(Again, this will be a retread for the Twitter crowd, but allow us to return from downtime with an artificial splash. We need this.)
When the remaster of Grim Fandango was announced, the first thought that rushed to everyone's head was, "That's great, but what about sprucing up the most beloved installment of the Monkey Island series while you're at it?"
That's where our own bgbennyboy comes in. With some gentle nudging from yours truly, Benny has put out a new release of his excellent Escape from Monkey Island launcher. Here is the full list of features, the killer one being that the cutscenes now play at twice their original resolution, which I believe was accomplished by violating the PS2 version of the game, which always had the better quality cutscenes.
But Benny needs your help testing his noble work. So grab your EMI discs and enjoy the fruits of his labors, which were literally four years in the making. (No, seriously - go to the beginning of that thread.)
I'm just saying. While it's little more than a splash screen for the special edition, there's something fundamentally disturbing about the fact that Disney is even acknowledging the game on its own web site.
I mistrust it, somehow.
It would be fair to say that TIE Fighter is the most widely beloved of the six excellent LucasArts games that GOG released yesterday, but many of those fans were disappointed when they discovered that the version being sold was not the version they were expecting.
Widely considered to be the definitive edition due to its enhanced graphics, cutscene voiceovers and extra expansions, the version released as the Collector's CD-ROM is the one most people remember, yet it's not being offered by GOG. Some assumed it was an oversight, but here was GOG's response:
"Hello, I am afraid that we were able to release only those versions with the bonus content that are currently available. We might get the rights to release more in the future, but I am unable to predict or promise anything.
That Disney is being so rigid in the way it licenses these games is disappointing - TIE Fighter is not the only LEC title with multiple versions. I found out that GOG is even restricted when it comes to documentation-related extras. When I inquired about why Fate of Atlantis and Sam & Max come with their hint books but not Monkey Island, I received an identical response.
That's right, the SCUMM games are actually using ScummVM! The lawyers who used to work for Lucas legal probably nearly had a heart attack when they read this news.
Update: The link to the confirmation is now broken because it was a leak of information GOG intends to make public tomorrow. Check back then for the real deal.Original Post: As Jennifer broke, the rumors were true! GOG has cut a deal with Disney to release LEC games on its service. And now we have titles. GOG confirmed that "about" 30 games will be made available in total, starting tomorrow with the following six:
Star Wars™: X-Wing Special Edition - digital distribution debut, on GOG.com!
Star Wars™: TIE Fighter Special Edition - digital distribution debut, on GOG.com!
Sam & Max Hit the Road - digital distribution debut, on GOG.com!
The Secret of Monkey Island™: Special Edition
Indiana Jones® and the Fate of Atlantis™
Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic
We've gotten our hopes up before that LucasArts games would be released on GOG.com when the site previously teased that they were going to add a large publisher to their catalog (not to mention the Night Dive rumors). Well, the rumors are here again, as GOG.com is teasing that another publisher will be adding their games to the catalog, with a countdown timer on their main page.
There might be some weight to the rumor that the publisher is LucasArts this time, as a GOG.com user has reportedly found three countdown images on the GOG.com website that use well known LucasArts fonts. Of course, if it does end up being LucasArts, it's uncertain if any games that aren't already released digitally will be released on GOG.com, as the three franchises represented (Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Monkey Island) already have games available digitally on Steam. But, at least this time signs do seem to point towards DRM-free versions of LucasArts games finally being available soon.
The original Habitat, which had an interface and graphics similar to the adventure game Labyrinth, was released in beta form by Lucasfilm Games (now LucasArts) for the Quantum Link online service for Commodore 64 from 1986 until it was shut down in 1988. A sized down version was released as Club Caribe on Quantum link in January 1988. Fujitsu later licensed the code and released Fujitsu Habitat in Japan in 1990. Habitat and Club Caribe was highly influential, and it's code still lives on through WorldsAway, which premiered on CompuServe in 1995, and moved to the public internet in 1997. WorldsAway had multiple worlds, two of which survive today and are now known as Dreamscape and NewHorizone. Dreamscape was Fujitsu's first virtual world, and appeared when WorldsAway premiered in 1995. NewHorizone was originally Club Connect when it was launched by Fujitsu in 1998 and New Radio World when the WorldsAway worlds were sold and became part of an online world known as VZones in December 1998. New Radio World was renamed VZConnections in December 1999, and then newHorizone in September 2001. These two worlds are still a part of vZones, and the WorldsAway software has also recently been licensed for use in MetroWorlds.
The preservation project was spearheaded by Alex Handy, founder and director of the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment. The project has official permission from Fujitsu, the company that purchased Habitat from Lucasfilm, to get the Habitat software working again. In order to get the project off the ground, Handy enlisted the help of the creators of Habitat, Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, and Stratus, the company who made the Nimbus servers that Habitat ran on. They were given a Stratus computer, manufactured in 1989, and upgraded to use a 1999 era TCP/IP protocol.On September 25, 2014, Morningstar and Farmer, and over a dozen hackathon attendees at the MADE video game museum, as well as people working remotely through IRC, set out to get Habitat running again. The hardest part was the Quantum Link code, so they utilized the Quantum Link Reloaded open source project.
There is still a ways to go, as they don't have access to all the support libraries that are needed for the Quantum Link server, so those need to be emulated in order to work properly. But, they have come a long way, and still intend to finish. Once the project is complete, anyone will be able to log in using a C64 emulator.You can read more about the effort, and donate to the cause if you so desire, over at the Habitat Preservation Project page at the MADE website.
In addition, Double Fine has also added some bonus features to the game:The final big change I stumbled across was the awesome inclusion of nodes scattered throughout the world that contain small snippets of commentary from Tim Schafer, Peter Chan, Peter McConnell, and a ton of other folks who helped make the game so special back in 1998.
Polygon has also shared their thoughts on the demo, and have confirmed that the original's tank controls will be an option for the purists who prefer to play the game that way.It looks like Grim Fandango Remastered is shaping up to be great. The rest of us will get a chance to play it for ourselves once it's released in early 2015.
They will discuss development of both the original game and the new remastered version. They will also be unveiling a new development documentary episode from 2 Player Productions. If you are going to PAX this year, you won't want to miss the panel. It is happening on Saturday, August 30th at 4:30 in the Main Theater.
From recording tests with Noah Falstein as Bobbin Threadbare in 1992 to her present work voice directing Broken Age, Khris Brown has played a crucial role in making your favorite Mojo classics talk.
In a new interview with Gamastura, Brown discusses her career, sharing insights she gained from her decades in the field:
In short: know your stuff, be supportive, have no ego, and be ready to laugh. Do not give up after 3 takes. Do give up after 10 takes. We had 27 takes of Indiana Jones saying, "It's a cup full of lava." The actor was exhausted, and we ended up Frankensteining the line anyway (pasting two takes together to create our ideal).
In addition, the MT-32 emulator has been updated, an OpenGL backend has been added, many aspects of the GUI have been improved, the AGOS engine has been enhanced, Urban Runner's videos are now less CPU-demanding, tons of bugs have been fixed in dozens of SCI games, the Adlib sound in Loom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has been made to sound more like the original, and platform portability for the Tony and Tinsel engines has been improved. The Steam versions of the four LucasArts adventures that were released on that platform are now supported as well.You can pick up the latest version for your platform of choice at the ScummVM homepage.
Grim Fandango Remastered will be released simultaneously for Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Vita09 Jul, 2014, 13:50 | Posted by: Jennifer | Comments: 5
Not sure what you did to deserve this, but the internet has published another one of those excellent interviews with the Lucasfilm Games elders for the likes of us to enjoy. It was conducted by Jaz Rignallm, who'd visited the studio in 1985 on behalf of ZZAP! 64 when games like Koronis Rift and The Eidolon were the hot titles in the pipeline.
The article mostly reads like a transcripted discussion between Rignallm and the following: Steve Arnold, David Fox, Ron Gilbert, Peter Langston and Chip Morningstar. There is rare art and fascinating anecdotes aplenty, including a proposed sequel you surely weren't aware of:
David continues, "About four or five years ago, I got the team together and pitched LucasArts to do a sequel [to The Eidolon]. Loren Carpenter whipped up a demo on the iPhone. You could fly around the landscape. I think we were really close to having a deal in place, and then the president of LucasArts, Darrel Rodriguez, was replaced."
Ron interjects, "He was the one that did all the Monkey Island remakes and stuff. He was a lot more interesting."
"Yeah, he loved the old stuff," agrees David. "He wanted to go back and pull that stuff out and engage the fans in a way that I thought was great. And then the company decided they wanted to do Star Wars again, to focus in that area, and all this stuff got pushed aside. I'd love to see it, but now I think it's even less likely – unless it was a different title."
Bob Mackey, a huge fan of the early LucasArts games, asks, "Right now I guess Disney owns everything you guys have don at Lucasfilm Games. And there hasn't been any word about making these games available via services that distribute old games. How do you feel about that? Knowing that there are these amazing games you worked on that are all just unavailable unless you pirate them?"
David thinks for a moment. "Well, it seems like they're missing an opportunity. If they had a legal way for people to purchase them, I think people would do that, rather than trying to cobble them together with pirate downloads and emulators. But it's not Star Wars. I think they bought Lucasfilm for Star Wars, not old games."
Here's the inside word from CNET.
"After much consideration, we have decided to cease development so that we can focus on other Star Wars game experiences. We truly appreciate the time you spent engaging in the beta."
Damn those current market place realities and underlying economic considerations...
The new games that will be added in 1.7.0 are Chivalry Is Not Dead, Mortville Manor, Return to Ringworld, The Neverhood, and Voyeur. They have also changed their Adlib player for the DOS floppy versions of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Loom, so they need your help testing these games as well.If you own any of these games and would like to help out, then fire up ScummVM on your platform of choice and test. Let them know how you made out on the ScummVM forums and if you find any bugs, submit them on the ScummVM bug tracker. The results of testing will be posted on the ScummVM wiki.
In related news, keep an eye on the ScummVM Planet. The Google Summer of Code is going on now, ScummVM is a part of it again, and this year their sister project ResidualVM is involved too (with ScummVM acting as an umbrella for both projects). GSoC students are adding support for Sfinx and The Prince and the Coward to ScummVM, as well as improving support for Escape from Monkey Island and improving the TinyGL renderer in ResidualVM. They've already accomplished a lot on these tasks, so it will be really interesting to see what they manage to get done by the end of the summer.
Well, hell, Double Fine is remastering Grim Fandango -- what can you do to sustain this high?!
First, you can stop whining about it not being released for PC up front. You know it'll be available for non-Sony platforms soon enough.
Then! Then you can bask in nostalgia heaven!
For example, you can check out our various screenshots. Concept art, in-jokes, covers… It's all there. And you probably want to re-watch the trailer and enjoy a G4 special on the game too, right in our video section.
This is probably a good time to re-read Jason in-depth Secret History article too. (LEC might not have acknowledged Grim's existence, but, bizarrely enough, Disney has.)
Word has it that Thrik is resurrecting his Grim Fandango site. You should nag him to get that going.
And the soundtrack! Go listen to the soundtrack!
2 Player Productions has a retrospective too. What the hell?
Feel free to link to more Grim in the comments, or on Twitter. Tweet it to us and we shall retweet.
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.
|Adventure||Before or After April, '10|
|Autumn Moon||Before or After April, '10|
|Behind Mojo||Before or After April, '10|
|Community||Before or After April, '10|
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|Crackpot||Before or After April, '10|
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|Double Fine||Before or After April, '10|
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|House of Mojo||Before or After April, '10|
|Irresponsible Games||Before or After April, '10|
|LFNetwork||Before or After April, '10|
|LucasArts||Before or After April, '10|
|Mac||Before or After April, '10|
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|MunkyFun||Before or After April, '10|
|Ron Gilbert||Before or After April, '10|
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