Funcom last year released Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the second game in writer/designer Ragnar Tornquist's adventure game series that began in 1999 with the acclaimed The Longest Journey. Despite positive critical reception, Dreamfall was not a sales blockbuster; during the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Jorgen Tharaldsen of Funcom noted to Shacknews that the company anticipated such a situation, seeing the game in some ways as a labor of love. Still, Funcom appears to have every intention to continue the saga, and in doing so it is becoming the latest studio to adopt the episodic development model.
Funcom has announced Dreamfall Chapters, an episodic series of games that will continue the story told in The Longest Journey and Dreamfall. The project has been facilitated in party by a grant from the Norweigan government, which the Oslo-based company will use to set up a core technology team for episodic content. Dreamfall Chapters seems to be only the first step in the company's long term plans for the franchise; the announcement note that an MMO based on The Longest Journey might at some point be developed. Funcom is no stranger to the MMO world, with Anarchy Online released in 2001 and Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures set for release later this year.
"We will be researching an online-only continuation of the epic 'Longest Journey' saga, and we very much look forward to develop new chapters to the Dreamfall gaming community," said Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. "To see the Norwegian government take such an active role in nurturing the local game development industry is impressive. In return for their trust we aim to deliver a modern adventure game with unique qualities."
There have been no details released as to the content or gameplay of Dreamfall Chapters. Funcom notes that episodes will be initially released for PC via online distribution only, but may see later retail releases and console versions. No projected release period for the first installment was given.
On his personal blog, Tornquist addressed the announcement. "The episodic format is perfect for the continuation of the story--it's something IÂ’ve been thinking about for ages," he wrote, "and while I can't offer any details about size or cost, we want to provide our fans with good value for money." Apparently attempting to preemptively respond to fans hoping for a single full-scale sequel, he added, "Don't lose sight of the big picture, guys (and girls). The fact is, we listened to you, we heard you, we decided we wouldn't leave you hanging. The saga continues. Now how cool is that? Rejoice!"