Part 23Bonus Content!
Dreamfall has a spectacular Soundtrack, most of which is easy to obtain. Not included on the soundtrack however, are the songs by the band "Magnet". Four of their songs are featured in the game, and I've uploaded them for you.
I've also uploaded the track that plays in the Hospital Room, because it's beautiful.
Dreamfall Post Mortem Part 2
Ragnar Tørnquist: "Dreamfallen part (ii), in which I talk about the long(est) journey from idea to reality
Despite repeated denials by yours truly over the years, the sequel to The Longest Journey began life soon after the first game was released.
While I didn't want to jump right into a sequel - certainly not a sequel starring April Ryan on a quest to save the Balance - and while most of the TLJ team was immediately devoured and chewed up by the then-growing and insatiable Anarchy Online machine, I wanted to get my ideas for the continuation of the story down on paper before they had faded from memory. Not surprisingly, a lot of what was written back in those days made it into Dreamfall - and a lot of it didn't.
Someone recently reminded me that both Dreamfall and The Longest Journey are stories about stories, and that was definitely the genesis of the first TLJ 2. Conceived in mid-2001, code-named Unification - and then, later, Static//The Longest Journey - this was the meta-story taken to its (il)logical extreme: a story about a story about stories and dreams and the power of imagination.
Unification featured a 16-year old Asian-American protagonist named Mica who went on a search to find her missing boyfriend, and a large corporation manufacturing a powerful and mysterious device linked to dreams. It also had some twists and turns that, if they'd come about prior to Dreamfall, would probably have caused a big controversy, and would certainly have split opinions firmly down the middle. (Or, perhaps more likely, 90/10: I think a lot of die hard TLJ fans would have been quite upset.)
While I'm not going to reveal my ideas for that game - it could spoil future stories set in the same universe - I soon realised that we needed a more conventional story leading up to the future events hinted at in TLJ.
During the next couple of years, while working on a number of online games(1), I would write several proposals for a sequel, including a massively multiplayer online role-playing adventure titled The War of the Balance(2) (I even blogged briefly about that one back in 2002). Some of these proposed games were peripheral to the main saga, but most continued the story of the twin worlds and of the Balance. Central to the later concepts was also the search for April Ryan(3), whose disappearance had formed the basis of most of my ideas for TLJ 2 since day one. Another thing that most - if not all - of them had in common was a new protagonist, always a young woman, as well as multiple playable characters and intertwining storylines, sometimes set in different time periods(4).
In early 2003, while officially working on another massively multiplayer title(5), I submitted a pitch for two consecutive titles designed to wrap up the saga: The Longest Journey: Journey's Crossing, and Journey's End. This was the first time the name 'Zoë' appeared; her character had already gone through a number of revisions and name changes. In Journey's Crossing, Zoë was a 17-year old Shifter who lived with her father, and studied nanotechnology. The game took place a decade after the end of the first story, and the central premise was that the player would need to find, and save, April Ryan.
For all intents and purposes, Journey's Crossing was Dreamfall(6).
One important element in the concept for Journey's Crossing (indeed, for all prior versions of TLJ 2) was that it would no longer be a 'pure' adventure game. In fact, the game was supposed to incorporate several role-playing elements, as well as action and combat, together with the traditional story based and puzzle heavy adventure gameplay in a more free-roaming world. The game world was also supposed to be more dynamic, with large environments, day-night cycles, passing seasons, and physics - all of which would have an impact on the gameplay. I had made 'my' point-and-click adventure game; I wanted to move on, and the story warranted a different approach. The design team assigned to the project - at this stage, we had received the necessary support to start working on the documentation and a playable demo - were on board with the vision: we wanted to create a 'next-generation' adventure, one not bound by the mechanical limitations of the first game or the genre.
This was the starting point for the game that would first be known as The Longest Journey: Static(7), and, eventually, Dreamfall. In the spring of 2003 - while completing a tech demo for NBT to be showcased at that year's E3 in Los Angeles - we began working on the actual technical design for TLJ 2. At this point, my co-writer - Dag Scheve - also joined me in developing the story, the characters, the setting, and, crucially, the central themes. This was also when we created 'the Faith model'(8), which mapped out all the different characters' journeys through the game.
The basic structure and story of TLJ2/Static/Dreamfall remained relatively consistent from the summer of 2003 until the game was released, although our protagonist went through some changes. In the first few drafts, Zoë was younger, wealthier, and more spoiled, but after relocating her from rural England (and the affluent gated community 'Summertown') to Casablanca - a decision I'm very happy about - she developed into a more interesting and layered character struggling with her faith in herself and her world. Interestingly enough, in those early drafts, Zoë was quite geeky and something of an 'accidental magician': strange things had a tendency to happen around her, something that was supposed to be reflected in the gameplay(9). Her surname was also Alvarez, not Castillo.
April, on the other hand, changed very little from those first notes I made after wrapping up TLJ in November '99. It was always my intention to have her marked by the years she spent in the wilderness, damaged by the events in the first game, and embittered by her many sacrifices. Her journey was already decided, and had been set in motion by the climax to the first story, and there was no going back. The same went for other key characters in the universe, like Brian Westhouse, Crow, and Cortez.
Several other returning characters were actually cut from Dreamfall as time went on, however, including Abnaxus - who had been left in a very bewildered and tragic state following the events of TLJ - and Ben Bandu (ditto: Dreamfall was always a darker and more tragic story, and there were few happy endings). The reason for cutting these characters was simply that there were already too many stories to tell, and their tales were better left for another game - although they remain important. 3D models and animations were even created for these characters, which goes to show that these decisions are often made at a later stage.
Through that first year of production, details of the story would morph and change and go through numerous drafts and iterations, but the core quest would always remain the same: the search for April Ryan, and the quest for (f/F)aith.
1 Including Midgard, which was cancelled in late 2001; Anarchy Online, where I did some design, wrote a novel, and headed up the launch of the story; and a couple of other titles which never developed past the concept stage.
2 Which obviously didn't come to pass. Not to say it won't: I think it's a brilliant setting for an MMOG, and there are some things that won't really work in a single-player adventure/action game (e.g. big, epic wars). So while a TLJ MMOG would, for obvious reasons, not be the right game to conclude the saga, don't discount the possibility of a parallel multiplayer universe at some point.
3 Or, as one of those early concepts stated: "The dreamer is lost. The dreaming is close. The dream will devour us all unless the dreamer is found."
4 One interesting idea had the player playing the same protagonist - a proto-Zoë - at different stages in her life, as she searched for April Ryan. You would play this girl/woman as a child, a teenager, an adult, and an old woman. Conceptually, this was intriguing, but it was a bit esoteric, and it would have been difficult to pull off well.
5 The one that readers may remember as NBT (and GameSpot dubbed 'Bob'): it's since been resurrected, and we're now officially in production.
6 Which means that Journey's End lies somewhere down the road. And no, that's not Dreamfall the Next.
7 The Static was actually the name of a story based action-adventure game I designed back in the mid-90s - a game that explored the boundaries between reality and fantasy, inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick, and which I feel is conceptually close to the movie The Matrix.
8 Attendees to some of my talks about stories in games will recognise this model.
9 In fact, Zoë was supposed to learn various magic spells through the course of the game. This mechanism was, for a variety of reasons, cut relatively early on, though the essence of it lingers: Zoë has powers that have not been explained. Yet."
Dreamfall Theories and Speculation FAQ
How could they end the game like this! That's an awful ending!
Calm down buddy; this game is only part one of Dreamfall. There's more on the way!
APRIL IS NOT DEAD
It's very possible that she isn't. In TLJ before April learned how to shift she always did so unconsciously while in danger. Since she's relearning to shift, a likely scenario would involve her shifting after falling from being stabbed. In Stark the stab would could probably be healed very easily. We also know there is something else that is special about April, as evidenced by the White of the Kin. She may not be Draic Kin, but she's different somehow. The two most conclusive pieces of evidence pointing to April's survival are Faith telling Zoe that she succeeded in saving her, and
The Alvane Connection
Meet Lady Alvane:
The thing is, you may have already met her. TLJ begins with her telling a story, and that story is TLJ. It ends with her as well, and before the game ends A very old Crow hobbles over and the two have a short dialogue that does not directly state, but insinuates strongly that Lady Alvane is April.
You might remember my having pointed out Kian's last name before: Alvane. You can probably see where I'm going with this.
But Gordon said her role in things is over!
Gordon is the Guardian of the balance, and sees only the balance. He himself admits he his blind to the world of Dreams. April has saved the balance and her job there is done, but she may very well have a vital role left to play in the Dreamfall. Also, notice how one of the Dark People recognized April and the other didn't. Something odd is going on with her.
Okay, maybe April lives. Zoe is dead though, right?
In the words of the Vagabond, "I don't know. It doesn't matter here. This is where everything is. Here...you simply are. Alive or dead, you just are. Understand?". Brian Westhouse managed to pass through The Storytime alive, and now Zoe is there dead. But it may not matter! After all, Faith was dead and she continued "living" until Zoe convinced her to let go. Zoe is clearly meant to be in The Storytime as indicated by The Vagabond. One theory states that her telling the story may in some way be able to change things and save April. I believe instead that she will be living inside of the dreams, and become a sort of ghost. These are merely theories of course, but it's very unlikely that Zoe's role in the story is over; even if she is dead.
Who is the White Lady that Faith talks about?
The first name that springs to mind is the White of the Kin, but there are plenty of flaws with that theory. Other theories are even more flawed however. Honestly, no one really know.
Okay here are my theories about the endings, first the facts:
we can assume the White of Kin is dead, and that she probably wasn't the one going to Faith.
There's some mysterious prophet guy, who loves the Azadi tower that's connected to Dreamcore.
The undreaming wants to be unchained, and this is almost certainly linked to Dreamcore. We know nothing about the undreaming except Faith has seen it - her pictures on the wall are clear about that.
"Reza" isn't really Reza - someone has the power to mimic other human's shapes.
I really think the Undreaming has the capacity to mimic human form - It could be the prophet, it could be Reza, it could be whoever killed the White, and I think it might be the person giving Faith directions to find Zoe and 'save April' - April obviously didn't need to be saved, except from death, and Zoe couldn't do that. It might just be a plot to get Zoe into Dreamcore so she can be put in a coma and monitored, so she can't stop the Undreaming.
Not necessarily, it very well could have been the White of the Kin talking to Faith. The most damning evidence being
And that will bring you home, Zoe. Your commitment to your friends, your belief in yourself and your abilities... Faith will bring you where you're needed the most.
Also, Reza at the end is not necessarily a shapeshifter. Most likely his mind has been erased, and he's a puppet much like the Twins are.
My personal Theory in this regard is that the undreaming possesses people. I believe it possessed Brian Westhouse, and the scene in the library was actually it transferring over to the White of the Kin. So that last visit was really the Undreaming, hence the false information that April was "saved".
Either that or April being saved refers to Zoe bringing back the Hero in her, leading her to shifting again.
Will you be LPing TLJ?
Maybe, but if I do then it will be at least a year from now. I recommend playing it yourself, but make sure you get the right version. The DVD version is compatible with XP as well as Vista (with a patch). There are two different CD versions, which may or may not work on XP depending on your system. If you're feeling lucky you can try the CDs, but your best bet is the DVD game.
What's next for Dreamfall and the TLJ series?
The only officially confirmed game at the moment is Dreamfall: Chapters. This will pick up where Dreamfall left off, but will be released one Chapter at a time. It's a controversial decision, but honestly, I prefer it over the previous plan of waiting until 2009. There is currently no confirmed release date for Chapters.
Good news though. Chapters will be concluding Dreamfall, but once that's done there will still be one more game. TLJ3 is slated to end the series, and we know nothing else about it. Ragnar would also like to make an MMO, but it's more of a pipe dream.
Thank you all so much for sticking around and reading! You guys were all great, and I hope you enjoyed the LP. I'm happy with what I've accomplished, so hopefully that comes across. Feel free to ask questions and I'll add them to the faq, or just chime in and let me know you read it. Thanks guys!