Dreamfall Chapters getting fancified in ‘The Final Cut’

The final episode of Dreamfall Chapters [official site] may have arrived in June 2016–also tolling the end of The Longest Journey–but developers Red Thread Games aren’t done with their adventure game quite yet. They’ve announced plans to revisit and tweak Chapters with ‘The Final Cut’, an update bringing extra prettiness and gameplay adjustments to bring the PC version in line with Chapters’ upcoming console releases.

Red Thread explained in an update on Kickstarter:

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to revisit Chapters one final time. There are several improvements and changes we’ve wanted to make for years — along with requests and suggestions from our players and community — and we finally have the time and resources to address them.

“So what’s new? There are changes to character art and animations, music, sound-effects, shaders, lighting — and gameplay.”

Red Thread have prettied up Dreamfall Chapters before, giving it fancier effects and lighting in the switch to a newer version of Unity engine.

The Final Cut isn’t all that’s on the horizon either. Red Thread are also planning to patch in German voice-overs, and another patch will add in-game Kickstarter rewards like the town crier and Benefactor’s Wall. Those are both due to arrive before The Final Cut, which is itself due “close to the release of the console versions” (out March 24th).

Dreamfallers, how do you feel about Chapters now you’ve had a few months to reflect on it? We never did Wot I Think the full series–only the first two episodes–so go on, do say.

23 Comments

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    tbourden says:

    Let me c&p my gog review here :)
    It’d be nice if you eventually do a Wot I Think to read another perspective.


    I supported this game on Kickstarter and even though I cannot say that I regretted my decision I find the execution lacking.
    I think Dreamfall tries to do too many stuff at the same time and collapses under its own weight. The result is incoherent pacing of story.
    Kian is one of the dullest and most uninspiring characters I’ve met. We know close to nothing about him, he comes as an inquisitor that had an epiphany out of the blue (in the previous episode) to drop his heritage. His transition was lazy and cheap. In this episode we follow him in a simplistic journey to “grow” which is by far the weakest part of the game. Kian’s storyline feels lazy, his lines inspire boredom and in general the whole plot / conspiracy around him is a lowlight of the whole series. Overcomplicated for no reason. I could not relate to him or any of the characters around him at any time in the game.
    Saga is arguably the cool kid on the block and the most interesting to follow (at least for me). Even though I liked the take throughout her life, I felt that I spend a century with her and I learned *nothing* about her really apart from some family issues that are not even clear why they existed.
    Zoe is the most balanced character in terms of development. I can relate much more to her than the other characters around.
    The game introduces a bazillion of other half-developed characters that I don’t feel were necessary to move the plot. I’d appreciate quality over quantity.
    Gameplay wise the game is an ode the worst aspects of click hunting of adventure games in a 3D world with awkward controls. The previous game’s poorest quality was the stealth segments which I hoped would disappear but alas their mundane and frustrating existence is even stronger in this one crippling pace of the story.
    Finally, the game tries to touch mature contemporary subjects. It feels more like ticking boxes on them than actually developing them. It only offers stereotypical caricatures for aspects they want to critique and the approach I’d say is only appropriate for children. It feels more shoehorning rather than highlighting social issues.

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      Don Reba says:

      Finally, the game tries to touch mature contemporary subjects. It feels more like ticking boxes on them than actually developing them. It only offers stereotypical caricatures for aspects they want to critique and the approach I’d say is only appropriate for children. It feels more shoehorning rather than highlighting social issues.

      They were paying dues to their community with this. Those subjects were much-discussed on the forums.

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    Masked Dave says:

    I finally got around to Book 5 last month and was really quite disappointed by the whole thing.

    The story was mediocre at best, never as clever or insightful as it thought it was. The dialogue was dull. The design of the whole thing was really plain and everything was just dull to look at and walk around. The voice acting was okay I guess, and Crow generally continued to be entertaining, but I just really struggled to care.

    Also the puzzles might as well have not existed.

    For me, it’s story relied way too much on players having a photographic memory of the events from the first two games to put the plot together (including parts that weren’t in their little recap video!), but I struggled enough remember what had happened in the previous chapters! (Seriously, if you’re making an episodic game with months between the episodes coming out then you need to have little “previously-on” videos to remind you who everyone is at least!)

    And I honestly did not realise what was going with the little girl in the mystery house interludes. Even when I finished, I had to go read it online to find out what that was all about.

    I think I remember enjoying Book 4 the most, but it’s not saying much.

    In a way, I just wish they’d written an actual book, rather than try and fit their story into a game.

    Incredibly unsatisfying basically and I just wished I hadn’t bothered.

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    Thulsa Hex says:

    I played a chunk of the first episode last year but found the character animations very off-putting. Everyone is surprisingly robotic and I found that hard to ignore. I hope they address this in this update.

    Honestly though, as special as TLJ was, and despite how much I enjoyed Dreamfall: TLJ even with its many flaws, what I’ve played of Chapters has me wondering if it will be able to keep my interest. I’m definitely more ok with this than I would have been ten years ago, though.

  4. Yachmenev says:

    I bought the game on GOG after the release of the first episode, but have only played that, because I didn’t enjoy playing it. And I think it was because, like tbourden says above here, they tried to do too many things at once. Puzzles, Telltale like choices, open world/city.

    The puzzles didn’t feel good, and I didn’t enjoy running back and forth in the city to accomplish such simple tasks.

    But the things that were good – graphical design, music and overal feeling of it – was very good. So I very much hope that Red Thread Games continues with new games.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    So much negativity. I loved Chapters and found it a fitting conclusion to the series, both satisfyingly tying up the threads of what came before with and adding new things, wonderful characters and cool new places to visit.

    The only thing that didn’t work for me was the limited animation. What was there was mostly fine but they clearly did not have the budget to go all out on expressive acting in dialogue scenes along the lines of Mass Effect or Witcher 3, or Telltale games, which it kind of needed to sell some of the emotional beats. The writing and voice acting make up for it though and aside from the sometimes stiff animation (which it sounds like they’re improving some) the game looks great.

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      subdog says:

      I don’t think the writing made up for it at all. It was full of unearned melodrama, bizarre motivations, and dialogue that made Life is Strange look like the peak of authenticity and relatability.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Also, minor thing: I really like their spin on dialogue choice wheels where the character thinks out loud about the dialogue option you’re selecting, giving context and solving the old “that’s not what I meant to say” problem you sometimes have. Wouldn’t work for every game but fits well here and gives it more of an introspective feel. I suppose it’s essentially taking the point & click adventure idea of avatar commenting on everything clickable and applying it to dialogue.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Actually for the sake of completeness I should add some puzzles worked better than others (eg finding a way to disable the mechanic) but overall I thought they worked well enough.

      @subdog: maybe it was uneven in places, but I found most characters engaging and believable and did not feel any of the drama was particularly unearned.

      Some random things I liked: Crow, Enu, Saga, the city hub of Propast, the purple mountains, The Mole, the sub-plot with Na-ane, the quest with Baruti and the data, the music… a lot of good stuff.

  6. fuggles says:

    Really I only got it as I was desperate to find out what happens to April Ryan – I wish I hadn’t bothered.

  7. Vandelay says:

    I’m still yet to get around to finishing it. I enjoyed the first episode or two enough, but I battled my way through episode three and just couldn’t be bothered with more than about 10 minutes of episode four.

    As someone says above, Kian is incredibly tedious, whilst Zoe is a more enjoyable character to be around, but her plot felt regularly direction-less.

    The Longest Journey was something very special and it perhaps should of remained an individual piece, as no other game in the series has come close to reaching its heights. Even Dreamfall had some incredibly ropey dialogue and the gameplay was mostly non-existant (or was terrible, like the stealth and the combat sections.)

  8. mercyRPG says:

    I ain’t touching this until it reaches an Über-Top-Patched super polish refined Final Cut state!

  9. James Pursaill says:

    I’m a massive fan of TLJ, and was really stoked for Dreamfall Chapters when I first heard about it, and I completed the final chapter about a month ago.

    What’s good: The dialogue is intelligent, decently acted, and often very funny – especially from sidekicks Crow and Sh*tbot. I was rooting for Zoe, and her day-to-day struggle to juggle a job, relationship and stay politically engaged in her cyberpunky city were fun – but we’ve already walked this path before in TLJ, where it was handled better with the start of April’s story.

    Unfortunately, Chapters is a game stuck between two poles. The facial animation is too basic for it to work as a Telltale moral-choice story – and the much-vaunted ‘your decisions will have impact later’ never really materialized meaningfully for me. The story can work well in smaller, quiet moments and quirky side-characters, but the grand ‘save the world’ plot fails to motivate, or even make itself particularly clear until globs of exposition are dumped on you by villains and steampunk mechanics in the final chapter.

    On the other side, the puzzles are too slight for it to qualify as a proper adventure game in the way that TLJ was, bar perhaps two or three set pieces (reprogramming Sh*tbot with different personalities and cooking up homemade fireworks spring to mind as decent examples.) The longer the chapters went on, the slighter the puzzles became, giving the distinct feeling of dwindling funds and a dev team racing toward the finish-line.

    I played Chapters 3-4 because I hoped they would improve upon the potential of the first two (they got worse.) I completed the final chapter simply because I had sunk so much time into the first four. So sadly a definite thumbs down from an old TLJ fan here.

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    Don Reba says:

    I backed Dreamfall: Chapters on Kickstarter because of all the good things people were saying about the previous games and caught up with TLJ and Dreamfall while waiting for the release.

    I loved the first chapter — it is beautiful, the cyberpunk world is a marvel, and everything is fairly well done. It sets up an interesting story, and, though it has some wrinkles with uneven pacing and junky animation, I was hopeful those would be ironed out in the later chapters.

    Too bad, the first chapter proved to be high point of the adventure, and all the rest went downhill. The developers cordoned off most of the beautiful locations they showed us in the first chapter, the dialogues are as if written in a hurry by a teenager, and the plot fails to captivate. It far from what I expected from Red Thread Games.

    The mandatory baby mini-games are pointless and terribly obnoxious. As typical new parents, the writers do the equivalent of forcing us to sift through tome after tome of their baby picture albums, completely oblivious to the possibility someone might not find them the cutest thing in the world.

  11. zapatapon says:

    I backed DF and sadly have to side with the sorely disappointed camp. The game is at its strongest in the first chapters, when it focuses on atmosphere- and character-building and merely hints at yet unseen, looming threats. But it falls flats on its arse soon after that in its attempts at the gravitas and the grandiose, trying to do far too many things at once in too little time. For me, this had an effect totally opposite to the one intended: instead of feeling captivated, I ceased to care at all.

    The plot in the last chapters becomes more and more nonsensical, rushed and bursting at the seams. It is ironical that the finale is about reality almost getting ripped apart, and may even be intentional given Tornquist’s annoying tendency to the symbolism and the convoluted meta (a character named Saga, as a plain allegory of the narrative itself, the story thus becoming one of the main characters of itself? Oh, give me a break already)

    I also firmly oppose the notion that the game offers a mature discourse on sex (cue in the repeated animations of gratuitous fornication during the feast in Marcuria, as well as a particularly cringe-inducing piece of dialogue between Vamon and Sahya. Vamon is evil, ergo he must talk about sex dirty like a porn star. Yay!)

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    alison says:

    I haven’t gotten around to playing the last few chapters yet, since we are still waiting for the German translations. I’m a native English speaker, but I live in Germany so Steam started the game in German by default and now I like the characters that way so it would feel weird to play them in English. Pretty upset they stopped the dubbing halfway through.

    Dubbing aside, my feelings on the game so far are basically the same as the first two.

    The cyberpunk world is fucking awesome. Amazingly well-realized. I wish there was more incidental dialog or more random conversations to eavesdrop – I would happily walk around doing nothing there for hours. I think I took more screenshots in the first episode of this game than I have in any other. Dreamfall Chapters’ Prague puts Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s Prague to shame. The future shown is so rich and nuanced and interesting. Sci-fi computer games so rarely depict worlds that feel plausible. Breathtaking.

    …and then you have this Z-grade fantasy world thrown in the mix. Bla bla magic, dragons, something something, giant tower, swords, potions, whatever. And that’s exactly the parts of the game that sucked in every instalment of the trilogy. I haven’t finished Chapters, but by the episode I got up to they seemed to be making the same mistake again. I got no problem with a bit of mysticism and supernatural in my sci-fi, but shoe-horning so much dreary Tolkien stuff into the main plot feels like such a waste of great sci-fi world-building :(

    But, if the first two games are anything to go by, the sci-fi side is so frickin good it’s worth playing anyway. Dreamfall (the second game in the series) had hours of fantasy drudgery but the cyberpunk climax was epic. If the ending of Chapters is even half as awesome as Dreamfall I’ll be very pleased.

    Though, admittedly, my expectations are starting to sink. The disappearance of the German dub already felt like writing on the wall. And the comments here seem to back up the notion that the devs started running out of cash to do it “right”. All I hope for now is to see some more of Zoë being a tough but principled single chick who hangs out with robots, eats street food and dresses like a boss. Self insert? Fuck yeah.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      I find it curious how you can be a fan of the series while completely hating all the Arcadia and magic stuff since the duality of those two sides has been a core part of the series since the beginning and a major part of its appeal. Indeed one might say the *ahem* balance between the two is the central theme of the whole series.

      I mean, the cyberpunk/sci-fi stuff is great – Propast was a really interesting place to explore – but it’s kind of impossible to separate the two here… it’s like saying you love James Bond except for all that boring spy stuff. Cause you know all those explosions and exotic locations and that, that part was great…

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        I mean, I think I sort of get it, but I don’t know if I could stand to play a series personally in which I basically hated half the premise.

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        Don Reba says:

        Myself, I did not hate Mercuria, but found it fairly boring and generic. But Propast I adore.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          Always liked Arcadia, in The Longest Journey especially… it had many of my favourite moments in the series. I will say that I found Marcuria the weaker part of Chapters as a location as it seemed a little less developed and interactive than Propast, but at the same time Arcadia had some of the best characters.

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        alison says:

        Mmm, I see where you are coming from. I mean, the whole “balance” theme is definitely something that you get beaten over the head with throughout the trilogy. But that’s also why I found the ending of Dreamfall 1 (TLJ) disappointing, because April (and the game overall) eventually disappears into the fantasy. That idea of surrendering to the fantasy was imo built to much, much better in Life is Strange (depending on the ending you chose). In TLJ I just didn’t buy April’s motivation.

        I guess I see the main draw of the trilogy as the characters more than the “theme”. April was certainly a good character by computer game standards, but Zoë was everything. Dreamfall 2 is an amazing coming-of-age yarn, set against a classic Dickian backdrop of questioning reality, the nature of sanity, dreams vs hallucinations vs other dimensions/other worlds… Sad that the fighting and stealth mechanics kill it as a game, but man, the characterization! I was overjoyed to get more Zoë in Dreamfall 3 (Chapters). I think she’s such an interesting person, even if she does have to plod through Skara Brae redux to get there.

        On your more general point… I think I will sit through a lot of games that I don’t really enjoy half of if the other half is especially good. I much prefer games like this to games that are just kinda-sorta okay. A great contemporary example is Firewatch vs Mankind Divided. One game had excellent and mediocre parts and one game was decent but unspectacular all the way through. Guess which was my GOTY?

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      Masked Dave says:

      Weirdly I was the opposite. Propast just felt empty to me. The talked about world is interesting, but the one you actually see and interact with is just kind of empty.

  13. Birky says:

    I’d agree with a lot of the reviews here, I thought there were a few brilliant moments if Dreamfall Chapters, but they were far too rare and most of the game really dragged. While characters were often well developed, the actual pace of the dialogue was so slow. I usually knew where one of Crow’s jokes or Ennu’s moments of awkward charm were headed from the first few words. But they took a paragraph to get it out. It just made the whole game a bit tedious for me.

    [mild spoilers] It was a game bursting with potential – it could have said a lot about politics, racism, freedom of speech or digital/unreal worlds. But it didn’t, none of these ideas were really developed, if fact I don’t think the story really knew what it wanted to say. (the overall ‘save the worlds’ plot was very hum-drum and the Saga-ex-machina in episode five was particularly frustrating.) [/spoilers].

    This is all quite negative, which isn’t quite fair – there were some reasonable puzzles and moments I really enjoyed. It didn’t live up to TLJ or first Dreamfall standards though.