On Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting
with Ragnar Tørnquist, the creative director of Funcom, the lead designer of adventure gaming classic The
and, it turns out, a loyal Joystiq reader ("every morning"). We met at the Hotel
Montgomery a couple blocks from the convention center to take a look at his latest game, Dreamfall
, a sequel
(of sorts) to The Longest Journey
, whose point and click interface has been increasingly obviated by newer gameplay systems, Dreamfall
is a fully 3-dimensional "modern adventure," as Mr.
Tørnquist calls it. While still cemented in the traditions of adventure games--character development, story,
puzzles, exploration--the addition of a combat system (modeled after Jade
, a game he really enjoyed), stealth gameplay, minigames, and the look of the entire game would make you
second guess its lineage.
By "modern adventure"
Tørnquist means games like Indigo Prophecy
(which he hasn't played
yet), Silent Hill
(which is similarly an evolution of the adventure game
genre), or even (to some degree) Psychonauts
. While many of the changes could
be attributable to the fact that the "adventure game" genre remains thoroughly unpalatable to publishers,
Tørnquist asserts that, as much as he still enjoys the point-and-click classics, as a gamer he enjoys full
To duplicate the now missing "click" aspect of classic adventure games,
they've implemented what they call a "focus feature," allowing your character the ability to examine various
objects, people, places. By "focusing" on a conversation happening far away, you'll be able to eavesdrop,
though if you get too close, they'll notice you.
While the graphics
system was decent enough, the real emphasis was on plot, character development, voice work, and design. Before
production on the game started, they spent six months on concept work and the visual design of the game continued
throughout production, resulting in a world that feels realistic, though steeped in science fiction. With 55 voice
actors playing over 150 roles, there was an emphasis on quality dialogue since so much of the game depends on the
is complete and due in April for both PC and Xbox.