Date: August 2nd. Trailer:
… and while it’s been a while since I’ve read this stuff, I would say I am seeing some echoes from The Long Halloween, which is an excellent read.
I’ll also editorialize and say the graphics, while artistically impressive, might be looking a bit dated, technically speaking. But still! Looks fun.
The preview is positive, although I must politely disagree with HardcoreGamer's memory of The Curse of Monkey Island as a "3D game." They also note that we still don't know for sure how many episodes Duke Grabowski will consist of:
The game is poised to be episodic, with the potential for three to five episodes. Why is there a range of chapters? Well, the team obviously would love to bring Duke’s tale to completion, but they simply do not know for certain how much interest there will be in the game post-launch. Right now Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler Episode 1 is prepping for launch this fall, and Episode 2 should follow shortly thereafter. Beyond that, though, Duke’s fate is in the hands of players. If a fanbase appears around the series then we’ll be sure to see how many more episodes appear down the line.
Wow, nice. There's something perversely "Space Mountain pre-show in a straitjacket" about this, and I'm on board.
Playing catch-up in the aftermath of the Iron Phoenix madness...Aric Wilmunder made a few other uploads a few days ago. The new design docs are:- Rebel Assault
- Defenders of Dynatron City (under its original name "Defenders of Dynamo City")
- The Telecommuter (Not a game!)
It looks like he also meant to make Shadows of the Empire available, but that one doesn't appear to be selectable yet. Anyway, find the above and all the rest on Aric's site, as always.
It's a terrific listen courtesy of the Dev Game Club podcast. Day of the Tentacle is the primary subject, but a broader discussion about adventure games emerges.
What makes the interview particularly worthwhile is that the hosts are Brett Douville and Tim Longo, who worked at LucasArts around the turn of the century, when a developer's assignment was pretty much guaranteed to be a Star Wars title. It's interesting to hear the different perspectives from the four alumni who were involved in different eras and concentrations of the studio. More crucially, Jake gets namechecked.
Here at Mojo, we’ve always been particularly interested in the near-misses, the might-have-beens, the ones that didn’t make it. After all, we cheekily referred to all the released LucasArts adventure games as “Secret History,” so you can imagine how piqued the cancelled games must get us. And the loss of Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, the would-be follow-up to the seminal Fate of Atlantis, probably registers second only to Sam & Max 2 on the Gnashing-Of-Teeth-O-Meter.
The game isn’t completely unknown, thanks to a comic adaptation, a few stray details and a much-circulated Anson Jew animation of Hitler’s face blowing up. But what this doomed title always lacked in my eyes was a definitive chronicle. And if Mojo wasn't going to do it, who the heck would?
Thus I reached out to all members of the team who were willing to share their memories (oh, and design documents) of the game, from its conception to its collapse. I do believe you’ll find the big honking article I pieced together from the results of minor interest.
Huge thanks go to Aric Wilmunder, who unearthed the materials that made this article possible and offered to time their release with our publication. Remi, as always, bailed me out with the header image. Enjoy!
That and more is revealed as part of the latest update on the game's progress from Bill. Sound like they're wrapping up on the first episode.
I have confused feelings about this, since I was rather hoping Pedro would be invited back to do the new music, in keeping with tradition. But who the hell can complain about Jared doing the soundtrack to anything? Sounds like some of Pedro's music from Ghost Pirates - which Duke Grabowski is technically a spinoff of - will be reprised to complement Jared's original work.
Reboot Develop being a game developer conference in Europe. Tim seems to have done an interview on stage for about forty-five minutes, and we noticed the resultant Youtube video a record six days after it was published. Best not to get used to such breathless velocity from us.
Anyway, here's Tim, recorded in rather dubious audio quality. But who the hell am I to judge?
He's said he'd keep them coming, and he's delivered. Check out Aric's site to find the list of downloadable LucasArts design docs updated with:- Labyrinth
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (a very preliminary doc)
- Sam & Max Hit the Road
- The Dig (seems to be for the Falstein version)
- The Curse of Monkey Island
So nevermind your previous Fourth of July weekend plans; it's SCUMM history you need to be honoring.
Double Fine has been showing off their PS4-exclusive, virtual reality Psychonauts "bridge game" at E3, so a number of previews have been springing up. Let's look at the one on Gamespot, which includes screenshots and a video clip of what appears to be the first five minutes of gameplay. Accompanying the media is an interview with Tim and project leader Chad Dawson.
I think it's really interesting you guys are developing Psychonauts 2 and Rhombus of Ruin simultaneously. I was curious about the extent to which those two have influenced each other, and how you're working on making them fit together, given that Rhombus of Ruin bridges the gap between the first and second full games.
Schafer: The main thing is that I've had a storyline for the whole experience in my head for ten years. Before Psychonauts had finished, I had this whole idea for what would happen in Psychonauts as Raz is delving into his past, his family, and the curse, and all these things. So in my head, it's one long, continuous story, and I'm working on both projects so I am able to make sure they all flow well together. But within that story structure, the Rhombus team can do things that make sense for VR and have it be really different in that way but still plug in the story beats.
Dawson: From a tech and visual development point of view, it's also been very useful for us. Rhombus of Ruin is coming out before Psychonauts 2, so obviously it accelerates our development to try to get that out. Seeing what the characters look like brought up to a modern engine with modern rendering, physically-based lighting, and subsurface scattering on their faces. Psychonauts 1 came out in, what was it? 2005? So obviously tech has improved a lot since then. We're using Unreal 4 Engine now as a studio, for both projects. With this game, we're pushing our character look development. That's been a great push for both projects, with our animation team and character team. Tech-wise getting us up and running. This is our first Unreal 4 project.
Read the rest of the interview here. And may I just say, the game looks great. I love how it opens up right where Psychonauts left off. Shame I don't have a console. But some of you look to be in for a treat.
God knows what‘s going on over there at Double Fine, but after much back and forth, it seems Psychonauts has officially been released for the PS4. In the US at least—say thank you to soon-to-be-president Trump–Europe will have to wait a few weeks.
Lots of confusion, and we find it a safe bet to blame Spaff, who is bringing a scary amount of Mojo to Double Fine.
We already knew that Duke Grabowski had landed a publisher, but there's something comforting about getting the actual corporate screed to back it up. Today comes that very press release your heart so coveted:
In furtherance of its strategy, Alliance has partnered with two indie studios, PixelMetal and Venture Moon Industries, to publish two original games for PC and digital consoles. PixelMetal's Sombrero is a spaghetti western multiplayer shootout game scheduled for release on PC this summer. Players grab treasure and have shootouts, and can play specialized modes such as "Capture the Flag" and an Indiana Jones-like mode called "Banditos." Venture Moon Industries' game Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler is a point-and-click comic adventure game about the biggest, roughest pirate in the Azurbbean and his struggle to become a noble swashbuckler. Alliance expects the first episode of Duke Grabowski to be released on Steam and Xbox One in November 2016.
Bill Tiller, President and Creative Director of Venture Moon, said "The deep game industry experience at Alliance ensures our collaboration is going to result in Venture Moon making the best game possible. In addition, they bring the PR, marketing and distribution expertise that will get the game in front of the largest possible global audience. This may sound hyperbolic, but they really are a dream come true for a small developer like us."
Note the launch platforms, as well as a release date of November for the first episode. Congrats once again to the team! Now give Pedro a call.
This seems to happen every once in awhile. Ron will make some overture, like this tweet, about wanting to buy the Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion IP from Disney, dozens of sites will seize upon it, fans will work themselves into a tizzy, and then nothing happens.
And nothing happens because nothing will happen. Big companies do not sell their properties pretty much as a matter of policy, and even if they did it's not like Ron would ever be able to meet their quote. It took having the right friends at Sony for Double Fine to get licenses for their recent remakes from Disney, and Ron has made it clear that licensing isn't good enough for him. So what motive is there to beat this drum?
The last time Ron made sure to pump some oxygen into the flame of that mythical creator-sanctioned "Monkey Island 3a" was last fall:
I don’t know if I will ever get to make another Monkey Island. I always envisioned the game as a trilogy and I really hope I do, but I don’t know if it will ever happen. Monkey Island is now owned by Disney and they haven't shown any desire to sell me the IP. I don’t know if I could make Monkey Island 3a without complete control over what I was making and the only way to do that is to own it. Disney: Call me.
Maybe someday. Please don’t suggest I do a Kickstarter to get the money, that’s not possible without Disney first agreeing to sell it and they haven’t done that.
Maybe I'm just a jerk, and Ron is shrewdly trying to build enough interest to get himself invited to a negotiating table. Maybe that is somehow something that's actually possible in the real world. Show me the light in the comments if you've got any to shine.
You'll recall that the Fig campaign for Psychonauts 2 was an immense success, raising $3.8 million to produce the long-awaited sequel, currently due out in 2018. However, according to Polygon, Double Fine is unable to actually collect about $1.8 of that dough, for the moment.
You might be aware that the main thing distinguishing Fig from Kickstarter - and indeed its primary mission statement - is that it offers the option for backers to invest invest in the project (which means potential, eventual profit participation) along with the usual donation choice, which often gets you fun rewards.
However, allowing investments from unaccredited investors (like you or me) requires a review process with the SEC, a process Fig obviously intended to get through by now. The Psychonauts 2 campaign was the first of its kind in offering an investment opportunity from pretty much anybody, and I suppose when you're the vanguard you get to be the first to learn certain painful lessons like these delays.
Per the article, Fig is hopeful to have the matter resolved soon, though technically there's no guarantee that every backer who's been waiting these months for their money to get collected will hold to their commitment until the gates finally open. It'll likely all end the way everyone wants, but it will still have been another interesting challenge faced by Double Fine, a studio continuing to tighten its commitment to the constantly expanding landscape of game crowdsourcing, a landscape they played a pretty direct part in paving.
It's easy to forget that Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick's retro adventure game and fated masterpiece Thimbleweed Park is less than a year from release. We haven't been particularly good about keeping on top of the coverage, but our laziness isn't the only factor - the game's really been getting around lately.
Still, it's mostly the laziness thing, so to make amends for being lax in our duties, here's a handy compilation of just a few of the previews from the past two months:-Hands-on Preview + Interview: Thimbleweed Park and Ron Gilbert
-How Thimbleweed Park recreates the glory days of graphic adventure games
-Thimbleweed Park Is the Adventure of 'A Total A**hole'
-PAX East 2015 Preview: 'Thimbleweed Park'
-How Thimbleweed Park updates classic adventure games for a modern audience
-Ron Gilbert on Thimbleweed Park, what made adventure games great, and VR skepticism
-Hands-on: Thimbleweed Park is like a long-lost LucasArts adventure for the modern era
-Thimbleweed Park preview: Welcome Home
-If Ron Gilbert made Twin Peaks, it would be Thimbleweed Park
-‘Thimbleweed Park’ Is A Fantastic-Looking Mashup Of ‘The X-Files’ And ‘Maniac Mansion’
Those oughta hold you for awhile.
You've really got to admire this kind of stubbornness.
A fan-made remake of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has been incubating for over two years now. I'm not clear on how far along the project is - indeed I've lost track of the Fate of Atlantis fan projects over the years - but the Facebook page has screenshots.
Labors of love like this traditionally just get put out at the risk of cease-and-desist orders, such as 2004's Maniac Mansion Deluxe, which as far as I know faced no legal repudiation, although the risk of getting the kibosh rises steeply when fans start dabbling in the big IPs, specifically Star Wars and Indy.
Whether for that reason or some other, the team has apparently sent a formal request to Disney to obtain a license for this remake. They even included some schwag! I find this admirable and crazy in roughly equal measure, but color me impressed.
I have a hard time imagining these good folks will get a response, much less approval, but I'm also a curmudgeon-y bastard without a sliver of optimism. At any rate, this has gotta be unprecedented, no? Correct me below if I'm wrong or at least join me in being awed by this team's hard work and indomitable spirit that's reminiscent of Indy himself.
The fan is Riccardo Faidutti, and his work is embedded below. Impressive stuff.
Keep a watchful eye on Aric Wilmunder's site, because he quietly adds to his LEC design document uploads. Unless I'm remembering wrong (entirely possible), I don't think the Forge design document was there originally.
Well, it's not the whole document, but rather the cover only ("at this time"), which nevertheless contains the synopsis for the unproduced game:
Forge is the second game in the Loom trilogy. The game utilizes the 4.0 - 256-color SCUMM system. Forge will retain the same artistic style and story-telling of Loom, incorporating a new user interface appropriate to the new lead character Rusty Nailbender.
The player will assume the role of Rusty Nailbender, the young Blacksmith's apprentice and friend of the weaver, Bobbin Threadbare. Acquiring various ore's from different places, Rusty sets off on a quest to free his Guild from Chaos's control. Rusty's adventures make him aware of his own potential and ability to not only save his Guild but the entire universe of the living.
You might also be surprised to see that the game's project leaders are Kalani Steicher and Mike Ebert (who would go on to work on the likes of Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures) with Brian Moriarty's name nowhere in sight. This is because Moriarty fatefully chose to work on other, ill-fated projects as opposed to a sequel to his game, a decision he's recently indicated he regrets, but how was he to know?
Hopefully the full document gets posted at some point and we can pick over it together, as an exceedingly pathetic team.