Dream BBQ is an upcoming episode and interactive video game in the ENA series. It is considered the beginning of a new season of the series.
The title ENA - Dream BBQ was first shown on Joel Guerra's Patreon on March 8th. Later, on March 25th, the teaser and first announcement of Dream BBQ were posted publicly on Joel G.'s YouTube and Instagram accounts. The same day, a Tweet on Joel Guerra's Twitter stated he was looking for new voice actors for future projects, alluding to new voice casting in the short.
On May 3rd, Joel had stated he had contracted COVID-19 from the ongoing pandemic, temporarily halting/slowing production of the episode. However, ten days later, another Twitter post stated he was feeling much better and production had continued.
On May 26th and June 15th respectively, concept art of two new characters were revealed. The first gave the front view of the Ena set to appear in Dream BBQ, who was previously only seen from the back in the episode's teaser. The second was a character named Taski Maiden.
On the post revealing Taski Maiden, Joel stated that he had drawn many character designs, stating there would be "more than 20 characters", already doubling the 10 new characters debuting in Temptation Stairway. On July 13th, he followed the previous statement by saying there would be "more than 50". It is currently unknown if this is referring to the entirety of Season 2 or simply Dream BBQ alone. He also confirmed that Dream BBQ would be longer than Temptation Stairway. Seven days after making the "more than 50" statement, some concept art for Season 2 Ena was shown.
On August 24th, a trailer was announced to be released for the project, also stating "an important announcement" to go along with it. A teaser logo for the episode designed by Brian Zavala (Mizu_wolf) was also shown. On September 14th, another teaser was posted that showed two Ena-like figures, both with previously unseen color combinations.
On September 22nd, the aforementioned trailer released, revealing that Dream BBQ would be an interactive game. It was also clarified later on that it would be an episode as well just like Auction Day, Extinction Party, and Temptation Stairway. The trailer revealed that the player plays as Ena, exploring uncanny worlds and meeting new characters. The trailer also announced available pre-orders for upcoming Ena plushies on Joelgc.com. Gabe Velez, the voice actor for Season 1 Ena's masculine voice, revealed that the game will feature a new voice cast, and as such him and Lizzie Freeman will not reprise their previous roles.
During a Twitch stream on September 26th, a few questions were answered involving Dream BBQ. When asked about development, Joel replied "there are still concepts to be done, but the main mechanics are done." When asked about the game's length, it was stated "the game is very short. Not like a full game [like] some people think." When asked about the possibility of bosses, it was stated that there would be no boss fights in the game, though there would be fights.
On October 9th, another piece of concept art was posted on Joel Guerra's Twitter and Instagram. This piece showed Ena and an unnamed character that previously appeared at the end of the Dream BBQ game trailer. On October 18th, a short GIF of Season 2 Ena performing a pose (also previously seen in the game trailer) was posted. On Halloween, four new characters were revealed on Joel's Instagram.
On November 11th, alongside the reveal of an alternate form for the Ena appearing in Dream BBQ, a short explanation on the game's/episode's uncanniness was given:
"Months ago even before uploading Temptation Stairway, I thought about the probability of doing an ENA project based on nightmares. This is the reason why DREAM BBQ looks different and uncanny in some aspects."
— Joel Guerra
This shows that Dream BBQ will mostly be centered around the theming of nightmares and also shows that the idea of such a project was thought of even before the release of Temptation Stairway.
On December 14th, a music preview was released on YouTube featuring music by METAROOM in a song known as "The Purge Event". This was also released alongside art featuring an unknown character and Ena appearing in her currently unnamed alternate form.
On December 30th, an art piece was posted alongside an announced release for Dream BBQ in “the murky depths of 2022” (possibly meaning a release in late 2022). In a now deleted Tweet, it was also joked that Dream BBQ would be immediately cancelled due to impatient fans.
On January 19th, a public post on Joel's Patreon announced that the team was looking for 3D environment artists to help build retro-style environment models for Dream BBQ. Preferred experience included knowledge of 3D game engines, game asset creation, and 2D/pixel-art texturing.
On February 23, ENA Day 2022, a Twitch stream featuring the ENA team was streamed, discussing Dream BBQ. During the stream, some concept art previously exclusive to Patreon members was shown and some aspects involving Dream BBQ were revealed and discussed:
- The game is planned to be free on release with payable options later on if supporting service platforms (e.g. Steam) decide to adopt the game.
- The game has horror elements while not attempting to be outright scary or frightening. The horror more so comes from the atmosphere or appearance of the game's world and characters.
- An art book featuring concept art would be released at some time, though it is currently unknown when.
- Oliver Buckland stated he wanted to make the music more "interactive" and much more than a loop of a single track for a single area of the game.
- The game has items known as "Tools" which involves a special animated cutscene for each. An animation for a tool named "The ultimate Board member" was also shown.
- The script for the game took months, with an approximation being nine months.
- There will be multiple different endings to the game.
- Accessibility settings are planned to be implemented such as settings relating to colors or effects that may affect certain players.
- It is too soon to say if there will be other games/episodes in Season 2.
- Dream BBQ is mostly described as being "different without being divergent" and as a short game with a lot of content. A joke explanation of the game during the stream simply states "it's an ENA episode".
- All of the voice actors have been selected, most of which were found from a Tweet. The primary goal was to look for voice actors who spoke languages other than English.
- The game's engine is Unity, which was used for the making of the Season 1 episodes.
- A new location known as "The Museum" is mentioned, which Joel Guerra states is one of his favorite areas from the game.
On May 12, artist and animator Marco Cárdenas announced they were working with the ENA team as an animator for Dream BBQ, most likely for 2D character animation. Eight days later, new concept art of Taski Maiden was shown which depicted her carrying her companions in an aguayo. On May 31, a GIF of Ena talking while moving in a dance-like manner was posted by Joel Guerra.
- Dream BBQ was originally intended to just be an animation, but was later changed to be a game as well.
- The idea of it being a game as well was almost dropped at one point in development.
- The Dream BBQ teaser uses the pixelated style used in the Season 1 episodes, though this effect is not seen in any other media released after the teaser, including the Dream BBQ game trailer or The Purge Event music preview.