Although excerpts from it have been previously made available, the postmortem for Brütal Legend that appeared in the December issue of Game Developer magazine is now available in its entirety on Gamasutra. The comprehensive look back by executive producer Caroline Esmurdoc on what went right and wrong during the project's enormous production is more than worth the read you're going to be giving it.

The first word on Monkey Island 2: The Special Edition has emerged from the muddy swamps. We don't usually report rumors, but we can report reporting on rumors. From Kotaku:
We've heard from sources that the game is due to be announced very soon, perhaps even next week at the Game Developer's Conference, and that like the first game's special edition, will contain all-new graphics and audio.

Unlike the first game, however, this one will be reaching a few more consumers, with versions planned for not just the Xbox 360, PC ad iPhone (like Monkey Island), but the PlayStation Network as well.
(Highlights by me.)

There's a lot to look forward to this GDC: Tim Schafer and Sean Vanaman will banter about the funny, Telltale will be there with "big news" (regarding Sam and Max 03? There's no Mr. Featherly in that, by the way), and finally there's the GDC awards that Brutal Legend got nominated in.

Lastly, there was a lot of clamoring yesterday after EA announced the list of consoles they'd be bringing Deathspank to - a list that excluded "PC". This does not mean a PC version is not coming. As EA's Jeff Green said yesterday: "DeathSpank: If you're freaking out about no PC version announce yet, stop freaking out. EA wants as many people as possible to play it..."

Gamepro have interviewed and then written about the "Knights of Comedy", including Tim Schafer, Mike Stemmle and Psychonauts co-writer Erik Wolpaw. It's well worth a read, but includes this baffling excerpt:

[T]imes have changed. Early games were text-heavy because they had no choice. Modern games offer photo-realism and surround sound, with millions of dollars in voice acting budgets and characters fully capable of animated slapstick. But the inescapable drive towards ever-more realistic games has also reminded everyone that a written joke doesn't just require good voice acting, or hi-tech animation. It requires good writing.

That's where Wolpaw and [Chet] Faliszek come in.
No, I'm not talking about the "photorealism" comment. I was referring to Chet and Erik of Old Man Murray being alluded to as the messiahs of good game writing. I never realized that the eagles on pogo sticks were a form of slapstick.

Source: Gamepro


Double Fine Productions CEO/Creative Director/writer Tim Schafer and Telltale writer/designer Sean Vanaman ("Muzzled!", "Lair of the Leviathan") will participate in a panel at this year's GDC, entitled "Make 'Em Laugh: Comedy in Games". They will be joined by Rhianna Pratchett - daughter of novelist Terry Pratchett - who is known for her work on the Overlord series of games.

This isn't the first time that Schafer has participated in a GDC keynote or panel. In 2004, he keynoted the topic "Adventures in Game Design", focusing specifically on the creation of the cast of the game Psychonauts. You can download a recording of that keynote from here.

Here's hoping that 1. this particular panel will be recorded, and that 2. you won't notice the fact this news is three days old.

Source: Gamasutra


It's not yet completely finished, but if you have Dark Forces lying around (or just bought the Steam release) and want to make it a smoother, less pixellated and have mouse-look enabled, check out the latest build of the project that renders the game using OpenGL in a brand-new custom coded engine:

Accelerated Dark Forces Extended

Works a treat on my Vista setup, but I had to copy the game directory from the Steam default to a C:DARK directory.

Brilliant! Also if you want more Enhanced Dark Forces experiences, there's a Dark Forces mod for Jedi Academy here that recreates the first 6 levels.

Source: DarkXL


The ScummVM team had a sip of the old Grog XD and decided to post a release candidate to their forthcoming ScummVM 1.0.0.

You can get it from their web page.


Well, this sure is better than the C-3P0 SCUMM game LucasArts is rumoured to have had in development at some point.

Han Solo Adventures is an interactive fan fiction game (I like to think of it as "fan powered!"), in the tradition of the classic graphic adventure games of the 80's and 90's. This is a project I have embarked upon purely for my own enjoyment, and for the love of two things: classic adventure games and Star Wars! Although the stories will be fairly original, loosely based on available background information on Han and his early exploits, you can expect game play similar to classic LucasArts titles

While the 'Goodyear Blimp' dialogue line seems a little out of place, bear in mind the youtube clip is set up for Star Wars Uncut and isn't part of the playable game. The game itself will not feature speech either.

This could be fun to watch.

Source: Han Solo Adventures


Guy.brush from our forums has published some work he's been playing around with on a theoretical Monkey Island 2 Special Edition.

The thinking behind the project seems to be: "Redrawn backgrounds? Bollocks to that. Why don't we make them 3D and shitz?" -- and that's exactly what he's done. Check out the video, the awesomeness of which speaks for itself.

Screenshots and more information can be found at Guy.brush's web-site.

Rather alarmingly, MTV have interpreted this project as a "quaint indie port" and "a direct (and free) competitor" to LucasArts, made by "crazy Germans."

Hooray for journalism.

JP Update: Those crazy germans known as 'Guy.brush' are back with their second Tech Demo, this time The Voodoo Lady's Hut. Enjoy.

We're really late getting on this, but it's interesting enough to make a post about. You may recall that last summer, select titles from the early Humongous adventure catalog (which were SCUMM-powered) were ported to the Wii last summer by Atari, the current owner of those properties. Some of you joked that Atari should just bundle ScummVM with those games so that they wouldn't have to update them themselves, and apparently Atari felt the same way, because that's precisely what they did.

As ScummVM is under GPL, it is actually free to use as Atari did, but they didn't even bother to credit the program's usage, leading to a legal situation between them and the ScummVM guys. The hilarity (well, I'm sure those two parties don't find it particularly funny) is documented here.

In other ScummVM news, some of you might have been wondering if the news Steam releases will be compatible with the emulator. Sev of ScummVM has addresed that in his blog as well. The short story is that it would be easy enough to make them compatible, but they're holding off in case LEC decides to develop their own ports for other platforms, and to nurture the possibility of cooperation between the two parties.

As you may be aware, for years there's been a sister project to SCUMMVM called "Residual," an interpreter for GrimE games, and essentially the SCUMMVM counterpart for Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island. Very slow progress for Residual has always gone on behind the scenes, but with the launch of its own web site, the project seems like its going to be moving forward more briskly in the future.

Like with SCUMMVM, the Residual team needs the help of fellow fans to become a success, so why not hang about the forums and otherwise become an active follower of the project? I know I'm looking forward to playing Grim on my Etch A Sketch.

Joe D. has stormed ahead with his plan to add audible speech to Monkey Island 2, with this, his shiny new web-site, hosted by us!

There's a forum, and open auditions for voicing characters, and there's a picture, and a Wordpress. It's like the future!

You can also download something that does something that I don't understand, but go over to the new site and you can find out more.

Well, not an official release. But TheJoe is looking for voice-actor volunteers to add voice audio to Monkey Island 2 using a tool called 'ScummSpeaks'.

You can read more in the threads here at LucasForums or here at ScummVM's Forums. The latter one has input from the author of ScummSpeaks, jestar_jokin and you can see his short 'proof of concept' demonstration here;

There's an earlier speech-hack demo by jestar_jokin here.

Source: LucasForums


After many years of toil, the "New Jedi Order" project for X-Wing Alliance is now available for download. It's based on the Star Wars EU novels / comic series' of the same name.
The fate of the galaxy rests in your hands as you take on the alien Yuuzhan Vong as Bryon Tomri, a former Imperial star pilot. The mod includes the work of 34 voice actors playing 61 roles. Players can download the mod at along with standalone versions of the game's cutscenes, several behind-the-scenes documents and unimplemented voice work for the curious.

The final version of The Invasion Begins tells an in-depth story about Bryon Tomri, who finds himself entangled in the beginning months of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the Star Wars galaxy, and must choose between duty and his friends. The mod includes 5 missions, 19 skirmish missions that are based on the originally planned 19 missions for the mod, 5 cutscenes, a full voice cast, voiced briefings, new music, and new e-mail messages tailored specifically to the campaign.

The mod also supports multiplayer gaming between users who have The Invasion Begins installed, allowing players to take control of the coralskipper and Chiss claw fighter in head to head combat for the first time.
The authors also released a Phantom Menace X-Wing Alliance mod several years back which was better than pretty much all the LucasArts Episode 1 games.

LucasArts may have abandoned the Star Wars space sim genre, so it's great to see the community still alive and kicking. Grab the NJO Project here.

Source: NJO Project


So you're hipper than hell because you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch and play old LucasArts adventures. Well imagine how hip you'd be if you could play those LucasArts classics on your iPhone. And now you can! There's more information and a compatibility on the ScummVM Wiki, but sufficient to say, most all the classics are fully playable.

More about how to install the sucker right here.

Quick & Easy Week [kwik and ee-zee week] adjective, quick and easy weekier, quick and easy weekiest, adverb, noun

1. The week where bgbennyboy updates his menagerie of programs that help you hack/run LucasArts games, or brings out a completely new tool ? one update or new tool a day.
2. A very lazy week.

Monday: An update to the Grim Fandango launcher!

Tuesday: Rip music in all the Telltale games... in Vista!

Wednesday: A new and improved Telltale Speech Extractor. Handy!

Thursday: A Psychonauts Saved Game Editor. Why get to Rank 100 the hard way when you can just type it in?

Friday: New Curse of Monkey Island set-up and improved launcher

Saturday: New Escape from Monkey Island set-up and updated launcher

Sunday: Improved USB Disk Ejector

Remember! If you have used any of these tools, and found them helpful, please consider making a donation. Benny does all of this out of the kindess of his own heart, and also he loves money.

The Escapist online magazine has just posted a new interview with Tim Schafer. Unfortunately there isn't any mention of Br?tal Legend or indeed any game beyond Psychonauts, but Psychonauts is still an Excellent Game too remember? Here's a clip:
"During the pitching (and re-pitching) of Psychonauts, the word "creative" was oftentimes said as a slur. "People would just kinda be like, 'Oh, it's very creative.' And it really seemed like the more you could make your game seem more like something else or more derivative of something else, the more comfortable they would be with it."
It's only a short interview, but quite interesting. There's definitely info in there I didn't know about before. Check it out.

And if you enjoyed that, why not check The Escapist's resident pessimist Yahtzee's entertaining review of the Excellent Game, if you haven't already.

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.

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.

Source: Pirates Online


We haven't had decent Simon Jeffery news since, oh, probably since he resigned from LucasArts and started working at that model train company.

So, just to keep the good Mojo readers in the loop, Mr Jeffery (now boss of SEGA USA) popped up talking about Obsidian's (KOTOR2) new project, a game based on the Alien franchise;
SEGA America and SEGA Europe on Wednesday confirmed that Obsidian Entertainment will develop one of their recently announced 'Alien' titles, to be released in 2009.

Obsidian is well known for its work on 'Neverwinter Nights 2' for Atari and 'Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords' for LucasArts.

"With Obsidian Entertainment's development pedigree, they were our first choice to bring the Alien franchise to the RPG universe," said Simon Jeffery, President and COO, SEGA of America, Inc. "They are the only developer for us that could effectively combine the Alien mythology with compelling RPG gameplay to create the ultimate Alien experience."
Tomorrow, Mike Nelson update!

Source: Virgin


A new version of ScummVM has just been released. ScummVM 0.8.2 consists mainly of bugfixes and can be downloaded here.