Telltale Games about Tales of Monkey Island

Τετάρτη, 22 Ιουλίου 2009, Συντάκτης Elessar, Fallen Angel

Telltale Games about Tales of Monkey Island

Hello, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions about 'Tales of Monkey Island'. So, why did you choose 'Monkey Island' to be your next project? Can you inform us of the agreement you had with LucasArts? Did they fully cooperate with you from the beginning or were they skeptical at first?

Well, it's MONKEY ISLAND! Many at Telltale has loved the series forever and I believe it was something Dan and Kevin (the founders of Telltale) had been pitching to LucasArts for a while. With a new president running the show over at LucasArts, who I hear is a big fan of the genre, the opportunity arose and they've been gung-ho ever since.

The 'Monkey Island' legacy is a very 'heavy' one. Many people actually believe that the four games of the series are somehow a milestone of the adventure games genre. Do you believe 'Tales of Monkey Island' will manage to live up to the high expectations we all have? If so, how will you achieve this?

I really do. And I'm not just saying this because I want your readers to hop on over to the site, or the WiiWare store, and buy every chapter RIGHT NOW ;) I've always been a huge fan of the genre, and speaking AS a fan, there are things that are going to happen over the course of the season that really fry my noodle. It's still funny, so much of the original voice talent is back, Mark Darin and Mike Stemmle are great leads, and everyone at Telltale knows what an opportunity this is. Plus having Dave Grossman (a writer and designer on the first two Monkey Island games) around to keep our heads on straight helps.

The bottom line is, the Monkey Island series, especially for me, has always been about relatively serious things: coming of age, falling in love, overcoming impossible challenges, etc. Tales of Monkey Island follows in this tradition. We talk a lot about theme in the writer's room. We think about the themes that drive each individual episode. And then we tell fart jokes. It's a strange dichotomy that I think works.

Would you like to give us some information about the upcoming 'Tales of Monkey Island'? In particular we want to know about... well, everything! Just kidding, but you get the picture. For instance, will you introduce new characters as well? If so, what can you tell us about them? And what about the 'old' ones, will they be the same or have they evolved as have adventure games?

There are tons of new characters -- of which I feel would fit right into any of the old games. We also have classic characters coming back in various capacities. Once in a while it's just to say hi, but more often than not, they're there to drive the story and gameplay. Each character has evolved logically, unless of course it's logical that they haven't. Murray the talking skull is a perfect example. He's coming back and he's as demonic and ineffectual as ever. But he plays a major role in his episode. He's a gameplay element and he's a story element, he's not just a one note cameo.

That being said, we keep everything in context for new players -- you don't have to be a Monkey Island fanatic to enjoy all the jokes and references. They're there, for certain, but for the uninitiated, it will just serve to enrich the world and make the story feel even bigger. We never dabble in nostalgia for long enough to alienate anyone. No player left behind.

We know that Ron Gilbert came at your offices and joined you while you were brainstorming ideas for the game. How come you didn't join forces to develop together the new Monkey Island adventures? A collaboration between Telltale and Autumn Moon sounds ideal to many gamers. Would you ever consider it?

I can't really speak to idea of "would we collaborate" with another studio like that, but it's my personal experience that Telltale is an open minded place where many things can happen, like say, a new Monkey Island game. Mr. Gilbert's got his own awesome thing going on with Deathspank (which I, as a big fan, am looking forward to) and he was able to provide all he could during his short time at the studio (which was a LOT). Actually, just the other day, I was writing a joke that I wanted to run to by Dave Grossman and while I was standing there he shot Ron Gilbert an email concerning the reference. I had an answer in about 20 seconds. So even if he's not on the official team, he's apparently one quick note away.

As a new founded company Telltale has been producing games that are based on well-known characters and/or franchises. Now that you are a well established developer in the adventure industry, are you considering developing an adventure game based on an original setting with 'new' and previously 'unused' characters?

I know it's something Telltale is interested and open to. I'd love to cook up something original at Telltale. Right now we're focused on the licenses we've got but I certainly wouldn't say new IP is out of the question for us. I do enjoy working on the licenses though -- I don't burn as many calories worrying about canon and I get to just get in there and push and pull the characters. It's a lot like being a TV writer -- you get to explore things you maybe wouldn't get to if you were building back-story over the course of a new story or season. There are upsides to both.

You seem to prefer to release your games in episodic format rather than developing and producing a 'complete', stand-alone game. Do you feel this is a better way to 'tell a tale' nowadays that people's time is restricted or is it still a choice based on financial issues alone?

It's certainly not a financial issue -- Telltale was founded on the idea of episodic development and it's our bread and butter. I think it's a fantastic way to tell a story, and Tales of Monkey Island is the pinnacle of that for Telltale right now. Each episode ends with a "holy cow" cliffhanger. We're really going through great pains to make sure you want to play the next episode, as you would watch the next installment of a great TV program like Lost or the Battlestar Galactica reboot. We didn't get to do too much of that while gamers were figuring out what Telltale was all about. But now that players expect multiple episodes, we can really let the episodic format work for us. We can do stuff in between episodes to keep the story going. And we get to sit back and read the forums full of speculation about what's going to happen next, which is awesome. My hope is that if you're not playing Tales, you want to be, because the people who are are privy to a really compelling story that is just going to keep twisting and turning (and pay off eventually too).

Many 'old-school gamers' are afraid that reviving sagas like the Monkey Island one will prove to be a horrible mistake as the new games will be inferior to the original ones. On the other hand 'young gamers' believe this is a great opportunity for them to get to meet those great personalities of the adventure genre past without having to play technically outdated games. What do you answer to each group?

Old gamers: don't worry. We are with you. We will not let you down.

New gamers: if you think this is hard, try hypnotizing a piano playing monkey. But seriously, welcome to the genre, and enjoy it. Enjoy digesting the story. Sit back with the game and get comfy, don't try to blast through it like you would a shoot'em up. I like to sit down with an adventure game and a tasty beverage, like I would a movie. And if you like our fancy new series, check out the classics, LucasArts is re-releasing a lot of them for your consumption.

Why did you choose WiiWare and PC as the release platforms? We understand PC is a given, but why WiiWare? Is there any chance we will see the game on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade as well?

It's a lot of factors. Nintendo's been good to us (having released Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People on WiiWare) and the Wii remote is a fun tool to work with in the adventure game genre. Some of it was our release schedule. It's not just one thing. We're not platformed biased at all and while there aren't any announcements or immediate plans, it won't surprise me in the least if/when Tales of Monkey Island shows up on other platforms. We want as many people playing the game as possible. We'd put it out on stone tablets if that's what got people engaged in the story and gameplay. I think we've really got something special going with Tales of Monkey Island and I hope whatever platform you play it on, you enjoy it.

Thanks for the interest!

Sean Vanaman - Writer on upcoming Tales of Monkey Island episode

Πρέπει να συνδεθείς για να σχολιάσεις
  • Δεν βρέθηκαν σχόλια


  • Δεν βρέθηκαν σχόλια