LeChuck is a classic villain. He has a singular and grandiose focus, always has a sinister plan to achieve his ends and repeatedly opens himself up to being defeated by a bumbling loser with luck on their side. It doesn't get... read
For this week only, developer Telltale Games is offering the full season of its Tales of Monkey Island series and Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition for 20 bucks.Why both games -- the latter developed internally by Luca... read
Since you're probably at work and looking to slack off, I have just the thing for you: The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. Yeah, after the jump (provided you're running Windows) you can play the game right here in y... read
Double Fine's Tim Schafer's a funny guy. Great talker. Talented industry veteran. Makes some pretty great, clever games. That's why he'll be giving a game design talk at this year's Develop conference in Brighton. Makes sense... read
Long ago, at the San Francisco reveal event for Monkey Island: Special Edition 2, it was announced that the follow-up special edition would feature new Guybrush hair and developer-led commentary. Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer ... read
I've always imagined that the fellows behind the classic Lucas Arts point-and-click adventure games were some of the funniest and most interesting people ever. Now thanks to Monkey Island 2: Special Edition I will finally be ... read
LucasArts has started a stream of screens of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition. Every day, via the Monkey Island Adventures Facebook page they're going to give us one still from the original game and then, la... read
An exciting bit of news for fans of the Monkey Island games -- so exciting, in fact, that I can hardly believe I managed to fit it all into the headline. I have just received word via carrier pigeon from our main man at GDC, ... read
We don't report to much on Mac gaming here, but I'd like to rectify that a bit if I can by pointing you towards MacHeist and their crazy good deal going on right now. They've got all the chapters of Tales of Monkey Island ava... read
All of Tales of Monkey Island is now available on a third platform: the Macintosh. Earlier yesterday, series developer Telltale Games announced its commitment to the Apple platform alongside the $35 port reveal. And it appear... read
Seeking some input on the next Sam & Max season, the fine folks at Telltale Games want to know about what kinds of games you're playing and have set up a survey to ask exactly that. They're not only fine, but they're smar... read
Dec 13 //
Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 5 -- "Rise of the Pirate God" (WiiWare, PC [reviewed])Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: December 8th, 2009MSRP: $34.95 for the full season on PC / 1,000 Wii Points per episode
The TMI season finale isn't spectacular, but neither is it terribly awful. Taken as a single episode, it's equally as good or bad as the majority of the other chapters; like chapters one and four it's got a few cute jokes, a few genuine laughs, a few unfunny gags, and exactly one or two relatively challenging puzzles. It's not as funny as chapter three, because Murray isn't in it, and it's not as (in my view, frustratingly) challenging as chapter two, because most of the puzzles are limited to small, enclosed areas, a la Zack and Wiki.
Actually, it's worth pointing out that narratively, Rise of the Pirate God, does something really quite interesting that I've never seen a game sequel attempt to this degree: it completely and intentionally inverts its own cliches. Remember how a bottle of root beer defeated LeChuck in the very first Monkey Island game? Well, with Guybrush now an official member of the ghostlike walking dead, guess what awaits him everytime he steps aboard LeChuck's infernal pirate ship? A quick blast of root beer to the face, and Guybrush is sent tumbling back into the underworld. Later, Guybrush finds himself taking possession of his own rotting corpse, thus becoming the exact sort of ghost-pirate-zombie that LeChuck terrorized the Caribbean as in the LeChuck's Revenge (I was disappointed to see that Guybrush never turns into a demon with flaming facial hair, but as I am evidently the only person who really liked Curse of Monkey Island I can't gripe too much).
Also: compliment swordfighting.
These narrative reversals are kind of interesting, in a "heh, that's kind of interesting" sort of way. As neat as they are as fan service, however, they never really enter the actual puzzle-solving in a truly interesting way. The compliment swordfighting is great, but it's a 30-second puzzle; that and the narrative aside, the rest of the episode functions pretty much exactly like the other chapters. Not that this is necessarily an awful thing -- the game doesn't need to suddenly turn into a brawler or something just because Guybrush becomes immortal -- but season finales are generally meant to go off with a bang, and Rise of the Pirate God simply does not.
Oh, LeChuck is dispatched in a pretty cool way, and swordfighting duels are had, and there's an epic-when-described-in-words-but-not-in-actuality because-the-Telltale-engine-can't-render-more-than-a-dozen-characters-at-a-time-and-the-music-isn't-operatic-enough pirate ship battle, but Rise of the Pirate God just doesn't quite feel like the awe-inducing finale it wants to be. Too much is left unanswered. The Voodoo Lady's ulterior motives have been built up and frequently referenced over the final two episodes, but we don't know any more about the supposed thread of fate that links she, Guybrush, and LeChuck at the end of the episode than we do at the beginning.
Given the post-credits epilogue, it appears Telltale is going in the same direction we've seen so many big-budget titles go in recent years; in other words, You'll Have To Buy The Sequel To Find Out What The Hell Is Going On. As the Voodoo Lady's plans represent the only truly interesting mystery in the season (apart from "has LeChuck really reformed," which was satisfyingly answered in episode four), I was really disappointed to find the end credits roll without so much as a hint of the Voodoo Lady's ultimate plans.
Does Rise of the Pirate God tie together the disparate threads of the other four Tales of Monkey Island chapters, combining them to form an epic finale that outdoes all the other chapters in terms of both gameplay and narrative impact? Not even remotely. Is it exactly as charming, and occasionally hilarious, and fanservice-y, and occasionally unfunny, and sometimes-challenging, and relatively satisfying as the other four chapters in Guybrush Threepwood's latest saga? Absolutely. It's not an ideal finale, but in some ways it's an appropriate one: it exhibits every strength and every problem from the series as a whole, almost serving as an emotional summary of the season itself.
When all is said and done, I have to admit: I'm happy Tales of Monkey Island exists. It was a pleasure to reunite with my old friends, even if not always under the best of circumstances. I had fun teaching LeChuck how to solve puzzles and compliment swordfighting with a headless ghost, even if these little ironic moments didn't last as long as I would have liked. I'm sure I'm alone in this, but I even liked Morgan LeFlay, and her complicated relationship with Guybrush.
Yes, many of the puzzles were kind of underwhelming, and yes, some of the most dramatically important scenes were severely undercut by Telltale's technically limited engine (the episode 4 finale is so almost-incredible it actually hurts), but hey -- it's Monkey Island, man. A pretty significant part of me can't help but love it, despite all its flaws.
Score: 6.0 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.)
Guybrush Threepwood is dead; long live Guybrush Threepwood. Thrown into the underworld and seemingly powerless to stop the forces of piratey evil , the fifth Tales of Monkey Island chapter, entitled Rise of the Pirate God, se... read feature
The fifth and final chapter of Tales of Monkey Island is out today for the PC. In the final chapter, Guybrush Threepwood is technically dead but he does come back as a ghost. Still, dead is dead and when someone dies, we like... read feature
Wednesday night I went to a funeral.
Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a funeral. When the deceased in question was, according to long time friend Dave Grossman, "struggling with an inventory item addiction," it was more farci... read
The Tales of Monkey Island series is rushing to a close December 8 with the release of “Rise of the Pirate God,” the fifth and final installment. No doubt some MI fans are experiencing confused feelings about this... read
Tales of Monkey Island draws to a close this December with the release of the final episodic chapter on the 8th of next month. Dubbed “Rise of the Pirate God,” Telltale Games has said via a recent press release th... read
The fourth and second-to-last episode of Telltale's Tales of Monkey Island series, intriguingly entitled "The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood," comes out this Friday.According to the Telltale press releas... read
Sep 30 //
Brad Nicholson Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3 -- "Lair of the Leviathan" (WiiWare, PC [reviewed])Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: September 29, 2009MSRP: $34.95 for the full season on PC / 1,000 Wii Points per episode As with most episodic series, this chapter launches from the conclusion of the last chapter, “The Siege of Spinner Cay,” in which, at the end, players watch the Screaming Narwhal being swallowed by a massive whale. In this chapter, “Lair of the Leviathan,” Guybrush meets the explorer De Cava and his crew, who have separately established a Brotherhood of sorts within the bowels of the beast. With La Esponja Grande still on his mind, Threepwood must make a few new friends and get the hell out of the lumbering beast.The last chapter in the Tales of Monkey Island series brought the player a more open-ended, exploration-fueled experience. While the charm and other hallmarks of the classic series were still present, the chapter gave us a few fits, specifically when it came to untangling the web of puzzles layered on top of the confusing navigation elements. This chapter is different. It is a constricted experience, akin to the opening chapter in the series. Think Flotsam Island ... inside of a whale. This linear approach lends itself to the things Monkey Island does right: dialogue and character-centric puzzles. This is almost as much a classic MI title as it is a new one, so veterans of the series will be more inclined to love this Telltale treat. With ancient constructions come ancient qualms. Introduced in this chapter are two creative spins on Insult Sword Fighting. The first will have players collecting a various amount of pirate “AAAR!” faces in order to do battle -- the more original the face, the better. The second has players responding to another character with a set variety of dialogue choices. While genuinely humorous like the insults in its predecessor, there’s a measure of frustration as a multitude of very similar responses are presented. It can become more confusing than it should be and thus the witty-edge is stricken from the dialogue. The narrative focus of this chapter means there is no substantial navigation. In fact, there are only five or six different screens to visit. A bummer on the surface, this doesn’t detract -- it enhances. Now cemented in the plot, the relationship between Guybrush and Morgan LeFlay flourishes within the confines, presenting an awkward parallel to the early connection that the feisty Elaine Marley and Guybrush had. On the subject of relationships, this apparent theme is enhanced by the appearance of Elaine and the once-voodoo-ridden pirate LeChuck on the deck of his boat, as well as the little scene between De Cava and the Voodoo Lady. In transition, Guybrush remains an idiot. The world remains quirky and colorful, and the peripheral characters are still just as over-the-top. Like with the first chapter in the series, this chapter sticks with what makes Monkey Island, well, Monkey Island. Don’t expect any sudden overhauls here, either with controls or gameplay, despite the focus on new characters.This latest chapter is a good follow-up to an otherwise disappointing second chapter. The back-to-basics dialogue choices, Insult Sword Fighting style of puzzles, as well as the confined interactions, make for a much more pleasant experience. New fans of the series should enjoy this one, while older fans may even adore it. The same old MI problems are present, but not a major distraction. Check this out (especially if you like disembodied skeleton-heads). Score: 8.5 -- (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
Another chapter in the Telltale Games' Tales of Monkey Island episodic series was released yesterday afternoon. Chapter 3, or the “Lair of the Leviathan” kicks off as a powerful whale swallows the whole of the Scr... read feature
Ever considered what LeChuck’s Revenge would look like if it was created using the same engine the visual powerhouse title Cryis uses? At least one guy has. Hannes Appel is doing the silly -- and absolutely awesome -- r... read
Sep 18 //
Ben Perlee Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of the Leviathan (PC, WiiWare)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesTo be released: September 29, 2009 (PC) Fall 09 (WiiWare) Now Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of the Leviathan, you have two whole episodes preceding you. Apparently, Guybrush Threepwood (I know at least that much!) has transformed Le Chuck him into a nice guy, turned all the other pirates into douchebags, and has released a Pox of Le Chuck upon himself, his lover Elaine, and others. He's lost a hand, and is acting more and more Le Chuck-like everyday. The only cure, according to Voodoo Lady, is a giant sponge, La Esponja Grande, which brings us here. I'm not really a fan of using sponges*wink*wink*, but it's your call, honey, not mine. Anyway, the first part of Episode 3 takes place inside a giant manatee. Normally cute and cuddly, this manatee swallowed Guybrush and a crew of pirates. Certainly not the nicest people, this first portion of the episode centers around wandering the insides of the sea cow and gaining support. Like in other Monkey Islands, Guybrush must do pirate battles, and this time it's just as odd and surreal as an insult fight. While blood isn't drawn, other body parts. Fans should have fun with this. Controlwise, the new standard for the series has carried over, which I know about because editors have reviewed you in the past. I certainly do not want to be redundant when starting this new relationship, now do I? While I'm not your biggest fanboy, Monkey Island, I am at least aware of something. Your Telltale guys seemed really keen to show off a fan-favorite, Murray. A disembodied skeleton head, he's a jerk and so desperately pathetic, Guybrush can't help but be there for him. Expect to see Murray a lot in Lair of the Leviathan. Finally, Monkey Island, you've won me over with two incredibly charming jokes. One involves a great series of puzzles involving the manatee's personal life, and another is something so specifically Californian, I cannot help but mention it. Late on in this episode, you showed me a sign telling me that I'm exactly where I need to be, and this sign looks exactly like a California State park sign. Sure, you would have to have driven through Tahoe or Joshua Tree National Park to get it, but this just serves as a reminder that you know the truth: the West Coast is the best coast. So what is my ultimate impression of you, Monkey Island: Lair of the Leviathan? Well, I found you funny and charming. I don't know if I could just saunter in and start you up from the get go. You episodic ladies need some time to warm-up, and I need to know what I'm getting into. Certainly, gamers who have experienced you in the past will want to pick you up on September 29, with your WiiWare cousin debuting not long after. Newbies like me, well, we're going to have to start something fresh before moving onto you.
My dear Tales of Monkey Island,Telltale has treated you so good, turning you into a successful episodic franchise. Many would say you do the original justice, which is a wonderful thing to see. Oh, and Telltale has decided to... read feature
If you’ve wanted to give Tales of Monkey Island a shot, but didn’t have the coin, then consider deeming September 19th a beautiful day. In celebration of 'Talk Like a Pirate Day" this Saturday (this is a real... read
The next chapter in the Tales of Monkey Island series drops soon -- as in September 29th, soon. Earlier this afternoon, developer Telltale Games dropped that mad release date knowledge in our inbox and gave up its name. Chapt... read
Hold on to your copy of Brain Age boys and girls, because we are about to get really stupid up in here. Any self respecting gamer knows what grog is, but for those non-self respecting gamers out there I'll fill you in. Grog i... read
Watch out Ranch Rush and Risk II -- there’s a few new games available on the Amazon “Game Downloads” channel. Telltale Games recently announced that all five chapters of the Tales of Monkey Island series are... read
Aug 20 //
Destructoid Staff The Siege of Spinner Cay (WiiWare, PC [reviewed])Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: August 20, 2009MSRP: $34.95 for the full season on PC / 1000 Wii points per episode Conrad Zimmerman "The Siege of Spinner Cay" picks up right where Launch of the Screaming Narwhal left off. Having unwittingly released a voodoo pox upon the Carribbean, Guybrush is on his way to the Jerkbait Islands to learn the secrets of La Esponja Grande, a magical sea sponge purported to have the power to cure the rapidly spreading ailment. Meanwhile, he continues to be pursued by The Marquis De Singe who is determined to have the mighty pirate's pox-infected hand. And what exactly is going on between Elaine and LeChuck, anyway? The story this time around is passable, but doesn't offer much in the way of a payoff. This episode seems to be predominately focused on planting seeds for future chapters in the tale. This is fine, but results in a bit of a lull after a much stronger opening to the series. Taken on its own, it is not particularly compelling.It's still funny, at least. Spinner Cay has considerably less fan service than the previous installment, allowing the humor to stand on its own without relying on established jokes. For the most part, it can, though I wonder exactly how much longer Telltale intends to drag out a running gag involving Guybrush's pyrite parrot because I'm starting to get a little tired of it by this point. Gameplay remains unchanged in this chapter, which should come as no surprise. That said, there are some issues which did not manifest themselves as severely in episode one. First is the travel map. Guybrush has quite a bit of ground to cover in this game. The Jerkbait Islands consist of a cluster of three landmasses which can be traveled between by raft. The largest of these islands features a jungle similar in nature to that of previous games in the series. There's no need to follow a convoluted route to reach anything (thank God) but it would have been nice to provide a faster mode of travel between significant screens in the jungle after you've been there the first time, as has typically been done. The lack of one makes wandering through the same screens over and over monotonous and a bit annoying, especially if you're getting frustrated with a puzzle. As is often the case in a Monkey Island game, puzzles largely revolve around using or combining items to accomplish a goal. Once more, nothing about the puzzles is out of the reach of the player. All puzzles have pretty clear solutions and a little tinkering with items in your inventory will usually provide some insight if you're lost. That is, of course, provided you have the items you need. On several occasions, I completely missed something I needed to pick up. In most instances, this is totally due to inobservance on my part but there are a couple that I failed to find due to the environments. I should not have to scan the mouse over every bit of screen in case something can be interacted with and there are items that are small enough and blend in with the environment enough that they struck me as being far too easy to overlook, even when I have a very good idea of what it is I'm looking for. Finally, I had some trouble with the mouse controls for the game, something which I found to work to my satisfaction in Launch of the Screaming Narwhal. The mouse felt unresponsive in some areas of the game and in others Guybrush would walk in the complete opposite direction than the one I was dragging my mouse. Eventually, I abandoned the mouse altogether for movement out of annoyance. These problems would be easier to overlook if the content of the story were strong. Since it is not, it's drawn them into sharp relief and make the game feel somewhat disappointing. I'm hopeful that the series will come back with a vengeance in episode three, but The Siege of Spinner Cay is not what I had expected from Tales of Monkey Island after such an excellent beginning. Score: 6 Brad Nicholson Last month’s chapter was a tight narrative-driven experience. Oozing charm and stroking nostalgia with iconic characters and interesting puzzles, it pushed all the right buttons for fans of the no-longer-so-forgotten franchise. This chapter isn’t so different. It’s obvious that the devs spent some time with the Special Edition re-release of Monkey Island because of numerous throwbacks -- “How appropriate, you fight like a cow! -- to the original. A steady stream of funny lines, several compelling plot reveals and numerous clever puzzles complete the package, but a few bad design choices pollute this otherwise borderline good chapter.It opens with ‘mighty pirate’ Threepwood braving the salt-laden currents outside of Flotsam Island in search of his wife, as well as a cure for the misanthropic voodoo pox. The solution to the spotted problem lies with La Esponja Grande, a mystical sponge with untold powers. Elaine crops up quickly, so the focus narrows to saving the little world from the pox. Indeed, the search for the fabled thing isn’t easy. Guybrush needs to collect three ‘summoning artifacts’ in order to uncover its secrets. Forgoing the tight and constricted narrative-led puzzles, Telltale Games created five islands to scour, giving this chapter a smidgen of an open-world feel. This comes at a cost. Three of the tiny islands are almost barren, which can lead to some confusion, especially when dealing with illogical puzzles. Telltale failed to relate when the three perimeter islands come into play. When a puzzle stumps, a lot of time is wasted moving the Narwhal between these places with the silly hope that some new thing was triggered on them because an event triggered elsewhere. The notable but pointless objects of interest on the islands -- a skeleton or a rock outcropping -- don’t help, either. Like the last chapter and its pointless objects (the sponge necklace, for one), it’s possible that at least two of these islands won’t have their moment in the spotlight until the next (or next-next) chapter. The flow disruption is annoying, but the chapter does gain steam in the latter half as the action rises after mini-goals are met. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when the thought of the just how unimportant the three islands are finally crosses the mind. Lord knows it took me long enough to realize my logic mistakes. There’s much more character in this chapter, mainly because some larger-than-life fixtures of the MI series are slotted into main roles in this chapter’s underwhelming story. It’s a story, which is, as Conrad believes, nothing more than a set piece for the next adventure, but at least the characters have pizzazz. This isn’t an amazing follow-up, but it services for those in Tales of Monkey Island withdrawal. As a standalone narrative, it’s a flimsy thing with little to give to the player other than a few good giggles. But, at the same time, this is a competent adventure title with some intelligent puzzles and decently unique places to explore. If you’re a fan, you’ll dig this and walk away with that familiar MI afterglow. If you're not, perhaps a trial is in order. Score: 7.0Total Score: 6.5 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.)
Telltale games kicked off their Tales of Monkey Island episodic series with a bang in "Launch of the Screaming Narwhal." We came away very impressed with the inaugural effort, praising its wit and gameplay and firml... read feature
Aug 20 //
Ben Perlee DESTRUCTOID: Now, this event is the multiplayer event, which you said was the first part of the game that had been developed and worked on. Can you describe how the multiplayer came about with Brütal Legend?Tim Schafer, President and CEO of Double Fine Productions: I always imagined it as a multiplayer game right from the beginning, which is that it's all about being a kind of leader of a rocker army, and Eddie is this guy who, in the single-player campaign, builds an army. You get to see the creation story for each element of the army, the headbangers, the razor girls, the thunderhogs, and each unit he adds to his army. In multiplayer, you have them all at your disposal. And the idea is that you are building this stage, and, in Brütal Legend, we kinda equate rock shows with wars, and bands with armies. So you are building a band, you are building an army. So you build these headbangers, you recruit them to your army; they come stage diving off the stage. You go out there, you find these fan geysers -- which are naturally occurring fans bubbling out of the ground -- and you win them over to your army by playing an awesome guitar solo in the game, and then you build them a merch booth, because fans need merchandise. And they stay loyal to your army and they fly back to your stage and that's basically the only resource you have to worry about. They fly back to your stage automatically, and they help you put on bigger and bigger shows. You can make either a bigger stage or you can recruit more warriors to your troops, so that's kind of a strategic decision you make when you play the game. So that's the flow of the game. Capture resource points, get fans, build warriors, send them out on the battle field, capture more resource points, eventually get a big enough army that you can just attack your enemy's stage and burn it down.Tonight we are playing just 1v1, but I know that this goes as high as 4v4. Describe that experience.That's a cooperative experience with your friends. You get on team chat, and you hopefully agree amongst yourselves that “Okay, I'll take care of maybe the resource building, you take care of harassing enemy troops.” Or maybe you all do everything at the same time. It's really up to the players to decide how to split up the duties. You can play the game that way, just as an action game, just you and your ax, doing the combos, you can do your rockslide and you can do your rock kick and you can do pyrotechnics and play as an ax-wielding brawler. Or you can play more strategically. You can change the weather by playing the right solo at the right time, which changes the tide of battle. Or flying around over the battlefield, you get this bird's-eye view of your troops or your enemy's troops. You can scout out and see, “Oh, they're building a lot of infantry,” and if you're an advanced player, you'll think, “I've got my metalbeast, which is really strong against infantry, so I'll build some more of them,” and there's these counters in the game. Really, it's for all levels of play, where if you are into the action, you can be in that, or if you want to go deeper, you can go deeper.I've noticed there's only three different character factions. Could we see any more factions down the line with downloadable content?I can't say...but sure, I think right now, the three are so different and they provide such a different experience that there's a lot of things to explore with it. For instance, there's the Ironheade, Eddie Riggs' army, and it's Ironheade with an extra “e” on the end, 'cause they are extra metal, and they are more of what you'd think of a classic rock, kinda something you'd see on an album cover, just like rocker girls and the headbangers and guys on choppers and stuff. They have a lot of fire attacks, and they're really fast. Then you have the Drowning Doom, which is more of a black metal. They listen to black metal, they look undead, they're really creepy, they have a guy who barfs rats, and their specialty is playing debuffs and buffs. They can play really depressing music with an organ. They are willing to use keyboards, which sets them apart from Ironheade. They depress everyone on the battlefield with their music and that makes them fight better and makes their enemies fight worse. And then the Tainted Coil is the demonic army, and they are run by Doviculus, who is voiced by Tim Curry. They are all about the hierarchy, so they have Battle Nuns and War Fathers, and Over Blessers who are like this structured, organized army. They all have their own minions, and you can talk to a Battle Nun, wherever she is on the battlefield, and she can spawn minions right there. If you are at an enemy base, you can spawn a bunch of minions, so it's a very powerful technique. But they are more complicated, so there's strengths and weaknesses with each faction. I think there's a lot of stuff for people to be exploring for a long time in our multiplayer.So the multiplayer looks like it's going to be a strong component of Brütal Legend. It's getting close to the completion of the game, and it has gone through some hurdles that most games don't go through. What is it like for you knowing that this game is almost done?It's exciting. I mean, you work on a game for a long time, it kind of becomes your life, it feels like your job is not games, but Brütal Legend. I'm so excited for people other than us to actually be able to see the game. We've been looking at it, we've been playing it, and we think it's really fun, in the office, right? But you never know. We're like, “Oh, I can't wait to show it to people,” and showing it tonight, to anybody, is really terrifying. The fact that people are still hanging around, playing it, and having fun is a good sign.So now that we are entering this exit phase of sending Brütal Legend out to the presses, when are we going to learn about the next Double Fine's next product? Can you offer some hints?[laughs] It might be a while before we can talk about that. I mean, it could be a lot of different things. There are a lot of stories in the Brütal Legend universe I'd like to tell. There are also new ideas I'd like to do. You're just going to have to wait for that, but there's a lot of stuff with Brütal Legend still to come that we'll be talking about.Very cool, it sounds like good things are to come. Within the last month, some very cool releases and re-releases have come out. The Monkey Island franchise, which you helped create, has all of a sudden become a really big deal. What's your response to this game being remade and reborn and having a whole new generation play it? It's really interesting. I mean, it's great. I have a lot of warm feelings about Monkey Island; when I hear the music, I get instantly happy, and I remember it being 1990, back when you were three years old. I was sharing an office with Steve Purcell and Peter Chan and Dave Grossman, and Ron Gilbert was down the hall, and we were making this game together. I was much younger, and it was before you could go online and read a bunch of nasty forum comments. [laughs] It was you and a bunch of friends making a game to entertain yourselves. It was really a fun time. When I play the game, especially when I play it in the classic mode, all those kind of feelings come back to me. It's really a fun experience for me to play. It will be interesting to see how people react to it. Things change, and people want different experiences. Part of the thing with games in the past is that they are either better than you remembered, or they are worse. I hope people remember Monkey as even better than they remembered, because maybe they were so young when they played it the first time, they didn't get half the jokes. You always try to write it like a Warner Bros. cartoon, where there is a juvenile version of the joke, and where there's a more sophisticated version for people who want that, so hopefully people who played it as kids will play it as adults and get a deeper level of understanding. That's what I hope. I hope it's not like Catch-22, where you read that in college, and it blows your mind. Then you read it as an adult, and you're like, “I think this was better when I read it in college.” [laughs]So were you involved in any way, shape or form with the re-released Monkey Island?I only heard about it through rumors. I mean, Ron and Dave knew about it, but they are really tight-lipped professional dudes [laughs], so they wouldn't tell me anything, but I could tell something was going on, because a lot of people were rumbling about it.Do you think you'll ever go back to a point-and-click at all?The way I work is, I just have an idea, and do it. So if I ever had an idea for a point-and-click game, I would do it. I play a lot of console games, and they kind of inspire me. I would say playing Super Mario 64 is what made me change from thinking about PC games to thinking about making a console game. That's where Psychonauts came from. It started this long process that eventually became Psychonauts. Playing Ocarina of Time and Mario 64 made me realize there was different ways to explore a world. There's a much more accessible way to run through it, instead of just clicking on it. There's nothing wrong with clicking on it; it's a different experience. We had a lot of fun making The Host Master and Conquest of Humor, which is a silly little Flash game that our web guy Clint made, and you're playing that and you're like, “Well, it's kinda fun to make this kind of game.” Basically, I'm optimistic about the future, because it seems now the industry can support games of all sizes, so we can make a small adventure game. They don't have to be five-year projects. Double Fine itself is maturing to the point where it can hopefully make a big game and a little game at the same time.I actually have some questions from community members on our site, and one of our community members, Naim Master, asked if you had ever thought about making a 2D-style game, or a quick and easier downloadable title for Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network? Could that be something in the future of Double Fine?Definitely. I feel I am open to making whatever idea comes into my head, and I feel very fortunate and lucky to be able to say that, cause everyone would like to be able to say that. Hopefully, through this team we've built up through Double Fine, there's a lot of talented people there, we're able to do more than one thing at one time. And we do little 2D games, like Tasha's Game [a side-scrolling platformer on the Double Fine site]. I don't know if you've played that, but it comes off like a web game based on a comic. Clint had made it all by himself with some art from Tasha, and music from Raz, and Bird, but if you play it, it actually has a really fun mechanic. Basically, we are doing it; that's all I'm saying.You mentioned the creative process, and we have some community members, DaedHead8 and Krow, who really wanted to know: You are known for making very unique, very special, very...not necessarily outlandish, but very different types of games and types of characters and tropes and images, especially with Psychonauts, and with Brütal Legend...What's a trope?A trope? [laughs] Uh, it's like an overarching theme within a work.Nice.Sorry, I'm an English major, it's terrible.Wow, man, you tropes. What a bunch of tropes.[laughs] But I want to ask you, what do you do to get creative? How do you get your creative juices flowing? First, I like to eat a bunch of tropes. That really inspires me.[laughs]I always believe there's like a goose in your head, and the goose either lays golden eggs, or it doesn't. When you live off creative ideas, it's kinda scary, because at the beginning of every day, it's like a blank page. You won't get paid, and you won't pay your mortgage if you don't have an idea. Which is kind of terrifying if you think about it. Everybody is capable of being really creative; it's just a matter of not being afraid to follow up on those ideas. I learned that while working on Monkey Island with Ron [Gilbert]. I think the only reason we wrote funny dialogue is that we thought it was temporary dialogue. We were just joking around. I was like, “Look behind you, a three-headed monkey!” I assumed Ron would tell me the real line and we would replace it. When Ron came up to our office -- it was shared with programmers, and he laughed at the line -- and I was like, “I don't really know what to say there” and he was like, “That's it! We're gonna say that line!” I was like, “You can't be serious. A three-headed monkey? There's no such thing as a three-headed monkey, Ron. Don't you ever watch the Discovery Channel?” [laughs] In fact, maybe it was Dave or Ron, but one of them said, “We should actually make art of a three-headed monkey to come out behind you.” And I was like “No, you guys! That's too ridiculous!” And then we did it, and it was one of my favorite things about the game. That's when I learned that there's this internal sensor you have in your brain that kills your own creative ideas because you are afraid other people will laugh at you. And you are afraid someone will come by and say to you, “That's WRONG!” So you censor yourself. And there's a lot of that stuff in Psychonauts, the censors that go around with ideas, these self-censors who destroy your own ideas. Also there's that big fat critic in Gloria's level who is like the idea of having an internal critic that's too large, that is too critical, that keeps you from doing the things you need to do. It's a psychological thing that people have to deal with. Doing that experience with Monkey Island is what taught me that, “No, actually, you're right. The stupid ideas that you have are often the best you have,” and who cares what anyone else thinks about them? Everyone else is wrong, and those people are really stupid, so who cares what they think? So take those dumb ideas and run with them. There are no consequences for putting that stuff out there. That's what I would encourage people to do, run with their stupid ideas more.It's really a testament that you are running with those ideas, because it was your name that was chanted on cable television for, like, five minutes by one of the most popular comedians in the nation, Jack Black, going “Tim F**kin Schafer!” What was that like for you?That was unreal. I mean [both laugh], 'cause on those shows, you don't have developers at all; they have an actor come out and pretend to be the guy from Grand Theft Auto accept an award. They won't be an actual developer. I think in some ways it came from Jack, because Jack was one of the creative forces behind those awards, and he's a real gamer. You know, he played Mass Effect twice. That's a scary thing working on this game, is I'm working with his voice. I know he's gonna play it, and he's going to find every line of dialogue, and there's, like, 30,000 lines of dialogue. So I have to make sure he's going to like it. Anyway, he's a real gamer, and he knows what he's talking about when he talks games, and I think that was his choice to elevate a gamer to that level. It was kind of a joke, but it was also kind of great, in a way, for all developers. We'll never be as glamorous as the Oscars. I don't think any award show for games will ever be as glamorous. I think the most glamorous we'll get is the Director's Guild Award, because game developers -- until we have a Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in our games -- are craftsmen. So it was really a lucky thing that I got to be on TV. And, it's a tribute to Jack, but with our generation, a lot more people are game-savvy these days. It used to be voice talent. They would come in, they would work on the game, they didn't know what they were saying. Nowadays, people know what they are talking about, games are more prevalent, and it's a different age.Well, thank you so much, Tim Schafer, this has been a incredible interview, and I really appreciate you being so candid.Was I too candid?No, no! [laughs]Did I say anything I'm going to regret?Well, would you like to say anything las--Would you like to say anything you'll regret? [laughs]Well, sure! Would you like to? [both laugh] What would, like, people, when they sit down to Brütal Legend, come Rocktober, if you could sum up in three, or five, or ten words -- what is the feeling you would like people to have?I want people who love heavy metal to actually feel like someone who loves heavy metal made a game just for them. But I also want people who hate heavy metal to be drawn in by the humor or action of the game, then come out of it liking heavy metal just a little bit more. It's something that's true [to me], and I really do love it. And I hope it really does expose people to a lot of great bands they haven't heard about before.Awesome. Well, thank you very much.Thank you!
Tim Schafer. Tim f**king Schafer. He's a man that most of us know. One of the writers behind The Secret of Monkey Island, and the man behind Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, and Brütal Legend, Schafer has remai... read feature
The new Monkey Island series from Telltale started out with a bang. Brad Nicholson and I both enjoyed it considerably. On Thursday, the next episode, The Siege of Spinner Cay, will be released. Can't wait for a little f... read
Four billion years ago (Internet Standard Time) Telltale Games announced the launch date of the second chapter in the Tales of Monkey Island series. Due on 20th for the PC crowd -- this Thursday you calendar-less people, you ... read
One of the things I did with my interview with Tim Schafer was allow some community members to offer questions to ask the guy. I liked what DaedHead8 and Krow asked: How is Tim able to be so creative, and how does he get thos... read
By now you've heard about the multiplayer for Brütal Legend, as well as the yet-unseen 4v4 mode. But, as we all know, Tim Schafer is a man of many hats, and one of the hats he wore was writer for the original The Secret ... read