It is upon us:
Don’t have a headset to play this on and ran out of plasma to sell? Then you may want check out this second, saucier Sam & Max sweepstakes, which you can enter for a chance to win an Oculus Quest 2, a device which has an MSRP of eight trillion dollars (I rounded up) last time I checked.
It’s hard to figure out how much Indy 5 stuff to report on now that the movie is in production and the rumor/leak mill is in full operation. Beyond consideration about spoilers, there’s also the question of whether every stray stalker’s uploaded glimpse of the location shoots really merits that precious Mojo front page ink. Besides which, there are more capable institutions out there who are in better positions to sate your cravings for unfiltered coverage.
But, one innocuous-enough leak couldn’t pass without comment.
Some of the photographs to hit the less reputable broadsides out of the first week of filming depict Harrison Ford and Toby Jones (nice!) exchanging some sort of prop outside Bamburgh castle. (Based on the dots on Ford’s face and the WWII-era imagery associated with the shooting thus far, it seems we’re in for a 1940s prologue.) No one could possibly harvest any meaning out of such an obscured view of this unknown object – that is, no one except those with an eagle-eye for Atlantean architecture:
This is of course an absurd extrapolation that’s about as convincing as zaarin’s theory that Indy is chasing the Zodiac killer, but it’s still good fun. Of course, it’s always fun and games until somebody pops orichalcum into the mouth…
The film world is acknowledging the passing of photographer Eva Sereny, whose prolific work taking stills for movie productions includes this recognizable photograph of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
How recognizable? Well, SCUMM fans know that it was chosen to grace the cover of the Last Crusade graphic adventure, in a sense making Eva Sereny the box artist for the classic game.
What we in the business call Xbox Games Showcase Extended happened today, and during it Tim gave a presentation about Psychonauts 2. He describes the game’s setup in pretty good detail, offering a more expansive look at the overworld than I’ve seen so far. It all starts at 16:40 in the video below.
If you stretch your memory back to 2006-2007, you might recall that Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings was supposed to be a big deal. Billed as a next-gen/AAA/Xtreme title, it was promoted as the character’s grand, interactive comeback from LucasArts following a long drought of non-casual Indy games since Emperor’s Tomb (2003).
Well, that drought never actually ended, because Staff of Kings wound up being a victim of that classic LucasArts pitfall: a transition at the upper level. The end result was that the studio felt it had to choose between putting its resources either toward a Star Wars game or a Not Star Wars game – another LucasArts signature – and the right to live predictably went to The Force Unleashed, which reputedly shared some of the same tech that was meant to power Indy.Staff of Kings – in its original form, anyway – was thus cancelled, leaving some low-end third party adaptations for the Wii and handhelds to be burned off after the fact. There was an additional, unexpected casualty amidst all this: a fully completed novelization of Staff of Kings by go-to Indy author Rob MacGregor. What happened exactly to this unpublished tie-in gets kinda complicated, so let me just steal this excellent overview provided by “throwmethewhip”, who also reveals the happy ending that I’m really trying to report here:
In 2008, as merchandising efforts kicked up to coincide with the release of Indy4, one long-teased piece of media, a next gen video game with exciting new physics technology, was conspicuously absent. Behind the scenes of that project, there was production trouble. The next gen versions were canceled and production shifted focus toward the Wii. Ultimately on June 9th, 2009, with very little fanfare, Staff of Kings released for the Wii, PS2, DS and PSP. It was not well-received.
Meanwhile, veteran Indiana Jones author, Rob MacGregor was confused. Rob had written 6 of the prequel novels in the 90s and had been contracted to make his triumphant return to the world of our favorite adventurer with a novelization of Staff of Kings. But his book had not released alongside the game.
Rob has recounted this story at length on an old blog, but in short— the publisher, Bantam, forgot due to the year long delay of the game. Initially, they blamed Rob for not getting the manuscript submitted on time, but he reminded them that he had it in well ahead of the original deadline back in 2008. They did admit their error, but ultimately decided against publishing it; the game after all was not a commercial or critical success. And with that Rob’s novel was lost to the sands of time…
Or was it?
Fast forward several years and Dale Dassel convinced Rob to allow him to format the book. @cg_illus was commissioned to provide artwork. The hope was to persuade Bantam to release the manuscript as an ebook as all the work was done. Ultimately this too failed.
To my knowledge, seven copies of that manuscript were made. This is one of those copies! Fully formatted!
For years now, I have heard people say that the book was leaked and available. It has not been. It has never been sold to anyone and NEVER will be. I know where all seven copies are.
And so now, an announcement:
The book will make its public debut as a month by month, chapter by chapter reading completely free on Rob’s podcast starting in July! Rob has graciously asked me to make this announcement!
So there you have it! I don’t know the actual name of said podcast right this second, but I have until July to figure it out.
There was actually more Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual footage unveiled out of that “UploadVR” event than was covered in yesterday’s news post, but I we Remi was just too lazy to finish the job. But let’s not dwell on my our Remi’s indolence; let’s just get the job done.
First off is this exuberant fellow’s guided tour of the game’s first hour, albeit edited down to twenty minutes:
That it’s a positive impression is perhaps more persuasive for the fact that it comes from someone with no Sam & Max background. His only criticism seems to be that the game is on the easy/casual side, which isn’t so damning an assessment of a tutorial-y opening stretch. And if you’d like to see some of the same portions of the game without the commentary, there’s always this:
And don’t catch yourself going outside for some fresh air before you revisit yesterday's gameplay trailer, now on Youtube:
Finally, HappyGiant has revealed that none other than Steve Purcell will be doing voicework in the game. He will be performing the role of Duncan B. Dills, the creator of the Aquabears funtime park, here represented as an animatronic head/bomb that you have to defuse like a Bop It toy, which feels inarticulately objectionable in that Sam & Max way:
We did our best to warn you that the upcoming, surprise Switch releases of Zombies Ate My Neighbors and its sequel Ghoul Patrol would be accompanied by physical releases from Limited Run Game. But would any warning have really prepared you for this?
Well, if I'm gonna be impoverished, it might as well be by this.
You are probably aware of the fact that audio titans Julian Kwasneski and Jared Emerson-Johnson operate professionally as Bay Area Sound, the decorated studio founded by Kwasneski and Clint Bajakian back in the day. You might even be aware of the Pulitzer-repelling interview we did with them over ten years ago, in which we asked well-researched questions like “What was it like working at Skywalker Ranch?” even though the Ranch wasn’t a thing since the Lucasfilm Games days.
Lately, we got to thinking about the “ten years” part with a bit of embarrassment, and anyway BA Sound is involved with both Skunkape and HappyGiant on these Sam & Max projects we find ourselves surrounded by, so Mojo felt the time was right to confront them, put them on the defensive, and demand to know why it never happened between us after that first date went so well. Also, we talk Sam & Max sound/music. Enjoy!
Onetime friends of Mojo (and of the seminal Remi and Stefan Do Spokane podcast), Panic, is getting close to open preorders for their bizarrely fun-looking Playdate. The $179 handheld console will also have an optional stereo dock. More importantly, one of its twenty-four titles is Sasquatchers, which is being developed by – no introduction needed – Chuck Jordan and Jared Emerson-Johnson (music and sound, natch). Additionally, Jared is involved with DemonQuest 85, in addition to familiar names like Alex Ashby, Lawrence Bishop, and Duncan Fyfe. (And also Belinda Leung – I don’t recognize the name, but based on the company she keeps, I will assume she is awesome.)
So: Playdate. Next month. Mojo-relevant games. What’s not to love?
Update! salty-horse points out that a game about "Forrest Byrnes," the Firewatch mascot is also under development. I'm now officially excited!
Today at long last is the street date for the Indiana Jones UHD box set. While we mortals haven't gotten our hands on one yet, the screencap comparisons that have been circulating suggest that we are in for material quality gains across all four movies.
The somewhat orange-y, "overexposed" grade that Raiders was given for the 2012 Blu-ray appears to have thankfully been dialed back.Temple is just looking straight phenomenal, and man, did the Blu-ray of Crusade really suffer from all those aliasing problems?
Meanwhile, Crystal Skull's color timing seems to have received revisionism of its own this time out -- but in a good way, with a bit of de-chlorination being mercifully conducted on that movie's ugly, trendy embrace of the almighty teal. There's no way to grade out the choice to shoot the installment with highly distracting diffusion filters and self-conscious lighting, though, so you're out of luck if that artifical dreamscape look was your problem with the movie.
But as blown away as we may be by the fine grain structure that has been reproduced so welcomely for these classics (and the Ray Winstone one), those movies are old news. On the subject of The Future, filming of the fifth installment is underway in UK locations like Bamburgh Castle and North Yorkshire. The production is predictably being stalked every step of the way, leading to photos like this showing up everywhere:
Seeing Ford in costume alongside longtime Indy producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy is a good feeling. Sad that Spielberg didn't join in on the fun, but life is a series of choices, and so forth.
There's some more spoilery stuff out there too, but I'll relegate discussion of that to the forum thread out of respect to those who prefer their Mojo front page without. Sure, I'm just inventing proprieties out of thin air here, but just roll with it.
Wasn’t sure we were ever actually gonna reach that milestone.
I suppose we have to shift from complaining about this movie never happening to complaining about the exclusion of Dan Aykroyd, as I predict that will age better. It is inescapable now that we’re getting one last adventure with Harrison Ford as Indy, and as the kids say these days: I am in attendance for it.
Just your friendly Mojo PSA that pre-orders for the various physical editions of Sam & Max Save the World on offer from Limited Run Games close tomorrow, Sunday, May 30th at midnight. A quick reminder of the various products you can redirect your child’s tuition budget toward if you act now:
- Sam & Max Save the World (Switch): $34.99
- Sam & Max Save the World (Switch) Collector’s Edition: $74.99
- Sam & Max Save the World (PC) Collector’s Edition: $64.99
- Sam & Max Switch Slipcover: $4.99
- And here’s one I’m just noticing: a Limited Run Games logo T-shirt designed after the Sam & Max logo. That’s the kind of shamelessness we can respect.
As that slipcover implies, you’ll certainly be dealing with similar financial crises when Skunkape delivers their remasters of the remaining two seasons in due time.
In other Limited Run news, it seems that Monkey Island collector’s box has quietly been pushed from a Q2 to a Q4 ship date. Hey, getting Guybrush’s hair right is fastidious work.
Look, I don’t care what you say – the Amiga versions of The Secret of Monkey Island and LeChuck’s Revenge are the only Monkey Island-s you need. And now you can play them through the streaming service Antstream Arcade. What is Antstream Arcade? I have no clue, but it exists, and it has the Amiga versions of Monkey Island. The service is available for Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire, and Nvidia Shield.
You can try the Antstream for free; after that, it’s £9.99 a month. I could not find any dollar or euro prices.
(Some might also argue UAE is a better alternative, but I’ll leave that up to the individual.)
Double Fine has delivered another seasonal update for Psychonauts 2, a game that began pre-production sometime during the Coolidge Administration. Enjoy below the studio's unflinching Spring 2021 progress report, complete with voyeuristic peeks at the team's Zoom meetings, tantalizing new gameplay footage, and an exciting glimpse at the music recording sessions featuring not only Peter McConnell, but his brothers-in-arms Michael Land and Clint Bajakian.
Oh, and Tim draws parallels between the sequel and Monkey Island 2, showing that he still knows how to push Mojo's buttons.
Beyond that, Psychonauts 2 has also landed the cover story of the latest issue of Game Informer. Digital and...linear?...versions of the magazine can be purchased right here. And do check out this accompanying video showing off one of Raz's new Psi-powers:
The Game Informer preview is apparently the vanguard of an outright assault of incoming Psychonauts 2 coverage, so keep an eye out for that. Amdist it all will be a developer playthrough of the original Psychonauts - now available on Xbox Game Pass - streaming via the Double Fine Twitch channel over the next several Fridays.
And is there even time to mention the open pre-orders for Double Fine's 20th anniversary art book, or the Amnesia Fortnight movie, the trailer for which is below?
Probably not. I mean, I have to stop somewhere.
Update from Thrik: No, it doesn’t stop there! Double Fine has released a video about the game’s accessibility features, which seem to be very extensive — for my part, more so than I’ve ever seen in a game.
Following IGN, Kotaku, and Gamespot, Mixnmojo is making an appeal to anyone reading this to consider donating blood to Palestinian humanitarian groups or money to the following charities.
This is not a political post. It is an exceptional humanitarian appeal. Palestinian resistance to an ethnic cleansing campaign to “forcibly remove” them from their homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood escalated to mobs of Israeli settlers chanting “Death to Arabs” through the city and, now, to Israeli Air Force missiles bombing Gaza.
It is impossible to watch the situation on the ground and not want to help. Please watch that video.
Yesterday, Israel destroyed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices in the city. Entire families are killed. Images of children or children with thousand-yard stares cleaning bloody floors fill Arab media outlets, even as Facebook and Twitter independently claim that “glitches” have prevented posts on the situation spreading on their social media platforms.
Israel has been supported in this by the US and UK. As such, we urge anyone reading this to call their democratic representatives and ask them to pressure Israel to end its campaigns in Gaza and Jerusalem, even if they think it’s pointless. You can find your representatives here: The USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The following charities are apolitical and do humanitarian work in a place that badly needs it:
Mojo will resume its dog and bunny adventure game coverage after this.
As long as we're on the subject of Laserschwert, did you know that he recently gave his frame-ready poster download of the Monkey Island 2 cover art a material upgrade? You better give your eyeballs a head-up on this one.
You see, a 1991 issue of the UK-based magazine "The One" contained a large, fold-out poster of Purcell's artwork, making it a superior scanning source to the box, or for that matter anything else known to exist. A generous fan in possession of that particular issue heard the call of duty and sent the precious reference material to the pre-eminent authority in this field, who then worked his arts:
Read more and collect your upgrade in Laserschwert's stickied poster thread, where the latest version of his offerings can always be found.
Boy, it's almost like reading the forums is a good idea or something.
Well, I didn't know about all that. Luckily, Laserschwert was able to steer me to the following tweet when I showcased my ignorance on the forums, thereby putting me In The Know™.
Now that's putting your license with Lucasfilm to good use. We'll just have to contain ourselves until all is divulged in June. In the meantime: woot.