This is the original English interview, for the one translated to Swedish click here.
We at Megazine got the opportunity to ask a couple of questions to Ragnar Tørnquist, the creator of The Longest Journey, Dreamfall and the currently ongoing Kickstarter project Dreamfall: Chapters by Red Thread Games. These are the questions we asked, and the answers we got:
Did Funcom not allow you to make the sequel and was that why you created Red Thread Games?
Absolutely not. Funcom was always interested in making a sequel, but the problem has been time, resources and focus. Their main business these days is online gaming, and a Dreamfall sequel didn’t really fit into that. Which is why, after I shipped The Secret World, I talked to them about licensing the rights to the saga and setting up a new company to develop the game. And they were very receptive to the idea. They care a lot about The Longest Journey games, and wanted to see the series continue — this was a good way to make that happen, and to ensure that the original team could work on the game.
What has the largest focus in creating Dreamfall: Chapters? Is it story, graphics, envoirments, characters or something else?
The story and characters are our key focus areas, of course. That’s always been the case with The Longest Journey games. But part of that is also the environments and character art, the voice-acting, sound, music… Everything serves the storytelling. But of course we approach the whole development of the game through the story — that’s where everything begins.
If i can speak both languages, is Chapters (and The Longest Journey + Dreamfall) better in English or Norweigan?
In my view? English. All of the games are written in English first, and then translated to Norwegian and other languages. So that’s the original version, and the one that I’m personally involved with from writing to voice directing. But the games are very well translated and voice-acted in other languages, so they are definitely worth playing, too.
How easy will it be for people new to the universe to understand and enjoy the game? Do you have to had played the previous games?
That’s absolutely not a requirement. Of course it helps if you’ve played Dreamfall, you’ll be able to get into the story a bit quicker, and you’ll pick up on all the nuances and Easter eggs, but we’re making it very easy for new player to understand what’s going on, who the characters are, what the story’s about — both through a recap and through how the game explains the plot and the characters. We’re also hoping to make an interactive graphic novel prior to the game’s release, retelling the stories of both The Longest Journey and Dreamfall. That’s one of our stretch goals on Kickstarter, and we’re close to achieving that goal.
If Dreamfall: Chapters performs well, will we see other games from Red Thread Games? Even games that are not tied into the universe of The Longest Journey?
Absolutely! We have some really, really cool ideas in the works, and you’ll learn more about those in the years ahead. We plan on sticking around for a very, very long time! Our focus will remain on story-driven games, of course, and we might also make more games in The Longest Journey saga, but we will definitely create some new and original worlds and characters after Chapters ships.
How different is it creating a point n’ click adventure game today in contrast to how it was in the late 90’s? Are there different obstacles? Better or worse possibilities?
It’s different, but in some ways easier. The fact that you can use a powerful and relatively cheap engine like Unity makes it a lot easier from a technology perspective. A lot of the development time of both The Longest Journey and Dreamfall were spent on tech and tools, and that’s something we don’t have to deal with on Chapters. We are making some new tools, of course, but it’s a lot easier now than it was back then. From an art and content point of view, players are more demanding, and we have to really step up the quality of the characters, environments, animations and effects. That takes more time, of course, even though development tools have also improved exponentially in the years since we made TLJ and Dreamfall. On balance, though, it is easier to make games now, but it’s also more difficult to break through — there are a lot of great games out there, a lot of noise, and you really have to know how to stand out and market your game.
Bonus: What is the one thing about Dreamfall: Chapters that you’d love to talk about but never get asked about?
Well, players do keep asking us whether we’ll have combat and stealth this time around — and the answer is NO, we will NOT! — so it’s not that one. I guess we’d love to talk more about the characters in the game. I love the diversity and uniqueness of our characters, and not only our playable characters, but all of our non-player characters. We revealed a couple of new ones last week, Mira and Wit, and we’re going to reveal a couple of more during our last week on Kickstarter. We’re really proud of how interesting, strong and non-clichéd our characters are. It’s something we spend a lot of time working on. Thanks to Ragnar Tørnquist for agreeing to the interview, and also to Dag Scheve who organized it. Dreamfall: Chapters is under development for PC, Linux and Mac and is expected to ship during November 2014. It is currently a Kickstarter project where you can help and finance the game. For every new dollar pledged the game gets a little bigger, a little better and a little smoother. Sell all your belongings and throw your money on this, for it is the most important Kickstarter project ever! (Note that this is my, Davids, opinion and doesn’t necessarily reflect on the rest of us at Megazine. Though it should.)