dreamfall, he’d pull his leg out to get the rest of the story (stories?) out there, one way or another. Hope I didn’t exaggerate, my memory [i]can[/i] be fuzzy sometimes. Often.
    Oh, hey, you are the one who made that Princess Ruu picture? Love it!

    @liewe: I agree that Dreamfall: Chapters should be in game form. And I’m very patient. However, generally speaking I’d also very much like to know more about the world of Stark and Arcadia, so … anything. Please? :)

  18. liewe
    October 24th, 2009 at 08:01 | #18

    @LikeDreams: What you said is true. Even if I never played Dreamfall again (and I will, especially if they release TLJ, Dreamfall, and Chapters as a box set) the story tends to stick with you. It sticks in your mind to the detriment of other things you need to be thinking about – ha ha. In fact, last night I was thinking about what I wrote here and I think perhaps an animated feature film about TLJ, Dreamfall, and Chapters would be great. But I’m still adamant that I won’t like a feature film with live actors. I mean, I don’t want my April Ryan to look like Evangeline Lily (sorry, Ragnar). Now I’m off to google “illuminated full length”. Thanks!

  19. October 27th, 2009 at 03:16 | #19

    @liewe: Like, reading mind regarding “boxed set”. With TLJ being many years past, there exists a whole generation of people who have since discovered the joys of *quality* adventure gaming, and for which TLJ (and Dreamfall, for that matter) would still be a “new” experience. Its all in how it is marketed (in the profitability calculation). If a boxed set included some “nice” peripheral elements, say a color booklet with selected character bios and some choice screen-caps, I think it could be highly salable – but up-front expenditures in major mags is critical, and consequent timing that does not disappoint and frustrate.

    Please please please – if Funcom does not see the potential here, I hope they spin it off to some entity that does.

  20. Uroboros
    October 31st, 2009 at 07:55 | #20

    kayakfoster, Dreamfall likely forgotten? I hope not!

    Now I suppose that compared to The Longest Journey one can say that Dreamfall doesn’t succeed as well as an adventure game. On the other hand I think it succeeds VERY well as another chapter in the saga of the characters that appear in both “games”. And I’m willing to bet that the main reason most of us want there to be another chapter is for the story and not to just have another adventure game to play

  1. October 11th, 2009 at 17:20 | #1
  2. October 11th, 2009 at 18:57 | #2
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