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Dreamfall Chapters in Gamescom 2014: Interview with Ragnar Tornquist

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#1 Silvirish4ever

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:13

So the Gamescom is over. As every year, I was there covering it, and this year I was lucky enough to get an interview with Red Thread Games!

 

My main focus this year were indie games, and of course I couldn't pass this opportunity to add RTG to my list of indie companies to meet with. After a beautiful presentation of the game and a little bit of interaction with Zoë around the streets of Propast, I got to ask some questions around RTG, its development... And its relationship with the forum! So it is only fair that you guys get to read exactly what Ragnar had to say ;)

 

I hope you guys enjoy it. I certainly did :D

 

 

Dreamfall Chapters in Gamescom 2014: Interview with Ragnar Tornquist

 

Silvara: Dreamfall Chapters, Dreamfall, The Longest Journey – these games have a very established fan base, which has been waiting very… long, and very…

 

Ragnar: Patiently, yes (laughs).

 

S: Eagerly. Eagerly! That’s the word I was going for (laughs). Even so, you couldn’t work on it before…

 

R: No.

 

S: … so you created your own studio and you kickstarted the game.

 

R: Uh-huh.

 

S: This shows that we are living a new “era” of independent games. What would you say about that?

 

R: It’s changed everything. I mean… Not just Kickstarter; Kickstarter has been a big part of it, but it’s a combination of digital distribution channels and acceptance of indie games. More than acceptance, actually: for instance, in Sony’s press conference, half of the games announced were indie games. Indie game creators are, like, the new stars of gaming. Also, a lot of developers go into indie from AAA publishing.  Kickstarter has been just another tool to help people realize this wishes, and to be able to make that move into indie gaming, distribute and publish your own game. I think it’s part of a revolution that’s been happening for the past five years. Maybe even less than that; maybe just for the last three years. We were extremely lucky to be able to join that revolution at this point, to go to Kickstarter and to get the support of so many people. It’s a democratization of game development, a liberation from traditional publishing distribution models, and it’s opening game development to completely new games, ideas, and markets. Yeah, it’s changing everything.

 

S: A liberation, you say?

 

R: Definitely, a liberation from retail chains having the power, publishers having the power to do market research and decide what games are going to see the light, and what people are going to play. It’s a liberation from all that and a way to the more creative, artist-driven industry that we are seeing today. We still have the AAA games, and they are always going to be there, but there will be fewer, while indie games will benefit from this revolution.

 

S: But this liberation comes with its share of responsibilities.

 

R: Yes, it does. Our main responsibility is with the people who have backed us and given us a lot of money to make the game. They are sort of our customers even before the game is done. That is a weird way to do it, and we are very conscious of that. But in terms of developing the game… We feel more free than when we are tied to anything, because we can make the game we want to make, and that is enough. We don’t expect everybody to like it or love it, but if we are happy with it, we will do the best we can. And it’s so much easier to be happy with something when you have full control of it, and when there is no one to tell us ‘no, you can’t do that’, or ‘you can’t say that’. So yes, it is a responsibility, but it’s also a massive weight lifted off our shoulders. If we fail, it’s our own fail. But if we succeed, it’s our own success.

 

S: And now the game is going to be released on PS4. That’s pretty big for a company that is so young and for an indie game.

 

R: Yes, it is big for us. But it’s true that Sony has really made things very easy for indie developers to make their way to Playstation. They gave us the dev kits for free, they gave us Unity licenses, they’ve always been extremely supportive… It feels like they understand that indie games is where the revolution is happening. Indie games give them a lot of variety for their platform, so they want as many games as possible. They are quality-conscious, but they are also very good at staying in touch with developers and seeing what games have potential. They were there from the very beginning. We talked to Sony right after the Kickstarter campaign, and they said that if we wanted to have it on PS4, they would give us the kits and facilitate the process, and it’s been great. So yeah, I am a console gamer, so for me it’s a big deal, but Sony really has made it very easy. A lot of people are flocking to Playstation because of that support.

 

S: Just one last question.

 

R: Sure!

 

S: How do you like your new socks?

 

R: (Big laugh) You know about that as well?

 

S: I was part of it!

 

R: Yeah, I’m actually… Am I wearing them now? (Checks his feet) No, I’m not. But I did wear them on the way here yesterday. And they were comfortable. (Chuckles) And they help a lot, because I barely have clothes now. We need to get the game out and start selling, then we can buy underwear and socks and shirts again.

 

S: Great. A whole new wardrobe! (Laughs) You have a huge fan base in the forum. Anything to tell them?

 

R: They are awesome. They keep us in line and it’s always great fun to go there and see the reactions. I went there to read what they had to say about the PS4 release, and of course, the first reaction was negative. But the great thing about the forum is that there is enough rational voices to calm things down after a while. It’s great to go there and read people’s opinions, and see their support for us and for each other. They are active, and that’s the best part. That’s what we do this for. Games often vanish into a big black hole after a while, but we have such a loyal community. I still like to read threads about the story in Dreamfall and see what people are talking about and what they are discussing about a game that came out eight years ago.

 

S: Have you freaked out at some point after someone got it right? (Laughs)

 

R: What actually freaks me out is when they get it wrong, but the way they got it wrong is better than what we came out with, and we go like “oh no! We should’ve done it like that!” We’ve actually done it on a couple of occasions. I have to admit that a few times we’ve actually taken things that the community theorized and everybody agreed on. We figured, “that’s not exactly what we had in mind, but you know what? We’re going to take that, because it’s better”. So when we can do it, we do it. It has happened, yeah. That’s a scoop!

 

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#2 toremygg

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:01

R: What actually freaks me out is when they get it wrong, but the way they got it wrong is better than what we came out with, and we go like “oh no! We should’ve done it like that!” We’ve actually done it on a couple of occasions. I have to admit that a few times we’ve actually taken things that the community theorized and everybody agreed on. We figured, “that’s not exactly what we had in mind, but you know what? We’re going to take that, because it’s better”. So when we can do it, we do it. It has happened, yeah. That’s a scoop!

 

The mind boggles... You should have asked for an example. ;)

 

Good job!


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#3 Silvirish4ever

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:04

The mind boggles... You should have asked for an example. ;)

 

You know... I might just be the least interesting journalist in the universe, but I would just hate to be spoiled after waiting for 8 years for the new game. I'm sure most of you here understand.

 

Not that he would have answered anyway ;)

 

Thanks for the comment!


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#4 toremygg

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:11

If we did a yearbook, we'd have to vote "Person most likely to have triggered plot changes in Chapters" :P


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#5 Jecica

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:37

Woohoo! You finally posted the interview, I was dying here from anticipation!! Well done, Lyd :) Did you enjoy the presentation, how does the game look so far?


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#6 Tina

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 14:04

The socks! ^^

I'll read the whole interview later (when I'm not at work), but I just needed to comment on that right away. Btw, if anyone's thinking of asking me for a new gift project after reading that interview, I'm just going to say this right away; I will NOT buy underwear for Ragnar. That's a bit too personal xD
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#7 toremygg

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 14:06

I'll read the whole interview later (when I'm not at work), but I just needed to comment on that right away. Btw, if anyone's thinking of asking me for a new gift project after reading that interview, I'm just going to say this right away; I will NOT buy underwear for Ragnar. That's a bit too personal xD

Tina: "Um, Martin... How well-endowed is Ragnar in the ... male department? And does he prefer briefs or b... WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING???"


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#8 Andreas

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 14:11

 

 We need to get the game out and start selling, then we can buy underwear and socks and shirts again.

 

 

The socks! ^^

I'll read the whole interview later (when I'm not at work), but I just needed to comment on that right away. Btw, if anyone's thinking of asking me for a new gift project after reading that interview, I'm just going to say this right away; I will NOT buy underwear for Ragnar. That's a bit too personal xD

 

I'm not buying underwear to Ragnar. Thats where I draw the line. But I might have some other ehem... ideas. But better wait until they don't expect anything (yeah Ragnar & co.. I know you read this)  :ph34r:


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#9 urzagc13

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 14:28

No one expects the Underwear Inquisition!

One also should not underestimate the "importance" of underwear in the TLJ Saga, as it has now become a"tradition" that the games start with a character in their undies (which is "so inappropriate" according to April). ;)
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#10 Edreamer Jamil

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 15:17

The socks! ^^

I'll read the whole interview later (when I'm not at work), but I just needed to comment on that right away. Btw, if anyone's thinking of asking me for a new gift project after reading that interview, I'm just going to say this right away; I will NOT buy underwear for Ragnar. That's a bit too personal xD

 

Awww that's just Pants ! ;)



#11 TalkingOak

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 15:44

Awesome interview Silvara! ^_^


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#12 Happy Tree

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 15:53

What makes you think he wears any? :ehehe:


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#13 trentjaspar

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 18:25

S: This shows that we are living a new “era” of independent games. What would you say about that?

R: It’s changed everything. I mean… Not just Kickstarter; Kickstarter has been a big part of it, but it’s a combination of digital distribution channels and acceptance of indie games. [...] It’s a democratization of game development, a liberation from traditional publishing distribution models, and it’s opening game development to completely new games, ideas, and markets. Yeah, it’s changing everything.

 

S: A liberation, you say?

 

R: Definitely, a liberation from retail chains having the power, publishers having the power to do market research and decide what games are going to see the light, and what people are going to play. It’s a liberation from all that and a way to the more creative, artist-driven industry that we are seeing today.

 

OMG, I'm hearing Vainamoinen's voice in my head talking about how Steam's digital distribution monopoly is undermining the liberation of games developers from big publishers...

 

I've been reading these forums too much...  ;)


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#14 Ragnar

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 19:37

Tina: "Um, Martin... How well-endowed is Ragnar in the ... male department? And does he prefer briefs or b... WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING???"

 

Why on EARTH would you think Martin knows the answer to that question? I mean, really?

 

No one at the office knows the measure of my manhood. NO ONE. And it shall stay that way, thankyouverymuch.

 

i mean jeez some people grumble grumble


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#15 Ragnar

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 19:41

Awesome interview Silvara! ^_^

 

It was a very good interview. You can tell when someone cares and has done their research and background work — and we treasure those interviews and journalists.


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#16 Riaise

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 19:44

Why on EARTH would you think Martin knows the answer to that question? I mean, really?

 

No one at the office knows the measure of my manhood. NO ONE. And it shall stay that way, thankyouverymuch.

 

i mean jeez some people grumble grumble

 

So they only do this when you're not around, then? :P


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#17 Silvirish4ever

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 20:14

Woohoo! You finally posted the interview, I was dying here from anticipation!! Well done, Lyd :) Did you enjoy the presentation, how does the game look so far?

 

Thank you hun, it was simply awesome! I got to see the Rezzed footage while hearing Dag’s and Ragnar’s comments about it, and they I got to play the game. PLAY IT. For a minute there, I was Zoë, and I got lost in Propast until I found my way to a lady that sells lunches in a street stand. I got to talk to her (pretty memorable Marxist lady with the most colorful vocabulary) and to choose from a couple of dialog options to buy a meal for Zoë’s boyfriend. Oh man. I can't wait until the real thing comes out :D

 

 

Awesome interview Silvara! ^_^

 

Thank you Ben! I'll just quote Ragnar here again: when you are happy doing something, you give it your best :D

 

One also should not underestimate the "importance" of underwear in the TLJ Saga, as it has now become a"tradition" that the games start with a character in their undies (which is "so inappropriate" according to April). ;)

 

Why do I get the distinct impression that it's a matter of time until someone proposes an underwear party when the last episode gets released...?

 

OMG, I'm hearing Vainamoinen's voice in my head talking about how Steam's digital distribution monopoly is undermining the liberation of games developers from big publishers...

 

My thoughts, exactly.

 

It was a very good interview. You can tell when someone cares and has done their research and background work — and we treasure those interviews and journalists.

 

Aw, thank you Ragnar. It was my pleasure, as I'm sure you noticed by now :D


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#18 Tina

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 21:06

Why on EARTH would you think Martin knows the answer to that question? I mean, really?

 

No one at the office knows the measure of my manhood. NO ONE. And it shall stay that way, thankyouverymuch.

 

i mean jeez some people grumble grumble

To Tore's defence, Martin was the one who told Andreas your (probable) shoe size before the sock thing, so it would make sense that Martin would be the go-to person for anything else :P (regardless of actual knowledge)

 

But yeah, no.. Let's not go there.


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#19 Andreas

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 21:37

To Tore's defence, Martin was the one who told Andreas your (probable) shoe size before the sock thing, so it would make sense that Martin would be the go-to person for anything else :P (regardless of actual knowledge)

 

But yeah, no.. Let's not go there.

Please do not go there. Please...... *shudders*

 

 

Edit: Oh by the way. Ragnar, please do not scold Martin for helping me with the socks. I asked him nicely and it was for a good cause :)


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#20 toremygg

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 22:41

But yeah, no.. Let's not go there.


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