Tears For Fears: Dreamfall Devs Announce Draugen

I have emotions too but it's not cool to show them so I make fun of John to cover for it.

This comes as a surprise. Red Thread Games, the Norwegian studio founded last year by Ragnar Tørnquist with the specific purpose of reducing John to a puddle of shuddering emotion, is making a first-person survival horror game called Draugen.

The studio has thus far been working solely on Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey, the crowdfunded sequel to John’s emotional puberty, since September of last year. Draugen sounds like a considerably different kind of thing.

On the game’s official site, Draugen is described as “a first-person survival horror adventure amongst the mountains and fjords of the Norwegian west coast in the 1920s.” Its story is inspired by Scandinavian folklore, and sees the player exploring a village and discovering clues as to where its population has vanished.

I've read some of the Icelandic sagas. It's mostly about riding horses and stealing bread.

Development of the game is being funded by a $144,000 grant from the Norwegian film institute, and Red Thread are keen to stress that development on Dreamfall won’t be affected by the new project, but that “since both titles are being developed using Unity 3D, tools, technology and knowhow will be shared between the teams, benefitting all.”

The original Longest Journey and Dreamfall were designed by Tornquist while he was at Funcom, the Norwegian developer now mostly focused on MMOs like The Secret World. The new entry in the adventure series comfortably cleared its funding target on Kickstarter last year, netting the team $1.5 million to work with.


  1. basilisk says:

    Why does it feel like every single horror game out there needs to have the exact same setting? It’s like developers have exactly two choices: either night on the seashore in early 20th century or night in a run-down insane asylum. The creativity astonishes.

    • Anthile says:

      No mobile phones.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      I wouldn’t even mind the cliche setting if they’d just do something creative with the scares. Predictable is boring.

    • RedViv says:

      Wat. I must have missed the big wave of early 20th century seashore horror games.

      • basilisk says:

        Well, anything Lovecraftian qualifies for a start. But it’s a very tired old trope anyway – Penumbra is technically present-day, but begins on a wooden ship (at night, of course) that’s most definitely not modern; the opening of Dark Fall 2 is a textbook example of this, too. Sea + night + old times = scary.

        • Spakkenkhrist says:

          Yep another one RPS featured recently (name escapes me) was very much the same setting.

    • skalpadda says:

      On the other hand the Norwegian coast can boast some of the most beautiful terrain on the planet and as the devs are Norwegian it’s a fairly natural place to go for inspiration.

      I hope there will be Norwegian voice acting. It’d be the best way ever to release tension in a horror game. Probably not though, it’ll be stupid old English as usual.

  2. harcalion says:

    I did not fund Dreamfall Chapters because there wasn’t a stretch goal for “releasing the game 6 months earlier”. I’m glad now, because these former AAA-guys tend to be less careful in the planning for their indie efforts. Another game in the works will most probably be a 3 months delay for Chapters.

    • lowprices says:

      Given that it has been 15 years since TLJ and 7 since Dreamfall, a few months wouldn’t make that much difference. Hell, if the rate is constant, we won’t be playing The Longest Journey Home until 2023.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      What a peculiar string of non sequiturs.

      • JR says:

        What? Don’t you know that the more money you jam into a game the faster it develops?

  3. The Dark One says:

    My interest was piqued but left unfulfilled by Skyrim’s take on Scandinavian lore, so I wish them the best.

    • RedViv says:

      Oh yes.
      “Draugr? Goodness, the shapeshifting tricksy not-dead? I can’t wait!”

      Oh, they’re slightly aware zombies.
      What did I expect? It’s Bethesda.

  4. Saarlaender39 says:

    As soon as I read “Draug(en)” and “Survival Horror”, I remembered a story, I read as a child:

    Elias and the Draug (aka: The Fisherman and the Draug), by Jonas Lie

    link to gaslight.mtroyal.ca

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Fear the Groke, scared my daughter shitless did the Groke. I love Scandinavian fiction/ lore/legend!

  5. lowprices says:

    I’m conflicted. The setting sounds interesting,but it also sounds like Amnesia, which I’m too much of a wimp to play for long. Also it’s not more TLJ, which was my main complaint during the development of the Secret World.

  6. Philomelle says:

    It’s probably worth mentioning that the entire first chapter of The Secret World, a MMO for whose art direction and story Ragnar Tørnquist was responsible (and which honestly made it ooze with more charm than any other MMO on the market), very heavily utilized the Draug as a major antagonist.

    His take on them was very interesting that time around. I wonder how he’s going to handle it this time.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      And yet the Draug in The Secret World were dull and tedious and lacking in character—like nearly all other enemies. What charm The Secret World should have had was dragged down to the ocean depth by dull MMO mechanics.

      • Philomelle says:

        You must have missed all the parts with the interesting ecology concerning the Draug and their habitat, the mythos surrounding them that you can dig up both from the honeycombs and the surrounding texts, as well as the very chilling, disturbing imagery that starts to pop in once you get further into their territory.

        Seriously, did we play the same game? TSW’s combat mechanics may be messy, but they mostly take the backseat for the sake of lore and world design.

        • somnolentsurfer says:

          I’m still playing it occasionally, having picked it up the last time it was cheap on Steam. I’ve not got past the Savage Coast, so I couldn’t speak to what happens when you get further into draug territory, but I’d agree that the characterisation is significantly harmed by the MMO mechanics.

          I’d love to explore TSW’s world with the combat of an Arkham game, or a Dragon Age game, heck even the combat of Beyond Good and Evil. Everything about the MMOness though, from the camera and the corpse-running, to the short mob respawns and the floaty frictionless combat, pulls me out of the story they’re telling. There’s next to no feeling that I’m having any kind of impact on the world, and the draug are distinct from any other zombie only in that they have slightly too many hit points and respawn slightly to quickly for the time it takes me to fight though them.

  7. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I like Norway

  8. Shadrach says:

    Some Norwegian trivia:
    A “Draug” is an undead creature from Norse mythology. The most well-known of which is the “Do-Draugen” or “Toilet-Draug”, which lives down the loo and drags badly behaving children down to his underwater lair. This is used in Norway to scare the little ones at bedtime.

    • suibhne says:

      It must be challenging to potty-train Norwegian children.

      • RedViv says:

        No no, they want you to use the toilet. That’s what good children do. And kids are even at a bigger disadvantage because the only way to get them to stop following you is to beat them in a race. Which is hard with those silly little legs of theirs, compared to spindly and agile and dead-swift Draugen.

    • The Random One says:

      Finally, a worthy foe for Mario!

      If their Norwegian name is “Do-Draugen” wouldn’t a better English translation be “Loo-Draug”?

  9. strangeloup says:

    This looks pretty decent — and it seems much more like “Spooky Dear Esther” rather than the “shitty jumpscares and also you have a cellphone/camcorder for some reason and probably Slenderman because god knows that hasn’t been done to death” that first-person survival horror usually implies.

    Sorry. Just a little bitter that we haven’t had any properly good horror games in a while.

  10. cpt_freakout says:

    The Highest of Hopes

  11. Michael Fogg says:

    April dies in the end. Or does she?

  12. somnolentsurfer says:

    On the assumption that $144,000 doesn’t fund much in games, another Kickstarter to follow?

  13. Armitage says:

    If I were a backer, I’d be quite annoyed that they are announcing a new game before they shipped the one I had paid for!

  14. Zeidust says:

    Less Walking Dead; More Trolls please.