Interview conducted by Andrew "telarium" Langley
If you don't know who Ron Gilbert is, there is something seriously wrong with you. Not only did Ron Gilbert revolutionize the way we play adventure games, he also created such classics as Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. In this interview, we check back with Ron to see what he's doing these days at his new company, Hulabee Entertainment.
Let’s start by talking about your new company. How would you describe the kind of products you want your new company to create?
We're focusing on adventure games for kids, much like we did at Humongous Entertainment.
What inspired you to start Hulabee after you left your previous company, Humongous?
Mostly it was being able to start with a clean slate, both technologically and creatively. We wanted to focus on doing games that could be download over the Internet and be able to create a new cast of characters and stories.
I know that Humongous licensed SCUMM, a graphic adventure engine that you helped create at LucasArts, to make its games. Will Hulabee also license SCUMM, or are you using something else?
We created a new development system. SCUMM was a fantastic system, but it's going on 15 years old and was staring to show it's age. The new system is much more flexible and able to grow as technology grows. Plus it was just a lot of fun to be able to start over and code everything from scratch. I had gotten out of programming for a while, so it was fun to get back into it.
Will we ever see a more "adult" adventure games from Hulabee Entertainment, or are you going to focus solely on your younger audience?
I would love to do another "adult" adventure game. My dream is to buy the rights to Monkey Island and do the true Monkey Island 3. I'd call it "Monkey Island 3a: The Secret Reveled or your Money Back".
What are your day-to-day responsibilities at Hulabee?
With the exception of Cavedog, it seems like your career after LucasArts has been focused mainly on children’s entertainment. What made you decide to concentrate more on this type of product than, say, making the typical, overly violent type of computer games?
I focused on the kids adventure games because it gave me a way to do more games in a short amount of time and experiment with design issues. That was hard to do in the "grown -up" arena because people had expectations. Kids were new to the whole adventure game "thing" and didn't have any expectations. You could try new things with them. Also, kids don't care about wiz bang technology, they just care about story and characters and game play. That is refreshing.
I’ve been told that you tapped Dave Grossman to write two of your recent products, Moop and Dreadly and Ollo. For our readers who don’t know, can you tell us about your past and present collaboration with Dave?
Dave was one of the programmers and writers on Monkey Island 1 and 2. I've worked with Dave an several projects over the years. Dave likes Apple Juice.
You’ve mentioned in a few previous interviews of a game design written by Dave Grossman and yourself, which I believe is called Bobo and Fletcher Go Deep in the Congo. What can you tell us, if anything, about this game?
Bobo and Fletcher was a design that built upon all the experience that I had from doing kids games. It was a hybrid game. It was a great story and great characters and I hope to make it someday. The idea was to do it as episodes that sold for a few bucks. The market was not ready for a product like that, but with the Internet (it's all the rage today) that is becoming more of a reality. Except that everyone still thinks everything on the Internet should be free.