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Even though George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, the actual offices have remained at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in The Presidio -- a park in San Francisco. As Lucas owns those facilities, Disney has actually been paying George rent for that space despite owning the assets held there.

With the conglomerate undergoing a period of COVID related belt-tightening, rumor has it that Disney is finally ready to relocate all those assets to their home turf in Burbank.

The move down south for Lucasfilm apparently has been the plan for years. It is unknown what has been the delay in getting them down to Burbank. The goal was to have all of their divisions at convenient proximity to Disney headquarters. With that, they cut down distance and they no longer have to pay Lucas rent.

Why do we care? Well, presumably this means that the Lucasfilm archives are destined to make a six hour road trip, and as elTee's illuminating interview with Limited Run Games revealed, the original assets related to the old adventure games have not necessarily been digitized. And I'm not making judgments, mind you. It's hard to ask a supposedly state-of-the-art studio to make time over a thirty year period to digitally bank Monkey Island key art when there's a hundred other things to do. Those Baby Yodas aren't going to stack themselves.

I'm just asking everyone to join me in a collective prayer that they, you know, have the straps on the flat bed fastened tight as they load it up with irreplaceable diskettes of source code or Ken Macklin artwork for The Dig. And you know, that they throw a tarp over it if the weather forecast looks dicey. Things like that.

Apparently this has been on Youtube for a while, but I know I'd never seen it before, so maybe you'll be as blown away as I was:

Many questions have surrounded the upcoming Monkey Island bundle from Limited Run, so we decided to put our Pulitzer Prize winning* journalist, elTee, on the case. In his interview with the company, you can among other things learn about the edition of Tales they have included:

I received the files for TMI last week but I haven't had the chance to verify anything yet. My gut feeling would be that I was sent the latest and greatest versions of each episode, so my assumption would be that we have the Earl Boen version.

Go read the whole thing right now, if you know what's good for you!

* Unconfirmed.

Those maniacs actually did it! A Willow series is headed for Disney Plus. Here's the press release:

The enchanting world of “Willow,” created by George Lucas, is officially coming to the small screen.

Disney Plus has confirmed a sequel series taking place years after the events of the original Ron Howard-directed pic is heading into production next year. Howard is returning to the project as executive producer alongside original star Warwick Davis, who will once again play the titular hero Willow Ufgood.

The series has also tapped “Crazy Rich Asians” and “In the Heights” director Jon M. Chu to helm the pilot and exec produce. Jonathan Kasdan (“Solo”) and Wendy Mericle (“Arrow”) will serve as showrunners.

“Willow” the series hails from Lucasfilm and represents the company’s first non-“Star Wars” venture since 2015. The show will introduce all-new characters to the magical realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters. News of the official greenlight from Disney Plus comes over a year after the project was first reported as coming down the pipeline.

The original film centered on Davis’ Willow, who reluctantly forced into playing a critical role in protecting a special infant named Elora Danan from an evil queen (Jean Marsh). A prophecy told that Elora would bring the queen’s downfall. Willow was helped along the way by a mercenary swordsman, played by Val Kilmer. It also starred Joanne Whalley, Billy Barty and Kevin Pollak.

“Growing up in the’80s, ‘Willow’ has had a profound effect on me,” said Chu in a statement. “The story of the bravest heroes in the least likely places allowed me, an Asian-American kid growing up in a Chinese restaurant looking to go to Hollywood, to believe in the power of our own will, determination and of course, inner magic. So the fact that I get to work with my heroes from Kathleen Kennedy to Ron Howard is bigger than a dream come-true. It’s a bucket-list moment for me. Jon Kasdan and Wendy Mericle have added such groundbreaking new characters and delightful surprises to this timeless story that I can’t wait for the world to come along on this epic journey with us.”

Bob Dolman, writer of the original film, serves as consulting producer, with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy on board as an EP alongside Michelle Rejwan. Howard’s Imagine Television is producnig, with the company’s Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman in place as co-executive producers. Julia Cooperman will produce.

“It’s creatively exciting to not only revisit the world and characters first conceived by George Lucas, Bob Dolman and myself but to see it take flight in such fresh, fun and cinematic ways through the imagination of Jon Kasdan and Team Willow,” added Howard. “This isn’t a nostalgic throw-back, it’s a creative lean-forward and it’s a blast to be a part of it all.”

As I've said before: why the hell not? If Star Wars nerds can get three trillion hours worth of movies and television shows per year, we might as well give the pecks a ten episode pick-up. What a world.

Comments: 4 / Source: Variety

If you've been waiting for the Limited Run Monkey Island anthology, wait no more. Or rather, wait until October 30th. Point being, it has been fully announced:

It might run you a cool $160, but you do get a lot for your money, provided you actually want what's bundled. The E-Ticket? Awesome! Ultimate Insult illustration? Amusingly random. Books? Fo' sho'. The rest... well, it might be for some of you, for others, not so much.

Like it? Love it? Disappointed? Let us know in the comment, and let us know if you have any questions for Limited Run -- Mojo Interview(TM) is forthcoming.

Double Fine has announced that the previously PlayStation 4 exclusive* titles, Day of the Tentacle Remastered, Full Throttle Remastered, and Grim Fandango Remastered, are coming to XBox Game Pass on October 26.

In other news, their website is still a holding page.

*Ignoring the other platforms they were also available on.

As something of a supplement to the upcoming livestream which will delve into some unreleased content from the first two Monkey Island games, Verge has published an interview with Frank Cifaldi and Kelsey Lewin of the Video Game History Foundation to discuss their motives behind preserving vintage source code and the reception they got from Lucasfilm when they approached the company about making Monkey Island the vanguard of their efforts. There's also some good stuff about omitted content that underlines the improvisational nature of the early SCUMM games' development:

They also had access to Gilbert’s sketchbook from when he was making the game, which contained the raw ideas that eventually made it into the finished product. “There is a page that just says, ‘booby trap on bridge?’. And I think that’s like, all it ever was,” Cifaldi continues. “Like, the game wasn’t designed enough, but artists need to be working on something. So it’s like, I don’t know, ‘work on a booby-trapped bridge, and maybe we’ll revisit it,’ and they never did.” It’s not a cut puzzle; it doesn’t mean anything other than it was an idea that didn’t quite make it.

The full article is quite good, so do read it.

Sure, we're all perfectly excited about that fireside chat at the end of the month. But what does Ron know about Monkey Island, really? Was he there or something?

The fact is, if you want the real scoop, you go to the experts. And that would be Youtuber "onaretrotip", who's put together an 80-minute documentary about the making of The Secret of Monkey Island as part of the 30th anniversary internet love bomb we're in the midst of. Included throughout are quotes from the core team, and I think some of these recorded reflections are new. Let me know if I'm wrong, and I'll see to it that the correct people are fired.

Comments: 2 / Source: Youtube

With which I mean the crazy, fun stuff hidden in Monkey Island's SCUMM code. To quote the press release:

The Video Game History Foundation (VGHF), a nonprofit that brings old video games back to life by preserving, celebrating, and teaching their history, is today unveiling the Video Game Source Project, an effort to save and study source code and related development materials before the stories around these games' creation are lost forever.

(some more stuff, then the interesting part)

The first games to benefit from the Video Game Source Project will be Lucasfilm Games' legendary point-and-click adventure The Secret of Monkey Island, which celebrates its 30 year anniversary this month, and its sequel Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.

So, what will we see? Reconstructed scenes, for one thing. (Presumably the cannibal village scene will be one of them.) And a fireside chat with Ronzo himself. An audience Q&A. You know, the normal stuff.

The event will take place Friday, October 30th, 1pm PDT. Tickets are $10. Run and get them right now!

Being cool and popular, we recently received the following email:

Hi Mixnmojo,

My name’s Tim. I worked with George “The Fat Man” Sanger for a long time to release his master recordings from the Humongous Entertainment games he worked on. We worked really hard on the albums, restoring and remixing a lot of lost content, and taking them from raw ADATs to excellent listener-ready spreads. Now they’re finally out.

They sound fantastic, missing the 11025Hz distortion so characteristic of SCUMM games with digital music, and I thought your readers might be interested.

They can be found at thefatmanandteamfat.bandcamp.com

I run the Curator YouTube channel, too, which has some fun Putt-Putt related interviews and other content you might like.

Thanks for the great coverage over the years!

Do I need to draw you a road map? Go download those digitally liberated soundtracks right now!

Comments: 4 / Source: Bandcamp

Another 30th anniversary article for the venerated series comes by way of LADbible. An excerpt:

Which is to say: this game is in my blood, a part of what makes me, me. Not just a favourite game, but an experience of my childhood - like a favourite movie, or book, from a lifetime ago - that always, without fail, puts a smile on my face. It still makes me laugh aloud, even when I can see the jokes coming - which the best TV and film can do, too. Not fall-around-the-place hysterics, as I grew out of that. But a chuckle, a titter, just the gentlest guffaw. It's enough to make me not feel my age, for a moment at least - and The Secret of Monkey Island is an experience that'll forever remind me why I love video games so much.

Who among us cannot relate? Click here for the whole piece.

And while I've got you here, let me sneak in this recent blog post by Chuck Jordan reflecting on Habitat. You didn't even see that coming, did ya.

Everyone's favourite adventure game virtual machine (ie. the thing that allows you play classic adventure games on modern computers), ScummVM, is having its 3D-based sister, ResidualVM, merged into it.

What does that mean for you, dear adventure fan? Simply that Grim Fandango, Myst III - Exile, The Longest Journey, Escape from Monkey Island (Remi's favourite!), and an unfinished engine for Revolution's In Cold Blood, are now part of ScummVM.

Hopefully it will still support Grim Fandango Deluxe, because that might be finished one day ;)

A release date has been announced for a new book featuring some classic LucasArts locations. Virtual Cities: An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities by Konstantinos Dimopoulos (illustrated by Maria Kallikaki) is a fascinating-looking hardback that takes a detailed look at some of the digital environments that video games have thrown at us over the years, and of course no such book would be complete without a few adventure games. Here's the official word:

Virtual cities are places of often-fractured geographies, impossible physics, outrageous assumptions and almost untamed imaginations given digital structure. This book, the first atlas of its kind, aims to explore, map, study and celebrate them. To imagine what they would be like in reality. To paint a lasting picture of their domes, arches and walls. From metropolitan sci-fi open worlds and medieval fantasy towns to contemporary cities and glimpses of gothic horror, author and urban planner Konstantinos Dimopoulos and visual artist Maria Kallikaki have brought to life over forty game cities.

If this is your kind of thing, check out the full list of featured cities here, or if you want me to do your cherry-picking for you, the adventure games featured are Grim Fandango, Monkey Island 2, Gabriel Knight 1, Beneath a Steel Sky, and Dreamfall Chapters.

The book is released on November 12 2020 and I've pre-ordered my copy, because this is about as close as I'll get to visiting Rubacava. Well, until I'm dead, anyway.

Say what you want about Escape from Monkey Island -- it enjoyed an interesting spate of promotional memorabilia. Coasters, bottles off grog...and perhaps most memorably an inflatable monkey doll that was presumably meant to be in the divine image of Timmy the Monkey, a character introduced in EMI as a pet of the Threepwoods. Despite being an instant hit with the fan base, Timmy was somehow excluded from Tales of Monkey Island, which is a bit like writing Tom Hagen out of The Godfather Part III. (Jake was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing.)

The doll’s first appearance, we believe, was at the Escape from Monkey Island Playstation 2 release party, which Mojo attended, taking home plenty of photographic proof. The doll had a tendency to pop up on a few occasions in subsequent years, like in the earliest photographs of the Telltale Games office space, way back in 2004, which kicked up a lot of runaway speculation.

Well, his latest cameo is on eBay, where he can be had right now for $275.00. Not sure what LucasArts vet, or what fan that might have mugged a LucasArts vet, needs the money so badly for, but why not help them out and give Timmy a new home?

The Happy Giant Twitter feed, which I assume is Mike Levine, recently tweeted some concept art for Save and Max: This Time It’s Virtual!, credited to Augie Pagan and Peter Chan. Take a look:

Say what you want about 2020; at least at some point during it, we now know that Peter Chan was doing sketches for a Sam & Max game. And that’s what I’ll choose to remember about it.

In the aforementioned Wireframe Magazine spread on Monkey Island for the series’ 30th anniversary (buy it here, or click here for a preview), a fairly remarkable tidbit is casually mentioned. In a section on CMI, a screenshot of The Barbery Coast is featured alongside a revamped, HD version of the location with the following text:

Bill Tiller has recently been repainting some of the game's backgrounds in the hope of convincing Disney to release a new HD version of The Curse of Monkey Island for fans to explore.

This glimpse of the hi-def version is definitely appealing and unsurprisingly reminiscent of Tiller’s more recent adventure game work, although I question whether the spirit of Larry Ahern’s art direction really survives the choice to lose those pencil outlines. Like them or not, they are an elemental component of CMI’s look.

But whatever! The point here is that Bill Tiller has been redoing CMI backgrounds, and that’s headline news. I don’t know how successful he will be at getting Disney’s attention, but maybe the fans can help see this project through somehow. Godspeed, in any case.

I should also mention that there is another magazine spread on Monkey Island this month, published by Retro Gamer in their October issue. You’ll want to buy that too, surely.

It’s looking to be a big month for Monkey Island, which is marking its 30th anniversary. Whatever Limited Run Games has in store with their box set should be unveiled imminently, and a faucet of retrospectives is evidently opening for the occasion as well -- The Guardian published a courtly little piece in celebration, and Wireframe Magazine has a feature devoted to the series in its latest issue.

I would also encourage everyone to keep their eye on Craig Derrick’s Twitter feed. Just today he posted a photo of what looks to be the original acetate layers for the Secret of Monkey Island box:

More is no doubt to come, and if this was 2003 we’d probably be the best place to keep up with it all.

Now that the forums are back up, it’s time to loot them for news items. What did you guys think we restored that junkyard for? Thanks to Nacho for falling for the scheme and doing the legwork for us.

The first item comes from Noah Falstein’s Facebook, where he posted some Terryl Whitlatch concept art from his version of The Dig. Artwork from that version of the game remains relatively rare, so it’s always an event when a new piece turns up:

Falstein also came across an old design document for a never-made Ron game called The TimeFly. A photograph of the game proposal has been posted to Grumpy Gamer, and you can check it out below. Ron estimates it falls somewhere between Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island in the timeline:

Why play their games when you can read about them? Double Fine is turning twenty, and what better way to celebrate than to release a coffee-table book filled with concept art and (presumably) entertaining yarns? 20 Double Fine Years -- Jesus Christ, has it been that long? -- is available for pre-order in the US and the UK for $50 ($65 for the luxury "legend" edition) and will ship during the second quarter of next year. Run and buy.

David Fox has shared more information on the development of the original Rescue on Fractalus and its aborted sequel on his Twitter account.

Here's some fo what he had to say:

When #RescueOnFractalus launched in 1984, we held a big press conference at the Lucasfilm Ltd C Building Screening Room. We wanted to present only direct footage from the games, so produced this video which starts with 1:20 of VO and SFX only.

We did the same for Ballblazer, with 1:40 of VO/SFX.

Some reporters didn't believe this was actually playing on an Atari 800 at 60fps and peeked under the table, expecting to find a laserdisc player (there wasn't one). David Levine had it screaming fast.

The production didn't always go smoothly, but that made for a slicker final product:

So many delays meant more time to polish. We were ready to release our first games at January 1984 CES. Atari wanted to wait until June. Then in July Atari was sold to Tramiel. Deals changed, found new publisher, had to create disk versions.

Fox then goes into details on the sequel, sharing mock-up videos used to give an idea of how the final experience would have looked, as well as images from presentation and concept artwork. (All of which can't be easily linked to.).

Unfortunately, in the end it was the familiar story...

So, what happened to the game? Our team had multiple meetings at LucasArts with their president Darrell Rodriguez (@drod1000) (who was a huge fan of our old games), Craig Derrick (@craigderrick) (who produced Tales of Monkey Island series and MI special editions), and several other people... And then, as had happened many times before, there was a change of direction/focus dictated from the top. No more reboots of the old games. Focus on Star Wars. Darrell left, and the project died. We were all pretty devastated.

For the full story, read Fox's full Twitter thread. Thanks for sharing, David!

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