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Dreamfall’s future online?

With six years separating The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, and with the cliffhanger ending of the latter begging for a concluding installment, there has been much concern among adventure fans about the completion of the series. Will it take another six years? Will it happen at all? While writer and director Ragnar Tornquist has offered repeated assurance that the story would be finished in one form or another, there has been no firm indication of Funcom's plans so far.

Now, however, an intriguing detail in the company's third quarter report has offered the first hint about the future of the franchise, or at least one future of it. Listed under the current highlights for Dreamfall are "Online demo version being developed" and "Planning future online expansions of universe". When asked for comment, Tornquist confirmed that there are indeed "plans" for the franchise that are "online-related", but he declined to elaborate with more concrete details.

No doubt this will spark speculation that Funcom, the company behind the MMOs Anarchy Online and the upcoming Age of Conan and The World Online, have decided to turn the world(s) of Dreamfall into a similar online-only, multiplayer project. As players of the TLJ games already know, the environments of Stark and Arcadia are well-developed conceptually, and could very easily play host to additional adventures in that universe. However, at this point such a conclusion is still nothing more than conjecture. Although more of a stretch, another possibility based on such vague wording could be an episodic approach using digital distribution, an idea that Tornquist has explored and supported in his personal blog. It should also be noted that the new project has not been established as "TLJ3", meaning the current plans are not necessarily exclusive of a final standalone game that concludes the story begun in The Longest Journey.

So what we don't know still far outweighs what we do, and plans are ever subject to change, so fans would do well to separate rumour from fact. But for now it's encouraging to hear that Funcom is actively pursuing plans for the franchise at all, and we'll be sure to keep our eye on any further developments.

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