Red Thread Games has announced that their narrative adventure Draugen is heading to Steam (PC) next month. We recently had a chat with creative director Ragnar Tørnquist (Dreamfall, The Secret World) to learn a little bit more about the project that has taken a while to make its way to players.
"One thing we always do in our games is to take the normal and then to have the fantastical superimposed on that," explains Ragnar Tørnquist when we ask him about potential supernatural elements in Draugen. "I worked on The Longest Journey, and Dreamfall, and The Secret World, and Dreamfall Chapters, and all of them have sort of characters who feel real and normal brought into an environment that feels alien and fantastical."
Something in the shadows?
"Exactly. And Draugen is a story of what lies beneath. And Draugen the name of the game, if you look into that it's sort of Norse mythology, Scandinavian mythology of a creature that rises from the sea. So without spoiling anything there's significance to that title and there's definitely a heritage from our previous games, but it's also a game where a lot is left to the imagination and to the player's interpretation of events."
The story sees American Edward Charles Harden arrive in small Norwegian coastal community in the 1920s looking for his missing sister. He is accompanied by the energetic Lissie. In the interview we discussed their relationship and the role of a companion among other things.
"Your companion has a button on the controller, on the keyboard, that is sort of the companion button. When you push it something happens depending on how close she is. If she's next to you might have a conversation, if she's a bit further away you call out for her. If she's far away you'll be able to yell out and figure out where she is and she will guide you to the next, sort of, stage of the story. And at certain points in the game, she might even disappear and then the button sort of changes to contextualise that. So it's a really interesting combination of narrative and a mechanical feature and it's something that we're really keen to explore, the idea of playing solo, playing a singleplayer game, but having somebody there who affects your journey and affects the gameplay and affects the game mechanics, and that's what we're trying to do."
The conversation also touched on renewed publisher interest in narrative games as subscription models and streaming is starting to change the heavy focus on games as a service.
The just-released story trailer gives us a few hints beyond what Ragnar Tørnquist was willing to divulge in our interview at GDC, but we're still very much in the dark about what may be the root of the missing sister in this remote Norwegian village.