I always knew that I’d be playing a new Dreamfall game one day. That’s partly because I am a creature of unshakeable optimism but it’s also because Ragnar Tørnquist had a cheeky sparkle in his eye when I asked him how long we’d be waiting for a continuation of the story back in the days before Red Thread existed. On the question of Dreamfall, he had this to say:
We are definitely doing something more with it and I have the design on my computer but we just need to find the right time and the right people. Hopefully within a couple of years it’ll be something we are working on.
Two years later, that design is only a few months away from being on our computers. I’ve embedded a half hour walkthrough of an early area below. It’s looking damn fine.
A reminder that all footage is pre-alpha.
There are two versions of the video, one with developer commentary and one without. The commentary isn’t particularly intrusive, leaving room for dialogue to be heard (and there are subtitles as well). I’d recommend watching and listening first because there are some useful insights into design choices. The area is Friar’s Keep and the playable character is Kian Alvane, a returning cast member from Dreamfall.
There are light spoilers, of course, since an area of the game is shown, but the pace is slow and, final moments aside, the direction is predictable enough. Tonally, the humour is there, even though the scene is unpleasant and harsh, and the dialogue froths with filth. If there are any nuns in the room, block their ears before pressing play and harrumph loudly whenever somebody refers to ‘unclean genitals’ or posteriors.
For those who don’t care for commentary, here’s the clean version.
As well as demonstrating that the new control scheme and viewing angle doesn’t prevent traditional inventory-based puzzling, the walkthrough shows off the dialogue system. I knew it was visually similar to Mass Effect’s ‘wheel’ but hadn’t known about the internal thoughts processes that accompany the decision-making process. It’s a clever addition, giving the characters a stronger sense of independent thought while also allowing the player to make informed choices rather than staring at the screen aghast when clicking ‘threaten’ causes bones to be broken and mothers to be denigrated.
Here’s the point where I admit that the musical theme at the beginning of the video already makes my throat clench up and all the world’s grit to gravitate toward my eye.