GDC 06: Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Impressions

Dreamfall is pretty much done, so lead designer Ragnar Tornquist took off for San Jose to show off his long-awaited adventure game.

SAN JOSE, Calif.--After years of development, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey is pretty much complete at this point, so Funcom creative director Ragnar Tornquist took off for San Jose to show off his long-awaited adventure game for the PC and Xbox. As you'd expect, Tornquist is eager for Dreamfall to finally reach the masses. This is the sequel to what many consider to be the best adventure game since Myst, and it's packed full of content and variety, and there's a reason for that. "This is my pledge to the players," Tornquist said. "They'll never get bored."

Dreamfall will have you play as three different characters on three different worlds, ranging from a futuristic utopia to a more medieval setting. While Funcom originally struggled with how to classify the game, calling it, among other things, an action adventure, Tornquist said that they've since become calling it what it is--a "modern adventure game." Dreamfall is all about overcoming obstacles and challenges, as well as giving you the tools to do so in a variety of ways. There are classic adventure-style puzzles where you have to figure out how to solve problems, and also tons of minigames that are designed to be simple and fun, not excruciatingly difficult, which is a problem with some adventure games. Meanwhile, there's also a light action element to the game, as you can choose to fight it out with your characters if you'd like. The combat controls are inspired by those found in games such as Jade Empire, so it's designed to be accessible to those with slower reflexes. "The combat is not Dead or Alive," he said.

There's approximately 20 to 30 hours of gameplay in Dreamfall, he explained, depending on how much time you spend talking with all the characters. Tornquist said that he didn't want players doing the same things over and over again, so you'll be constantly traveling to new areas, such as foreboding dungeons or beautiful futuristic cities. The game is flexible enough to let you solve many problems in a multitude of ways. If you're being chased in the dungeon by an angry troll, you can try ducking and hiding in the shadows or facing it down, if you feel lucky enough. Then there are also other ways you can solve puzzles, such as the conversational relationship games that you can have with characters to try and make them see your side.

Tornquist is proud of the way the game looks on the Xbox and said that it looks even better on the PC. Put that together with the potentially huge amount of gameplay, and Dreamfall may very well be nirvana for adventure fans. Publisher Aspyr will announce a ship date soon, but expect it to be sometime next month. Meanwhile, Tornquist isn't taking a well-deserved vacation. Instead, he says that he's excited about making games, so he's diving right into his next project. What can we say? The man really loves making games.

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