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#641 Vainamoinen

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:19

Again, we're talking semantics — "harkens back" can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. We wanted people to know that we'd allow for a lot of interaction with the world, and to encourage exploration. I hate having this discussion, because it sounds like I'm defending obtuse legal language, and I'm not: we produced a prototype video during the Kickstarter that showed the interface and game mechanics. Yes, you're right, some of the text can be interpreted in different ways, but again, we made it clear that Dreamfall Chapters was a sequel to Dreamfall and would be closer to that game, while TLJH was our 'true sequel' to TLJ.

 

If you thought differently, then I'm sorry: I thought we were very clear in the material we produced during the Kickstarter, and we've also showed extended sequences from the Chapters gameplay since then — there should be no doubt what our game looks like, how it plays, and what the GUI is like.

 

EDIT: Also, and again, I'm fine having this discussion — but maybe it belongs somewhere else on this forum? This thread is getting really muddled, and I want new visitors and readers to be able to sort through the noise to get to the answers they're looking for. Maybe time to post that FAQ, hmm. Someone just has to MAKE IT first!

 

I really would like to put this topic to rest - and it HAS nothing to do with the episodic switch - but I do think it's an important discussion and somehow people seem to be getting A LOT of answers here. ;)

 

The Kickstarter clearly drew on both TLJ and Dreamfall to describe the appeal of Chapters; the earliest RPS interviews (November 2012) clearly, very, very clearly put The Longest Journey's wealth of gameplay in the foreground while downplaying Dreamfall's mechanics as insufficient (THE signal I needed to support the Kickstarter, by the way); and lastly, during the Kickstarter, The Longest Journey Home certainly wasn't a point of comparison to downplay the classic feel of Chapters – because you only ever introduced the loose idea a mere week before the Kickstarter ended, in Update #20, and that description is not even on the Kickstarter site itself (and, BTW, both external links given back then are dead now).

 

However, there might still be some grave misunderstandings at work between us which I'd like to address. Clear semantic distinction really IS an herculean task here.

 

I'm not that much of an adventure game traditionalist. I do think that Broken Age absolutely has most of the key features of a traditional adventure game, it's just not delivering enough of it. Full 3D and traditional adventure gameplay can work together, which Martin was already demonstrating with the earliest gameplay scenes and which you were working towards with the interface shown. And probably, judging from the past exchange, I'd consider Chapters to have more of a traditional feel way before you would. That a 2D adventure game feels more traditional than a 3D adventure game, that's a given. So, depending on the remaining puzzle density in Chapters, I might still be very satisfied with the game AS an adventure game with a classic feel.

 

Plot choice, however, one can't count among a game's challenges. And if for some reason one does, it's still a challenge that only lasts mere seconds, leaving the player with non interactive, passively experienced consequences afterwards. I hope I'm forgiven for thinking that gameplay advertised as MOSTLY plot choice can not be satisfactory.


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#642 Ragnar

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:52

Hey Ragnar, could you possibly give an indication of how well Chapters will need to sell to finance things through to the end? 

 

I apologise if you've seen my previous posts and can't answer this question, I'm just asking again on the off-chance you missed them.

 

As with most things, we're scaleable when it comes to finances.

 

Will all five episodes get made regardless of sales? Yes. Do sales numbers have an effect on our company and games? Of course.

 

Without going into specific numbers, I can say that lower than expected sales numbers will definitely affect our timelines and team size. But our sales estimates are also quite conservative, and we're not banking our future on Chapters becoming a breakout hit. We're a cautious lot when it comes to money, and we've made some equally cautious estimates that — if met — will allow us to maintain our current team size and development velocity.

 

And if we sell more than our base estimates, we will of course use that money to make an even better game — but without scaling things up or adding more content. We want to focus on polish and bug fixing, rather than adding even MORE content. We have enough of that already.

 

Worst case scenario, Chapters is Red Thread's first, last and only game. If that happens, so be it: I'll be heartbroken, but we founded this company to make Dreamfall Chapters, and if that's all we ever do, I won't regret a thing. I'm really proud of what the team has accomplished. If Chapters is enough of a success to allow us to make more games — TLJH, Draugen, whatever comes after that — I'll consider it a bonus. This is an incredibly tough industry, and I feel really blessed to be able to do what I do. I never take it for granted.

 

But yeah, it's a tough question to answer. Part of the reason for going episodic is because we want and need to generate income. Our war chest isn't bottomless, and our budget is tight. We want to have a buffer, and we want to know that we can deliver a game that we can all be proud of, within a reasonable timeframe. Luckily, we have enough experience to set realistic targets — and that's what we're doing. With intricate spreadsheets!

 

We will definitely keep everyone in the loop once the game is released. We probably won't release detailed sales numbers, but we'll definitely let you know if and when our targets are met, and how that affects production. And if we do better than expected, we'll include you all in the celebrations…somehow!


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#643 Ragnar

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:59

I really would like to put this topic to rest - and it HAS nothing to do with the episodic switch - but I do think it's an important discussion and somehow people seem to be getting A LOT of answers here. ;)

 

The Kickstarter clearly drew on both TLJ and Dreamfall to describe the appeal of Chapters; the earliest RPS interviews (November 2012) clearly, very, very clearly put The Longest Journey's wealth of gameplay in the foreground while downplaying Dreamfall's mechanics as insufficient (THE signal I needed to support the Kickstarter, by the way); and lastly, during the Kickstarter, The Longest Journey Home certainly wasn't a point of comparison to downplay the classic feel of Chapters – because you only ever introduced the loose idea a mere week before the Kickstarter ended, in Update #20, and that description is not even on the Kickstarter site itself (and, BTW, both external links given back then are dead now).

 

However, there might still be some grave misunderstandings at work between us which I'd like to address.

 

I'm not that much of an adventure game traditionalist. I do think that Broken Age absolutely has most of the key features of a traditional adventure game, it's just not delivering enough of it. Full 3D and traditional adventure gameplay can work together, which Martin was already demonstrating with the earliest gameplay scenes and which you were working towards with the interface shown. And probably, judging from the past exchange, I'd consider Chapters to have more of a traditional feel way before you would. That a 2D adventure game feels more traditional than a 3D adventure game, that's a given. So, depending on the remaining puzzle density in Chapters, I might still be very satisfied with the game AS an adventure game with a classic feel.

 

Plot choice, however, one can't count among a game's challenges. And if for some reason one does, it's still a challenge that only lasts mere seconds, leaving the player with non interactive, passively experienced consequences afterwards. I hope I'm forgiven for thinking that gameplay advertised as MOSTLY plot choice can not be satisfactory.

 

Look, you're right about a couple of things and I have enjoyed our exchange! You seem passionate in your beliefs, and I respect that, regardless of our different take on things :)

 

Yes: Chapters is definitely MORE traditional than, say, The Walking Dead. You can explore, there are puzzles (pillow on a broom!), there's lots to look at, there are dialogue trees. It's not a million miles away from The Longest Journey, and it's very close to the more gameplay heavy (thought not stealthy or combat-y) parts of Dreamfall. It's NOT a 'classic point-and-click adventure', but nor is it an 'interactive story'. It's its own beast. I don't think there's anything quite like it out there, and I'm very happy about that.

 

When we created the Kickstarter, we didn't plan on deceiving anyone, and I don't think we did. It was early days, we were still designing the game, and we knew what the game was going to be like — but not the details, not the exact mechanics, not the moment to moment gameplay. All that stuff happened after the Kickstarter, once we knew we were actually going to be able to make the game. We tried to stay quite general in our description of the game, to avoid a scenario where people would feel that we'd changed the premises…but of course the game was going to change. Every game does — except, y'know, FIFA and Call of Duty — during the course of production.

 

Still, the game is remarkably close to what we were aiming for from the beginning. And, in many ways, it's a lot better than what I'd envisioned and hoped for. That's a very good place to be in. I really do think this will be the best game in the saga thus far…but then again I'm also so involved and so close, that it's hard for me to be objective. And it's also a matter of taste. This is the game that I — and the team — want to play. It's not The Longest Journey, it's not Dreamfall; it's a new thing. It's a very cool thing, but a new thing.

 

And I hope you guys will love it as much as I do.


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#644 ShadowNate

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 10:01

Sorry for the minor offtopic question, but I just yesterday discovered the existence of these new forum for DF: Chapters, and I have been reading the KS updates but it seems not paying enough attentions. 

What is C&C and what does it stand for? From bits of the conversation here I suppose that one C stands for choose or choice but google gives no help searching for C&C mechanic or C&C games. But I get that this is somehow related to how Telltale's TWD worked. 

 

I don't want to start some offtopic discussion, so maybe someone can point me to the thread/update that this is discussed, it would be great!



#645 urzagc13

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 10:05

@ShadowNate: It's Choices & Consequences.


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#646 blaster

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 10:38

Ragnar, the only thing I can probably advice here is that you take a really good care of localization and different language availability from day 1 when Book 1 comes out. This should boost your sales as well as the correct price policy.

This is critical especially for Russian region were many people don't know English well enough.

There are several types of game distribution policies here which make the games very affordable in CIS region so people now pay for them instead of pirating which was a common thing 5-10 years ago. 

1. Steam has lower prices for some games, they are locked for our region usage and that's why they are cheaper, or they can contain only 1 language which is Russian. Though it is for the publisher to set the price, steam just gives good options for lowering it for some regions.

2. When StarCraft 2 launched Blizzard lowered the prices for our region and made only 1 language available, when EU had to pay 60 euro for the game we got only 30-35 and the game sold really well. 

 

Since Chapters is not an AAA title, the prices might be very affordable from day 1 without applying any resrictions. 

The pricepoint from 15-30$ for Season pass should be alright, but if the game for the CIS costs more than 40$ than it is most likely to be pirated than bought espeically considering the exchange rate flactuations these days. Fans will buy it but new players which have no idea what TLJ and Dreamfall actually is might not get it. 

AC 4: Black Flag got pirated really well since it was something like 60$ from day one and people just refused to pay for it since the price wasn't good for our Region. Young gamers don't really care about the development expenses, they just want a good game for the right price. 

Since I'm baker I don't care that much about pricing, but I do care that Chapters sells very well and we get TLJ Home and other great games in TLJ Universe.


blasted be the balance


#647 Vainamoinen

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 10:46

And I hope you guys will love it as much as I do.


So do all of us. And I promise you, when the time comes for TLJH Kickstarter, we will help you to define its gameplay in a completely and absolutely unmistakable way. ;)

Hey Ubisoft, you can keep your "seamless vast online GTA in space" to yourselves. Signed, one of the greatest Beyond Good & Evil fans alive.


#648 Pirateguybrush

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:00

Thanks for the response, that's really good to hear. 

 

If I could put in one more request, it would be great if you could try and keep spoilers for all books behind a warning in the back half of kickstarter emails after the books are released, so those of us who would prefer to wait for the full release can keep up with development without trying to negotiate a spoiler minefield.  Some degree of caution on social media would be great too.  Telltale seem to go a good job of this.  I "like" their page and am waiting for their current Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us seasons to end before I start playing, but they've managed to keep things very spoiler-lite.

 

I've really loved what I've seen so far (though I've avoided any gameplay videos).  Hopefully everything goes well from here on out, best of luck to you and the team!



#649 mathias234

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 12:09

Hmm



#650 Ragnar

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 12:20

So do all of us. And I promise you, when the time comes for TLJH Kickstarter, we will help you to define its gameplay in a completely and absolutely unmistakable way. ;)

 

:)

 

But, of course, as always — when we start working on the game, there will be changes, because there always are. And the more specific and precise we are early on, the more people will complain about the changes we do make. It's the nature of the beast, and it's taught me to be as vague as possible, to avoid disappointing anyone.

 

Ah, it was easier back in the early days of game development.


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#651 ShadowNate

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 14:12

:)

It's the nature of the beast, and it's taught me to be as vague as possible, to avoid disappointing anyone.

I feel that this is a wrong lesson to take from kickstarter, as far as my viewpoint is concerned anyway.

 

I am more inclined to support a project that has clearly stated goals and targets in its first campaign page (and first updates). I'll be disappointed if they later change their vision/ promises dramatically and I'll be more cautious around their works in the future, but a vague project would get no backing whatsoever from the get go.

 

Backers are not there just to be always supportive. They are supposed to give their personal feedback and (possibly strong) opinions about your development updates, even if those seem quite critical. Ofcourse, it's in your hands, whether you are going to listen, process, filter or ignore them.


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#652 Happy Tree

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 14:14

FWIW, I never read "classic adventure" as "classic style adventure like your mother used to make". True point & click had its day and is still my favourite mechanic. But I'm old and I doubt a full p&c would sell these days (but am happy to be corrected/shouted down). Look at what happened to Broken Sword. Really?

 

I bought a copy of TLJ original for a friend and he struggled to realise he had to open April's room's window, lol. Kids these days. But he's not wrong, he's at the cutting edge! It's we who are all from a bygone age :sotb:

 

My assumptions from what was said were that DFC would be like Dreamfall in that you're moving and looking around, but not exactly the same and would be better, and TLJH would be more point & click-y and like TLJ, but again not exactly the same. I do like the phrase "harks back", it covers a multitude of sins :P



#653 chrisis

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 14:19

Hey all, first let me say while at first I was a bit baffled about the news, I now support it 100% the more I think about it, it just makes sense.

Anyway, and I'm not sure if that has been answered before here somewhere (I admit I didn't read through all 33 reply pages), I pledged at the $75 level (which was the highest all digital including early access), I was wondering, how early can we expect a playable beta version of the first chapter? I wouldn't mind reporting bugs to be ironed out for the "real" release...



#654 Vainamoinen

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 14:39

I pledged at the $75 level (which was the highest all digital including early access), I was wondering, how early can we expect a playable beta version of the first chapter? I wouldn't mind reporting bugs to be ironed out for the "real" release...

 
The early access advertised in the KS tiers essentially means you're getting your hands on these episodes two days before non backers. At that time, the episodes are supposedly finished/polished/bugfixed already. There's no "beta" access, I think. Thank God. ;)
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Hey Ubisoft, you can keep your "seamless vast online GTA in space" to yourselves. Signed, one of the greatest Beyond Good & Evil fans alive.


#655 khh

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 14:46

And going by your words,C&C is not a simple gameplay detail,it's what the game is all about,it's the theme.

The story of the game is about the small and big  choices people have to make, and predictable and unpredictable consequences they have. They chose to use, in part, the C&C gameplay mechanic to illustrate and show this part of the story. The story is NOT about the C&C mechanic. This has all been clearly communicated.

 

 

It doesn't have to be here or now, but I'm sure that at some point many people would like more details on this. I really can't imagine it as a platform game at all.

Ragnar said a little about it at Journeycon. It was ... bizarre to hear about. Very far from the TLJ we know.

 

A guy used to pop up on the forums every so often asking for "cheesecake" art of April.

I imagine this is what he had in mind.

PS: I miss that guy.

What, I cannot recall this. Who was that?

 

We will definitely keep everyone in the loop once the game is released. We probably won't release detailed sales numbers, but we'll definitely let you know if and when our targets are met, and how that affects production. And if we do better than expected, we'll include you all in the celebrations…somehow!

If that happens I suggest a twitch stream you tell people to bring booze to watch. Then we can all get drunk and happy together through the internet. Judging by the Salty Seaman Drunk Saturday "meetups", this should work pretty well.


April Ryan is my friend,
Every sorrow she can mend.
When I visit her dark realm,
Does it simply overwhelm.


#656 chrisis

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 14:50

 
The early access advertised in the KS tiers essentially means you're getting your hands on these episodes two days before non backers. At that time, the episodes are supposedly finished/polished/bugfixed already. There's no "beta" access, I think. Thank God. ;)

Ah thanks for the answer... I wish it was a bit earlier, still, better than nothing :)



#657 Happy Tree

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 16:10

Ragnar, I have a small request. The next time you're planning on dropping a massive dev bombshell on the entire gaming community, please do it after you've released a trailer showing that everything will be all right. Is this what Norwegian humour is like? Bloody hell :D

 

Far as I'm concerned, panic over. He had us all going there for a couple of days, the young scamp!


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#658 VegetableHarry

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 16:17

Hello,

 

i'm not disappointed that the game is splitted or that it needs longer to be completely published. But I am a litte disappointed that you selling the game for money that we already have completely financed. Maybe I understand that wrong, or because of the splitting you need more money to create it. But my understanding is, that when a game is completely financed it should be given away for free later.

 

I backed it though, so I will get it for free, so no real problem for me. It`s just my understanding of the funding thing. I funded you to make a game, not to make money (except for your payment of course).

 

Anyway, I only disappointed a little, so no big bothering.

 

Sincerely Veggie



#659 urzagc13

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 16:33

 

Hello,

 

i'm not disappointed that the game is splitted or that it needs longer to be completely published. But I am a litte disappointed that you selling the game for money that we already have completely financed. Maybe I understand that wrong, or because of the splitting you need more money to create it. But my understanding is, that when a game is completely financed it should be given away for free later.

 

I backed it though, so I will get it for free, so no real problem for me. It`s just my understanding of the funding thing. I funded you to make a game, not to make money (except for your payment of course).

 

Anyway, I only disappointed a little, so no big bothering.

 

Sincerely Veggie

 

I don't understand, what problem is there with people making money, especially if they have "earned" them through their work? Ragnar's company needs that revenue to continue making games, Kicstarter money is just that, a "Kickstart", the company then needs to be self-funded (the sales of the 1st game funds the 2nd, sales of 2nd fund the 3rd, etc.)

Also, do you think that 21.000 "buyers" (the Kickstarter backers) is a big number of sales in the video game industry? It's peanuts. I cannot find more relevant sales information right now, but -for example- I found a report that by summer 2006 Dreamfall had sold 300.000 pieces. And we know it sold much more since then, and I think it's a fact that The Longest Journey sold even better than Dreamfall. Not to mention that it would be so cruel to the thousand of TLJ fans that didn't want to contribute to a Kickstarter, two years in advance (or simply never heard the news about the Kickstarter). Shouldn't they get to play the game? Or even non-fans, shouldn't the whole world learn what an amazing series of games this is?

 

EDIT: I somehow missed the "should be given for free" part and thought you wanted it to not be sold to anyone again. To that I would say "Norway may be a socialist country, but not that socialist!". More seriously though, that's the craziest suggestion I've ever heard. Red Thread Games are not a charity and they are not working just for our love or something, they are professionals that wish to earn something out of their work, to pay their rent and feed their families. All that happens by getting a profit, which is defined by the money left if you dedact the expenses from the sales. If profit is always 0, well then I'm sure they would look for a different job that would appreciate their talent more.


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#660 MichaelH

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 16:39

But my understanding is, that when a game is completely financed it should be given away for free later.


Huh? What gave you that idea? I think I've seen one or two small projects that actually do this, but it is certainly not normal for games to be given away for free to non-backers.





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