Video Game: Dreamfall Chapters

Kian and Zoe

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 (October 21, 2014)
  • Book Two: Rebels (March 12, 2015)
  • Book Three: Realms (June 25, 2015)
  • Book Four (TBA)
  • Book Five (TBA)

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

Tropes found in the game:

  • Arc Words: "Wake up." Both Kian and ZoŽ (but especially ZoŽ) are told to "wake up" in one way or another repeatedly through books one and two, but the meaning of this is still to be revealed.
    • "Your Choice will have consequences" and "The Balance has shifted" on a meta scale. Get used to seeing these words a lot.
  • Arrow Catch: You can do this as Kian in Book Two. If you don't, your companion will.
  • 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:
    • A 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'.
    • Zoe's part of the game is set in Propast which is a part of the Prague District of Europolis. As a result of that, Czech is heavily featured in the game, including location names and slang.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A heroic version. Anna's reason for being borderline obsessed with Kian stems from the fact that he once saved her from suffering abuse at the hands of Vamon and his mooks. Kian, however, doesn't remember her until she reminds him of the event in explicit detail.
  • But Thou Must:
    • In Book Two, the choice of whether or not to join the Rebels isn't really a choice at all. The latter leads to a Non-Standard Game Over and you have to go back and join to continue the story.
    • You have to do Baruti's data-gathering mission in Book Two. Refusing just stalls the story there until you speak to him again, at which point your only choice is to accept.
    • At the end of Book Two, there is a playable cutscene where you chase down Nela as she runs to suicide bomb an EYE checkpoint. Even if you do absolutely nothing or even run in the opposite direction, the game will just assume you did as you were told and play the actual cutscene that follows right on cue. A later update addressed this, providing an alternate cutscene that accounts for players who take the second option. The end result doesn't change, however.
  • 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.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: In Book Two, Anna lampshades that Azadi are particularly prone to temptation simply because there are so many things they forbid. This is in reference to an Azadi officer engaged in an affair with an underage magical, which is three capital crimes rolled into one.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Lockout: Zig-zagged. A new player will seem somewhat confused at the world but it attempts to explain it for them. Even when Kian is confronted with an event that happened in Dreamfall, there is a "Press F to learn more about this character" to remind people.
  • 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.
    • The racist "Front" talks about how bad the magicals are...
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: Which is handled with a surprising amount of depth and nuance. The Azadi's determination to exterminate magicals is only the most obvious manifestation.
    • The Azadi also have a complex hierarchy of human worth that is informed by intersections of class, race, and religion; for example, a cutscene reveals that an infidel's testimony cannot be used against a Trueborn.
    • Additionally, Vamon resents Kian, who is of low birth, for essentially rising above his station.
    • If Kian asks the Mole why she won't join the Resistance, she reveals that other magicals treated her people, the Banda, with disdain.
    • If you walk slow enough when Bip is leading you to the National Front meeting, you can also learn that the Dolmari prefer lighter blue skin to darker blue skin and likewise assign value to hair colors based on their associations with certain gods.
  • 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.
    • No matter what you do at the end of Book Two, Nela is going to blow herself up taking out an EYE checkpoint.
  • Failed A Spotcheck: One puzzle involves you speaking to an Adbot to conceal you as you try to sneak into a vent (It Makes Sense in Context) but a glitch can result in the Adbot not being there when you leave, meaning the EYE operative who was watching you couldn't see a thing.
  • 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.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Ferdows reveals to Kian that it was the Prophet who gave the Azadi the plans for constructing the Machine, essentially an giant computer running on steam technology.
  • 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.
  • Groin Attack: Kian will threaten to castrate a child-molesting guard and then feed him the result if he speaks without being told to. Said guard is also warned that said child being a magical means that he is guilty of three separate offenses that would warrant death, and would undoubtedly be castrated as part of his very drawn out punishment.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shitbot performs this. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Played with - ZoŽ must search for random access points to a cloud database to download data from, swapping accounts and locations to make her harder to track. Justified in that Mira designed the software to do it for her.
  • Hub Level: Europolis and Marcuria are going to be this for Stark and Arcadia, respectively.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: ZoŽ tells a member of the Resistance to "Take Me to Your Leader!", and notices she always had wanted to use that line.
  • 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. The warden gets lucky, though: if you spare him, Vamon can't just execute him because there are laws and going around them would be rather suspicious with his superior officer in town.
    • The prisoner from chapter two, Arn Stont, asks Kian to tell his family he loved them and asks Kian to kill him. Regardless of what you do in the latter choice, if you seek out his family, his widow is not happy with your actions at all.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Damien and Olivia. See Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome below.
    • Depending on your actions in Book Two, Baruti will also meet this fate.
  • 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) Goddess, I've gone insane.
    • Zoe also does this earlier to the wardrobe in Dreamtime if you observe it enough.
  • 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.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Pops up once again. The Mole mentions that she senses that there is something seriously wrong and foreboding about the massive machine the Azadi is constructing in Marcuria, like it simply doesn't belong in the world. She specifically mentions that whatever it is, it doesn't give off any magic wipes, strongly indicating that it runs on some form of science, and the thought alone scares her enough to close up her operation and get the hell out of dodge.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When ZoŽ reunites with Crow, he comments that she looks a bit different from last time and that her voice doesn't sound quite like it used to. He even comments that he looks a bit different himself.
  • 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.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Choose not to join the Rebels in Book Two. Game over, the world ends.
  • 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.
    • Marcuria returns as well, and you can even revisit City Park from the Longest Journey.
  • Not So Different: A Wham Line reveals that Uminska and Wolf have both been doing things with WATI...
  • Oddly Named Sequel: See Artifact Title above.
  • Parental Substitute: Kian is rapidly shaping up to be this for Bip.
  • Perception Filter: In Book Two, Kian is given a potion which causes him to be mostly ignored by everyone around him. As long as Kian doesn't interact with people in any meaningful way, they will only barely register his presence; guards at checkpoints, for example, will acknowledge that someone is nearby but find themselves unable to see anyone, even when Kian is two feet away. The effect fails if Kian engages in conversation, and people who know him intimately (former friends, rebel associates, etc.) can see through the veil. This becomes important when Anna can see right through the veil even though Kian has no recollection of meeting the woman.
  • Pet the Dog: The Warden will try and come to a kind of understanding with Kian. Kian himself can decide to spare him.
  • 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.
  • Red Herring: The Kung Fu personality module during ZoŽ's warehouse heist in Book Three. Not only is it no help, but trying to take out guards with it results in ZoŽ getting caught.
  • Sadistic Choice: You will receive several...
    • Decide to castigate the rebel who inadvertently led to April's death or keep your tongue knowing that there is someone who is willing to sell out the resistance out of desperation.
    • Give Baruti data that suggests Uminska and Wolf are Not So Different and risk Baruti giving it to people who'll delete all records? Or give it to the Hand that Feeds and risk destroying Baruti's life?
      • The sadism of this particular choice is hammered home by the fact that if you choose to give the data to the Hand, you are forced to then tell Baruti what you've done behind his back. Though if you speak to him ahead of time and explain your reasoning, he will at least appreciate your honesty and your relationship will be on better terms.
  • 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. Examples include:
    • In Book One:
      • Before she wakes up from her coma, ZoŽ's first choice determines which career she'll take: bioengineering or a job at Mira's repair shop.
      • Kian can choose whether or not to kill the Warden. This comes into play in Book Two, where the warden's testimony causes problems for Vamon.
    • In Book Two:
      • Kian can choose whether or not to join the Rebels. Choosing the latter ends with a Non-Standard Game Over where the entire world ends.
      • Kian can choose whether or not to rat out the traitor from the previous game, Na'ane, and as a subset of that whether or not to kill her if he does. Revealing Na'ane will put her in prison, but saying you will kill her will make Likho like Kian more.
      • Kian can choose whether or not to torture and then kill the guard he interrogates. Sparing him results in a potential mole, and your companions will react differently depending on your interrogation conduct and how they feel about letting a child molester live.
      • ZoŽ can either give the incriminating data to The Hand That Feeds to spread it around or to Baruti, who asked you to get it for him, even though it might never see the light of day. Baruti ends up dead if you do the latter.
    • In Book Three:
      • ZoŽ can either dodge Falk's silenced pistol or try to distract him with her dreamer. He shoots EYE officers entering through the window in either case, but will be shot multiple times in the chest if ZoŽ chose to distract him.
      • Likho begs Kian to pull him up onto a cloudship for the mission to rescue Bip. Taking him with you makes him comment on how he has "no reason to hate you," but deprives the resistance of two crucial members instead of one. Leaving Likho behind angers him, but may strengthen the resistance.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: 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 was too addled after her coma to remember any of the incriminating details.
  • Suicide Attack: Nela goes out this way in Book Two. ZoŽ will make an effort to stop her and get caught in the blast, and the final scene is her being dragged off by Falk.
    • Except Book three reveals that this is actually an act of sabotage.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Kian says he "isn't interested in women" to Enu - which results in a rather humorous exchange.
  • Time Skip: Two months pass between Book 2 and Book 3. Zoe's hair is much shorter, while Kian has grown out his hair and a full beard .
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Try to be a good friend to people...
    • Kidbot and Bip are basically made of this. There's even an achievement for giving Bip your sand-witch!
  • 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, though it's a moot point in the first three episodes as each area is self-contained.
  • Wham Episode: ZoŽ's segment at the end of Book Two. Depending on your choices, two of ZoŽ's friends have wound up dead - one of them even sets a bomb off right in front of you.
  • Wham Line: When Mira decrypts the data... Especially when it's revealed that WATI has bought out the two biggest parties in the election: Lea Uminska and Konstantin Wolf. If you took the data to Baruti, he also reveals that Dieter Gross was bought out too, even though he had no chance of winning.
  • Wham Shot: Finding Baruti dead.