John Walker's Electronic House

Dreamfall Chapters: Declaration Of Interesting Interests

by on Feb.08, 2013, under The Rest

Here’s a thing. There’s a Kickstarter for Dreamfall Chapters. I’m very excited about it, and have never made a secret of my love for The Longest Journey and Dreamfall. A new TLJ!

A few people have commented that it’s odd that I’ve not written anything about it on RPS, with TLJ/The Secret World expert Adam Smith doing all the Funcom and Red Thread coverage of late. The reason is, TLJ creator Ragnar Tørnquist and I have been discussing the possibility of my contributing toward the new project. As soon as this discussion began I recused myself from writing about Tørnquist’s games. I’m fiercely proud of my games reporting, and I’m not willing to be compromised, even if no one would know. With discussions ongoing, it was entirely inappropriate that I recommend his projects on RPS.

(I should mention here, as I did when writing about Doritosgate last year, that I covered Charles Cecil’s Broken Sword 5 Kickstarter, when I’d contributed to the Broken Sword: Director’s Cut a few years previously. I wasn’t involved in the new game at all, and have no ongoing working relationship with Revolution, but had done some freelance work years previously. But I concluded after that even though I declared it in the posts, it wasn’t ideal, and that I’d not cover his projects in future.)

Exactly what I might be contributing to Dreamfall Chapters is still not decided. But with the Kickstarter launched, I’m not willing to speak/tweet/squee about it without declaring my interests. (I wrote a tweet earlier today, with a joking hashtag about my interest, but deleted it a moment later deciding that it wasn’t okay.) So this is that. I will never write about Ragnar Tørnquist or Red Thread Games’ games ever again, because it would obviously be utterly inappropriate.

Of course, there will be some who believe that contributing to a game while being a games journalist is inappropriate anyway. It’s not unusual, certainly in the UK, for games journalists to contribute to gaming projects. At RPS we have a policy of declaring any such interests, and do so. Some people don’t like it, most people don’t care. I’m aware it’s an ongoing discussion, and one some people feel very passionately about. My position is, rather obviously, that it’s okay so long as a writer is absolutely transparent about it. For instance, RPS has always gone overboard in pointing out that Jim’s Sir You Are Being Hunted is being developed by Jim’s own team.

So I shall hopefully be contributing in some capacity to Dreamfall Chapters. It’s a game series about which I am already far too much of a fanboy to have covered usefully anyway, and I’m thrilled that I may get to be a part of that story.

Going forward, Adam is the main man for covering that project, although I’m sure anyone at RPS will chip in when they have thoughts or news emerges. I’m completely uninvolved. And to answer the question that some may have – how can RPS fairly review it if one of their colleagues was involved? I’ve not discussed this with the others, but my suggestion would be giving that job to a freelancer who doesn’t know me at all, so the result would be completely fair.

I love The Longest Journey. Over the years it’s the game I’ve written about the most, and I’m actually rather sad that I won’t get to do so any more. But that I might get to write into it is utterly thrilling.


10 Comments for this entry

  • Dogface

    Bloody good news John! About getting to be involved in a project you love so much, I mean, not having to curtail your writing *about* it. Anyway, good on you for taking a principled approach.

  • James

    Good job. Are you going to be a script editor? They could really do with a script editor.

  • Gaz

    I was so excited when I saw the post on RPS that I didn’t even read it. Just skimmed it until I hit the kickstarter link and went off and backed it! I just assumed that you written it.

    Very good of you to recluse yourself – but surely this doesn’t mean you are done writing about it? You have your own blog & speaking for myself, I’d be really interested in hearing your thoughts on Dreamfall. Irrespective of your level of involvement.

  • sinister agent

    John will be playing the part of Simon “MISOGYNY!” Brown, a background character who will periodically chastise April for her flagrant use of ovaries, and attempt to cover her with a burlap sack.

  • Jack

    You could write about TLJ here, though, surely? That wouldn’t be compromising, it’s your personal page.

  • Nick Mailer

    Recuse, not recluse.

  • Xercies

    It will be a shame because I would have looked forward to your reviewing of it but I guess this is for the best. Though for some reason I wouldn’t be bothered if you did since I seem to trust you a lot more then other writers because you do things like state your biases.

    Maybe you reviewing it here would be good.

  • John Walker

    Nick, if you’re going to correct the typos of people leaving comments, it would make more sense to say to whom you’re talking. Also, not to do it.

  • Gaz

    @John – but you see John, by doing it this way Nick seems so cool and knowledgeable! All laconic and shit. :)

  • Nick Mailer

    It’s hardly laconic. And John’s broken his rule there. He’s a hideous hypocrit.