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While we've only cast a cursory glance towards the Penny Arcade Adventures series by Hothead (the only reason we did at all was due to Ron Gilbert helping out with them), I for one thoroughly enjoyed them. Unfortunately due to flagging interest (both from its creators and the public) Episode 3 is now no more. The story will continue on the Penny Arcade website, if they actually bother to mention it at all this time.

The good news is that DeathSpank is alive and well, and with PAA Ep 3's cancellation Hothead are now focusing all their attention on making it great. Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade said:
"Hothead has DeathSpank and they have a chance to do something really cool with it, and they need to have an opportunity to make it incredible.."
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Ron Gilbert News

LeChuck's Worst Kept Secret Confirmed

11 Mar, 2010, 02:48 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Twitter | Comments: 99
"LeChucks Revenge: Special Edition is official! New puzzles, new enemies, new hair!"

New Puzzles? What?

And... is there an announcement Three?

Update by Jason: While clarification of the features will no doubt come in the morning in the form of a press release and an official site launch, it's been confirmed that, like with Monkey Island 1, there will be full voice acting, and the original game will be included. "Developer commentary" has bizarrely been alluded to as a bonus feature - who knows what that means, but Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert were on-site for the announcement. Also, here's the cover art.

Further Update by ATMachine: According to LucasArts' Twitter feed, MI2:SE will feature voice acting both in the high-resolution updated-graphics mode and in the low-res, original-graphics mode. Plus, Guybrush's hairstyle has been changed, so hopefully there will be fewer complaints about that this time round.

Update 3: According to LucasArts, MI2:SE will be available for PSN, XBLA, Mac, iPhone, and PC.

Update 4: This Joystiq article suggests that the game will be released "this summer." Also, there will be a new direct control scheme implemented in addition to the previously used point-and-click method.

Finally, it notes this about the extra content:

"They've also added never-before-seen art from Peter Chan and Steve Purcell and developer commentary (!) for you Monkey Island fanboys out there (that's you)."

Update 5 by Jason: Official site launched and here's the press release.
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Ron Gilbert News

"A man they all called Death-wha?"

08 Mar, 2010, 07:05 | Posted by: Kroms | Source: Pure luck | Comments: 1
A couple of minutes ago, I decided to visit the official Deathspank website and see if they had anything new. It didn't look like it; so imagine my surprise when I clicked the play button on the video and found an updated, something-like-70%-different-with-loads-of-new-footage trailer. Talk about silent updates. It starts out the same, but then goes off on a tangent. I think the little demon who laughs was intentionally placed there to make fun of any "Wha-?" noises you may pipe out.

Anyways, you should check it out. Maybe read Mojo's interview with Bay Area Sound afterwards.
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Ron Gilbert News

Your console's gonna get Deathspank'd

04 Mar, 2010, 18:08 | Posted by: Kroms | Source: Kotaku | Comments: 5
EA Partners today announced that they will be publishing Ron Gilbert's new downloadable game DeathSpank, for PSN and XBLA. Kotaku has the details and two new screenshots.

Before anyone gets in a flurry over the lack of a PC version, however, please note that this does not mean the game will be console-exclusive. Ron Gilbert has stated, in the past, that the game is also coming to Mac. You PC lovers still have a chance.

Special thanks to Clone2727 for the tip-off on the forums.

Update by Jason: Gamasutra's write-up includes a response from EA regarding a PC version:
Asked about potential PC plans for DeathSpank, a game drawing from genres with strong PC heritage, an EA representative declined to comment conclusively, but told Gamasutra, "EA and Hothead want as many people as possible to experience DeathSpank," and advised gamers "not to read too much into the [announced] SKUs just yet."]
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Ron Gilbert's new game DeathSpank is "very close" to completion, which (hopefully) means it's also very close to getting released. In celebration, here are some details and trivia that have accumulated since PAX. These aren't new, exclusive revelations - you can get most of it from this PAX demo, whilst simultaneously enjoying the music of composer Jeff Tymoschuk. If you prefer your lavish game details in the form of text, though, simply click on the universally-accepted button for lavish game details in the form of text, the "Read More" link; but, do beware of spoilers.<:MORENEWS:>

The first important thing to know is that, in the videos, enemies are stopping themselves from attacking Deathspank because their aggro status is off - in Ron's words, "It's easier to capture footage when monsters aren't doing things you don't expect."

The story at the beginning of the game is simple: Deathspank's sword has been broken, and he needs another one. The person to go to is Eubrick the Retired (Formerly Eubrick the Bitter...), a retired adventurer, who will lend Deathspank his sword Bessy if Spanky gets him a spicy taco ("I want a tank! No, wait...a taco!"). Unfortunately, the only person willing to make a taco spicy enough for Eubrick refuses to make it, a result of a previous lawsuit. This is all related to Deathspank being out to rescue a bunch of orphans from the nefarious Lord Von Prong, who has trapped some orphans in a castle, and Sergeant Orq, the Orq (the q makes it "totally new and different") responsible for breaking Deathspank's sword. The Sergeant is hanging out at Camp Orqawanga, a summer camp for Orqs. This is worth mentioning because, as you see in the video, entering Orqawanga will make the sun slowly set (the same happens in at least one other video). All of this is somehow related to a place called Scurvyville - a town for pirates and home to the important Captain Taint - and Cliche Island, which, in an unforeseen cliche, I mysteriously know nothing about. There's also the Demon Mines, which house some more of the orphans Deathspank is seeking, and the Sanctuary for the Wounded you can learn about by watching the video and jumping ahead to 06:50 minutes.

the game is usually pitched as a hybrid of adventure and RPG games. Little is known about that, though this Idle Thumbs podcast sheds a bit of light.
What we do know is that you can assign attacks the way you want to (the Xbox's A button to cleave, for example) and whenever you want, as well as dress Deathspank up in your choice of clothes and armor. This all relates to the puzzles. For instance: when in Scurvyville, dress as the pirates do. There's also a targeting system, and, as I'm sure many of you will be happy to know, zero loading time.

The developers are using a production methodology that lets them know if the game is fun or not and, if it's the latter, to quickly break down and make a new combat system over the course of a week. The game has been externally playtested and is now in the "tweaking stages".

Deathspank can die, though this isn't a game about punishing the player and, upon dying, the titular hero should be transported back in front of the last dancing outhouse he, uh, made a deposit at. How and if this will affect things like stats and weapons is unknown.

The art direction's notable for being a "forced roll perspective". The idea is based on a toilet paper roll. Imagine pulling out the paper, looking at it from a low angle, but seeing little 2D papercraft art popping up, very slowly and gradually. This allows the designers to have the exploration and rich feel of 3D graphics, while maintaining the look and charm of good 2D art. The cutscenes are being animated by Klei Entertainement, whose work you can check out in this trailer for their upcoming game Shank.

There you go. The interview I linked at the top of the newspost should give you more info, as should the podcast. I hope you enjoy.
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Ron Gilbert News

DeathSpank - in the studio

09 Jan, 2010, 01:39 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 1
Continuing the post-holiday catch-up, we'd like to direct your attention to this blog post over at Grumpy Gamer, which includes a peek at two of the voice actors of DeathSpank: Michael Dobson (the titular hero) and his brother Brian Dobson (Eubrick the Retired). Read Ron's post and then check out each performer's lengthy filmography on IMDB, like I did.
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Ron Gilbert News

When in need of help, call a hero

11 Oct, 2009, 13:20 | Posted by: Kroms | Source: Mixnmojo forums | Comments: 2
As AlfredJ pointed-out on the forums: why not call Deathspank? It's the Hero Hotline number on the website and is, in fact, pretty amusing. Call him!

1-866-631-1574.
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Ron Gilbert News

Watch Ron's PAX Keynote

29 Sep, 2009, 03:43 | Posted by: Kroms | Source: Youtube (U-tube) | Comments: 8
I'm not sure he'll be thrilled about this, but in all honesty Ron Gilbert's PAX 2009 keynote was an inspiring speech and you should watch it if you have an hour to kill. Say, before or after you play Lair of the Leviathan (oh my, that's today!) and before the Brutal Legend demo hits Thursday.

Big thanks to the great person in the audience who filmed this.
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Ron Gilbert News

I want a tank! No...a taco!

21 Sep, 2009, 08:02 | Posted by: Kroms | Source: Eurogamer | Comments: 1
A spicy taco, and I don't blame him.

Eurogamer have previewed Deathspank, dishing out some delicious new taco-related information and in the process writing the phrase, "Ron Gilbert gives us some skin." What mouth-watering image to follow the thought of tacos. I'm sure this means that either Ron evolved from snakes, or has decided to go the nude magazine route.

I am bothered by this lawsuit, though. I'm completely willing to live in a world where other people are forbidden to eat free tacos, but take them from me and it just isn't funny anymore. You take my taco and you might as well drive a stake into my by-then all ready cold, dead heart. It's completely insensitive, like making Nazi jokes about Germans.
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Ron Gilbert News

Deathspank delayed

12 Sep, 2009, 21:18 | Posted by: Kroms | Comments: 7
The Hothead Games website has been updated with the team's retrospective on PAX 2009; all good and interesting, but the thing that might concern you is the teensy confirmation that Deathspank's been delayed to 2010ish.

This would mean that Ron has not released a game for the past decade, but you shouldn't worry because Deathspank is actually shaping-up to look pretty interesting.

Ron's posted his thoughts, and so has Tim Schafer. Telltale.

Could it be a hint, that they're all posting their thoughts on PAX? Are they all working on something...together? What could it be? What...could...it...be?
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Ron Gilbert's Deathspank gameplay footage!

Looks pretty interesting, huh? Very unique. Kudos to Ron for sticking with it - seems like it's paid off.

Special thanks to AlfredJ for the tip-off.

Update: A quick summary of Ron's PAX keynote here.

Update 2: Gamespot filmed some of the PAX demo, in which Ron shows some of the Diablo aspects, and then some of the Monkey aspects. There's voice acting, which is a first in a Ron Gilbert game in a non-kids Ron Gilbert game.

I wonder who's writing it. Jerry Holkins, is that you?

Update by Jason: Also, the Sept. 6 episode of the Idle Thumbs podcast was a PAX special featuring Ron as a guest.

Update 3...4?: The game has local co-op. Giantbomb's questions put Gamespot's to shame.
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Ron Gilbert News

Roncast on your iRon, man!

07 Sep, 2009, 10:49 | Posted by: Kroms | Comments: 3
Some website has put up their new podcast entry, featuring a Ronterview. I bet you thought "Ronterview" meant Ron Gilbert. Well, guess what? You were right.

Games Discussed: Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2, Deathspank, World of Warcraft, and Animal Crossing. Right now it should be podcast number #!!, later #41.
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Ron Gilbert News

Week of DeathSpank! (Day 5: Video Soup)

04 Sep, 2009, 19:17 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: 1Up | Comments: 41
1Up. Now.

Day 1: Ronterview & Screenshots.
Day 2: Ronterview (expanded from Day 1).
Day 3: LucasArts reunion video: join Messrs. Gilbert, Grossman, Tiller, Levine, Ahern, Falstein and Hsieh for a very interesting half-hour chat.
Day 4: Inside Hothead Games.
Day 5: Trailer snippets, behind-the-scenes footage and an interview. As my friend Irina would say, "Awesome-sauce." (Seriously, it's pretty cool.) The official DeathSpank website has been given a complete overhaul as well.

There's also another new DeathSpank screenshot at Ron's Grumpy Gamer site.
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Ron Gilbert News

1Up to preview DeathSpank and more

29 Aug, 2009, 22:31 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: 1Up | Comments: 11
This week is going to be sweet, thanks to 1Up!
On Monday we're kicking off our next 1UP Cover Story -- on DeathSpank, the latest game from Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion creator Ron Gilbert. For the past 15 years or so, he's been working on children's games, consulting, producing, etc., and this is his return to heading up an enthusiast-focused game. It's one of my most anticipated games at the moment, and I can't wait to show it off.

This cover also serves a dual purpose, since it gives us a nice excuse to post a related feature that I started working on back in 2007, but got backburner'd and never made its way online. That being, a LucasArts Reunion video where I interviewed seven former LucasArts adventure game devs as a group. We filmed the whole thing, and are finally putting it online mid-next week.
I see you shiver with antici...<:MORENEWS:>







...pation.

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Ron Gilbert News

DeathsPA(N)X

11 Aug, 2009, 12:06 | Posted by: The Tingler | Source: Grumpy Gamer | Comments: 15
Pull up your revealing armoured thong, 'cause DeathSpank, Ron Gilbert's first new game since Maniac Mansion, will be shown off at the Penny Arcade Expo a month from now. That's September 4th-6th for anyone at all excited about this very exciting news.

Ron says: "And when I say "showing", I really mean "showing", like in "actual" "game play".

Better start praying at that Nor Treblig Shrine right now!
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Ron Gilbert News

Ron Gilbert at PAX

30 Jun, 2009, 09:21 | Posted by: Kroms | Comments: 4
Monkey Island/Deathspank creator Ron Gilbert will be keynoting at PAX this year. What he will keynote about, and whether or not we can get a good transcript of said keynote, is a bit of a mystery at the moment. Still, Ron Gilbert! He had his name on the front of the Monkey Island box and everything.
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Ron Gilbert News

Deathspank interview

12 May, 2009, 11:41 | Posted by: Kroms | Source: RPG Codex | Comments: 5
Big thanks to Risine from the forums for pointing this out. RPG Codex has posted an (email) interview with Ron Gilbert about the upcoming Deathspank (he with the Thong of Justice). Some nice little details are given-out, and explanations of things like why the game is no longer episodic. Good read.
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Ron Gilbert News

The Spunk of Spank: Now with Ron's comments

31 Mar, 2009, 00:17 | Posted by: Kroms | Source: Gamasutra | Comments: 23
Hothead had a panel at GDC today, where they mentioned Deathspank. Surprisingly, the game is not episodic, but will probably have DLC later on. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Ron brought-in his own game engine, an "updated version of SCUMM". Interesting, to say the least. I wonder what caused them to change their minds about it being episodic. Possible suspect: Mixnmojo.

Update: Ron blogs about it:

"DeathSpank isn't a very patient guy. He would never be able to play though one episode after another. He'd just run in and play them all at once. He's that kind of guy. He also gets impatient if someone doesn't die fast enough.

So what we did was take all the story, puzzles and fight'n and weave them into one larger game. The overarching story is the same, but the world is larger, more open, more compelling and completely load-less. You can walk from one end of the vast world to the other and never see a load screen or camera cut."

Thanks, Ron!

Random thoughts: is it just me, or does Deathspank seem designed to be sequel-less (i.e.: we're already being told the whole story)? And does this re-shaping of the game mean it will get delayed?
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Here's some small snippets of info on DeathSpank you might have missed:

- DeathSpank is not a superhero. He's a hero...sort of. He thinks he is, anyways.
- There's both PC and console versions, but the important thing to point-out is what Ron said: "We're going to great lengths to build two completely different interface, one for PC players and one for console players. None of this crappy porting crap. With DeathSpank, it's top shelf all the way."
- There is going to be a Mac version at some point.
- As of last year, the first episode, Orphans of Justice, was slated for a 2009 release.
- Telefilm Canada is, at least, partially funding the game.
- This is one of the taglines the game carries: "The evil of devils cannot compare to the evil of men because men are jerks." - Some Jerk.
- If you look carefully beneath the aforementioned quote on the official site, you'll see a bunch of seemingly meaningless words. Although they look random, it seems that they all have the same length, all open with "AC" and end with "CA", and all are mirrors of each other halfway through, like this: "ACMOJOMCA".

This is also speculation on my part, but do you remember the very first DeathSpank image on the official site? Right click on that image and try to save it, and notice that it's called "DS-s1-e1", probably meaning that Deathspank will come in seasons. Of course this is not a solid fact, just, again, pure speculation on my part.

Update: Oh my. Neon_git, you truly are a genius. A handsome genius! You reek of handsomness and expensive cologne! Check out the comments for the solution to the riddle thing, it's pretty cool.

Runes eh? I wonder what that could mean...
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If you've ever wondered what George Lucas ripped-off when making Star Wars, you should watch these two movies Ron Gilbert once made. They are actually quite fun to watch, and as the first commentator says, the hand-stop animation is beautiful.

(PS: Can anyone tell if he appears in either movie?)
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