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This is the story of a man with a very strange fate.

Dark Dreams Don't Die (or D4 for short) is an episodic Adventure Game created by Access Games for the Xbox One, and later for PC. It's a Spiritual Successor to SWERY's Deadly Premonition, and shares some plot elements with it. One "season" has been released.

David Young is a former narc for the Boston Police Department who quit the force after the murder of his wife, "Little" Peggy. The trauma from that incident, as well as the bullet lodged in his skull, has left David with no memories of that day save Peggy's last words: "Look for D".

Now David works as a private detective using the special power he gained that day: to revisit the past using "mementos" belonging to certain people, and solve crimes that would otherwise be unsolvable. His target is the mysterious "D", a drug dealer whose product ("Real Blood") seems linked to hundreds of bizarre and frightening deaths within Boston. With the aid of his former police partner Forrest Kaysen, David works to track down "D" in the hope of using one of D's mementos to travel back in time and save Peggy.

It's about as weird as it sounds.

Following SWERY's departure from Access Games, the series has effectively ended, as Access Games still owns the legal rights. SWERY has stated that despite the abrupt ending, he believes the series to be complete.

Not to be confused with Kenji Eno's D, or the games in its "trilogy."

This game provides examples of:

  • Achey Scars: David's bullet wound acts up whenever he so much as looks at Roland Walken.
  • Action Commands: During the stunt scenes. Actually very well done and made fun using the Kinect. It helps that you can sit down and still do them accurately.
  • Adult Child: Invoked. Passenger Deborah Anderson is introduced wearing a life jacket with the words "Adult/Child" (presumably referring to sizing) clearly visible in frame. She's an obsessive-compulsive, manic, phobic, codependent hypochondriac who constantly repeats odd phrases which a certain Dr. Johnson may or may not have "always" said.
  • Ambiguously Human: Roland Walken talks in a very slowed-down Creepy Monotone, and he's so tall that he can't stand upright aboard the plane, something which even the massive Philip Cheney can manage despite having about a foot or more on David. Another thing that adds to Walken's uncanny nature: he barely moves when the player pushes him, like he doesn't even belong in the already bizarre world of the game.
  • Amusing Injuries:
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Some extra cases and other tasks award you with clothes upon completion.
  • Animal Motifs: Forrest "Teddy" Kaysen (formerly "The Grizzly") is a big ol' teddy bear. Antonio "Rabbit" Zapatero has an overactive sex drive. And of course there's a real possibility that Amanda is an actual cat.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Look for D."
    • "I'm going to change the past." "Do you think the past can be changed?" "All you can do is accept the past and move on." "I belong to the past." "I really can change the past..."
  • Batter Up!: David hits back the various objects Rabbit throws at him using Sukey's leg.
  • Bald of Evil: David seems to take an immediate dislike to Marshal Buchanan on this basis — that and his first name (Derek) starts with D.
  • Big Eater: To call Forrest Kaysen this is an understatement. The man stacks four pieces of pizza on top of each other and shoves them into his face with little to no effort, in between gulping down gigantic bowlfuls of clam chowder. He can even swallow a whole roasted fish and pull out the bones in one smooth motion.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Deborah has this as her Catchphrase, usually right before going off on an extremely loud, profanity-laden tirade.
  • Bland-Name Product: Packages in D4's universe are shipped by Desert.
  • Cat Girl: Amanda is a pretty blonde woman who moves, sounds, and eats mice just like a cat... when she's not putting on a dance number with a couple of pigeons or running the in-game shop. What would probably make the most sense is if she's Peggy's cat Amanda who David simply can't recognize due to his head injury, but the world of the game is weird enough that it's all left at least somewhat ambiguous.
  • Catchphrase: Various characters.
    Deborah: Whaaaaat??? / It's like Dr. Johnson always says...!
    Duncan: Aaaavaaant gaaaaaaaaarde!
  • Cliffhanger: The final scene of Episode 2 has Philip Cheney AKA DELTA, having somehow transformed into an electricity-manipulating superhuman killer, lunging at David with a cry of "Now, Mr. Young, how can I help you... DIE?!", seconds before "To Be ContinueD" appears.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Everyone in the game is just a little... off.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Various characters at different times, but Deborah Anderson in particular is dead on with a few of her character assessments. Of course, that's mixed in with her paranoid ravings about how the plain is basically about to shake itself to pieces.
  • Companion Cube: Duncan has Sukey, a mannequin — but don't tell him that.
  • Creepy Doll: Duncan's companion Sukey the mannequin is a very mild example, almost an aversion were it not for the fact that Duncan is one of the suspects aboard Flight 117.
  • Creepy Monotone: Roland Walken speaaaaks verrrrry slowwwlly, and with limited range.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Not surprising, given that it's a cast full of cloudcuckoolanders,
  • Cut Short: The apparent fate of the series, unless someone else takes charge or SWERY gets the rights from Access.
  • Danger — Thin Ice: The Cold Open begins with a young Peggy walking out onto a lake, as her father watches from the shore. There's a dead deer frozen in the water, and a clearly posted warning sign. She meanders up to a snowy owl which spooks and flies off, just as the ice begins to crack underneath her feet and her father, standing back on the shore, finally seems to realize she might be in danger. Then the scene cuts away to our first scene with David, so we know that Peggy survived her experience on the lake, only to be murdered in her twenties.
  • Dead Person Conversation: David sees and occasionally talks to his dead wife, "Little" Peggy.
  • Defective Detective: David himself, played with almost but not entirely to point of parody. BPD Detective David Young quit the force after a near-death experience and the loss of his wife. Now he can't bring himself to leave the house but gained a degree of unique, ambiguously preternatural insight into the cases his ex-partner brings to him.
  • Denser and Wackier: It's far more compressed and colorful than its open-world spiritual predecessor.
  • Downloadable Content: Various tops based on other games for David to wear, along with some more facial hair options and outfits for Kaysen, Amanda, and Olivia, all for free.
  • Evil Laugh: The first thing Roland Walken "says" to David. Subverted — he seems to be trying to help David, in his cryptic, dreamlike way.
  • Fake Interactivity: Technically not, since "pushing" in-game objects gives you credits, but as the game took a lot of flak over the perceived Fake Longevity mechanics (to the point where it was eventually patched to reduce the amount of stamina you lost), they might have been better off simply treating those elements as if they were part of a pop-up video game.
  • Fake Longevity: D4 is basically a point-and-click adventure game, but all in-game actions drain stamina, from using David's Vision to simply moving around and opening doors. Run out of Stamina and your health will drain — run out of health and it's game over. You can buy food to replenish your stamina, but only by repeatedly "pushing" objects in your environment to get credits.
  • Fantastic Drug: "Real Blood", which is stated to act as a super-steroid of sorts. Habitual user Phil Cheney takes it, in plain sight of everyone, using an inhaler.
  • Foreshadowing: Deborah's analysis of Derek Buchanan.
    Deborah: Either he's working to run away from something or work itself is his reason for living.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause the end of the opening title sequence at the right time, the words flashing on the screen form an explicit sentence: "Don't Look For D". You can also make out some other words like Dead, Daughter, Decoy, Dive and, uh, Deli.
  • Friend on the Force: Teddy, David's ex-partner and current head of the BPD Narcotics Taskforce.
  • Genre-Busting: On the surface it sounds like a boilerplate Defective Detective story, but then you add in the Time Travel, Magical Realism, and heavy slapstick elements, and like Deadly Premonition before it, you'd be hard-pressed to confine it within even just science-fiction, mystery, or comedy.
  • Gentle Giant: Zigzagged with Real Blood user Phil Cheney. He's absolutely massive and so strong that the fairly physical David can't so much as budge one of his arms, but he's also a style-conscious flight attendant with an upper-crust English accent. At the same time, there's a definite edge underneath his polite manner from the first time he and David meet — actually the second, and only a few hours before he reveals his true colors and turns into a hulking Real Blood-powered monster.
  • Glass Eye: Zapatero has one, which (inevitably) gets knocked out during the fight with David.
  • Heroic BSoD: Duncan has a freakout after Sukey gets busted apart during David's brawl with Rabbit.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: David can scarf down hamburgers, baked beans, canned seafood, and numerous other food and drink items in quick succession and not suffer any ill effects.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Deborah's advice from Dr. Johnson becomes increasingly surreal as the game goes on:
    Deborah: It's like Doctor Johnson says: "Fall from an airplane and you die."
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Derek Buchanan dies. He's stabbed through the chest and fried by a loose power cable being manipulated by DELTA.
  • The Informant: Courier "Rabbit" Zapatero turned state's witness, which is why he's being escorted to Boston by Marshal Buchanan.
  • Intellectual Animal: If Amanda is actually just a cat that David is only hallucinating is a woman in a leotard, that only raises further questions if she is in fact accompanying him on his dives and bringing him food.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Nervous passenger Deborah curses like a sailor in a game where hardly anyone else even swears at all.
  • Latin Lover: Said to be how Zapatero got his nickname:
    Teddy: You know what they say about rabbits, right? Strong libidos!
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Flight 117 is struck by lightning, which ends up transporting David further back in time — aboard the previous flight, going from Boston to D.C.
  • Made of Iron: David can take an incredible amount of punishment, particularly if you fail the various stunt challenges.
  • Mad Artist: Fashion designer Duncan, whose muse Sukey definitely isn't just a mannequin. Ultimately downplayed — Duncan may be eccentric, but David ultimately rules him out as far as having anything to do with D, Real Blood, or the disappearance of Zapatero.
  • Mad Doctor: Roland Walken dresses like a doctor, in a long white coat and surgical mask, but he never acts like one, or indeed, particularly human. He speaks extremely slowly, is constantly holding a knife and fork, and only David can see him — but only during dives. David is sure he remembers him from somewhere, but just can't place him. Possibly from while he was in surgery after being shot? It would explain his looming presence, and perhaps surgical tools might look like a knife and fork to a man with a terrible head wound who was fading in and out of consciousness at the time. Walken, if it is Walken rather than someone who is merely appearing to David in the form of Walken, seems to be trying to help solve the mystery of what happened to David and Peggy, albeit in the most cryptic way possible.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It certainly seems as if something paranormal is happening regarding David, Peggy, and Real Blood, but the story is so heightened and strange that it seems like any or even all of it could simply be David hallucinating everything as a result of his head wound. At the point when the series ends, there are no answers, only implications. It certainly looks like Cheney actually transformed, and August Oldmann appeared at exactly the point he needed to in order to save Little Peggy out on the ice.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • David Young (Henning) was the name of the protagonist of Deadly Premonition while it was still in development, before it was changed to Francis York Morgan.
    • One of the DLC shirts says "Predatory Demolition" on it, with the font being exactly like Deadly Premonition's.
    • Deborah is another nurse with an odd fixation on a Dr. Johnson. It's probably not DP's Ushah, but who can say when it comes to SWERY?
  • No Indoor Voice: Deborah again, especially her Big Whats.
  • Pop Quiz: These make up some of the Extra Cases. The ones in episodes 1 and 2 deal with the subject of passenger flights and the people and events surrounding them.
  • Psycho Electro: DELTA turns out to be one of these, but not the D David is searching for, or even the one who first started dealing Real Blood.
  • Red Herring: Three passengers of the plane conveniently have a name that starts with a D: Deborah Anderson, Derek Buchanan, and Duncan. The most dangerous "D" is actually Phillip Cheney, who is a DEA agent with the codename DELTA.
    • Peggy's last words, "Look for D", might actually be "Look 4D": look in the fourth dimension, "time".
  • Reused Character Design: Forrest Kaysen appears yet again in one of SWERY's works, though apart from being fat and wearing glasses he doesn't look much like his previous appearances.
  • Rugged Scar: David has a bullethole in his forehead, though it's usually obscured by his bangs. Derek Buchanan has a more sinister one across his jaw and lower lip.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: David's ultimate goal is to travel back in time to stop Peggy from being murdered.
  • Sherlock Scan: Everything you can examine shows several detailed observations from David, even if it's something he first saw just a few seconds ago.
  • Shout-Out:
    • After Swery's previous game, references to Twin Peaks are to be expected:
      • The first shot of the intro is of an owl which does not seem to have anything to do with the actual plot.
      • Both David Young and Dale Cooper have encounters with a mysterious abnormally tall person only they can see who gives them cryptic advice.
    • A man who has suffered total memory loss attempts to track down his wife's killer with the only lead being the initial of the killer's name. Is this a summary of this game or a plot synopsis from the 2000 mystery thriller Memento?
    • One of Amanda's alternate costumes is a yellow tracksuit with a black stripe down the side, which makes her look like the Bride in Kill Bill, and by that same token, Bruce Lee in Game of Death — and Pikachu, thanks to the bow which serves as her 'ears'.
  • Slapstick: Most of the game's quick-time events run on elaborate slapstick setpieces.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Born-and-bred Bostonian David likes his hockey metaphors. Occasionally he references baseball as well.
  • Spiritual Successor: Shares much of the same humor and tone as Deadly Premonition, though with more varied settings and a smaller cast. Certain plot points align with Deadly Premonition, such as something red being used by an antagonist to become more powerful. The gameplay, however, is more along the lines of a Point-and-Click Game, but still employs QTEs and sidequests.
  • Split Screen: The game indulges in quite a bit of this, the most common being to make its various talking head shots more dynamic.
  • The Stinger: The final post-credits scene has Forrest meeting with Peggy's adoptive father, who has a heavily altered voice.
  • Stop Poking Me!: NPCs react to being "pushed" by the player, though it's not clear exactly what they think is actually happening to them in the game world.
  • The Summation: David gives one to Derek Buchanan, who has no idea what he's talking about, since the "summation" is about how David travelled back in time.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Philip Cheney is not only secretly an undercover DEA agent, the same as Olivia, but is also capable of transforming into a massively muscled superhuman murderer named DELTA. His use of "Real Blood" helps to suppress his killing urges and maintain his disguise (and somewhat normal figure) as a flight attendant.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Olivia constantly refuses to admit she needs help, and she definitely doesn't need you to find something random on the plane.
  • Theme Naming:
    • People whose names start with D, of course.
    • David Young; Little Peggy Oldmann. And the game is about Time Travel.
  • Time Travel: David Young can "dive" back in time when he holds onto special "mementos" connected to the cases he works on. Maybe.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: David was shot in the head. He lived, but the bullet is still lodged in his skull, and it seems like his powers/delusions(?) are the direct result of his injury.
  • Tuckerization: Cafe SWERY 65 appears as a Starbucks-style coffee shop, and David dives into an Access Gate Airlines flight.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked with Roland Walken. He is near-inhumanly tall, often engages in repetitive movements in a stiff fashion, and his speech is very delayed. And he never blinks. Ever.
  • Unstuck in Time: David's time travel has elements of this — it's unclear whether he's actually traveling or if it's all in his bullet-addled head, but when he dives, David goes whenever and wherever the memento chooses where to send him without necessarily knowing where or when that might be.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Neither David or Kaysen find it all that odd that Amanda literally acts like a cat and is always dressed like a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. There's hinted that Amanda may be David and Peggy's actual cat (also named Amanda) that David can't recognize due to his head injury (the fact that she actually appears as a cat when David dives into the past implies this as well.)
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: David picks up on several clues that Olivia isn't really a flight attendant, and guesses she's FBI. She isn't — instead, she and Philip are both undercover for the DEA.
  • U.S. Marshal: Derek Buchanan's job.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Pushing NPCs can lend itself to this. The game even encourages it, since it gives out a fair amount of money for Amanda's shop.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: "Pushing" Olivia in the dark of the cargo bay during the final part of Episode 2 has her slap David upside the head, causing actual health damage.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can dress up multiple characters in different outfits or give David different kinds of facial hair, including a Hitler mustache.
  • Voice of the Legion: August Oldmann has this in the final post-credits scene. The various Peggys in David's vision lapse into this just before David wakes up screaming.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Most people will tell you off if you push them.
  • World of Ham: It's Swery, after all. Special recognition to Forrest "Teddy" Kaysen (as usual), remarkably poor flyer Deborah Anderson, quirky fashion designer Duncan, and Rabbit, who only has a limited amount of screentime, so he really has to make it count.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: David is determined to change the past, but is constantly being confronted with evidence that that he can't. Pretty much everything he does during his second dive inadvertently creates all the various problems he faced during his first dive (chronologically the later of the two flights): the animosity between him and Buchanan, putting Philip on his guard, spiking Deborah's paranoia by calling her attention to all the various things there are to fear about air travel, and so on.