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ScummVM and its sister project, ResidualVM are participating in the Google Summer of Code once again.

This year, the students are working on the following games:

ScummVM:
  • Pink Panther: Passport to Peril and Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink. Student: Andrii Prykhodko
  • The Immortal. Student: Joseph-Eugene Winzer
  • Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Star Trek: Judgment Rites. Student: Matthew Stewart
  • ResdiualVM:
  • The Longest Journey (currently completable with missing features). Student: Liu Zhaosong
  • While we're on the subject of ScummVM and ResidualVM, both projects have had updates lately:

    ResidualVM 0.31 has been released. This is a bugfix release that fixes a few bugs in Myst III, in preparation for Cyan's upcoming digital release of Myst III that will use ResidualVM to play the game.

    ScummVM's addition of Xeen, the first RPG engine added after ScummVM changed their guidelines to allow RPG games alongside the adventure games, is now completable in the daily builds. There are five RPGs that are currently completable: Might and Magic IV, Might and Magic V, World of Xeen, World of Xeen 2 (CD Talkie), and Swords of Xeen. If you want to play these games in the daily builds, make sure that you place xeen.css in the same folder as your game files.


    ScummVM announced today that Cyan Inc., the creators of the Myst series, and ScummVM are "establishing a new partnership, with both teams working together as closely as possible in the future".

    Later this year, Cyan Inc. is re-releasing the entire Myst series, thanks to a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Myst.

    Myst: Masterpiece Edition and Riven: The Sequel to Myst will be powered by ScummVM, and Myst III: Exile will be powered by ScummVM's sister project for 3D adventure games, ResidualVM.

    The ScummVM team stated that they'll be working together in the future to "make your journey through the Ages even more pleasant". More news will follow soon. It will be really interesting to see what else will come from this new partnership.

    Telltale announced on their website that, due to the "fundamental changes" (likely referring to the restructuring after a round of layoffs that happened due to a toxic environment that cultivated in the studio after the surprise success of the first season of The Walking Dead), The Wolf Among Us Season Two has been delayed until 2019.

    They've stated that the reason for the delay is because they are "committed to exploring new ways to tell our stories. Taking this extra time will allow [them] not only to focus on quality but also to experiment and iterate in order to craft something truly special".

    If this means that the gameplay will be significantly different than the cut-and-paste style gameplay that's been in Telltale's games since The Walking Dead, then the delay is certainly most welcome.

    Of course you do. And you're in luck, because that's just what was recorded at something called "EGX Rezzed 2018." I assume that's the name of an expo, though it may also be the model of dirt bike my nephew got for Christmas. For those of us who happened to be washing our hair during Tim's panel, here's a handy Youtube embed of the whole interview:

    I haven't watched it myself yet, but reportedly Tim mentions the possibility of further LucasArts remasters, iterating once again that he'd insist on the original creators being involved. Hasn't Brian Moriarty been pretty upfront about wanting revisit Loom? Anyway, Tim evidently talks a bunch about Psychonauts as well, so it's sure to be a worthy listen all the way around.

    Keep a look out on your US shelves for the May issue of PC Gamer magazine, because inside is a 5-page preview of Campo Santo's (otherwise known as Vano Rodko) "In the Valley of Gods"

    There are a number of layers. Firstly, there is the real ancient Egyptian civilization. Secondly, there is the game’s ’20s setting, which taps into Egyptomania and the fetishization and trends accompanying it. Thirdly, there’s the contemporary world of Campo Santo and the playerbase, where very different conversations about cultural destruction, repatriation, and appropriation take place.

    So where is Campo Santo pitching its game tonally? “A lot of the way we work as a group and a lot of the way I’ve always worked as a writer is, we have modern, pretty lefty feelings about shit,” says Vanaman. “But I don’t think we have declarative opinions about the way things should be. This game is not a political statement about representation or a political statement about appropriation of the past or whatever.” He adds, “The act of making the game for us helps solidify or challenge feelings we have held before we had to make the game.” There’s further insight into Zora and Rashida’s relationship: “Zora and Rashida got famous seven years before they make the game, making a movie we would now watch in film school and go that’s kind of fucked up.”

    There are lots of pretty pictures accompanying the article, if you like that sort of thing. Also, it sounds like the game mechanic may owe just a little to Beyond Good and Evil, though it's not namechecked.

    It happened without warning, and goodness knows it happened decades later than it should have, but the the original Maniac Mansion is now available on Steam. Sure, you already have it as a free bonus feature within Day of the Tentacle, but don't you want the pleasure of buying it individually, especially since the last time you could do so was like forty years ago?

    And anyway, it's less than five bucks. So do it. Do it now.

    Comments: 3 / Source: Steam

    Rock Paper Shotgun published an interesting article yesterday about the artistic merit of remastered video games. Ron, Tim, and Brian Moriarty are all on hand to weigh in on the technical and even ethical pitfalls of "upgrading" a classic:

    “We had limitations back then” recalls Gilbert in an email interview, “and the artist worked magic to make the game work within those limitations. They often turned working within those limitations into an art all its own. When classic games get ‘hi-resed’, you lose all of that.”

    [...]

    “It’s true that you can often switch back to the original graphics,” he says, “but that is also true of colorizing black and white movies.

    “You can always watch the original, but that doesn’t make colorizing it any less of an artistic sin. Saying you can switch back to the original art feels like a cop-out.”

    Harsh! But Ron has a point. And as we've seen, the "original version" you can switch back to often isn't the perfect recreation it purports to be. After all, the only "classic" version of Monkey Island 2 that anyone can buy has vertical scrolling effects removed and some dialog altered. My grandkids will grow up without the "white slavers" line, so I hope you're proud of yourself, Craig Derrick!

    All of Disney's catalog is currently on sale at GOG.com. That includes tons of LucasArts games:
  • Afterlife
  • Armed and Dangerous
  • The Dig
  • Loom
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
  • Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
  • Monkey Island 1 SE
  • Monkey Island 2 SE
  • Outlaws + A Handful of Missions
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Empire at War
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D
  • Star Wars: Tie Fighter
  • Star Wars: X-Wing
  • Star Wars: X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
  • Star Wars: Rebel Assault 1+2
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Saga
  • Star Wars: Rebellion
  • Star Wars: Star Fighter
  • Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
  • The adventure that was featured on our forums (when we had them), The Journey Down, sees the release of its third chapter today. With this release, SkyGoblin's excellent adventure inspired by LucasArts adventures like Grim Fandango and Monkey Island 2 is finally concluded. Find out what happens to Bwana and Kito, as they finally manage to journey down to the Underland on Steam, GOG.com or iTunes.
    And now for a news post from yours truly, as I finally remembered how to log into the Mojo X News System™.

    Thimbleweed Park is now available to purchase for iOS devices, so you can now be a clown in a gritty town while moving around.

    Oh, and one of Ron Gilbert's other iOS games, co-created by Clayton Kauzlaric, is now optimised for iOS 11 and is permanently free! I'm talking, of course, about the sadly oft-neglected match-3 RPG puzzle game with a long name, Scurvy Scallywags in the Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty. It's fun and it's now free, so grab it on iTunes now.

    Tim is the subject of a new article on Medium in which he speaks about the oft-documented strain - and, perhaps, the needlessness - of crunch mode, a period at the end (or sometimes throughout) of a game development cycle when teams work around the clock to meet looming deadlines.

    Speaking about his experiences at both LucasArts and Double Fine, Tim's thoughts on the subject are sobering and even personal, such as when he relates how the passionate and relentless climate at LucasArts during his early days at the studio brought consequences at home:

    Schafer saw the crunch periods become more demanding as time went on, and it wasn’t long before he experienced the heavy price of that kind of working culture. His first marriage, he said, collapsed after just a year.

    “You don’t realize until it has happened that you’re doing all this damage to your personal life by staying at work all the time,” he said. “You can mentally put the rest of the world on hold, but the rest of the world can’t necessarily be put on hold by you. I was so gung-ho about it. If you think someone will wait for you and tolerate you not being around… people move on.”

    Even then, with a relationship falling apart around him, the work came first. The rewards were just big enough, and the aura of George Lucas radiant enough, that it felt impossible to leave. Schafer only met Lucas three times in the 10 years he worked for him, but says his presence was felt in the craftsmanship and artistry of the house and its grounds. The attention to detail exuded an air of quality that reminded everyone that things needed to be done right.

    The whole piece is worth a read.
    Here's a brief video of Steve Purcell being chatted up at the recent expo. Was anything of importance learned? No, but it's still always nice to see Steve.

    Comments: 1 / Source: IdeateTV

    Continuing today's accidental theme of Sam's voice actors, Gameranx has an interview with Bill Farmer. Farmer is of course best known as the voice of Goofy for Disney, but Sam & Max gets a mention as well:

    Gameranx: You voiced Sam in Sam & Max Hit the Road, whose voice sounds like a more toned-down version of Goofy. Phonetically, how did you make them different?

    Bill Farmer: Well Steve Purcell had brilliant dialogue for the game, and I wanted to bring something deadpan but still comedic to the role. So it was a bit of Johnny Carson and more Humphrey Bogart.

    Farmer also explains why he did not reprise the role for the television show, which was new to me:

    You never know why you don’t get something. They just don’t call. Maybe they forgot I was in the first one, maybe they found somebody they liked better, who knows. That’s part of the business. Like with Sam & Max, they did a cartoon show which was not union. I’m a union actor. They took that to Canada to cast which is why I didn’t do that. And so maybe they got on that non-union bandwagon, and you never know with all the politics. A lot of it’s politics, too. So you just stay grateful for the ones you get, and say, hey I’m available if you need me!

    Visit Gamerax to listen to the audio recording of the full interview.

    Comments: 4 / Source: Gameranx

    PC Gamer published an interview with Tim about Full Throttle in their June issue, but you don't buy magazines anymore, so you didn't read it. At least not until its ink exclusivity ended and it wound up online, which is now.

    At the time a LucasArts adventure was expected to sell around 100,000 copies, but Full Throttle sold over a million. And now, 22 years later, the game has been re-released with remastered graphics and audio. I ask the game’s writer/director Tim Schafer what it’s like going back to something he made when he was in his early 20s.

    “It’s been interesting looking at how I wrote dialogue back then based on my life experiences at the time, and how I interpret it differently now that I’m older,” he says. “And now that I’ve actually been a biker on the run for a crime I didn’t commit, that adds a lot of depth to it too. I had no idea what that was like back then.”

    You know what I did in my early 20s? Not make Full Throttle. Learn more about how Tim outclassed me by reading the full article.
    Comments: 1 / Source: PC Gamer

    The long-awaited Psychonauts 2 has exited pre-production and has now unambiguously entered that rarefied air of honest-to-George production. I, of course, totally know what that means, but if you don't, here's Tim and project leader Zak McClendon to lay it out:


    Double Fine also represented themselves at E3 last week. In a noble rejection of hubris, we held back and let the other gaming sites cover that. But we should point out that during a panel he hosted with Jack Back, Tim asserted that Brutal Legend 2 will happen "someday," noting that it would be "expensive." Fortunately, I was able to interpret this signal correctly, and what was once Remi's plasma is now the first angel investment for Brutal Legend 2.

    Comments: 1 / Source: Gamespot

    Monkey Island fanatic and Eurogamer personality Johnny Chiodini decided to answer a gauntlet that was never thrown by creating grog using the ingredients listed in The Secret of Monkey Island. And although he punts on third down by subtracting the more lethal ingredients, the end result is still gross enough that we award him and his two confederates eight Monkey Bucks for introducing it into their digestive system.

    Here is the write-up, and below is the video proof of the reckless endeavor:

    That's right, he'll answer any question. Provided that you asked it yesterday, because that's when Noah's AMA happened. Lots of good stuff in there, though.

    Comments: 3 / Source: Reddit

    For the past few years, Bill's communication with his fans has mostly come in the form of updates to the Duke Grabowski Kickstarter page, and yesterday's post had something provocative in it:

    In other not bad, but not great news is that Duke Grabowski: Debonair Corsair is on hold until we sell a certain number of units. Alliance wants the first episode to prove it is a success before funding the follow up. And you can help with that if you so chose because Alliance has discounted Duke to $2 and the sales are picking up. If you all told all your family, friends and acquaintances about the game that could really help. Mean time Venture Moon and Alliance will continue to promote the game as much as we can.

    But have no fear that I won't be doing any more game because I am in negotiations to make another non-Duke game while we wait for Duke numbers to reach our goal. I can't go to much into it because nothing is official, but I can say it is an idea that is very close to my heart.

    That's not very hopeful news on Duke - if the first episode's sales is making the publisher wary of funding the second, what are we to conclude about the likelihood of episodes 3-5?

    On the other hand, we apparently have a secret project in the works. The obvious question: is this A Vampyre Story 2 or a new IP altogether? Only time will tell, and in the meantime you might want to throw a measly two bucks at Duke Grabowski and contribute to those sales numbers

    .

    Adventure Gamers has a ten day old brand new interview with Tim for your enjoyment. It's primarily about Full Throttle Remastered, but it's pretty well-rounded. Tim even talks a bit about the old LEC vs. Sierra rivalries:

    You know, I like talking about it. I think it’s a symptom of the fact that we didn’t have the internet back then. Nowadays, I’d be Facebook friends with those guys, and we’d all be making fun of each other on Twitter. Back then, we just didn’t talk at all, except for a couple of people that knew the Coles. There was a little back-and-forth, so the Coles came to the ranch to play softball, and they beat us. (laughs) They put it in the Sierra newsletter, but didn’t even mention the name LucasArts, just “Sierra beats competitor in softball”, and we were like, “oh my god, guys!”

    I got to know Lori Cole a little at GDC last year; we were on a panel together. They were much more aware of our games than we realized. We thought that we had this competition going on, and they weren’t even aware of it, but they were much more aware than we thought! They kind of saw us as taking over. Lori was like, “we were on top for a long time, but after Monkey Island things started to shift, and Lucas took over.” They had a completely reverse idea of that competition than we had, which is that we were always up against them, and they were winning. I mean, they definitely won the sales war. We’re winning the remasters war, though! (laughs)

    Read the full interview here, and prepare yourself for Full Throttle Remastered tomorrow!

    Adventure Gamers decided to have a lengthy confab with their personal graphic designer Bill Tiller as well as his Duke Grabowski cohort Gene Mocsy. They mostly talk Duke - which Bill reiterates is planned for five episodes that he figures will come out at six-month intervals - but other topics spring up, like the future of A Vampyre Story, which isn't quite as defined as I had hoped:

    Ingmar: Speaking of legal stuff… I know people ask you about this a lot, but of course we can’t do an interview with you without discussing the potential future of A Vampyre Story.

    Bill: I think Crimson Cow has a new management. They’re probably not interested in doing it, but I don’t think they’re against selling it, so I guess if I came up with the right money I suppose I can get the rights back. I’m concentrating on Duke Grabowski right now, but once Duke’s over I’m totally open to talking to Crimson Cow. But I’ve also been discussing the idea of animated shorts with our animator Romero. I love these characters, you know, and I don’t want them to die off just because of the distribution rights.

    It’s a pretty long and epic story, so it could easily be turned into an episodic game with around eight episodes before the whole story arc wraps up. So, yeah, I’d love to do it, but if worst comes to worst I have the rights to do animated shorts, books, or comic books. When the time comes I’ll definitely explore the options.

    There's a whole lot more in the full article, so why don't you go give it a read? Gosh, it's not like we're competitors.

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