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Craig Derrick sets you up for disappointment with reckless Monkey Island innuendos 01 Jun, 2019 / 14 comments

In response to the Monkey Island tribute tweet that Remi just posted about, Craig Derrick took the opportunity to weigh in on the series’ dormancy with a tweet of his own, which read simply:

Maybe I should do something about that.

If you need a refresher on who Craig Derrick is, he was the figurehead of the so-called “Heritage” team at LucasArts during the 2008-2011ish arena, which more or less coincided with the Darrell Rodriguez epoch. Working in the periphery, this small group of optimistic developers gave us the Monkey Island special editions (what little that the powers-that-be didn’t delegate to Singapore, anyway) and Lucidity. These folks obviously intended to do more original and legacy projects along those lines, but as with every other stab at turning LEC into an interesting development studio after the turn of the century, it was smothered with a pillow. You can read one sobering account of the life and death of “Heritage” here.

As a nice contrast to our undying cynicism, Derrick remained optimistic and committed to keeping that candle lit as recently as the year of the Disney acquisition. Derrick, in fact, still walks those halls; while LucasArts as it once existed is gone, Derrick remains a “Managing Producer” at Lucasfilm these days. What that actually means is unclear, though going by his blog it’s Star Wars related.

But hey, read into his comment what you will. At the very least he may know which cages to shake to get some more of those Double Fine remasters off the ground. It’s not like Brian Moriarty hasn’t been vocal about Loom, nor has Bill Tiller been bashful about his desire to repaint The Curse of Monkey Island for the HD era. And as long as he’s granting wishes, why not get that last 40% of Freelance Police’s development Kickstarter’d? Worst case scenario, we’ll have another Kierdorf situation and enough belly laughs for many a year to come.

14 Comments

  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 03 Jun, 2019, 23:56…

    Scummbuddy

    On the first graphic, on the image of "Choose Your Difficulty". It says "Being" instead of "Begin". I always had read it as "Begin a tale...". Interesting.



    Nah, it's always said "Being a tale of swashbuckling adventure" -- they were going for quasi-pirate speak, but I guess it would make sense as "Begin", too!
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 03 Jun, 2019, 16:11…

    Scummbuddy

    Laserschwert

    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...




    I love your work and that you went ahead and upscaled and provided all of the images already. I thought there was a typo but perhaps it has always been this way... On the first graphic, on the image of "Choose Your Difficulty". It says "Being" instead of "Begin". I always had read it as "Begin a tale...". Interesting.



    Heh, yeah, it was always "Being a tale of...". Just the writers going for a slightly Shakespearean introduction. Or maybe the Mandela effect at work.
  • Avatar
    Scummbuddy on 03 Jun, 2019, 02:50…

    Laserschwert

    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...




    I love your work and that you went ahead and upscaled and provided all of the images already. I thought there was a typo but perhaps it has always been this way... On the first graphic, on the image of "Choose Your Difficulty". It says "Being" instead of "Begin". I always had read it as "Begin a tale...". Interesting.
  • Avatar
    Laserschwert on 02 Jun, 2019, 18:06…

    ThunderPeel2001

    Laserschwert

    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...



    Beautiful, and something I'd be happy to see right now... but that doesn't mean Tiller couldn't add a lot more detail and beauty to his original backgrounds. The higher resolution often highlights how "low res" the original artwork was. And there's still artefacts in your upscales of course. But still, yeah, why aren't these wonderful upscales being added to ScummVM as we speak?!


    Back when I was working on the LucasArts posters, Tiller sent me his original Photoshop file for the box artwork. It was cleanly divided into layers of his scanned pencil drawing and his digital colouring.

    In other words, if both those Photoshop files and the original pencil drawings still exist (and the amount of artwork we got with DoubleFine's remasters makes me hopeful in that regard), rescanning the drawings at high resolution and colouring them with upscaled version of the color layers from the Photoshop files would already give us 100% authentic high-res versions of those backgrounds.

    Alternatively working with upscales and cleaning them up (or adding more detail) would still be considerably less work than most remasters (like DotT or FT) required regarding their backgrounds.

    I have no idea what the sources for all the sprite work in CoMI is though. Extracting the sprites with ScummRevisited shows them as cropped and color reduced, but I have no idea if higher res source (or even physical drawings) of them ever existed, nor what software was used to create the final animation frames.
  • Avatar
    Domino on 02 Jun, 2019, 17:06…
    It's been a few years that remastering CoMI has been more than possible without a huge investment (my own experiment more than 2 years ago: https://twitter.com/Domino_One/status/865913666927026176). Maybe there's hope now (even though Craig Derrick doesn't seem to think CoMI needs remastering) :) Would be super cool if they gave it to our studio, where we're actually already making another point-and-click adventure! :)
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 02 Jun, 2019, 16:09…

    Laserschwert

    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...



    Beautiful, and something I'd be happy to see right now... but that doesn't mean Tiller couldn't add a lot more detail and beauty to his original backgrounds. The higher resolution often highlights how "low res" the original artwork was. And there's still artefacts in your upscales of course. But still, yeah, why aren't these wonderful upscales being added to ScummVM as we speak?!
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 02 Jun, 2019, 13:57…

    Laserschwert

    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...



    Also, this is really cool. If they ever did do a remake, I think you've earned the right to be brought onto the dev team at this point Laser.
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 02 Jun, 2019, 13:53…

    OzzieMonkey

    Ron on the other hand....we haven't heard from him in a while.



    Ron is working on some project, although he's cagey about whether it's just a hobby project or something that will turn into an actual purchasable game at some point. It's not going to be a point & click game though (he hinted at it being an RPG-like thing I believe, although I haven't kept a close eye on it myself). He said he's probably done making point & clicks, since Thimbleweed Park took a lot of time and effort and just wasn't worth it financially in the end for him. They did made a profit on it (especially when it launched on Switch), but the fact that the market for it was so small after all the work that went into it was really bumming him out I think. Of course, there's also the thing about him only wanting to do another Monkey if and when Disney sells/gives him the rights to the franchise, which obviously is never going to happen either...

    On this tweet: I've been through this enough to know not to get my hopes up too much, but I very much appreciate we're at least still getting these vague hints that something might happen somewhere. I don't really believe it's going to turn into anything, but these kinds of comments followed by months/years of silence are all part of the experience at this point.

    And I still think Double Fine has it in them to do a good sequel to one of the classics. They've proven themselves with the remakes, get that team (and some of the old writers) on another Day of the Tentacle or something. Or Sam & Max, which seems more doable rights-wise.

    Of course, that would also require people to actually buy these types of games.

  • Avatar
    Scummbuddy on 02 Jun, 2019, 11:16…

    Laserschwert

    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...



    An upscaled, or original resolution, CMI backgrounds, higher quality music, and adding in the animated cutscene of Elaine breaking the rollercoaster controls would be just an incredible product to re-release.
  • Avatar
    LuigiHann on 02 Jun, 2019, 03:18…
    Probably just a weird coincidence, but Ron Gilbert chose today to denounce the evils of twitter https://grumpygamer.com/quit_twitter
  • Avatar
    OzzieMonkey on 02 Jun, 2019, 00:23…
    Damn false hope! Even Dominic Armato tweeted saying "Dude, I'm sitting by my phone". Monkey Island is basically the love of my life in the gaming world, but how likely is it that we're gonna get anything? Of course, there was even less hope back when Tales was announced but...Tim's done remastering the games he worked on. Ron on the other hand....we haven't heard from him in a while. I want it to happen, I really do. This is the real Curse of Monkey Island...the bloody limbo state the series is perpetually put in
  • Avatar
    Jason on 01 Jun, 2019, 22:53…

    Laserschwert

    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...



    Those ESRGAN results are horrifyingly impressive.
  • Avatar
    Laserschwert on 01 Jun, 2019, 22:22…
    A CoMI-remaster wouldn't necessarily require a complete re-paint of the backgrounds (as my upscales prove: https://twitter.com/Laserschwert_/status/1133298596898586624). All the character animations and sprite work is a whole different beast though...
  • Avatar
    Melancholick on 01 Jun, 2019, 19:30…
    My main takeaway from this is that there is, somehow, still a "LucasFilm Singapore" out there... which, after a cursory glance at its website, appears to also be the most lavish and state-of-the-art digital creation facility that I've ever seen, outside of some of the Bay Area's major tech campuses.

    However, I can't find a single source that explains what they actually do. They worked on MI's Special Edition (with debatable results), worked on the old Clone Wars cartoon and made a DS game... in 2008.

    WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT STILL.

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