Video Game: Dreamfall Chapters

Dreamfall Chapters is the episodic sequel to the 2006 Action Adventure game Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. Although announced back in 2007, it only entered pre-production in 2012, since most of its key personnel (including the original creator, Ragnar TÝrnquist) had their hands full with The Secret World. The game has been funded via Kickstarter, raising over $1.5 million from almost 22,000 pledges, which was about 180% of the original goal. With the extra money it was possible to add Linux and Mac versions, new language localizations and more content do the game (essentially a Director's Cut and developer commentaries), all of which had to be cut earlier in order to make room to a smaller goal. The first episode, Book One: Reborn, was released on 21 October 2014.

Had it reached $2M, the devs would have greenlit the pre-production of The Longest Journey Home (essentially, The Longest Journey 2 with April in the lead role, which is a conclusion of her story), but this does not mean that the project is dead, the devs told that they really want to tell the story and that they are going to do it at some point (another Kickstarter is a possibility). At any rate, TLJH would not be made at the same time as Dreamfall Chapters (though if it sells well, work on Home could start as early as late 2015).

The story takes place in 2220, picking up soon after the events of Dreamfall. The Dreamer Console that allows people to experience lucid dreams has been released to the public, and is a great success as many find themselves addicted to the new technology, which also seems to have some rather sinister side-effects that might not be entirely unintentional. Meanwhile, following the events of the previous game, ZoŽ Castillo lies in a coma, with her consciousness trapped in the realm of "Storytime". But the realm's mysterious caretaker, "the Vagabond", informs her that she must wake up to face a threat outside of Storytime that threatens all of existence. Upon waking, however, ZoŽ discovers that she suffers from partial amnesia. In effort to pick up the pieces and begin again, she moves to the dystopian megacity Europolis. Though she manages to carve out quite comfortable niche for himself, she finds herself increasingly caught up in shady events surrounding Europolis' upcoming parliament elections, and she has a nagging feeling that is something she really ought to remember...

In Arcadia, Kian Alvane is saved from a summary execution as the Marcurian resistance, seeking to recruit him, springs him from prison. With his new acquaintances' backing, Kian now has an opputunity to get to the bottom of the conspiracy that seems to fester within the Azadi leadership in Marcuria. But can a person with his past gain the trust of the same people he fought against? And who can he trust to help him?

The game will consist of five episodes:

  • Book One: Reborn (released October 21, 2014)
  • Book Two: Rebels (TBR March 10, 2015)
  • Book Three (TBA)
  • Book Four (TBA)
  • Book Five (TBA)

Please put tropes concerning characters introduced in this game to its character list.

Tropes found in the game:

  • Artifact Title: Subverted. Chapters originally referred to the game's episodic format, which has been dropped when production began and the subtitle began to refer to the "chapters of life". With the return to episodic format, however, the title is back where it started.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Few Polish words and expressions in dialogues, i.e. "ziomek" (homie), "suka" (bitch), "dobra" (all right), "dupa" (ass), "babka" (lady or grandma). Other languages, especially German, and a bit of French and Italian, also seem to have been partly incorporated into the future pan-European Engish, too.
    • The screens in the souk area feature green Arabic writing (it's written left-to-right, though, and therefore, the letters are not connected).. On first sight they just seem like a typical Cyberpunk decoration. However players soon discovered that the writing repeats sentences like 'You've been dreaming Zoe, Wake up before it's too late' or 'Wake up now'.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember that gun Commander Vamon was carrying throughout Dreamfall but never got to use? Well, he shoots Kian with it the second time we see him in this game.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Back in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, it is briefly mentioned that ZoŽ is pursuing a bioengineering degree. In this game, bioengineering is one of the two career paths ZoŽ can choose before she wakes from her coma.
  • Collection Sidequest: The Loremaster stretch goal will allow you to collect books throughout the game to rebuild the Great Library of Marcuria.
  • Colon Cancer: The full titles of the individual episodes will be Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey: Book X: Episode Title.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: It always rains in Europolis, to the point where ZoŽ jokingly explains to the locals what the Sun is.
  • Dialogue Tree: In a interesting twist on the trope, hovering over a dialogue choice triggers a bit of Inner Monologue, wherein the Player Character will explain their reasoning for that option to prevent the common situation where a seemingly peaceful word triggers a hostile line of dialogue.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Listening to people describe the political scene in Europolis (especially how most people supporting the conservative candidates view immigrants), one can easily wonder if they may be sneaking in a Take That to European political parties in the 2014 elections.
  • Episodic Game: Double-subverted. Originally announced as such, then confirmed to be a traditional full-length game, but faced with mounting production costs the developers have switched back to episodic format, with the original projected release date now being the release of the first episode/book.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Testing the Shitbot for aptitude to various tasks. Worst of all is repairing, which looks like a rather simple puzzle (there is a schematic for the repairs, replacement fuses, etc.) but since ZoŽ cannot touch high voltage cables herself, you must use the Shitbot—which promptly breaks the already broken system even more, regardless of what you have it do.
  • Fantasy World Map: Limited editions of Chapters will be packaged with the first ever official map of Arcadia.
  • 555: The Mythology Gag below has a phone number that begins with this.
  • Freudian Couch: ZoŽ's therapist, Roman, has one in his office, but she has never used it, as she feels it would make her look like a dork.
  • Got Me Doing It: ZoŽ comes to this realization during her conversation with the Vagabond.
    ZoŽ: I'm a thread without a spool... Oh, for God's Sake, I'm starting to talk like you!
  • Government Conspiracy: A continuation (and hopefully conclusion) to the Project Alchera arc.
  • The Hashshashin: Or rather, their Arcadian Counterpart Organization, the Oular Assassili.
  • Here We Go Again: When Queenie asks ZoŽ to find and save Hannah, ZoŽ's diary makes a dry note on how the last time she was tasked with finding and rescuing a girl she didn't even know, it ended very well for everyone involved and their friends/relatives.
  • Hilarity Ensues: In one chapter, ZoŽ is asked to take Shitbot out for a walk and test all of the features. Chances are you will be laughing at how comically the robot fails every single task ZoŽ asks of it.
  • Hub Level: Europolis and Marcuria are going to be this for Stark and Arcadia, respectively.
  • Kick the Dog: It's implied that the Warden will be executed if Kian spares him. Alternatively, Kian can convince the Warden to allow him and the captain through, and reward him by killing him anyways.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Kian has one to his own pun, after observing the broom in the prison several times.
    Kian: I've been staring at this broom for so long, maybe the two of us should get a... broom. (beat) I've gone insane.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When ZoŽ looks at the window of her apartment, she comments about how it is always raining outside the window but when she gets out it stops raining.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During the first chapter, ZoŽ makes a meta-commentary about games:
    ZoŽ: He's asking me to make a choice, but it doesn't feel like that choice matters. At the end of the day, I'm just playing by someone's else rules. No matter what I say, the outcome is the same.note 
    • There is quite a bit of this, actually. If you take very long to reach Reza's office, because you go exploring the city and get distracted by details, he calls you and seems confused about what could possibly keep you so long. Zoe asks: 'Who do you think I am? Miss Distraction?' and he answers along the lines of 'Yes, actually'.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Several collector's editions of ever-increasing size have been offered as Kickstarter incentives, with the Draic Kin Edition definitely taking the cake.
  • Least Common Skin Tone: Averted - While it's rather dark to see specifics, Europolis has a fair amount of residents who are of Asian or North African descent.
  • Mega City: The City State of Europolis. It physically covers the entirety of the former Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands, a good chunk of France and even reaches a bit into the Baltic states.
  • Mythology Gag: If you look very carefully, you will see a "Found" sign in Europolis that will show the inflatable rubber ducky from The Longest Journey, and it even mentions the piece of string April put on it.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name:
    ZoŽ: Konstantin Wolf envisions himself as a back-to-basics father figure for a united Europe, embracing traditional values and ethnic purity. I wonder were I've heard that particular pitch before...
  • Nightmare Sequence: A side effect of the Dreamer Console is that some of its users gets stuck in their nightmares... and then find themselves unable to awake from them.
  • Nostalgia Level: The level where Kian escapes from Friar's Keep is a remix of the same location from Dreamfall, where April had to break ZoŽ out.
  • Oddly Named Sequel: See Artifact Title above.
  • Pet the Dog: The Warden actually attempting to bond with Kian. Similarly, Kian can choose to spare his life.
  • Player Data Sharing: Downplayed. Enabling the online-only "social" function lets the players learn what choices other players have made at important Story Branching points.
  • Previously On: The game will include an interactive comic recap of TLJ and Dreamfall.
  • Scenery Porn: Storytime consists of nothing but crazy yet beautiful vistas.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: The game opens with the Resistance giving a Viking Funeral to April Ryan. There are some implications that she is reincarnated as Saga in the House of All Worlds immediately thereafter—further supported by the fact that what seems to be the spirit of the White Kin calls Saga "sister-daughter".
  • Signed Up for the Dental:
    Nela: What does it feel like, working for a fucking fascist regime, trampling all over the working people?
    EYE soldier: I'm okay with it. Good healthcare, no overtime, and the pay is decent.
  • Story Branching: Played with. At multiple points in the game, the player has to make minor and major plot decisions. All of them have impact on the fates of the characters they concern—but none on the player characters themselves, so there will be no Multiple Endings.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome/Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Damien and Olivia have died during the gap between the installments, and it is heavily implied that they were liquidated by WATICorp to keep them from exposing The Conspiracy, and they went through some trouble to make the former The Scapegoat and make both deaths look like a suicide and an accident respectively. It is also implied that only reason ZoŽ wasn't put on a deathlist is because her mind were too addled after her coma to remember any of the incriminating details.
  • Vestigial Empire: Europolis was once the greatest economic powerhouse on Earth, but at the time of the story it is way past its prime and in the middle of a serious downturn.
  • Viking Funeral: The game beings with one for April Ryan.
  • Warp Whistle: There will be some way to quickly travel between locations. There isn't one in the first chapter, each area being relatively small.