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The Day LucasArts Canceled April Fool’s Day

Sometime back in 2004, Mojo and The SCUMM Bar banded together to create an April Fool’s Day joke for the ages: a fake Monkey Island movie trailer. Yet, close as the prank came to fruition, the plans to execute it was aborted on March 3rd, 2004. Why? Remi takes a quick look back at this footnote in Mojo’s history.

Exactly how the idea of this trailer came about is somewhat unclear, but it was at least partly related to elTee having watched Cast Away and noticed some similarities between its island and Monkey Island. The domino bricks started falling accordingly and the plan was simple: A) Infiltrate “Solomon,” a nineteen-year-old kid whose father worked at 20th Century Fox, into LucasForums; B) create a (fake) proof-of-concept teaser for a Monkey Island movie; C) leak said trailer onto the pit of LucasForums – “The Harbour.” (Snarkily renamed “Delete Me” at the time.) Of course, as these things go, we started over-complicating things.

One issue was that neither elTee nor I knew how to use video editing software. I decided to take the bullet and learn Premiere, and put together something that more or less could be mistaken for the real thing – at least if you squinted really hard.

Meanwhile, elTee started posting as the wide-eyed “Solomon,” a fan of Curse of Monkey Island, a title he just had learned was preceded by two games. And as an aside: His father often brought home DVDs with teasers, trailers, and proofs-of-concept of upcoming movies.

On IRC, elTee and I started enlisting more people in the prank – victims will remain unnamed – and the trailer started coming together. A real proof-of-concept of the fake proof-of-concept was ready for vetting on March 1st:

We were pretty happy with it. Some adjustments and enhancements were shortlisted, but as the idea was to shakily film the video running on a CRT TV, it seemed like we had something halfway believable. After all, the most important ingredient in this type of scheme is that most people will believe what they want to believe.

Then the bomb dropped: LucasArts canceled Sam & Max: Freelance Police and our sites’ readers were almost literally bringing out the torches and pitchforks. The decision for us to do our own cancellation practically made itself: this was a crossfire we were not willing to get in the middle of. It was not the time to release a fake, well, anything.

The plan got changed to release the video for April Fool’s 2005, but for those who are familiar with Mojo’s follow-through… Hey, that Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual review might still happen.

It is what it is as they say, and at least we found some amusement in this over a few weeks. I feel like I figured out some Premiere basics, too, so there’s that! And maybe you’ll find some enjoyment in that video that elTee accidentally stumbled over this week.