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Dreamfall Dev Debuts 'Gone Home Meets Amnesia' Draugen

Are you afraid of that tree? You should be afraid of that tree.

It’s easy to forget that Red Thread Games is working on anything other than Dreamfall Chapters because, well, Dreamfall Chapters. But last year, the viking-est man in game development, Ragnar Tornquist, and his band of merry yarn-spinners announced first-person survival horror adventure Draugen, which does not sound much like Dreamfall at all. Tornquist has instead opted to plant its ragged bones between Gone Home and Amnesia, a description that has me quite intrigued indeed. Debut trailer below.

Spoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooky. Like, legitimately. I mean, it’s not like withered countrysides and oceanfronts have never been done before (I actually saw some pretty deep shades of Dear Esther in that trailer, myself), but I was pretty on-edge by the end of it. Honestly, I leaped a little when the logo jumped out. I hope the logo is the game’s main monster. Its roar is more powerful than a thousand Slender clones.

Here, however, is what Draugen (no spellcheck I’m not trying to write “dragon” ugggh just leave me alone) is actually about:

“As the player explores the tiny settlement, gathering clues and memories, and unearthing the truth behind a terrible tragedy, they will learn more about the history of the village and its inhabitants. And they will come to see that behind even the most innocent of facades lurks the potential for malice. But there is more to this place than meets the eye.”

“From time to time, a woman in black can be spotted in the distance. Who is she, and what is her connection to this place? Who is the little girl singing broken lullabies as the sky begins to darken? And when night falls, and those last few, precious drops of kerosene in the lamp feed a fragile, flickering flame, what hides out there in the darkness and in the cold, black sea?”

The whole thing is rooted in Scandinavian literature, choosing to focus on Norwegian nationalism as seen through the eyes of an American scientist. Makes sense, given that the game was whispered into being by a $144,000 grant from the Norwegian Film Institute. I bet they’ll be mighty upset when they have to play this movie, but I suppose it’s their fault for not reading the fine print.

Kidding aside, Draugen looks mighty promising, and I’m pre-chilling my bones by leaving the refrigerator open all the time in anticipation of its arrival. According to Eurogamer it will support Oculus Rift and be out sometime in 2015. Also, it’s going to Kickstarter soon, because $144,000 (sadly) isn’t actually that much in the world of biggish-budget game development. Do you say affirmative spooky “booOOOoooOOO” to that, or regular negative boo to that?

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Nathan Grayson

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