Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SOMI, TOMI and GPOVI

Ha! My plan worked!!!

What plan might you be asking? The plan to get Lucas Arts to make more adventure games, especially Monkey Island.

 

B*U**LL SH**IT! You might say.

 

Well it’s true! Really! You see, like many reading this, I was not all that thrilled when Sam and Max Freelance Police got canceled. It kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Why cancel a perfectly good game that was 70% complete and looking good to boot? I tried to get that game bought by a persons who I later discovered was.. how should I put it…"A bit na├»ve.” Sorry about that everyone. No good deed goes unpunished. ( I think that saying should go on my grave.)

 

Then Jim Ward later said that Lucas Arts wouldn’t do another adventure game till the 2015 or something similar, and the really irked me as it may irked you too. So at that point I was on a mission to prove that adventure games weren’t dead and that if Lucas Arts didn’t make another Monkey Island game then I would!…less the Monkey Island IP of course.

So I thought about this. Lucas won’t pay anyone to make a monkey island game, and they won’t sell the IP rights neither. What to do, what to do?

Well then I remembered a conversation I had with Larry Ahern back in 1998 about the idea of doing episodic adventure games, not one episode at a time, but three to five episodes on one disc. He said Tim Schafer would love to do another adventure game if the development time weren’t so damn long. So Larry and I got to thinking, what if we had Guybrush, Elaine, and Le Chuck all hangining out at the SCUMM bar telling their stories, and each story was it’s own adventure game that was kind of linked. Then we’d have three different Project leaders each with their own little team doing a little episode, then the company would pack them up and sell them as one big game. I thought we could call it, ironically, Tails of Monkey Island or Tales, if the pun was too stupid, which it was apparently.

 

Well that didn’t get farther than just talk that day. But it got me to thinking,- it would be fun to play other characters beside Guybrush, sort of like Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle or Maniac Mansion. So while working on Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine I started coming up with ideas for Mi4 where you played Elaine (possible pregnant ala the movie Fargo), Guybrush, and Guybrush junior, their son. And then I thought it would be cool to make it in real time 3d because the Indy game we were doing at the time was looking pretty good.

 

So just for fun I asked Mai Nguyen to build me a 3d Guybrush from CMI, and asked Reed Knight to build the Barbary Coat barber shop from CMI in 3D,and we threw it into the Indy game. It looked pretty cool. We kept it in as an Easter egg. And I evene demo it for Sean Clark and Mike Stemlle before they started on EMI.

 

But sadly I wasn’t allowed to be involved in EMI, even though I badly wanted to,- too busy on Indy Infernal Machine- which bummed me out considerably. So I realized at that moment I was never going to get to work on a MI game again. : (

 

Unless….I made my own! : )

 

Well at first I had this vampyre game idea I wanted to do, but in the back of my head I kept mulling the three player MI-like game in my head. Who would the three pirates be exactly? What do they have to do? Then I thought it would be cool to play cursed ghosts, like the members of Le Chuck’s crew. So that is when I decided , yes, I’ll make a MI inspired pirate game, but instead of a geeky kid at Disneyland/ Big whoop™ wishing he was a pirate, I’ll make three cursed pirates who start off as ghosts. But that is far as I got, and then I put the idea on the back burner for about six years.

 

Six years later…

 

In the summer of 2007 DTP knocked on my door and said “Got any game ideas?” Yes I did! ...About twenty or so, but I narrowed it down to four. At the last minute, I thought, why not throw in the Monkey Island inspired Ghost Pirate games just for $h***!ts and giggles? Then the AME team spent a week brainstorming the game based on my simple premise, and viola! We came up with the basics of Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island.

 

So I pitched all the game ideas to DTP and they picked the ghost pirate game, which isn't surprising because, like me, they were fans of Monkey Island and were annoyed that Lucas had seemed to abandon the franchise. So why not make a game similar, but do some new fun things with it since we aren’t restricted by any established IP?

 

So I wanted to make this game for two reason, because as a fan of MI I wanted to make my own MI like game, and second I wanted  to show Jim Ward that he shouldn’t abandoned MI license, -that the MI series would still be a viable IP, would still make Lucas Arts money.

 

So you see? It worked! A month after Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island is announced, not just one, but two Monkey Games are announced!

 

Oh alright. I admit it. Maybe I had nothing to do with it. Maybe George Lucas just realized Jim Ward was, maybe possible, just ever so slightly…WRONG!!! But the cool thing is the fans REALLY win here no matter how or why the MI games got made. Fans get Secret of MI with sound, voice and new take at the old graphics, they get an episodic down loadable game with real time environments from Tell Tale, and in January they’ll get a retail CD, full game, with hand painted backgrounds in the CMI style, but with a whole new story line and new characters, and you get to play ghosts and switch between three main characters. So as a huge MI fan I consider this a win, win, win! I hope other Monkey fans do to.