I just finished Draugen and I am very disappointed.
I am disappointed, because I know this team could do much better and I felt betrayed as a fan of Dreamfall. But more on that later…
Draugen actually started on a high note; while our main character Edward and his partner Lissie rowing to a quaint Norwegian village. They had a nice dynamic that carried the game along: Edward quiet and proper, Lissie energetic and adventurous.
Although at the very beginning I started to question who Lissie is. Who is she to Edward? She is too young to be a colleague and she seems way too free with her language to be his ward. She’s talking more like an old friend and an odd one at that. With that on the corner of my mind and due to my suspicious nature or the experience gained from similar medium… You can see where this is going.
Therefore, the first (and probably biggest) surprise of the game was not unexpected for me at all. The second one was a bit more surprising, but still not quite shocking. After that, I was at least counting on solving an interesting mystery that befell on the town. After all, nothing else is left to do. There has to be a reason why we were here. But the sole answer we got were our own theories in the end. Nothing mysterious, just same old human nature. I guess they went for a psychological drama effect, but it fell short. A very short story of 3 hours, which didn’t provide a proper closure. After the credits we see a message: “Edward and Lissie will be back.”. That’s nice and all, but I don’t think I’m going to invest my time on the second game when I’m not satisfied with the first one.
After I finished the game, I felt like I did something wrong. It couldn’t be this short or this… uneventful. Then I checked Steam reviews… Even the positive reviews couldn’t uplift any interesting points and describe the game as a walking simulator. That’s really a shame… I know Red Thread Games as the makers of Dreamfall Chapters. Even though it didn’t give us everything it promised, it was still a very good game. It wasn’t a walking simulator for sure. It had depth; it had puzzles. It had interesting characters and satisfying conclusions… at least for most of the stuff. Therefore I know this team can do much better than this. I’m not sure what did go wrong, but I really hope they’ll make great games that’s worth waiting for 10 years again…
Speaking of Dreamfall Chapters, I said I felt betrayed as a fan. I remember Red Thread Games started the development of Draugen while they were still working on Dreamfall Chapters. I guess they had their own reasons for that. Could be economic, or maybe they wanted to diversify their portfolio… Maybe they just wanted to get rid of a Funcom IP and focus on new things. Who knows? As a player and long-time fan though, I felt like they decided to abandon the game we were waiting for to do something else. Dreamfall Chapters was the game I was emotionally invested in and it was cut short in favor of Draugen. A lot of things went unexplained. Some we found later in the Kickstarter extras, some we’re never going to find out. I wish Draugen was such an amazing game that it was worth sacrificing Chapters for… But it wasn’t. As I said, I’m still looking forward for a great game from Red Thread Games team. But for the sequel of Draugen, count me out.