June development update
Welcome to the first of several early summer updates. Today we have beta news, a very cool Zoë clothing update, and a teaser for what's coming later this month, so read on!
Book One goes beta
The Dreamfall Chapters team is currently toiling away on the next project milestone, due June 27th — the same day as our summer BBQ party (we will post pictures). Most of the team are taking a little bit of time off in July to recharge their batteries after a busy half-year, but before that we will be delivering our biggest milestone yet: Dreamfall's first beta.
A few words on how the game is structured:
Dreamfall Chapters is divided into thirteen chapters and five books. Each chapter is designed for a single gameplay session — much like an episode of a TV show — and each book is designed to have a beginning, middle and end; a story arc within the greater story arc.
Over the course of the past fifteen months, we've been working on the entire game, but as we transition into the beta phase, the team will focus on wrapping up, polishing, testing and bug fixing the game chapter by chapter and book by book, in chronological order.
On June 27th, Book One: Birth enters beta and will be gameplay and feature complete.
Book One contains the prologue, chapters one and two, and the first interlude. Birth (and rebirth) is the theme of this opening book, as both Zoë Castillo and Kian Alvane are reborn into the world: one awakes from a coma, the other escapes from prison.
(The interludes, by the way, are a closely guarded secret and will remain so until the game has been released — but they feature a brand new playable character, one that will answer old questions and add new mystery to the universe.)
Dreamfall Chapters initially had three books, not five. The game has expanded in length and scope; not because we’ve been adding content or new features, but because the story we plotted out over a year and a half ago demands it. If there’s one thing we won't compromise on, it’s the story.
With Book One going into beta in late June, we will soon turn our eyes to subsequent books — more on those in August — but before then we'll have more updates from the opening parts of the game.
Zoë Castillo revisited
Our protagonist Zoë Castillo has evolved quite a bit from how she looked in the original Dreamfall, to the character you see in the game today. Sixteen months on from the first 'new Zoë' we revealed in the Kickstarter, we are ready to pull the curtain on her final appearance in Dreamfall Chapters.
She’s still the girl-next-door we all know and love — albeit a bit shellshocked and traumatised from her experiences in the previous game — but the world (and game) around her has changed a fair bit. After the opening chapter, set in the Storytime dreamscape, we rejoin Zoë in Europolis: the cyberpunk mega-city that covers most of the European mainland from Amsterdam in the west to Warsaw in the east, from the Baltic sea to the Alps.
Zoë has a brand new life in Propast — a bohemian neighbourhood in what was once Prague — along with new friends, a new career...and new threads.
We’re very excited to reveal the final concepts for Zoë’s Europolis outfits!
There are two possible career paths in the game, shaped by a choice made early on. Depending on which path she's chosen, Zoë will start out wearing one of these two outfits.
Zoë won’t be wearing the same clothes through the entire game, of course. Subsequent chapters will see her dress both up and down, and we might even see the return of a certain classic outfit from the previous game in the saga.
Production has already begun on the final Zoë models, and we hope to reveal those at Gamescom in August.
Key art is the art of marketing campaigns and digital storefronts, including posters, banners, wallpapers and trailers.
For the past year, the key art we’ve used for Dreamfall Chapters has been early pre-production and work-in-progress art. Our graphic designer Christoffer Grav has been working tirelessly on the final key art, and we are almost ready for a grand reveal.
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming.
On June 24th we will reveal the rest of it, including the box covers and several beautiful new wallpapers. We think you'll be very happy!
Among the Sleep
A few weeks ago, our good friends at Krillbite released their atmospheric, original and exciting first-person horror adventure Among the Sleep. If you haven't taken it for a spin yet, you definitely should! You can grab the game on Steam, from GOG and at the Humble Store.
It's a really impressive debut for a new studio, and we're lucky enough to have a couple of the Krillbite guys sitting in our little gaming collective here in Oslo — we can't wait to see what they're doing next!
In case you missed out on it last month, here's a reminder to check out Rock, Paper, Shotgun's hands-on previews of both Dreamfall Chapters and Draugen:
"The world has been designed to encourage exploration, through observation as well as conversation, and the writing is strong enough to reward the curious. Zoe has undergone something of a personality transplant and is pleasant to spend time with, while having just enough gaps in her motivations and opinions for the player to insert little pieces of themselves."
"With Draugen, Red Thread are taking on board the methods that other designers are using and looking for ways to add something new. It’s impossible to say whether the experiment will pay off but I’m glad that it’s taking place."
We will be back soon, and next time we're going to talk a little bit more about Europolis, one of the key locations in Book One. More specifically, we're going to talk about the politics of Europolis — something that will be an important part of Zoë's storyline.
Until then, we want to hear from you! Post your comments below, make your voice heard on Twitter and Facebook, and please join the conversation on the official forum, where the development team can provide their own insights and perspective.
May the Balance be with you!
Team Red Thread