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Euphoria ensnares another developer

28 Feb, 2007, 20:49 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 2
GTA developer/publisher Rockstar Games has licensed the much maligned (by me) Euphoria engine for use in its own unspecified games. Made infamous by its "revolutionary" debut in the upcoming Indiana Jones game, Euphoria uses motion synthesis to simulate 3D animation for next-gen games.

This serves to greatly reduce the need for hand animations as well as deliver character reactions that are never the same twice. (The kind of thing that the "limitations" of traditional animation never allowed for, to quote the Indiana Jones press release.) As the technology's creator NaturalMotion boasts, "The possibilities for games are endless."

I know I'm excited. Okay, maybe I actually am just a little.
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In the news this week #1

28 Feb, 2007, 03:43 | Posted by: Gabez | Comments: 4

A hidden message found on Telltale's site confirms suspicions that they are working on a secret game project:



The final shred of proof is found by eagle-eyed fans:



Meanwhile, at LucasArts HQ...

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Ahoy! Piratey happenings at Telltale

28 Feb, 2007, 01:07 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Telltale Games | Comments: 12
Whatever does this crazy webcamesque Telltale Games Interim Theater entry mean? Pirate ships, lashings of rum...

Well, the obvious conclusion to leap to would be Monkey Island episodes. Have at it Mojo hosted sites...

Update from Jake: Don't be ridiculous. I got that pirate from someone for Christmas and had no real use for it so we stuck it on a webcam. I wish it was Monkey Island related, but, no. Sometimes a pirate is just a pirate.
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Is BONE DS bound? (No)

26 Feb, 2007, 19:11 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: GI | Comments: 2
In a short blurb on GamesIndustry.biz, it is implied BONE is to be published in Europe by new company Xider in retail versions for both PC and Nintendo DS.
Bone, previously a download only title from developer Telltale Games, will be getting a retail release from the publisher, with the company focusing on the PC and Nintendo DS markets.

Maybe the article is just ambiguously worded, and while Xider is focusing on PC & DS markets in general, BONE is only getting a PC version released at retail?

Update: Emily at Telltale Games responds to the question at the end of this Mojo post; "Yes, I think so. I haven't heard anything about a Bone DS release (but it would be very cool!)"
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The LucasArts classics line that we reported being released in the UK last December has made its way (with a slight cover-art variation to accomodate the classification labels) to Australia and New Zealand.

The games run straight from the CD, no installation necessary, and run in Win 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP. There is a graphics filter applied on the SCUMM games to soften the jaggies.

Titles in this series include;

- Sam & Max Hit the Road
- Full Throttle
- The Dig
- Grim Fandango
- The Curse of Monkey Island
- Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight + Mysteries of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode 1 Racer




NZ based Gaming store GamePlanet is selling them for NZ$15 (US$10.50) and yes, they do ship internationally.
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Dig vs. Digg. Calling LucasLegal...

24 Feb, 2007, 21:08 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Slippery Brick | Comments: 18
It seems that the LucasLegal team are up in arms that people using the site digg.com could be getting it confused with a 12 year old point and click adventure game. They have opposed the request by Digg to trademark its name.
"THE DIGG mark is confusingly similar in sound, meaning, and appearance to the Opposer's THE DIG mark," reads the LucasFilm Notice of Opposition document filed last month in San Francisco. "The Applicant's registration and use of the DIGG Mark would likely create confusion, mistake, or deception in the minds of prospective purchasers as to the origin or source of the Opposer's Goods associated with THE DIG Mark."
The source of this story is here on Slippery Brick. You may be able to read the legal papers directly here at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site, though the link appears down at present. The link was provided by Forbes.com.
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Sam & Max Episode 4 now on Gametap!

22 Feb, 2007, 14:06 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 5
Yep, if you're subscribed to Gametap you can go and play Abe Lincoln Must Die! right now! If not, help pass the time until March 8th by reading this new Q&A with Dave Grossman (very slowly).

And did you know that Telltale has enlisted in the help of Chuck Jordan, CMI writer/programmer extraordinaire, to help out with the dialog in episodes 4-6? Small world!
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Sam & Max web comic page 11

22 Feb, 2007, 00:32 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 4
It's up! And you thought they'd forgotten about it.
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Telltale has put up a gameplay video for Abe Lincoln Must Die! which sees the Freelance Police trying to talk their way into the White House. See it at the game's official site.
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LEC Classics: Unplugged

20 Feb, 2007, 19:22 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Cubed3 | Comments: 4
Cubed3 News is reporting a rare treat in store for attendees of this year's Game Developers Conference;
Fans of video game sound and music are in for a very special treat during this year's GDC event with the highly regarded Video Games Live music show bringing the industry event to a close with a series of top musical names in the business.

[Including] a rare special acoustic performance by the original LucasArts composers performing a medley of classics including Monkey Island, Outlaws and Grim Fandango

The GDC is on March 5-9 in San Francisco. GDC website is here for more general info.


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Eurogamer questions Gamecock

20 Feb, 2007, 00:47 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 2
Eurogamer had itself a little chat with the publisher of the upcoming Insecticide. CEO Mike Wilson reveals all about the kind of publisher Gamecock is, and the kind of games it aims to support. Won't you read it?
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Woodtick to appear in Pirates 3

19 Feb, 2007, 18:02 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 6
Everyone has pointed out the Monkey Island similarities in the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The latest one had scenes you'd swear were live action renditions of classic MI moments, such as Jack Sparrow using a coffin as a rowboat, or Sparrow's crew arriving at The International House of Mojo, I mean, Tia Dalma's shack in the swamp.

It looks like the third and final Pirates film will have its share of MI locations as well. This concept art for the movie shows a "town made up of ship parts." Who do they think they're fooling? It looks like they're going to dramatize Captain Marley's whirlpool mishap while they're at it.

Check out some more neato concept art at the bottom of the page.


Edit: Oh, and if you like ruining movies before you see them read this article, which says that at some point Captain Jack will use a cannon to blast himself to another ship. (The existence of a cooking pot helmet remains unknown.) Also apparently the Woodtick location is called "Shipwreck Cove."
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Why be positive?

19 Feb, 2007, 02:40 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Liljas Library | Comments: 7
It's a slow news day for games, so let's talk some more about Indiana Jones 4, or rather, what Indiana Jones 4 might have been. You may know that one of the more famous of the many scripts that were written for the movie was the rejected draft by Frank Darabont. A Stephen King fan site recently held an interview with Darabont (He was the man behind the film version of The Shawshank Redemption) and his time spent on the Indy 4 project was brought up:
Lilja: ... I read that you where involved in the 4th Indy Indiana Jones? How does it feel to work on something like that and then find out that they aren?t going to use your script?

Frank Darabont: Pretty awful. It was a wasted year or more of my life, and I have only so many years to devote. I worked very closely with Steven Spielberg, applied all my passion and skill, and gave him a script that he loved. He was ready to shoot it that very year -- 2003, I think? Maybe 2004? Well, no matter. The point is, Steven was ecstatic. We both were. It was going to be his next film. He told me it was the best script he'd read since Raiders of the Lost Ark. That's a quote, and I'll always treasure it. As a screenwriter, you dream of making a guy like Steven Spielberg happy and excited. Then George Lucas read it, didn't like it, and threw ice water on the whole thing. The project went down in flames. Steven and I looked like accident victims the day we got that call. I certainly don't blame Steven for it. He wasn't in a position to overrule George, and wouldn't have overruled him even if he could. He and George have been close friends for a long time, and they've had an agreement for years that no Indiana Jones film will ever get made unless they both completely agreed on the script. It was just such an awful surprise, after all my hopes and effort. I really felt I'd nailed it, and so did Steven.

Yes, as you can imagine, I would rank that very high on my list of professional disappointments. More than that, it was emotionally devastating. For somebody who, as a young man, was inspired to want to be a filmmaker by Steven and George, by movies like THX-1138 and Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, it was the ultimate kick in the nuts. In fact, it's the main reason I quit my career as a "writer-for-hire" (writing for other people for a living). It's not the only reason, but certainly a main reason. I swore never to go through that again. From now on, my intention is to write only for myself on projects that I produce or direct.
Emphasis mine. Why does my gut tell me that when Indiana Jones concludes his final adventure next summer and legions of fans are inevitably disappointed by it, everyone will hail the Darabont treatment as some kind of lost masterpiece? Not a fair assumption to make at all, but hey, George Lucas bashers are obviously in need of more things to get livid about. Interesting story, anyway.
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Abe Lincoln Must Be Teased

15 Feb, 2007, 22:25 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Telltale Games | Comments: 20
Yes, yes, the first teaser trailer for Sam & Max episode 4 "Abe Lincoln Must Die" has been put on Telltale's site.

Lots of new characters, lots of new locations, and the most terrifying US President since, well since the current one I guess.

Episode 4 hits GameTap on February 22 and Worldwide release on March 8.

Stand at attention and go watch the trailer right now

Edit by Udvarnoky: There's no point in making a new post to point out that the ninth machinima short, "The Blank Blank Blank", is now on Gametap. And now, back to your regularly scheduled assassination!
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One Vampyre Story website is not enough

15 Feb, 2007, 08:03 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: vampyre-story | Comments: 7
While we're all off at the Autumn Moon site's A Vampyre Story section daily looking for new images and blog entries, we'll now have to peruse not one, but two new official sites for the game.

vampyre-story.com looks to be a product of publishers Crimson Cow and Focus, and has English plus French language options. It has a gallery with what may be a previously unseen image ("Vlad's Landing" poster) and a brand new messageboard.

avampyrestory-game.com is a one page teaser by Crimson Cow and while there's no real content yet, the teaser image does have the delicious by-line;

The Graphic Adventure isn't Dead... It's Undead!.
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I was checking out the newfangled LucasArts site and got to reading through the "About LucasArts" page. Check out this portion:
In 2008, Indiana Jones whips back into gaming. The completely original, film-quality story told with direction from George Lucas pits the man in the fedora in an epic story of biblical proportions.
No doubt this is so that it can coincide with the new film, which is slated to release on May 22 of the same year.
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Happy Valentine's from Autumn Moon

15 Feb, 2007, 00:07 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 2
I can feel the love.
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LucasArts overhauls website

14 Feb, 2007, 21:32 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: LucasArts | Comments: 14
The LucasArts website has been given a complete redesign. Looks snazzy, but heaven help anyone on dialup connections. Congratulations to Mojo, who now owns the colour purple exclusively (ignoring the LucasArts store, which is yet to be reskinned).

Also as part of the relaunch, the minisite for the forthcoming in-house produced Star Wars title "Force Unleashed" is now up.
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Telltale looking for Xbox 360 developer

13 Feb, 2007, 08:51 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Telltale games | Comments: 12
Back to your regularly scheduled Telltale Games news... their jobs page is now listing a Xbox 360 Systems Programmer. Whatsoever could this mean?

Thanks again to numble for the tipoff.
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Ex-LucasArts team announces game

12 Feb, 2007, 21:03 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 16
Way back when, Jake made us aware of three startup companies that were comprised of some former LucasArts employees. One was called Autumn Moon, another Telltale, and the third Pileated Pictures. As it wasn't specifically a games company, Pileated didn't receive much coverage from us (though it did aid Autumn Moon in putting together a technology demo for A Vampyre Story within the last year).

The folks behind Pileated decided to start a games company called Crackpot Entertainment and are working on an action adventure game called Insecticide, due out by the end of the year! Totally rad! Marek Bronstring put together a very informative interview with the company that is a must read. Enjoy this snippet which reveals some of the team:
The announcement suggests that more than one industry veteran is involved. Who else is on the team?

I can announce here for the first time that Larry Ahern, lead designer of The Curse of Monkey Island and lead artist/animator on games such as Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Sam & Max Hit the Road, is co-lead designer and art director of Insecticide. In addition, Peter Chan has done the bulk of the concept work for this game and been a huge influence who I cannot credit enough. Dave Grossman also worked with us in the early days to develop the characters and the world. Jacob Stephens, who worked with us at Lucas then worked at Nihilistic, is our lead level designer and our real secret weapon on the project. Everybody involved deserves tremendous credit. This has truly been a team effort. Many other LucasArts vets are also involved, including Anson Jew (concept art), Peter McConnell (music), Julian Kwasneski (Sound FX) and others.
Larry Ahern, baby. Seriously, read the entirety of Adventure Gamers' exclusive (and awesome) interview to learn more about this great sounding new title, and after you've done so you can probably find something more stupid to do than visit the newly launched official site for Insecticide.

Time to make a new company icon.
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Secret Project X

10 Feb, 2007, 00:38 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: The Savage Critic(s) | Comments: 0
No, not Telltale's 'Secret Project', but a secret project for Telltale. Telltale games forum regular numble has let us know about The Savage Critic(s)' til-now secret contribution to the writing of Sam & Max episodes.
It was a pretty intimidating gig, considering I'd never written for video games, had no programming experience, and was working on two of my favorite characters of all time, and it was strange coming into a game where everything was all mapped out, and only funny dialogue needed to be provided. But I'm pretty happy with the result. I guess Telltale was too, because I also ended up contributing to the dialogues for Episode 2, Situation Comedy. (I thought about making this announcement back when Episode 2 came out but considering I had even less to do with it than Episode 3, I thought I'd wait.) What made the difference is that Dave and Brendan are incredibly great guys--funny, and smart (to which their writing on Episode 1--and the resulting GDC nomination for Best Game Writing--will attest) and also patient and gracious...
You can read the whole piece right here.
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Telltale Podcast Interview

10 Feb, 2007, 00:31 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Gamers With Jobs | Comments: 0
With thanks to numble of the Telltale forums for the tipoff, Gamers With Jobs has an audio podcast featuring an interview with Telltale's Dan Connors.
Today we're joined by Dan Connors, the CEO of Telltale Games and executive producer of the Sam & Max episodes! We also delve into a bunch of new titles and some of our favorite classic games of all time. An excellent thread of the week, email and even a look at the seedy underbelly of Vanguard.
The Connors bit starts around the 23 minute mark.
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Today is the day that the third Sam & Max episode, The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball is available on Telltale's site. At the time of this writing the game is up for download for full season subscribers, and will be made available as a standalone purchase soon. But since all of you reading this are loyal fans who pre-ordered, go and get your game!

And after you're done cracking the case of Ted E. Bear, be sure to check out the latest Sam & Max short, "Coffee," which is available for viewing right now on Gametap or in a few days on the official Sam & Max sites.
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Too cool for coherence

07 Feb, 2007, 20:48 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 2
The Double Fine Company Store has entered a new realm of awesome by offering Milkman Conspiracy Buttons, which couldn't be any cooler a product unless it was these Milkman Conspiracy Refrigerator Magnets. Also Marek of Idle Thumbs fame noticed that Tim will be the host of the GDC awards.

You know, GDC, the event we told you to attend because Telltale will be presenting there, and will also be winning the award they were nominated for? Don't miss the opportunity to see Tim Schafer hand out an award for a Sam & Max game, yours for only $1675!

Despite a persistent, confusing list of contrasting release dates, Amazon claims that the PS2 version of CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder is now shipping. Retail price is $19.99. The release date for the new CSI game, Hard Evidence, has not yet been officially announced but March 13 is the date that keeps getting tossed around.
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Free Pirates of the Carribean MMORPG

06 Feb, 2007, 00:52 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Pirates Online | Comments: 5
As all things Pirates of the Carribean are considered fair-game here, you might like to know Disney are making a Pirates MMORPG with free download (no boxed retail version will be produced). There are 2 options for ongoing play, a free subscription, or a paid subscription with more content.
The game takes place in an alternate universe, with a new story arc that introduces Jolly Roger as a nemesis. Players must help Sparrow get his crew back together to find the Black Pearl and restore order. The story line will span hundreds of hours of gameplay, and Disney Online will launch free expansions for the game every two to three months.

Disney Online will offer consumers two ways to play the game, both of which will include a free electronic download. Gamers can choose to play the free version of the game, which will incorporate about one-third of the game world and content. Gamers who want to upgrade to the full "Pirates Online" experience will be charged a US$9.95 monthly subscription, which offers such extras as more customisation options and characters and the ability to take part in tournaments and engage in player-to-player combat.
It's due to launch with the latest POTC movie around May 25. More info at the Pirates Online site.
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Yo-ho, ahoy

03 Feb, 2007, 01:48 | Posted by: Gabez | Comments: 9
Wow, we were so caught up with Sam & Max that we completely forgot all about Monkey Island! Whoops!

Luckily, The SCUMM Bar The World Of Monkey Island has got our backs covered. Check out their main page for exciting news about YouTube piano videos, and Ronzo's World of Warcraft guild!

Also, Steve Purcell is selling a great piece of Monkey Island 2 artwork on eBay. Anyone want to lend me a grand?
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It's called "Interrogation," and it's an educational clip about how to break the will, or maybe just the bones, of devious criminal suspects, Freelance Police style. Look for it to show up on Telltale's recently reinvigorated Interim Theater and Gametap's Sam & Max site soonish.

And hey, check out the Gametap main page for the allegedly "Top 5 Most Played" games on the service. A Sam & Max episode has almost always been on there since the season started. What does that mean, if anything? Well, it can't be bad.

Update: The short is now on Telltale's site as well. Telltale has also updated their blog with a writeup about the shorts, revealing that the latest was written by Steve Purcell himself.
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