Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Journey Continues In Dreamfall Chapters

There are a ton of things happening in the gaming scene right now ranging from first person shooters, to hack and slash type of games all the way to rpg and driving games, all of them are promising to be good and diverse gaming experiences. The wave of games that the community is about to get is a real hype train, but today I will go a little into a soother (and more surreal) side of games to come by talking a little about Dreamfall Chapters.

Dreamfall Chapters

It is quite possible that you haven't heard about the game and that is all right because this one comes from the niche, but interesting genre of adventure games. When I say "adventure games" it is not to be confused with games like Legend of Zelda or Tomb Raider. This type of adventure game is a lot more subtle, built in a gaming environment where puzzles (as in solving problems) are more dangerous to your game progress than the enemies themselves (that is if the game has enemies to defeat, which is not that often). These kind of adventure games are not so famous right now, but they used to be in the 90's and early 00's so it has been kind of a long time since adventure game fans had a real fix with a new installment on one of the big games in the genre. Luckily for us (yes, I do love those games) one of the biggest adventure game series is roaring back to life with Dreamfall Chapters.

The Longest Journey
The Longest Journey, this is where it all began.
Dreamfall Chapters will be an episode based series of games that will serve as the sequel to The Longest Journey and Dreamfall series. Those two games were pretty popular within the adventure game fans back in the last decade, featuring a beautiful and engrossing story with clever puzzles and a surreal environment for gamers to explore. The Longest Journey was released just on the beginning of the new millennium (2000) and received many praises because of its engaging storyline, cool puzzles and situations to solve. This one was more of a point and click game, but instead of been from a first person perspective like the Myst games, TLJ worked from a third person perspective with pre-rendered background images, so wherever you clicked the character followed. The story of the game went around a girl called April Ryan and all the adventures she had when she discovered that she could travel between two worlds. One of these worlds was our own (technology based) which is called Stark and an alternative one (magic based) called Arcadia. On TLJ, April must learn how to unleash her potential as a "shifter" in order to save both worlds from collapsing.

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
Dreamfall has a lot of Arcadia in it, but it still gives us a more futuristic style. 
After the success of The Longest Journey, the series took a rest and then came back with a sequel which is Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. This game was released in 2006 and it continued the story some time after the end of the first game. On this one, you play as Zoe Castillo who begins as an apathetic "whatever, my life is lame" kind of person who gets mixed up into the "Shifter" business when she ends up in Arcadia while uncovering a strange conspiracy involving her ex-boyfriend and a mega corporation. With Dreamfall, its developers tried to go for a different approach and made the game to be a little more active, meaning that you could fight enemies and play some stealth parts, all while keeping the puzzle solving mechanics intact with the use of a clever control scheme that for the most part worked pretty well. In simple terms, As compared to the first game, Dreamfall was a darker, more futuristic and active game experience and even though it wasn't as popular as its predecessor (with an ending that wasn't well received by the fans) it was a good game in its own right that paved the way to its soon to come sequel.

Now enter Dreamfall Chapters. This episode based game will be the direct sequel to Dreamfall and its been developed by Red Thread Games by using the Unity3D engine. The project began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 which closed with a total of more than 1.5 million dollars, an amount way over their initial $850,000 goal. Up until now, the people at Red Thread have shown some images and videos and the game is shaping up really good. The really cool thing is that based on their Kickstarter page updates, they are almost ready to release the first chapter in the series which is sub titled "Book One". The game will be a (console) timed exclusive for the PS4 while also launching on Windows, Mac and Linux, but they are also considering other platforms in the future.

Dreamfall Chapters Zoe
Zoe is back and we are itching to know how.
Based on what has been shown about the game on the net and its showcase on Gamescom, Dreamfall Chapters seems to keep most of the elements featured in Dreamfall, but this time having a polished version of the main game play mechanics. They also seem to be doing a great job in solving the problems that the previous games had while adding up some new features. Let's see some of the game's more noticeable details:

  • A more open gaming environment.
  • Three different characters with their own adventure.
  • Choices to make that will affect the whole game. 
  • A big graphic update (a bit obvious, but worth mentioning).
  • A very good improvement on voice acting.
  • A more direct interaction with objects in the game.
  • The possibility of the characters changing based on how you play.

It is also important to point out that fans of the original games will feel right at home and may even get a deep nostalgic feeling out of some of the places featured in the game as they look fresh, but at the same time are very recognizable if you played TLJ and Dreamfall. The game will also have the appearance of most of the old characters as the story of Dreamfall continues and reaches the long time conclusion that fans have been waiting for.

Dreamfall Chapters Concept
A cool concept art of Stark in Dreamfall Chapters.
Wrapping it up

Dreamfall Chapters is nearly here with the soon to be released Book One of the series. If you are a long time fan, this is something we have been waiting for years and we couldn't be any happier about it. If you haven't played the game before, I suggest you get the previous games (Steam is a good place to get them) so you can get the hang out of the story before trying the new one. The game is stated for release on Autumn 2014, but no official date has been given yet, so stay tuned and dream on.

Bonus Stage

If music is your thing, know that you can have your music featured on Dreamfall Chapters. Just go to the game's Kickstarter page and follow the instructions. It is a cool opportunity to get your music talents into a video game.

Dreamfall Chapters Kickstarter

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