Kickstart This: Dreamfall Chapters

By: Derek Yu

On: February 18th, 2013

Dreamfall, by Red Thread Games

The Longest Journey creator Ragnar Tørnquist is kickstarting Dreamfall Chapters, the third game in the popular adventure series and the conclusion to the story of Zoë Castillo. Six years after the release of Dreamfall, Tørnquist is bringing back that game’s core team to develop this third chapter independently through his new studio, Red Thread Games. The Kickstarter has already reached its goal of $850,000, but fans may want to earn the project’s rewards or support its stretch goals.

Since hitting its $900,000 stretch goal, Dreamfall Chapters will be released on Mac and Linux, as well as PC. The currently-slated release date is in November, 2014.

  • Flender

    But can we really call it developing ‘independently’ anymore with such crowd-sourcing? Financially, it’s more like calling forth a spirit bomb to develop a game, and less independent than EA pulling from it’s resources.

    I’m not critiquing your post, per se, Mr Yu. Just bringing back what thought (or question) it planted. I’ve discussed it with my roommate a bit here. Just in the modern use of the word (since the word clearly was less useful when it was used less [tauta 1]) he’s come up with the alternative that it’s the lack of a Publisher-Studio structure that makes one’s development an Independent one. This would make, functionally, Double Fine and Valve games ‘Independently Developed’. My best personal answer would be that the persons involved take a personal risk in that the time given to development could be ‘wasted’ if the game does not sell well, but with kickstarter, it’s prefunded, and the risk is offset to the philanthropic mass of people dropping their $10s and $20s, no?

    I’m not terribly versed on the intricacies of kickstarter or the theories of game journalism and review, but I am curious as to what the word means for you, sir. How does one define what games are ‘independently developed’ between:

    Minecraft – Totally on Marcus’s free time, till it paid for him to work on it.
    Braid – Jon Blow took out a mortgage on his house, taking the risk of failure on himself and the team (ad hoc studio?) formed around the project
    Dreamfall Chapters – Fully Crowdsourced, Formed a studio
    New Adventure Game – Double Fine – Fully Crowdsourced, Preexisting studio
    Half-Life 2 Ep 2 – Preexisting studio funded by owner
    Madden 2012 – Control Group, EA publishes/funds, EA Tiburon (studio) creates

    …and of course, why? Obviously it’s going to work better as a scale or something even more abstract, but I feel the term may be losing meaning if things like crowdsourced games still count.

  • Derek Yu

    I think you’re misusing the word “crowdsourced”, which implies that the games are actually being designed/built by the crowd. “Crowd-funded” is a better term.

    But I personally define “indie” as:

    1. “Independent”, as in no publisher.
    2. Small studio (roughly 20 members or less).

    I choose that definition because it’s the most useful one. Someone who is looking to become an “indie” game developer is interested in what is possible under those constraints and how those types of studios operate. It excludes companies like Valve and Double Fine, which are too large to be covered on TIGSource. It also excludes “feels indie”-type games that are not self-published (Shank and Journey, for example).

    Under that definition you still run into gray areas, but hey, just because we don’t know when “red” turns into “purple” doesn’t mean the words aren’t useful. Just think about someone who wants to make a game with a small team and self-publish it… what should they type into Google for inspiration, advice, community, etc.? “Indie” is still as good a word as any, imo.

  • That is perhaps the most useful definition I’ve heard of Indie in a long time. I’m stealing it.

  • Anonymous

    This is really, really similar to the definition I arrived at last year. Awesome. :)

  • Bram Stolk

    I like the term INDIEvidual to distinguish between hacker in mother’s basement making artisan games and small studios.

  • Paul Hubans

    Sometimes I feel like distancing myself from the title of being “indie” because in a lot of ways it has come to refer to a style rather than a state of being. I say this because I think that when a lot of people hear the term, they think of lo-fi pixel art games with flashy effects and/or unconventional gameplay mechanics; avant-garde stuff that tries to move games away from their traditional roots by creating unique and new experiences. I’m not saying those kind of games are bad, because more often times than not they’re awesome, but those aren’t the kind of games that I, as an independent developer, design.

  • Johnny Stuntman

    I agree 100%, but I feel that something should be mentioned about creative control, specifically. One reason the lack of a publisher is important is that publishers usually want some hand in the direction of a project. For this reason, my definition of indie also includes the absence of investors, who often want some creative control.

  • que

    Was Dreamfall really so great? I think it was more kind of….. meh?

  • Anonymous

    There were a few things that I really didn’t like (the combat system, the sudden romance between Zoë and Damien that came from nowhere, the fact that it more or less didn’t end…) but it’s still one of those games that I couldn’t really put down and played in a very short amount of time. Plus I had the impression that quite a few of the things that felt rushed or out of place were due to time or budget constraints, so I’m optimistically thinking that this time around, with some luck, I’ll get something a bit more satisfying, like The Longest Journey. :)

  • Sunny

    Dreamfall specifically was one of my favorite adventure games ever. Loved the atmosphere and story. Soo happy this is getting funded!