The Unabridged History of Sam & Max 2 Interview Round-up A few memories from Mark Griskey and Ronda Scott

We weren't able to get everybody committed to full-on Q&As, but we were happy for anything, and Sam & Max 2 composer Mark Griskey was kind enough to give us a few moments out of a very busy schedule. I contacted Mark first in October 2013 (yeah...this article has been plotted so long ago, it was first conceived as a tenth anniversary feature), asking him if work proper had begun on the game's soundtrack. He said:

Yes I had already begun production on the music, we had several pieces of concept music written for the game, but was planning on doing some additional recording sessions to add more live musicians for the final mixes. The style was indeed very much in the Jazzy tradition of the original music by the LucasArts luminaries you mentioned and also similar what Jared did with the TellTale games. My music for freelance police also had a spy / film noir element to it that I thought would work well for the story line.

I'll have to see if I have any music still backed up somewhere, but believe it or not, Lucas Film - A division of The Walt Disney company may technically own the rights to the music, and permission may need to be asked for to share any of it.

Over five years later, in April 2019, I reached out to him once more for what was now a fifteenth anniversary article, just in case there was anything else he could think to share. He told me:

I worked on the cancelled game for several months. We had established the basic music style and I created several scratch music tracks before it was cancelled. I really don’t remember much politics but the team morale was pretty low, so I don’t think they were getting the support they needed. I know that I had a hard time getting anyone to commit to a decent music budget and was scrambling to find musicians to works for a modest fee for the mockup tracks and was hoping that we would get approval to go into the studio for more polished final tracks. That never happened, and I was laid off around the time S&M was cancelled. I met with Dan Connors very early in the formation of Tell Tale to discuss music with him, only two find out that Julian Kwasneski of Bay Area Sound had beat me to the punch and Dan told me that I would need to talk to Julian to be involved. Unfortunately for me, Julian already had composer Jarad Emerson working for Bay Area sound full-time, so I was left by the wayside on that franchise without any of my music being released for the franchise. Things worked out fine for all though. Jared did a fantastic job with the Franchise and I went on to compose the scores for a bunch of Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney games.

I also wanted to pick the brain of Ronda Scott, the LucasArts "Internet Community Relations Specialist" at the time who served as a kind of liaison between Mojo and LEC. I reached out to her and asked what she remembered about the title given her relationship with the fan base. She replied:

Wow. Blast from the past. Though personally I was more drawn to the adventure game side of the house, my focus back then was on the Star Wars PC games (which made total sense because at the time I'd never seen any of the Star Wars movies). So while I demoed the also-canceled Full Throttle follow-up and spent a bunch of time with the Mojo folks in person, I don't have a lot to share about S&M:FP specifically. What I can say is that there was a loud chorus of interest from a small group of dedicated fans who really wanted to see that game (and FT, too) come out. But, LucasArts was phenomenally bad at making money on the non-blockbuster SW games. Especially the ones developed in house. So while Armed and Dangerous was a fantastic game (Planet Moon) and maybe sold OK (I don't remember the details), Gladius, releases like Wraith Unleashed (terrible), and RTX (even more terrible) left little appetite for continuing development on the fan favorites.

The way I remember it, LucasArts was supposed to be a place of innovation where new IP could be developed at relatively low stakes. As game development got more complicated and game dev costs began to rise, that strategy no longer made a lot of sense. Perhaps if the iPad had been a thing then...

Anyway, that's all I got! Thanks for the jog down memory lane :-)

Feeling greedy, I pressed her with one more question about the reaction to the game's cancellation, as I knew that as the PR contact in those days she was possibly more directly exposed to it than anyone else at LEC:

I don't remember the specific day but I remember knowing that fans would be disappointed. And, since I knew people like Jake Rokin and Spaff (Spaf?) personally, I think I heard some of that first-hand. But still, to me -- do not take this as the general office sentiment -- it's a company, not a charity. And the fan base was small. PC gaming was on the rapid decline. People outside of companies are allowed to have opinions but the reality of the business was what it was. I felt worse for the devs who had their project canceled and had to have been facing the idea that their genre's time had come and gone. Fast forward several years and the App Store was born and along with it, a new distribution model and new dev tools and once again, indie game development became possible. (I play a ton of indie games now!)

No news post