That's right, as I type this you have 1 day, 23 hours, 30 minutes, and 22 seconds to grab your free copy of Psychonauts from GOG Steam! So I had a few sips from the flask this morning; sue me. Because, can you really ever have too many copies? Of course you can't.
Main content and articles
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.
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.”
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.
In preparation for what became Full Throttle, he studied screenwriting, specifically how to structure a story in multiple acts. He drew on cinema in other ways, too. His protagonist, Ben, is, as the misunderstood leader of a leather-clad motorcycle gang, a cartoonish version of the sullen and stoic heroes of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and George Miller’s Mad Max.
I will question if Brütal Legend is Tim’s best game, but no-one asked me, anyway.
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!
There's a huge range of prototypes to choose from this year, so go take a look at the pitch videos and make your choice. If you buy the bundle at $5, you'll get prototypes from previous Amnesia Fortnights, and if you buy it at $15, you'll get previous Amnesia fortnight prototypes that have been made into full games!
The community developed Amnesia Fortnight also returns this year. This year, you can choose between three pitches, and then you can join in on the development or just watch it as it happens. You can see the video below (you might notice a familiar name on the pitch for the third prototype :P). Feel free to vote for whichever one you like most over at the Double Fine forum.
Some news requires no comment, other than: w00t.
Here's Tim humbly suggesting that you pre-order from GOG:
One last cool thing: apparently Tim had the original demo of the game (a PC Magazine exclusive) remastered as well because it featured unique dialog not heard in the shipped game, and Tim wanted all of Roy Conrad's lines preserved in high quality. Pretty rad.
As with Day of the Tentacle Remastered and Grim Fandango Remastered, Double Fine had to go through the LucasArts archives to resurrect Full Throttle, and Tim talked about that effort with GamesIndustry.biz:
Schafer called it a sort of "digital archaeology." For Full Throttle, the art was completely repainted, often with input from original artists like Larry Ahern and Peter Chen. 3D elements like the game's motorcycles had to be remodeled from scratch because the originals weren't archived. Roy Conrad, the original voice actor for the game's protagonist Ben, died over a decade ago, so they had to track down the uncompressed DAT tapes of his original voiceover sessions in order to remaster them in stereo.
"We're in a unique position where we remember where the bodies are buried," he said. "'I think that sound guy took home a box of tapes once, and I know so-and-so has that thing in their attic.' And at Skywalker Ranch there's an archive that has a lot of cool stuff there, and we got access to those. We got to dig through these flat files, finding these great pieces of art and putting them in the concept art browser for the first time to let you see all this stuff when you play the game. It's more like a fun treasure hunt."
One might expect that the hassles of remastering projects like these would cause Double Fine to re-think the way it preserves its current titles for the future.
"I feel like we had all this trouble finding all these archives," Schafer said, "and it was like, 'Why didn't we archive this stuff better?' And then I was like, 'Are we archiving our new stuff better?' We had to really look at it, and well, you know... In some ways it's easy to make those same mistakes again, to just not really think about what's going to happen 20 years from now. 'Yeah, that stuff's all on that one artist's hard drive, but we don't have time to do all that...' So you really have to push yourself to create good archives, and to put away a machine that can do the actual build of the game. And that's something I hope all developers do, or they'll be kicking themselves later."
It's a comfort to know that Roy Conrad's line readings will liberated from that Turkish prison that is MONSTER.SOU.
Business Insider has an all-encompassing new interview with Tim up that you should read while ruing the time change.
The data to play the first new Psychonauts adventure in more than a decade? February 21st.
Look forward to a Mojo review as soon as a) somebody gets a headset and b) they actually get around to writing something about the game.
Or hey, maybe a non-VR compatibility mode will be developed, so the rest of us can enjoy the game, too?
There's a lot of goodness coming out this year, from just about every company that this site covers. So go to the poll on the right and let us know which one has you excited the most.
Let's just quote our friends at Birth. Movies. Death. on this one:
"If you've got a PlayStation 4, a PlayStation Plus account and you have exceptionally good taste in video games, you need to be aware that LucasArts' classic adventure game, Day Of The Tentacle, will be free to own during the month of January, starting on Tuesday."
Well, if BMD says so, though they accidentally forgot to mention it also was Mojo's Game of the Year in 2016.
Look down in the comments and you will see one Jake Rodkin trolling around, decrying Grim and poo-poo-ing the new Full Throttle trailer.
Oh, and if you own a 360, Mojo Game of the Year… what, 2013?… is free for Gold members. That's The Cave.
If I know you, you're going to want to give this a watch.
Yeah, I don't know what PSX is either, but Psychonauts: Rhombus of Ruin was apparently available to play there, and consequently a bunch of new previews popped up. Here's a list:- PlayStationLifeStyle.net
- Game Revolution
- Blasting News
Boy, that sure seems like some kind of video game!
The screenshots compare classic mode to the remastered version. Head on over to IGN to see them.
Let's get right to it.
Gonna be a treat to hear Roy Conrad's gravelly voice uncompressed after all these years.
It was almost a year ago that Full Throttle Remastered was announced, and since then we've known we could look forward to a developer commentary just as Day of the Tentacle had.
Well apparently that commentary was recorded this past week. Check out the photo Double Fine posted on Facebook:
Hopefully media from the game is soon to follow.
While Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp will not be a playable environment in Psychonauts 2, the team has recreated Raz's old stomping grounds in the new engine as a sort of sandbox for prototyping the sequel's gameplay and upgraded graphics. Check out the newly released video of Tim and project lead Zak McClendon playing this demo that we never shall.
"That's as good as money, sir. They're IOUs."
Back in May, it was reported that Psychonauts 2 had not actually yet collected the entirety of the $3.8 million it had raised in its massively successful Fig campaign.
This is because nearly half of that funding came in the form of investment money, a pledge option which Fig offers to backers as an alternative to the Kickstarter-like option of simply donating money in exchange for rewards. It's kind of Fig's whole premise. The problem is that allowing such investment, which can come from just about anybody, constitutes a bit of a legal thicket, and while it was being sorted out the significant money contributed by investment backers was actually just a reservation to pledge, meaning Double Fine didn't actually get the money.
Happily, it's all been sorted out on the legal end with Fig being granted SEC approval for non-accredited investors. Now Double Fine has to actually go and collect the money from those backers, who are hopefully just as eager to complete the transaction now as they were back in January.
In the meantime, production of the game itself seems to have been going smoothly. At least Remi did nothing to prevent that.
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