Cry Me A Riverwood: Dreamfall Chapters Footage

By Adam Smith on February 15th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

The Dreamfall Chapters Kickstarter is closing in on $800,000 and that means it’s time for the announcement of stretch goals. The first will be unlocked at $900,000 and there’s an image below that may contain a clue, as well as details on the rest. Last night’s update also included the first footage of the current prototype, which shows a placeholder Zoe avatar, still wearing her old threads, exploring the Riverwood environment shown in the image above (click to embiggen). It’s early footage but attractive – far more intriguing than the trees and the flowers is the first look at the ‘hybrid’ interface. Third person movement, with freedom to explore, and a cursor for interaction.

The game isn’t due until November 2014 so this is but an early taste.

The first stretch goal image is hiding behind this link. Tense your mind as you attempt to decipher its devious coded message. At $950,000, the Loremaster is unlocked and it sounds like content I’d like to see:

…includes the Great Library of Marcuria (rebuilt in secrecy, of course), a fully-voiced librarian character, and tons of books, documents, ancient parchments and tomes of lore in-game for players to read, explore and dig into!

Not many people know this, but Proteus originally contained something similar but it was removed at the last minute because the frog lore was too upsetting and really killed the game’s mood. Probably.

The stretch goals run all the way up to $2,000,000, which used to seem like a preposterous amount of money until the financial crisis made anything less than a billion seem like change lost down the back of a sofa. There are already details on the million dollar target, which will allow for new locations, characters and side stories. I’m always a little dubious about that sort of target – if it’s important to the story and world, it should be there and if it isn’t, I’m not all that interested. But I’m the sort of person who thinks almost every deleted scene ever shoved on a DVD or Blu-ray should have stayed on a cutting room floor. What’s the digital equivalent of a cutting room floor? A recycle bin? Is there no romance left in this intangible world?

Oh, there’s also the not-so-small matter of the final goal:

We’re also revealing a little teaser for our ultimate stretch goal. The $2 million mark will introduce The Longest Journey Home. Exactly what that last one means, we won’t reveal quite yet. We want to get a little bit closer before we’ll let the secret out of the bag, but feel free to speculate in the comments!

I’m really not sure what that might be so I’m going to raise expectations unrealistically by hoping for a remake of the previous games using the Dreamfall Chapters engine.

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37 Comments »

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  1. Shantara says:

    $50.000 for Mac and Linux versions? Isn’t this a bit too much, considering they are building the whole thing on a cross-platform Unity engine? I understand that testing takes time and resources, but still…

    >$2,0000,000
    You may want to remove one of those zeroes.

    • Adam Smith says:

      Ahem. Zero removed. Ta muchly.

    • povu says:

      They were probably planning on porting it anyway since it’s apparently fairly easy with Unity. So they just turned it into a stretch goal 50K above the money they need, just for our ‘achievement unlocked’ satisfaction.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      stretch goals are made as incentives for us to pledge extra money…. not as actual money needed to create it…

    • Doreen_Young says:

      my roomate’s sister makes $69 an hour on the internet. She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her pay check was $14977 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site… http://www.snag4.com

  2. GhostBoy says:

    The 2M goal is very unlikely to be a remake. Firstly the IP is owned by Funcom, not Red Thread games, and secondly in the recent reddit AMA Ragnar said specifically that even if that were not the case, they are more interested in making new stories than retelling old ones.

    Were I a gamling man, I’d put some money on The Longest Hourney Home being the launching pad for the next cycle of the Dreamfall world. Ragner has talked about how this game concludes The Dreaming cycle (aka Zoës story), but that more than suggest that there are other cycles with stories to be told. Alternately it could be something about letting you play through what happened to April between TLJs end and Dreamfalls beginning.

    The “Longer game” goal has me very pleased. They mentioned in interviews that reaching 850K would allow them to make a game of about 10-ish hours (assuming you don’t faff about). While probably enough to wrap up the main plot properly, it seems rather short for a game with this many side stories itching to be told. These may not be necessary to tell the main plot in a satisfactory manner, but I think especially us patient veterans of the first two games will enjoy seeing as much as possible to conclusion, not just the main plot.

    • povu says:

      Also all the money should be going to creating Dreamfall Chapters, they can’t just take some money aside for a different project. The Longest Journey has some spectacular pixelated views, recreating that can’t be cheap.

  3. Vorphalack says:

    ”We’re also revealing a little teaser for our ultimate stretch goal. The $2 million mark will introduce The Longest Journey Home.”

    Translated:

    ”Back us up to $2million and we will actually provide closure this time, instead of leaving you hanging for 5 years!”

    • solidsquid says:

      Considering the whole company was formed largely to produce a sequel to Dreamfall, it seems likely (if the game succeeds and they can keep using the licence from FunCom) that they will continue to produce them

      • Vorphalack says:

        I know, I was just having a spurious dig at the ages long wait we’ve had to endure while Ragnars writing talents were largely wasted on TSW. I don’t think they will actually hide a conclusive ending behind a stretch goal :p

  4. Buemba says:

    Kind of disappointed by how much the pace of pledges slowed down in the last few days. The first two or three stretch goals will undoubtly be reached before this ends, but it’s not looking good for The Longest Journey Home…

    They should try to get the TLJ/Dreamfall pack into one of the weeklong deals slots on Steam before this Kickstarter ends, that might get the series some new fans.

    • Calreth says:

      @Buemba It seems logical, given that most of the fans would have already pitched in the moment they got wind of it. Now it’s just left to the passerby who thinks it might look interesting. But yeah, Steam sales would definitely help

      • Buemba says:

        “Now it’s just left to the passerby who thinks it might look interesting.”

        True, which is why I think they choose a poor image to represent the campaign. Fans look at it and go “Sweet! It’s Zoe!” (Or “Ugh, a nose piercing?”, but either way they know it’s something they want to support) but for those who never played the games it’s just a 3D lady in front of a generic blue background – I think it looks too much like those banners and pop-ups advertising crappy free multiplayer games such as Evony.

        Dreamfall had amazing art direction and I bet Chapters will too, surely they can come up with something more attention grabbing than what they ended up with. I mean, look at The Banner Saga, I bet a really large part of the backers funded it on the strength of it’s visual style alone.

    • GhostBoy says:

      If you discount the initial surge of 400K in the first day, the pace has remained somewhere around 66K/day since then. Now, it’s a pretty big assumption to say this will hold all the way, but if it does, that should put the final total at just around the 2M mark.

      Momentum is everything in these things, and while I couldn’t give a toss about Mac or Linxu support myself, I hope getting those groups that do in early will provide a second wind of backers before the inevitable race to the finish line in the last few days. Not holding my breath for 2M though, but then I’m happy with just the 1M goal myself.

      • Buemba says:

        It seems like it’ll settle around $30k per day. Of course every project gets a huge boost near the end. which might be enough to reach 2 million.

  5. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Totally thought this was a Skyrim expansion pack for a moment and Riverwood was about to get some urban creep. Skyrim: Town Planning DLC. I want to build a mall with a Frankie and Benny’s right in the middle of Labyrinthian.

  6. ecat says:

    WONKERS !!!!!!!

    err, sorry about that old chaps and chapesses

    I think they should have named the special box set stuff the Wonkers edition, Crow edition and The Rubber Duckie but that’s why I’m not in marketing.

    Anyway, 2 million funny money does sound a long way off but we can hope. As for FM 50,000 for Linux and Mac, testing, testing, support, support, support and a little planning, that probably is about right.

    Big hugs for place holder Zoe :)

    • The First Door says:

      WONKERS!

      Although… it did make me feel bad I wasn’t allowed to play a game with him.

  7. Anguy says:

    Wonkers!

    Edit: Damn ecat beat me to it

  8. yonsito says:

    3M stretch goal: a real ending and a satisfying conclusion to the previous installment, not just another cliffhanger ending. I would defintely pay for that. ;-)

    • Winged Nazgul says:

      Not having cliffhanger endings seems kind of too much to ask for something that does, after all, have Chapters in its title.

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    DragonOfTime says:

    I’d like to point out that Ragnar has explicitly stated that he’s not interested in doing remakes.

  10. somnolentsurfer says:

    Ragnar referred to something called TLJH several times during his AMA, with the implication being that it was a future project. I’m assuming a 2D sequel to TLJ that continues April’s story directly, rather than Zoe’s: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/189al6/i_am_ragnar_tørnquist_creator_of_the_longest/c8csd50

    I’d also guess that we’re talking something similar to the “greenlight Beneath a Steal Sky 2″ stretch goal we saw on Broken Sword, rather than something that’ll be delivered with this game.

  11. clumsyandshy says:

    Talking about epic adventure game comebacks, I am still waiting for the Shenmue Kickstarter campaign. Why is it not up yet?

  12. Janto says:

    To be cynical and mean, I’ve seen nothing here that convinces me the free-roaming third-person stuff won’t hurt the story, in the same way the mobs in TSW (seemed) to hurt that game’s narrative and premise. Both TLJ and Dreamfall suffered (as stories) from games’ inability to cut out pointless interactions – I hated going to see the hacker in TLJ especially, 2 dead screens to click through that were nice for the first moment of exploartion, but tedious afterwards – never mind playing courier in Dreamfall’s Mercuria. (TLJ’s map of Mercuria was far more successful at presenting the idea of Mercuria as a real place that Dreamfall’s walkabouts. The ability to cut to people or locations would be nice, but doesn’t fix all the problems.)

    Obviously it’s the sequel to Dreamfall so it probably should be 3D, I just have bad memories of pretty much every moment of running from a to b in Dreamfall, and how much it sucked out my interest in the story. Now if Zoe swapped martial arts for parkour, and you had Prince of Persia type environment puzzles/movement – but it’s not going to happen. A well animated and reactive character could do a lot here as well, I suppose, something that responds to running full-tilt into a wall – but again, you’re talking Euphoria engine stuff, not Unity.

    • The First Door says:

      Ah, I know what you mean about the hacker in TLJ. Once I found and turned on the ‘time skip’ option they added in at some point, I was much happier about going to see him.

      It’s a problem in many point and click games, I’ve found. Just let me double click on the exit to leave!

    • Siamese Almeida says:

      Ahh, I can see I’m not the only one whose thoughts immediately went there. It’s very naive of them to think that they can create an effortless point&click UI while forcing us to run back and forth in the midst of complex puzzles. They think they’re bolstering exploration but they’re actually suffocating it. Every time I think I have a bright idea about a solution to a puzzle, I shudder to think of all the running I’ll have to do to try it out.

      TLJ was fine this regard. You could interrupt all running animations by pressing ESC and so quickly moving from point A to B wasn’t a nightmare like it was in Dreamfall. It was still a nuisance having to reach for your keyboard, but better than all that completely unnecessary WASD-ing.

      What’s this big problem with fixed camera angles? Why is there a stigma against it? Why is it considered “outdated” while clunky “contemporary” third person movement is preferable simply because it’s more in line with games that have nothing to do with the point&click genre in the first place? I never felt shackled in old school p&c adventures or wanted to see things from a different angle. Through skillful framing, fixed angles only made me appreciate the environments more.

      I hate to be cynical, but I think the insistence on a third-person perspective is born out of a misconception that a new, younger audience wouldn’t be able to appreciate a game with a fixed camera angle.

      • The First Door says:

        My problem with some sections of Dreamfall is there weren’t really any complex puzzles. The biggest bit of pointless running around was just fetch quests backwards and forwards. I don’t think I would have minded as much if there were real things to do at each location. Having said that, I always enjoyed the conversations at least.

  13. tuluse says:

    I don’t see why an adventure game needs open levels. I think it’s more likely to hurt the pacing than add interest because you’re “exploring”. The exploration in adventure games I remember was all about getting to see the next screen, not looking at every flower.

    Prediction: They hit the 1.5m goal, but fall short of 2m.

  14. Viperswhip says:

    Squeee, I am very happy about this project. It’s such a great franchise, but I didn’t know how well it would be received on Kickstarter.

  15. Xardas Kane says:

    You know, I would still prefer a point and click old-school sequel, but this does look great.

  16. Megakoresh says:

    Dat screenshot sure is pretty. Problem is: Skyrim, for example, looks pretty too. Never really played Journey games. Might dip into that when it comes out. Sounds like the story games are getting a fresh breath, eh? I mean we got now 3 big guys coming out. Although whether or not DA3 will live up to BioWare pre-DA2/ME3 standard remains to be seen. But Witcher 2 is going to be amazing, though, of this there is little doubt.

  17. MeestaNob says:

    Don’t know if I really want to play an adventure game of this style in a over the shoulder view, would prefer a traditional point and click interface.

    Also, while I disagreed strongly with the Monaco developers stance against stretch goals, but in THIS case he is absolutely correct. This is a story driven game, to add new locations, story threads, or characters as part of a stretch goal is wrong. Those things are either not strong enough to add to the original plan, or unnecessary to the overall experience – in which case, they shouldn’t be in the game anyway.

    Yes, we know stretch goals are just a carrot to help earn the REAL amount the developers wish to make (asking for 800K is less intimidating than asking for 2M straight up), however it feels like the design of the game is being compromised to accommodate this. Crowd funding is brilliant, but this is it’s weakness.

  18. Pindie says:

    I must admit I am a bit scared.

    It’s hard to deny Dreamfall was not the sequel everyone expected it to be.
    TLJ had a nice habit of tricking the player into thinking he had the story all figured out and feeling disappointed at how paper thin it turned out to be just to take a 180 and change things up (for example the thing with April moving out from her parents’ – it was a double ruse, smart game).

    The problem with Dreamfall was things WERE what they seemed like.
    Spoilers: the religious zealot who is warned not to trust his church authorities discovers his authorities cannot be trusted. His journey to becoming a skeptic is also poorly flashed out and motivated.
    Oh and btw: never trust church or state in fantasy setting, you’ll always find them to be evil.

    I’m not offended or irritated by all this (as if fictional game world could “offend”). I still enjoyed Dreamfall and it had some great character moments. The problem is after playing it I came away with impression that the things I loved the most about TLJ – the unassuming, non-preachy plot – were more of a coincidence than the style the creators chose on purpose.
    Well, then there is the thing with ending of TLJ that foreshadowed the ending of the whole saga, not sure if authors will stay faithful to it or just retconn some bs…

    Oh yea, btw, I timed someone playing TLJ for the first time and it was 37 hours long. 10 hours is still fine for adventure game but it might just be the story will not be flashed out so good.

    So yeah, I am always worried the creators of game have no clue what made their game good and will make a terrible sequel. Call me paranoid.

  19. Cunning Linguist says:

    I don’t know anything about this series but I would definitely want to try this game, traditional point and click games are too slow and static for me – probably due to all the arcade crack I used when I was young.

    I just hope the puzzles are good and there are multiple way to progress , avoiding the “stuck on this puzzle, had enough, I’ll play something else ” problem. Resorting to looking it up on the internet is always such a defeat.