hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Tales of Monkey Island Q&A with Telltale Designer Mike Stemmle

5:40 PM on 06.25.2009 // KestrelPi

[Editor's note: Community member SurplusGamer did a little Q&A on Tales of Monkey Island with Telltale's Mike Stemmle. -- CTZ]

In their heyday, graphic adventure games were one of the most popular PC genres around. Sadly, that heyday is fifteen or twenty years ago, leaving a lot of people like me pottering around the Internet and grumbling about how good things were in the 'old days'. If you played adventure games when they were popular, chances are you have fond memories of Lucasarts' classic Monkey Island series which arguably set a new benchmark for writing and humour in games.

In 2009, most fans had given up any expectations for a Monkey Island sequel, having heard nary a peep about it for nearly a decade. The news of Tales of Monkey Island, then, an episodic sequel from Telltale (a veritable haven for ex-Lucasarts employees and fans of the same) was incredibly exciting.

One of those ex-employees, Mike Stemmle, lead designer of the upcoming first episode, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal kindly took some time out to answer some of my burning questions about what is in store for the series which you can check out after the break.


Many adventure fans had thought that Lucasarts had forgotten their old franchise but now that seems far from the case. How did Monkey Island end up being licensed to Telltale?

From what I can gather, there’ve been behind-the-scenes talks going on for a long time. The first time I heard anything substantial was late last year, when Dave Grossman [Telltale Design Director and co-writer on the first two Monkey Island games] discreetly pulled me into a darkened conference room and asked me if I’d like to work on Monkey Island.

Some of the people now on the Telltale staff are the same folks I used to talk with excitedly in IRC chatrooms about the Monkey Island series, before even the third game came out. What is it like to have such people watching over and being part of the development?

It’s like being in a fishbowl, but it’s one of those really cool fishbowls with bubbling deep-sea divers and shipwrecks and treasure chests that open and close every few seconds. Now if only we can make sure not to get Ich all over everything ...

I've heard comments that some screenshots released at E3 look a lot more 'finished' than others. Is there some more visual polish to be done or are we seeing the final look of the game?

One of the blessings and curses of the Telltale “Insanely Rapid Production Process” (that’s IRRP™) is the fact that we’re constantly tweaking the visuals until the very last moment. For example, the little bits of the season prologue that we leaked at E3, as cool as they were, now look approximately 9500x cooler a mere three weeks later. I mean, they’re freaking gorgeous.


Some fans feel like the sentence line ('Use key in door' etc.) is a classic element of the series. Will we see it return in Tales?

Since we really only have one uber-verb (“use”), we decided to forgo the sentence line in Tales, which really makes our localization guys happy.

Some of the puzzles in, say, Sam and Max and the Strong Bad games, are rather surreal as befits those series. What are you doing to make the puzzles feel familiar in style to long time Monkey Island fans?

From both a story and puzzle perspective, we’re all trying to keep in mind that, although the individual plot and puzzle points of Monkey Island can get rather silly from time to time, the high level story lines tend to be rather serious. This keeps us from going way off into goofy-land.

What is the secret of Monkey Island... ... ...'s long standing appeal?

It’s all about Guybrush. When written well he’s the perfect adventure game everyman, with just enough character to be charming but not so much character that he overwhelms the player’s natural desire to “be” the player character.


These characters have been around for nearly twenty years now. Is there a difficulty in introducing them to players who have never played a Monkey Island game before?

Hopefully, our intro will tell you all anyone needs to know. There’s a nebbish, cocksure pirate wannabe, his patient, resourceful wife, and an evil undead pirate. They have a history.

Finally, the series has been described as a sequel to a Monkey Island 5 that was never made --do you think there's a chance that game would ever be made, or is it best left to the players' imaginations?

Oh, I think it’s really best left to the player’s imaginations. From what I gather, the initial design incorporated several controversial retcons (Stan is Guybrush’s Father!?), time travel, and an extended sequence in which Guybrush argued (in Pig Latin) about the fairness of Pirate Tax Codes.

---

I'd like to thank Mike for taking time from that IRRP™ to answer my questions. The first episode of Tales of Monkey Island will be released on July 7th on PC and at a to-be-announced date on Wiiware. The whole season can be pre-ordered for a ridiculously reasonable price from the Telltale website.

Photo Gallery: (5 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



KestrelPi,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Ben Davis avatarBen Davis
Apologies for the lack of Experience Points lately! I'm taking a short break from writing them, but don't worry. They'll be back soon enough!
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Am I the only one excited to play the Forza Motorsport 6 demo?
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
Adventure games are a big part of the indie scene, but there's a reason their popularity plummeted as graphics evolved. This clicking on everything, just in case, nonsense is for the birds. 90s birds, but birds.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Spotted some "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" (1989) DVDs in a store. Hearing music and sound effects from the game is more amusing than it should be - although the running shrill gets old quickly.
extatix avatarextatix
Diablo 3 patch 2.3.0 equals more grinding. Good.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Funny coincidence: Last week saw the release of Until Dawn, which talked about a Canadian tribe of Native Americans called the Cree,and last night a Cree woman (Ms. Canada) won the Ms. Universe contest. Butterfly Effect updated.
MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
Playing UNTIL DAWN 1st time:I'm alright with QTE,but an option to use direction as choices instead of buttons poppin' on screen would be welcome!Also:NO SHINY ITENS TO INDICATE CLUES!LET ME DISCOVER THEM!All in all,it's fun enough...
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -