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The Dream Machine‘s episodic structure has been… sporadic. Chapters one and two came out in January 2011, with the rest promised soon after. Chapter 3 appeared in November 2011, taking longer than expected. Which was nothing compared to chapter 4, which finally appeared in August 2013. It was quite a wait, and rather a short entry. It’s been slightly over a year since, and now we have Chapter 5 – the biggest part of the game yet. Here’s wot I think.>
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Cockroach certainly never intended to take nearly five years to finish hand-made point-n-click The Dream Machine. What was intended to be six chapters over a few months has become essentially one a year. But with each one better than the last, and the fifth chapter due to appear before the end of the year (apparently to be as long as the first four put together), now is the perfect time to play through in preparation.
The Dream Machine‘s first chapter was so lovely that, in a fit of something or other, I vowed to wait until the whole thing was out before playing any more. Well. Whatever reason I had for that decision, I hope it was worth it. Four years later, the end is drawing near-ish. The fifth chapter of six will arrive on November 14th, developers Cockroach have announced.
“Why’s it taking so long?” seems a silly question to ask about a game made from clay, cardboard, paint, and odds and ends by two people, but Cockroach’s answer is that this one is “bigger than all the previous chapters put together.” Crumbs.
Even by episodic adventure game standards, The Dream Machine's fifth chapter has been a long time coming. Not quite as long as the wait between chapters 3 and 4 (that took 21 months), but at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, turns out making a game out of beautifully detailed, stop-motion characters and environments takes a really, really, really long time. Really. As with Kentucky Route Zero, however, I suspect it will be worth the wait, and I'd much rather the developers deliver a belated, quality episode than dial down their ambitions to adhere to a schedule.
Chapter 5 of the surreal adventure game will arrive on the 14th of November, and there's a sneak peek of it above in the accompanying trailer. Blimey—look at the effort that goes into making a single scene. I'm reminded of this brilliant sketch from The Fast Show:
The Dream Machine's first four chapters (along with the bundle of all six) is currently going for 50% off on Steam for the next day or so.