Double Fine is releasing Grim Fandango Remastered

11 Jun, 2014, 23:05 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: E3 | Comments: 27
This is happening.


DOTT next?

Update: Video!

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IGN is celebrating a year of adventure by playing through the classic point and click graphic adventure games of the genre throughout 2014.

So far they've hit the most popular of the early batch of adventures from Sierra and LucasArts, looking back at King's Quest I, King's Quest II and III, Space Quest I and II, Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

There's still eight months left, and a lot of classic adventures to cover, so it will be interesting to see what other games IGN plays through. They certainly can't go wrong with playing through any of the LucasArts adventure catalog, as we so thoroughly showed in our own LucasArts Secret History features from a few years back.
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April Fools! What do you mean you already knew? Apologies to those on Twitter who took it seriously! And apologies to Yaguete who we stole the art from without asking for permission. Check out his deviantART page.

It's well know that LEC was producing a special edition of Day of the Tentacle just before they were swallowed up by Disney, after which the game disappeared in a black box. We assumed work on it had been terminated, which, now, turns out to be wrong. Day of the Tentacle: Special Edition is finishing up within Disney, and will hit iOS and Android devices this July!

Judging by the accompanying concept art (or "cover" art?) this will be a looker, not a million miles away from the style of MI2:SE. A new touch interface and re-mastered voices have been promised, as has a fully digital soundtrack. Click past the cut to read press release and to see the art.


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Back on March 20, six LucasFilm Games alumni (Steve Arnold, Noah Falstein, David Fox, Ron Gilbert, Peter Langston and Chip Morningstar) gathered together and took the stage at the Game Developers Conference to discuss the early days of LucasFilm Games.

There were also several early (and early-ish) games, including the word's first MMO Habitat, plus Afterlife, Ballblazer, Loom, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and Maniac Mansion available to play, plus the Star Wars games Episode 1: Racer, Rebel Assault, X-Wing, and TIE Fighter. There is an hour long video of proceedings here on Gamespot and embedded below for your convenience.

Or if you prefer your information delivered in old-school text form, you can read the summary articles on Gamasutra, Polygon, The Escapist, and Joystiq.

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Grim Mouse, the modification of Grim Fandango and ResidualVM that allows you to play through Grim Fandango with just a mouse, has been updated to 0.4. All of the bugs that kept it from being played through with just the mouse should now be fixed. I've played through all parts of Grim Fandango with Grim Mouse (albeit, in separate playthroughs), so Grim Fandango should be completeable with just a mouse now.

If you get a crash in year 3 when entering the engine room, you might have to compile Grim Mouse from source, as it is caused by a bug that was fixed in ResidualVM, but isn't in the new Grim Mouse build (although it is in its source tree). The author said he'd release a new version of Grim Mouse with the fix for this problem. It only seems to affect a small amount of people (which did include myself, so I can confirm it plays fine when compiling it yourself from source), so you can try playing through 0.4 now, since it's possible this bug won't affect your playthrough.

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A programmer named Tobias Pfaff has released Grim Mouse, a modified ResidualVM and Grim Fandango so that the game can be played completely with point and click mouse control.

Grim Fandango can now be played with point and click control in all scenes, including the scenes where the camera shifts to close-up view. It also has a new point-and-click inventory system. In order to accomplish this feat, Tobias had to make major modifications to both the ResidualVM code and the game source. Luckily, ResidualVM's PatchR code allows for fan patches to be applied at run time, so all that is required to run this is the original game, just as the main ResidualVM branch.

Tobias has released a Mac and Windows build of Grim Mouse, and the sourcecode is freely available if you want to compile it to try it on other platforms. It is currently in early alpha phase, so there are likely to be bugs present since it hasn't been fully tested yet. If you want to participate in the testing, or just want to try it out for yourself, head over to the Grim Mouse thread on the ResidualVM forums.
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The currently North American exclusive closed beta period for Area 52 Games and Disney Mobile's Star Wars space combat simulator Star Wars: Attack Squadrons has been going on from January 21st and will continue to January 28th. If you already signed up for the beta, you should be receiving a code soon, if you haven't already. I just received mine, but I can't comment on the game yet, as the beta currently runs from 11AM to 9PM PST, and I entered my code a little late.

If you didn't sign up for the beta (or didn't yet get a code), but are in North America and still would like to join, keep an eye on their Facebook page. They have posted first-come-first-serve beta codes on there in the past, so it's possible you could get lucky.

Note also that this is currently the second closed beta period (the first beta period started on January 14th). So if you missed this beta, if they do a third beta test, it's possible you'll receive a code then. If they do continue doing closed beta testing, hopefully they'll open it up to worldwide gamers the next go-around.
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In what is largely a passionate tirade directed at the careless mishandling of classic titles when re-released on modern platforms, the A.V. Club spares some room toward the end to rail against the complete failure of certain treasured games to be made available at all:

Game preservation’s worst-kept secret is that piracy has done the best job of keeping classic games available and relevant. Since the mid-’90s, the Internet’s vast and varied emulation scene has made the history of video games available to anyone willing to skirt the law. And unfortunately, playing some of the best games ever made requires a disregard for copyright. Take Maniac Mansion. An icon of the LucasArts studio’s golden age, it’s one of the most important adventure games ever made, and it’s still entertaining today. If you want to play in 2014, though, you’ll need to download it illegally and run it through an emulator, since it hasn’t been in print for close to 20 years.

Disney, which now owns the rights to the LucasArts library, may never acknowledge the studio’s legacy, but that would just maintain the status quo. Most of the developer’s best titles have never been made available to any digital marketplace. If you’re just learning about LucasArts and want to play games like Sam & Max Hit The Road, Day Of The Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango, you’re on your own. Disney would rather hot-glue lightsabers to the hands of Mickey and Donald dolls than offer players the chance to buy games that Disney executives might not even realize they own.

I feel like he may be painting with too broad of a brush by indicting hot glue in this, but his point stands firm.

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While the rest of us were distracted by the insidious influence of loved ones, reader Threepwood4life spent his Christmas noticing that former LEC animator/artist Anson Jew, already known for his LEC animation reel that includes a rare Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix clip, has put together a new compilation comprised exclusively of discarded material. It's basically What Mojo Exists To Report On: The Movie.

Check out his blog post for a rundown of all the clips included.

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Disney / LucasArts has surprised everyone by announcing a new Space Combat game. While it doesn't have the much loved single-player campaigns that made the X-Wing series so popular, it's a welcome return to the cockpit for Star Wars fans. Here's what we know;

Star Wars: Attack Squadrons isa free-to-play space combat game for PC, being developed by Area 52 Games, in conjunction with Disney Interactive and LucasArts. It allows players to customise and tune "popular Star Wars ships" like X-Wings and TIE fighters and will support dogfights of up to 16 players.

Signup for the Beta at the official website here.

So, lets hope this is a first, tentative step back into the Space Combat genre, and Larry Holland's number has been passed on to the Mouseketeers at Disney...
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Develop has run a two part (1, 2) interview with industry and LucasArts veteran Noah Falstein. The designer discusses the old days, including how he dressed up as a fallen cosmonaut for the Rescue on Fractalus! manual, how he wishes his initial version of The Dig had gotten made, and how you owe him for the hiring of Ron Gilbert.

But I think I had more impact by hiring people into LucasArts than I did from my own work. Ron Gilbert, Lawrence Holland who did the X-Wing and Tie Fighter games, Brian Moriarty who did Loom – all of them are people that I either found or that came in to work on a project of mine. And once Ron came in, we hired Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer, who are now the creative director at Telltale Games and the head of Double Fine respectively.

So perhaps our biggest impact on the gaming community was being a nursery or proving ground for people who would go on to become much more significant contributors within the games industry.

Falstein’s anecdotes are great, although I guess if you know your Lucasfilm history this interview largely treads old ground. Still, it’s hard to ever get enough stories of the formative years of George Lucas' wonderful, expensive experiment that resulted in not only the SCUMM games, but Pixar Animation Studios and Avid’s nonlinear editing tools as well. More importantly, Thrillville.
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For our UK readers only, here's Charlie Brooker's How Video Games Changed the World on Youtube. There's supposedly a Monkey Island section approx 35:27 minutes in with Ronzo "Ron" Gilbert and Tim Schafer.

Thanks to reader Artisa for telling us about it! Since I'm not in the UK I can't watch it so don't blame me if the link is wrong!

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Those who were waiting for Star Wars: Tiny Death Star to come out somewhere other than Australia don't have to wait any longer. As of November 8th, the game is available worldwide.

The freemium Star Wars themed Tiny Tower game is available now for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. It will also be coming to the Amazon App store soon.

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Update: Earlier I incorrectly stated that the game was released for iOS in New Zealand. It's only available in Australia for iOS for now, as pointed out by jp-30 in the comments.

After getting released on Android in Australia and New Zealand earlier this month, iOS gets a similar treatment, as Tiny Death Star was released exclusively on iTunes in Australia on the 15th of October.

This Star Wars themed Tiny Tower game will be released worldwide on Android and iOS soon.

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You've always been the caretaker

18 Oct, 2013, 13:47 | Posted by: Jason | Source: CineFix | Comments: 7

Have you ever found yourself wondering, "Say, what if someone re-interpreted Stanley Kubrick's The Shining as a machinima primarily assembled using art assets from the NES version of Maniac Mansion?"

Well, the winsomely disturbed artisans of the "CineFix" Youtube channel are here to put this issue to bed, though good luck getting any decent shut-eye yourself after a viewing of what they've wrought.

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Update: Thanks to Shmargin for pointing out that it's not available for Android everywhere yet. It's currently an exclusive release in Australia and New Zealand.

Tiny Death Star, the Star Wars themed Tiny Tower game (complete with the series' signature 8-bit graphical style), is available now on Google Play for Android phones and tablets. It was developed by Disney Mobile (as was expected with casual Star Wars games after the Disney merger) and Tiny Tower developer Nimblebit.

Interestingly, LucasArts is listed as the publisher, so it would appear that the remodeled LucasArts has retained it's function as a publisher as well as a licensor.

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Disney Interactive has revealed it is about to launch a new Star Wars game for mobile devices, made in collaboration with Nimblebit.


The Empire needs your help! In collaboration with LucasArts and Tiny Tower creators NimbleBit, Disney Mobile introduces Star Wars™: Tiny Death Star™, a new game for mobile devices. Live life on the dark side and join Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader on a mission to attract Galactic bitizens, run intergalactic businesses, and build an all-new Death Star. Construct unique Star Wars themed locations to attract iconic characters and species to your space station in this 8-bit style game. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star will soon be available worldwide.

8-bit style cute Star Warsey fun. Sure, why not...
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It always kind of amazed me that the game studio that wrote the book on crass movie tie-ins saw unfit to take advantage of Indy's long awaited return to the silver screen in 2008 with an opportunistic video game adaptation.

It kinda makes sense when you consider that Staff of Kings was already committed to (well, until it wasn't) by the time Crystal Skull got greenlit, and at the time the company didn't seem particularly capable of devoting itself to more than one or two internal projects - indeed, the rumor was that "choosing" The Force Unleashed to rally resources behind is what starved out the original Staff of Kings SKUs.

Still, it would seem impossible that a Crystal Skull tie-in was never conceived, and a comment left by a former developer on Kotaku's "How LucasArts Fell Apart" article confirms it:


I worked at an outsourcing company for a LucasArts game on the DS. It was Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings. Originally it was based off the Crystal Skull movie. Through 6 months on the game, it was clear there was a weird managerial tone going on. Almost any company wants feedback and people to present some creativity in dealing with issues and finding any problems with the games they make. Not them. there was to be ZERO DEVEIATION. Even if we were able to see a bug in the game, IGNORE IT. We were reprimanded when we did. The team became dejected quickly. They tried to submit the game and it failed (obviously). It was at this point the DS game went back into development and was no longer based on the movie and ended up being Staff of Kings because it was too late after the movie came out to be related.

The developer in question would have been Amaze, the company behind the DS version of Staff of Kings. That version was indeed a completely different beast than the others, but that isn't completely unheard of when it comes to handheld spinoffs of console titles. Guess there was more to the story after all.
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Day of the Tentacle HD?

27 Sep, 2013, 13:01 | Posted by: Zaarin | Comments: 26

Just another in an apparently long run of cancelled projects that LucasArts went through in its final years. Jason Schreier at Kotaku has written an extensive feature covering How LucasArts Fell Apart, covering what went on at the sinking ship.

It's well worth a read!

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It seems that the Star Wars 1313 project won't be going completely to waste. If you'll remember, the project was a joint effort between LucasArts, Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound, and Lucas Animation. This joint effort between the subsidiaries apparently harkened back to the early days of Lucasfilm Games, when the charter of the studio was to make experimental, innovative, and technologically advanced video games. We'll likely never get to see the full result of this collaboration, but some of their innovation is going to be used in Hollywood films in the future.

The advanced real-time motion-capture capabilities pioneered for Star Wars 1313 enables the "production company to film an actor and then immediately capture and funnel those actions into a computer-generated character. The result is an instantaneous, photo-realistic computer-generated film that cuts down on production time".

See the technology in action in the video below:

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