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Marketplace realities

Yep, they've done it. Valve has just announced that they've stopped work on In the Valley of Gods, saying "After careful evaluation of current market place realities and underlying economic considerations, we've decided that this was not the appropriate time to launch a first-person adventure."

Don't believe that its possible? Here's the official announcement from Polygon. Our best wishes go out to everyone on the In the Valley of Gods team, who are apprently all still going to be kept on at Valve.

To us, the decision seems completely absurd, and not just because "we love adventure games," or something. Surely In the Valley of Gods's production was plagued with troubles, but from the sounds of it so is every game project. Everything that came out about In the Valley of Gods seemed golden. The press was drooling over the game. It looked like they had a follow-up going on that, unlike some other recent follow-ups, was actually going ot get it right. But now, out of the blue, its gone. Which really really makes all of us wonder...

an editorial by the staff of Mixnmojo

Valve has made a gigantic mistake.

There, we've said it. Everyone else is already thinking it, and other people have probably already said it, but now we've said it too. The official Mixnmojo stance on In the Valley of Gods being cancelled is that Valve has seriously screwed up, just about as much as possible.

Production has stopped on the last original game --and the only game really-- anyone around here was genuinely interested in seeing. Cancelled. Why? From the sounds of it, the people in the Sales department spent the last three months winding themselves up about how impossible it would be for them to sell a quirky adventure game, eventually just snapped, and cancelled the title. Is that screwed up? Yes, that is screwed up.

Valve has made a lot of really bad moves in the last year. The Lab was allowed to ship. It tanked hard. Who really thought The Lab would be marketable, would sell well, would really catch the attention of gamers? Prospero , despite a constant stream of negative to lukewarm receptions from magazines and fans, was allowed to live on in production far longer than anyone really wanted.

Artifact, one of the few truly original gems Valve has dealt with in the last five or six years, was rushed out early by the suits, in hopes of grabbing some Christmas shoppers. This was decided despite Christmas being notorious for huge A-list titles like Lord of the Rings hogging the coverage and hype, and for mothers who know nothing about games being the ones doing the shopping. Not surprisingly, Artifact had a poor holiday season. Who knows what might have happened if they'd let Richard Garfield refine the game for a few months, and released Artifact it in the nearly empty February, after everyone had exhausted their Christmas games and was looking for something new?

Recently, they shipped Left 4 Dead: Survivors. For more on Left 4 Dead, see The Lab a few paragraphs up. And finally, today we receive word that In the Valley of Gods has been axed.

Notice a trend here? Correct. Not one of the recent Valve bungles mentioned above contained the two magic words, Half-Life. If you give the suits at Valve a Half-Life game, they can sell it. Why? Because they don't have to try! No cleverness is needed. That's not to say it doesn't take any work, but for the most part you just need to get the screenshots out, buy a few ads on Gamespot, and tell the press "yep, it's basically like EA's The Two Towers game, but this time you play as characters from -- wait for it -- Half-Life!" WHOP, you've made the cover of EGM. (Of course it helps, but isn't essential, if the Half-Life game you're selling is actually good, like Half-Life 2: Episode Two)

Valve has more or less proven that they can sell the hell out of anything that says Half-Life on the box (again, because that takes no creativity and instead a few magic words, some money, and maybe a wave or two of the nostalgia wand, or possibly the soccer mom wand depending if it's a classic or prequel title), but more importantly they've proven that if they are handed anything without the Half-Life name to sell the game for them, they will just have absolutely no idea what to do.

Games that should be cancelled, or seriously retooled, end up shipping and doing poorly, or lingering in production for months draining company resources. Games that need more time are rushed out the door. And finally, when a game falls into their lap that has the gaming press of the Western world salivating like mad, they flip out and cancel it.

And let's be honest here. Even though it sounds a little insane if you look at it from the wrong perspective ("a scenic sandstone valley near Mexican Hat in San Juan County, Southeastern Utah, United States, what's the appeal in that?!"), Valve has no adventure game, short of making up Half-Life adventure games, that will ever be as marketable as In the Valley of Gods. Not Monkey Island 6, not Day of the Tentacle 2. Even the Portal adventure game franchise has been muddled beyond recognition at this point. In the Valley of Gods pack personality, edginess, and firearms in unmentionable places like no other Valve game series -- actually like no other game series at all, and they do it in a way that basically anybody can laugh at. There are very few people with any size sense of humor who, after hearing them utter just a few sentences, aren't sold on the quality of the characters and the humor. And on top of that, unlike basically any other sequel Valve could consider, In the Valley of Gods has no back story, no possible way of alienating new players.

In the Valley of Gods is weird, granted, but is there anybody out there who genuinely thinks they're less accessible than Left 4 Dead: Survivors? Less intriguing on a store shelf than The Lab? Yes, in fact, there is. The Valve sales department.

I can see where they're coming from, in a way. If every game without a Half-Life logo that came through your door ended up tanking, getting cancelled, or somehow cause you a huge amount of grief, you might be inclined to just kill the next one in line and get it over with. In a way, their behavior like that is understandable. However, it becomes entirely unacceptable when you remember, that's not their job! Their job is to actually think about things, figure out what's been going wrong, and how to fix it. Their job is to actually try, not to just throw the switch, or pass the title along 'till its out the door, and then attempt to absolve themselves of blame.

Today's an extremely sad day for Valve, and we hope they all know it. If they can't even figure that out, they're in far worse trouble than we could have imagined.

Posted 04 Dec, 2019, 15:25 by A Pirate! Yar!

BREAKING: More purloined music in LEC games

I don't know if you guys have been following the scandal - and no feeling person could blame you for trying to hide from the awful truth - but it's "come out" that traditional music in the public domain has occasionally been quoted in the Monkey Island soundtracks. INNOCENCE LOST.

You might think that's something, but it gets even worse than those moral arbiters on the front page are willing to scar you with. I won't patronize you by omission. I have it on good authority that Loom flat-out pilfered music from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.  Oh, wrap yourself in the fuzzy slanket of denial if you must; that won't make it any less true.

Hold on!  This just in: In the 18th century setting of Day of the Tentacle, recognizable patriotic tunes like "My Country Tis of Thee" are snuck into the tracks involving the founding fathers and Betsy Ross.  Did they really think they could get away with this?

I am not done updating your ethos, my naive friend.  Turns out, the ubiquitous Latin sequence "Dies Irae," incorporated into perhaps hundreds of works, is woven into the God Machine room in Fate of Atlantis.  But that's far from the worst offence.  Hang onto your hat for this next one -- the very same game, in a total rejection of all decency, also has the shameless audacity to steal the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme song.  I mean, that's the kind of chutzpah you can't even get offended by, because you are too busy admiring the sheer gall of it.

Burn your diskettes.

Posted 12 Sep, 2019, 19:20 by Jason

At least this guy respects us

Why can’t you bastards give us this kind of feedback?

Posted 11 Sep, 2019, 00:40 by Remi

Oh, Capel :(

Link
Extra link
Posted 17 Aug, 2019, 19:20 by Webmonkey

I didn't say WHICH Summer

I said last year I was planning on reposting classic websites in the summer, but I had a tough year last year and my original plans didn't work out.

It's not done yet, but since I teased it so long ago, I thought I'd give a sneak peek. I'm posting this at Behind Mojo since almost none of the links are working yet, but at least you'll get to see some progress getting done.

http://wecmuseum.org/summerofsamandmax/
Posted 28 Mar, 2019, 21:30 by Jennifer

Sexy weekends in France still not a thing

You may recall that, in the past ten years or so, we discovered to our joy/amazement that Mixnmojo.com is the only place on the entire Internet to use the phrase "sexy weekend in France." Thinking that this absurd claim to fame couldn't possibly be still true, I Googled and, well, see for yourself:
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I don't get it, either; maybe France doesn't know diddlysquat about sexy weekends. But god bless the anonymous romantic who first Googled this into the collective Mojo consciousness, anyway.

Posted 19 Feb, 2019, 22:24 by Kroms

The secret… revealed

He was right all along, judging by the original version of the game…

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Posted 12 Feb, 2019, 21:25 by A Pirate! Yar!

Fact of the Moment is gone (for the moment?)

Like Telltale and Kevin Bruner's career, the Fact of the Moment is yesterday's news. Until Zaarin and/or Remi resurrects it, anyway. If they resurrect it. Not sure how crazy we are about resurrection. I'm sure we've all read Pet Sematary.

The damn thing was updated once every four months, anyway. But I was updating it once every two weeks at the end, there. Did you notice?

Posted 22 Jan, 2019, 16:52 by Kroms

OK, but how crazy is it that we don't have any bloody Star Wars games?

With all the time spent complaining about Star Wars games circa 1999-20wheneverpeoplestoppedcaring, I gotta ask: what happened?

Maybe it's because LucasArts, like Telltale, the Telltale Tool, and Kevin Bruner's career, is dead. Maybe it's because Simon Jeffery and Jim Ward live on that yacht upstate somewhere where all former LucasArts CEOs go, and they can't tell Kathleen Kennedy to start cashing in. Or maybe Star Wars games have finally faced their "marketplace realities" and have taken a Han Solo-like tumble into the abyss.

All I know is that we live in a world with four Star Wars movies in as many years and one LEGO game to show for it. The bitter part of me that wanted all lost adventure games is gleeful. The other part is wondering how on earth the people who wanted Star Wars to be "adult" so badly they wished that edgy snoozefest Rogue One into existence aren't clamoring for Rogue One: Fortnite. Also, do none of these people want Super Smash Disney Brawl? Thanos vs. Vader, people. Captain America vs. Wreck-It Ralph. It's at least as entertaining as those Avengers movies and probably at least as good-looking as Civil War. Honestly, I'm just spitballing here. Something something media franchise potential.

Anyway, play Kathy Rain. It's great. Primordia and Gemini Rue are great, too.

Posted 11 Dec, 2018, 06:28 by Kroms

Kevin Bruner will remember that

The Internet, best known for being the last bastion of reason in a world of crumbling empires, is not keen on Kevin Bruner. Telltale's former CTO-turned-CEO is blamed for its demise by every anonymous op-ed, and the Internet—or, at least, Reddit—is riding it. While I can't name the subreddit in question (we got kids reading this), you can find it here.

Granted, I came across the subreddit while looking for something to post so that the Mojo crew (read: Zaarin) could fix my login details, and I have no doubt that Bruner made the company toxic, but—and allow me to get on my soapbox here—it's worth nothing that the exodus from Telltale began under Dan Connors; by the time he stepped down, people like Mike Stemmle, Sean Vanaman, Jake Rodkin, and Dave Grossman had left. It's at least suggestive that Telltale's problems start from before Bruner. Only the employees know, really.

Telltale's death still sucks, though, even if I haven't bought a game of theirs since 2013.

Posted 20 Nov, 2018, 18:48 by Kroms

Happy Pepperoni Pirate Day

Kroms thinks we forgot to post about Talk Like A Pirate Day. P'shaw.

Talking like pirates is so passé. Today's Pepperoni Pizza Day, but since didn't have enough pirates, we present a new holiday:

Pepperoni Pirate Day

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You're welcome.
Posted 21 Sep, 2018, 00:22 by Jennifer

'Flavored Nation': The final cut 'was done a year ago. It was made for an audience for 4 people.'

We waited, then Jason flipped us all off, announcing that Flavored Nations -- Mojo's Casablanca -- will not be released. Jason's statement was simply, "Sorry." Not unlike Orson Welles and Citizen Kane 2 in other words.

Some hope is still left: "When Bad Asp! gets the Freelance Police source code leaked out. I'll slip you a copy," said the young director.

We wait with bated breath, once again saddened that Jason does not care about Mojo's greater audience.

Posted 17 Jan, 2018, 05:10 by Remi

'Flavored Nations': The trailer is FINALLY here

Our favorite Mr. Pibb fan, and somewhere in the top ten of favorite Mojo updaters over the last ten years is back! That’s right, Jason’s very own indie movie (not published by Mojo) has a trailer…

Not surprisingly, I’m a Dr. Pepper man myself, but good for Jason (and American Dad) for fighting the good fight!

Posted 09 Feb, 2017, 04:17 by Remi

How many of those cards do you HAVE, anyway?

A year ago I was screwing around with video overlay effects for a personal project and decided I should assemble a little test scenario before diving into anything genuinely ambitious.

As a preemptive measure to ward off boredom in the editing, I chose to conduct my test in the form of a crude recreation of one of my favorite scenes from Monkey Island 3.



This isn't ordinarily something I would share, but I unwisely made a handshake IRC agreement with Zaarin to do so after he was kind enough to guide me through the treacheries of AkosView.

Maybe I could arrange to have this played at my funeral?

Posted 13 Feb, 2015, 05:48 by Jason

Mojo's Duke Grabowski pledge reward

...is in the works, you'll soon be sorry to know. (Click for a reminder of Remi's assholery.)

Posted 21 Oct, 2014, 01:36 by Jason

He's still alive. Barely.

Remember Mojo's patron saint, Dan Pettit? Wonder what happened to him? Well, wonder no more!
Posted 11 Jun, 2014, 18:40 by Remi

Thumbs has a store

You can actually buy stuff from them.

I'm really only mentioning this because they promised me a free t-shirt for doing the HTML/CSS for the design you're looking at right here. In 2005.

#bitter #¬¬

Posted 08 Apr, 2014, 20:33 by Remi

LucasArts Fondly Remembers Telltale's Sam & Max Game

Lucasfilm's LucasArts page has been updated with their recent published hits such as Tiny Death Star and Angry Birds Star Wars, but also remembers (but doesn't mention that they once developed) adventure games such as Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and Full Throttle.

Oh, and Sam & Max also gets a mention via a screenshot at the bottom of the page. Except it's the same screenshot from Sam & Max Season One that was erroneously printed as a Freelance Police screenshot in the Rogue Leaders book.

I'd email LucasArts and let them know about the mistake, but I'm not sure if anyone even works there anymore.
Posted 07 Mar, 2014, 08:33 by Jennifer

From behind the scenes of the Walking Dead season two

The incorrigible Jake "Mojo" Rodkin on his Walking Dead S2 credit: "Oh man I have a credit on the game?"
Posted 19 Dec, 2013, 01:24 by Remi

Fuck the Thumb, I'm heading to Tasty-BaconMojo!

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