As ever, Kotaku proves to be way behind the Mojo curve by pointing out the (not quite) existence of the cancelled LucasArts game Justice Unlimited. For those who don't know, it was the studio's ill-fated, late-nineties attempt to make a Diablo game, except with superheroes. Jackassery aside, two of the three bits of concept art in Kotaku's article are new to me, although it turns out that's just because they're from that Rogue Leaders book I never bought.

To show that we're grownups, here's our own, better scoop about Justice Limited as part of Mike Stemmle's recollection of the wacky stretch of his career between Afterlife and Escape from Monkey Island.

After Afterlife, most of the (tiny) core team from that game started work on another sim game. The not-so-tentatively-titled TV Wasteland was going to be a charmingly off-beat attempt to simulate the life of a television programming executive, which seemed like fertile ground my for my frothing love of snark and math.

While we were struggling with some of the basics of the title, the team had the misfortune of playing Diablo, and got fatally distracted. Soon, we were convinced that WE should do a Diablo-like game... only with superheroes. LucasArts allowed us to talk them into building this new game we called Justice Unlimited, and off we went... for over a year. And then we killed it.

After the collapse of Justice Unlimited, I took a two-month drive around the country (I'd built up a LOT of vacation time). On the upside, I got an opportunity to see most of the locations we'd ripped off lovingly homaged in Sam and Max Hit the Road. On the downside, I spent a lonely night in Las Vegas with the Worst Food Poisoning Ever. I guess you could call it a low-rent spirit quest capped off by a bout of ritualistic purging. At the time, I only half-jokingly called it the "Mike Stemmle Nervous Breakdown Tour of America."

That comes from an interview Mike granted us for that big honkin' EMI retrospective. Oh dear, did I just flog our own content? How embarrassing.

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GOG releases three new lames games

22 Jan, 2015, 06:49 | Posted by: Jason | Source: GOG.com | Comments: 5

And they are:

- Star Wars: Empire at War (Gold Pack)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- Star Wars: Rebellion (aka Star Wars: Supremacy)

Sorry I'm an asshole, but I'm sure enough of you are genuinely excited by these to balance it out.

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GOG has announced a second wave of six LucasArts games to be made available beginning this week. Yawn your way through the following selection!

- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Saga
- Star Wars: X-Wing Vs. Tie Fighter
- Star Wars: Dark Forces
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
- Star Wars: Battlefront II

Because if there's one game that Earth's population has struggled to find at a decent price over the last fifteen years, it's KOTOR 2. Thank goodness our prayers have been answered.

Look, I get it. These are well regarded games, and they deserve to be re-released. But generally, you treat the guy who's in cardiac arrest before the guy whose foot fell asleep.

You ain't funny, GOG. Give us a better reason to wait next time, please. These reasons should feel free to be spelled exactly like Day of the Tentacle or Full Throttle.

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Now we know for sure this is an actual game. The screenshots and videos featured on the site seem to be things you'd have already been exposed to, but it's pretty much all worth it for the paper mache version of the Double Fine logo. Unless that's old news too.

Bit of trivia: The site's only been up for hours, which means that it's roughly on par with the sum total of Mixnmojo's uptime since 1997. Thank you! Thank you!

¬¬
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The video speaks for itself. (Click the link if you don't find the video embedded below. Mojo ain't too reliable when it comes to video embeds, but we feel it gives us personality.)

Dear Lord, this looks wonderful.
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Adventure Gamers has posted an informative interview with Dave Grossman, as interviewed by former Telltale PR person Emily Morganti. Dave talks about his time at LucasArts, leaving Telltale, joining Reactive Studios as chief creative officer on their interactive audio dramas, working with Bill Tiller on Duke Grabowski: Mighty Swashbuckler, and hints at future projects.

Some of the most interesting points brought up in the interview include the fact that Brian Moriarty, the creator of Loom and project lead of the unreleased first version of The Dig is on the board at Reactive too, and the team is going to try to do a text adventure style audio drama at some point, with Dave hinting towards a Sherlock Holmes story and one based on Jekyll and Hyde. Another interesting tidbit is that Dave Grossman is going to be helping out with another game project that had a successful Kickstarter, but he can't talk about that yet. So, even though Dave is working from home now, 2015 certainly looks to be a busy year.

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While we were down, ResidualVM, the project that aims to support 3D adventure games on a wide range of modern computer platforms, received its latest stable release.

This release brings Myst III: Exile support, fixes some bugs in Grim Fandango, and adds game data verification on first launch (so that you'll know if your game data was copied correctly from your CDs). There are builds available for Windows, Linux and OS X.

In the unstable builds of ResidualVM, Escape from Monkey Island is also completable with a few glitches. The ResidualVM team is going to continue to work to get that game supported in 2015.
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The testing period for ResidualVM 0.2.0 is now here. They need people to test Myst III and Grim Fandango for the latest release. If you want to help, pick up or compile the latest daily build on the platform of your choice. Play through the game, without skipping dialog, and without updating ResidualVM during your entire play through.

If you find any bugs, submit them to the ResidualVM issue tracker. Then report whether you were able to complete the game and any bugs you might have found on their forums.

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Turns out it's just that you're not giving the later sequels enough credit.

Every decade or so it's necessary to write an article delving into the "meaning" behind Monkey Island just to remind you of how stale the topic really is. Today comes my contribution to this tradition of over-analysis, but my "twist" is arguing that picking over the subtext of the first two games only casts the post-Ron installments in a more favorable light.

I'm just a merchant of controversy these days, aren't I?

Thanks to Remi for the header image.

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Polygon was able to prod Tim a bit about the recently announced Day of the Tentacle remake, which is still in its earliest phases but which he promises will remain 2D. Beyond assurances of faithfulness, we'll just have to wait to learn what this upgrade will really look or sound like (while wondering what the LEC Singapore sweat shop kids came up with first).

When asked about the business side of securing the license in the first place, Tim describes a situation that really makes me hopeful for the future.

"There were just some people at Disney, Sony and Lucasfilm that care about these games," he said. "They're old enough that some of these people who are executives played them when they were kids. I've been really impressed with the fact that these kind of deals have come together because there's so many reasons for this deal not to happen. There's so many parties involved and so many people who could've said no, that it really took a passionate drive by people in the right places to escort it through the process."

Perhaps Tim's dream of revisiting all the old adventures is a bit too good to be true, but still, it's hard to imagine the future of these games ever being more bright, or for a better group of custodians to be assigned their preservation than Schafer's studio. Hopefully those fans strategically positioned at Disney stick around long enough for Double Fine to keep going through the catalog.

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Grossman turns Reactive

18 Nov, 2014, 08:21 | Posted by: MrManager | Source: IGN | Comments: 1

You know him from LucasArts, you know him from Telltale, and you might even know him from Humongous Entertainment. And now you'll also know Dave Grossman from Reactive Studios, where he's the chief creative officer.

"Who the hell does this Reactive think it is?", you may ask, and a good question it is. The studio is known for its Codename Cygnus, a Kickstarted "interactive radio drama." Apparently it uses "speech recognition," which means it's perfectly suited for playing on the bus.

(Yeah, I don't know, I never tried it; it could be awesome for all I know.)

Anyway! Good luck to Mr Grossman on his new gig. We're looking forward to see where this is headed.

You can find Reactive Studios website here.

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Monkey Island 4 Remastered

11 Nov, 2014, 19:05 | Posted by: Jason | Source: The Forums | Comments: 3

(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.)

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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.

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Disney has GOG on very tight leash

29 Oct, 2014, 17:29 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 2

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.

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The goal that the team at GOG.com has been working towards since it opened its doors back in 2008 has been accomplished. LucasArts games are now on GOG.com. X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Knights of the Old Republic, and The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition are only available for Windows, while Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Sam & Max Hit the Road are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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.

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Update 2: The news is now official, so the link has been changed to the correct, working one.

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

You'll note that only three of those are digital debuts, but hey, Sam & Max Hit the Road and TIE Fighter are finally available again! Let's hope all fourteen classic adventures make the cut. Seriously, these are exciting times. Speculate below!
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Update: The teaser fonts are confirmed to be real, as they are now live on the GOG.com website.

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.

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Gamasutra released an article detailing the effort to rebuild and preserve the world's first commercial graphical massively multiplayer online game, Lucasfilm's Habitat.

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.
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Double Fine's remastered version of Tim Schafer's magnum opus of his LucasArts years, Grim Fandango, was demoed at Indiecade. Game journalists have played that demo and shared their thoughts.

IGN describes the new version as follows:

You have the ability to toggle back and forth between how the game originally looked, and how it looks now, and holy moly the difference is night and day. Thanks to the new lighting, shaders, and other technical enhancements that flew way over my head, Manny and company now look incredible. Their in-game models appear to be nearly identical to their cut-scene counterparts, which is great. The game is still presented in 4:3, but you have the ability to stretch it to widescreen (for the love of everything good, please don’t do this). The borders are black right now, but I was told that the developers are toying with some ideas for what could stand on the two sides of the screen.

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.
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It be that day again! Talk like a pirate and hoist your sails to go over to Steam to pick up a load of pirate booty at sale prices, including the two special editions and Tales of Monkey Island at 75% off each! Arr!
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