(do it)

Several internet forums are abuzz today with news of a story on Aventura y C?a that indicates negotiotiations between Bad-Brain and LucasArts for the (we assume) unfinished Sam & Max 2 code have come to a close.

While the cynics and fan-boys have differing opinions as to what exactly this "end of negotiations" means, there are indications that all will be revealed by Bad-Brain in the next day or so.

Let's hope we don't have to solve some sort of word-play puzzle on the Bad-Brain site to reveal the outcome of the talks.

Edit by ATMachine: According to the Bad Brain website, negotiations with LucasArts for the rights to the cancelled Sam and Max Freelance Police have failed.

Some members of the adventure community will no doubt be disappointed. Others among it, however, have suspected this was likely, saying that no matter what happened Bad Brain would get free publicity from all this.

The company site reports that talks are still underway with Steve Purcell (probably about making an all-new Sam and Max game). Still, fans of the series would do well to be wary.

Source: Aventura y C

Some might have seen Trunks' comment about this in an earlier news post, and we can now confirm it: one of the news tickers in a Mercenaries cut-scene reads "Omaha, NE: Cancellation of 'Sam & Max' causes prison riot; National Guard called in to quell uprising."

Mercenaries was of course announced just after the cancellation of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, much to the wrath of Mojo and its readers. Still, seems like kind of a strange thing to put in a cut-scene, seeing that LucasArts has quietly removed the press release regarding the cancellation.

Sam & Max, man

In typical LucasArts style, their new Star Wars RTS "Empire at War" gets an official press release and mini-site a good few months after the information has been made public via 3rd party sources.

The photo gallery on the mini site shows some rather impressive screen-shots too.

With developers Petroglyph boasting a 23-person team including 19 ex-Westwood employees hopes are high that this game won't have the shortcomings of the previous Star Wars strategy games from LucasArts.

Source: LucasArts

Telltale Games, the new game development studio made up of Ex-LucasArts employees (including a fair chunk of the Sam & Max 2 team), announced the other day (was it yesterday?) that they have hired a couple new artists, Graham Annable and Kim Lyons, "effectively tripling the Telltale art team."

Graham Annable you all might know from Tim Schafer's repeated ramblings about two comic books of his, Hickee (a collaborative comic between Annable and a bunch of other San Francisco-area artists including some Double Fine and LucasArts employees), and Grickle (two solo books by Annable), all of which are really good and should be read. Annable also worked on Sam & Max 2 in some art capacity that I don't really know to be honest. Animator? Art ... guy? A mystery of the ages. Lead Animator.

Kim Lyons, I don't know! MobyGames reveals nothing, and Tim Schafer hasn't ever claimed that Kim Lyons is some sort of triple secret to happiness in the world, so I'm drawing a blank. I guess your one option for information on Kim Lyons is to constantly refresh the newly redesigned Telltale website until some more information appears.

Many of you know Steve Purcell as the creator of Sam & Max, but did you know that before Sam & Max Hit the Road, he worked at LucasArts doing a lot of in-game art (including drawing many of the 2D sprite characters and animations in the old games like Guybrush in Monkey Island 1 and 2, concept art, as well as background artwork)? He also painted many of the well known classic LucasArts box covers, including the first two Monkey Island covers, Zak McKracken's cover, and a bunch more that I can't remember.

Most everyone familiar with the box art to Monkey Island 2 puts it pretty high on their vaguely existent internal list of most awesome game artwork, including me, so I was pretty pleased when these two digital photos showed up from Steve Purcell this evening, with a note:

"I had these images of two of the paintings I did for LEC packages. I thought some of the folks that follow the old games might like to see them in this non-package format."

So yes, he has the front cover of Monkey Island 2 and that Edison family portrait from the back of Maniac Mansion hanging somewhere in his house.

So Mercenaries looked pretty shit when it was first announced. We pissed on it a lot. Then we saw it at last E3, and we were actually pretty amused. The game didn't look too bad, though we thought it might have only seemed cool because the guy demoing it kept dropping dozens and dozens of jeeps from the sky and blowing them up, to show off the engine, and because it was awesome. Well, maybe Mercenaries isn't shit after all.

The game got a 9.1 on IGN and a 5 out of 5 on GameSpy. If that isn't enough to at least make you question your assumptions about how the game is guaranteed to be a terrible waste, take a look at its page on GameRankings, where it's averaging 90%. I have no clue if the game is genuinely good or not, but we were obviously a bit too hard on it when it was initially announced. First impressions are a bitch.

In other Mercenaries news, there are two tongue-in-cheek TV ads for the game (one, two) which some may find amusing. They are at least trying here. I suspect Mercenaries will do pretty well.

There used to be a department, somewhere within Industrial Light and Magic, that was tasked with writing screenplays for animated films, based on Lucasfilm's intellectual property from other media.

One such screenplay was a Monkey Island movie, titled The Curse of Monkey Island, likely loosely based on the game of the same name.

Unfortunately, in the big reorganization of Lucasfilm that occurred a couple of years ago, the department was killed, and the MI movie (still in preproduction) with it.

Recently a few images from the project have surfaced, courtesy of a former ILM scriptwriter named Tony Stacchi (who worked on the project alongside Steve Purcell). Check them out:
Also, be sure to check out the other art on Mr. Stacchi's website. It's quite good.

It's times like these I'm reminded of that quote about the saddest words of tongue or pen...

Source: The Monkey Island SCUMM Bar

It's well known that Norwegians are both sexy and people of good taste, something which is proven in today's edition of the online version of VG, Norway's largest news paper.

In the list of the 50 most anticipate games of 2005, Psychonauts is ranked as number eight:

The legendary and extremely funny game designer Tim Schafer returns with his first game since the 1998 classic Grim Fandango. Schafer has only created classics, and the expectations for this game are automatically sky-high.

You can read the whole list over at VG's website, at least if you're familiar with the language. More importantly it's good to see that Psychonauts is getting more mainstream attention.