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Dreamfall Chapters - Ragnar Tørnquist interview

Dreamfall Chapters - Ragnar Tørnquist
Dreamfall Chapters - Ragnar Tørnquist

Ragnar Tørnquist surprised and delighted many adventure fans when he recently formed his own studio, Red Thread Games, and announced that the team would at last be giving us a new installment in The Longest Journey saga. Since then, the overwhelming response to Dreamfall Chapters on Kickstarter has offered definitive proof that TLJ remains of the most popular adventure game franchises of all time. With the fundraising campaign soon drawing to a close, we had a talk with the acclaimed writer/designer to chat about the past, present and future of Stark, Arcadia, and his independent development studio in Norway. 

Ingmar Böke: Hello Ragnar, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to Adventure Gamers. You recently launched your Kickstarter campaign for Dreamfall Chapters with enormous success. Obviously The Longest Journey saga has tons of loyal fans that have waited for this moment for many years, but did you ever expect SUCH an overwhelming response to your work? And what are your thoughts on the campaign so far?

Ragnar Tørnquist: Hi, and thank you! No, we really did not expect such an overwhelming response to our Kickstarter campaign. Our most optimistic projection was $200,000 in the first twenty-four hours, and we didn’t really think we’d get that much.

We made more than twice that in less than a day, and we were completely blown away by the support and generosity of our fans.

We were expecting to be biting our nails from start to finish, but we met our original target in a week, and we recently passed the $1 million mark, which is amazing. There’s only a handful of games that have made this much money, and we’re both honoured and humbled to be amongst them. Our fans are simply incredible, and there are apparently a LOT of them. More than we thought.

Ingmar: What lessons did you learn from previous crowdfunding campaigns, and which positive examples influenced your own Dreamfall Chapters campaign?

Ragnar: We looked closely at pretty much every big Kickstarter there’s been, from Double Fine Adventure and onwards, but the campaigns we’ve learned the most from were Project Eternity and Broken Sword. Those two provided the model for what we wanted to do and accomplish, and we felt both were very well run campaigns that reflected the level of ambition and professionalism we were aiming for.

We spent many months analysing other campaigns and building our own, before we felt ready to launch, and that time – all the research and analysis – was definitely time well spent.

Europolis in action

Ingmar: Since teasing fans with your $2 million stretch goal on Kickstarter, there's been much speculation about about "TLJ Home". Anything you can tell us about that?

Ragnar: No, not yet, but keep your eyes open! More information will be arriving very, very soon.

Ingmar: Unless I'm mistaken, Chapters will resolve Zoë's story, but not necessarily April's. Will we be seeing more adventures in the TLJ universe in future? When looking into the future of Red Thread Games, what is it you see in your crystal ball beyond Dreamfall Chapters?

Ragnar: We have tons of ideas, of course, but right now our focus is squarely on Dreamfall Chapters, and it will remain so for the next year and a half. There might be more games in The Longest Journey saga, and there will definitely be other stories and other universes. Our focus will always be on story-driven games with strong characters, themes and challenging gameplay ideas.

Ingmar: Thanks a lot for doing this, Ragnar. Most appreciated! All the best with Dreamfall Chapters and your new company.

Ragnar: Thank you very much!


Community Comments

Latest comments (14 total)

Well, I had to watch Dreamfall on youtube, but I loved TLJ a lot so I joined Kickstarter for this. I am looking forward to it.

Jun 14, 2013

For me I loved April Ryan much much more than Zoe.

Mar 7, 2013

I’m very happy Chapters will not be an episodal game. Let’s hope it’s really finished by next year. It will be great to play a new TLJ game again.

Mar 4, 2013

awesome interview! this is truly an exciting time Smile

im really curious about journey after reading about it how it was his fav game last year… too bad theres no pc port!! it looks really creative

Mar 2, 2013

Thanks a lot, JDSandara Very happy about your words! Smile By the way: I can understand that people say Dreamfall barely was a game. I can also understand when people say the same about Heavy Rain or The Walking Dead, but I guess it’s a question of what each one of us wants. A game or an overall experience that uses interactivity in different ways than a “usual” game. I made my choice, but I think we can all coexist with our different expectations towards interactive storytelling.

Mar 2, 2013

I was just being cheeky. No offence intended.  Smile

Anyway, it seems Ragnar’s going to go for the middle-ground between what you and what I look for in adventure games.

Will be difficult to accomplish, but best of luck to him, eh?

And I repeat: Good interview, I enjoyed reading it.

Mar 2, 2013

“I have absolutely NO idea what the interviewer was on about when they said “Dreamfall did a fantastic job of merging gameplay and story…”,  Well, as long as the interviewer (me) knows what he what talking about that’s fine and I mean just what I said. I’ll admit that gameplay in Dreamfall had its rough edges, but I feel like the way it used interactivity helped driving the plot forward and did a fantastic job when it comes to creating immersion (which is probably the key thing I’m looking for). Pretty much the opposite of every traditional point and click adventure game where puzzles get in the way of telling a story.  But let’s not start a discussion on that (no point behind that, as we’re not gonna have any result anyway) and focus on Ragnar.

Mar 2, 2013

Haha, yeah, I’m with A.A. Most of the “gameplay” in Dreamfall was abysmal, with broken fighting, broken stealth, extremely iffy chase sequences, and otherwise very little in the way of actual gameplay (to the point where I’d argue that it doesn’t really qualify as a “game” at all). The only reason I’m willing to back Chapters is that Ragnar recognizes and acknowledges the flaws, and is promising to take it back to a more traditional style, with actual meaningful challenges integrated with the story instead of relying on a few poorly-implemented mechanics to provide challenge.

He and Red Thread might make mistakes in the design and implementation, but hopefully they won’t be the same mistakes.

Mar 2, 2013

Okay, I’ve been reading this site for years and I finally created an account just so I could comment on this. 

Thank you Ingmar for the wonderful interview.  I’ve read a bunch of articles on Mr. Tørnquist but I think this one gave me more information than I’ve seen before.  Well done.  It was thanks to Adventure Gamers that I became excited about TLJ more than a year before I ever played it and I’ve been following the series on here ever since. 

I love his explanation of why they chose the name Chapters.  And I totally agree that as an art form games are still in their infancy.  I’ve been playing games since the 80’s so I have loved watching how they evolved.  And most of all, I’m so glad that I never lost faith in the adventure genre, even during it’s “mostly dead” phase, so that now I get to enjoy another great game by a great storyteller.

Mar 2, 2013

I have absolutely NO idea what the interviewer was on about when they said “Dreamfall did a fantastic job of merging gameplay and story…”, (seriously?!?), but a good interview nonetheless. Tongue

It’s been a pretty comprehensively (and encouragingly) successful kickstarter thus far. May the last 7 days bring more of the same. Smile

Mar 1, 2013

Sounds great!  Can’t wait!

Mar 1, 2013

Great interview! It’s awesome that my favorite adventure game of all time (The Longest Journey) was partly inspired by my favorite TV show of all time (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)!

Mar 1, 2013

“We worked every weekend for over a year, and I distinctly remember arriving at the office one Sunday in the early afternoon, and working nonstop until Tuesday morning, when I fell asleep in front of the computer and drooled all over my keyboard. Good times!”

Awesome! Smile
Thank you for this interview. November 2014 seems so far away!

Mar 1, 2013

Great interview! Nice to see that Ragnar was so inspired by one of my other favorites, Jane Jensen.

Mar 1, 2013
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