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Sam & Max, Back From the Dead 48

Posted by Zonk
from the re-turn-ed dept.
simoniker writes "As you may have heard, Steve Purcell's beloved Sam & Max franchise is finally returning, thanks to TellTale Games. The new episodic PC game's designer Dave Grossman has been expounding on the new game, suggesting that having a fanboy niche is actually good: 'We work small enough that we don't need to have the license that's the biggest movie of the year... if we just have kind of a small devoted fanbase, we can make something that's kind of personal and fun.' The TellTale biz guys also comment on development team size. 'Actually it's about seven core people, and then the team grows to about fourteen for a couple months, but the production cycles are short, the teams aren't huge, our tools are very tailored to be efficient.' Maybe Sam & Max is finally getting done because it's been scaled correctly for its audience?"
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Sam & Max, Back From the Dead

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  • Nice interview. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:40PM (#15827876) Homepage Journal
    Good interview. I think that Telltale is doing it right - don't try to make this massive game that everyone will enjoy but cost a bazillion dollars to make, and instead focus on those who pretty much guarantee a purchase. Actually, I think they might be underestimating their audience. A lot of PC gamers out there recognize lines from the various LucasArts games that the Telltale team have worked on. If Telltale is successful at retaining the pure entertainment value that their Lucasarts games had, they'll get a larger die-hard fanbase than they think with "Sam & Max".

    Don't get me wrong. I love my first-person shooters like Battlefield 2 and Battlefront II; but sometimes I'm in the mood to go back and just laugh at the fun times with Guybrush (and of course Murray), the Tentacle, and Sam & Max. As long as Telltale can keep their focus and not try to make their games all things to all people, I think they'll do well and hopefully gain a larger fan base as a result.
    • Re:Nice interview. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cadallin (863437)
      Bazillion dollars? Good grief! According to Ron Gilbert the original Secret of Monkey Island cost $164,000 for fucks sake. Even accounting for inflation, and growth in the cost of producing assets (more animation, higher resolution animation, voice, etc but this is tempered by tools improvements and other cost reductions) He estimates a top quality adventure would cost around $2million today, even including personnel. $2 million is nothing in game budget terms today. Titles today routinely have budget
      • Re:Nice interview. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @06:42PM (#15828260) Homepage Journal
        He estimates a top quality adventure would cost around $2million today, even including personnel. $2 million is nothing in game budget terms today.

        Maybe not for behemoths like EA, Ubi, or Eidos, but for a small start-up like Telltale, I'm sure that two million is nothing to shoo away like it's no big deal!

        Actually, most of the costs would be for the first episode - 3D modeling, bitmapping, fine-tuning the graphics, developing the game engine, and so forth. After that, the rest if just using what tools have already been made available plus additional characters and graphics, possibly some engine tweaks as well. Plus is gives the company a bit of capital to work with to produce additional episodes.

        It also gives the gamers the ability to say, "Hey, this is where we think you got it wrong" and let the company make the changes for the next game, if they feel that the changes are apporpriate, of course. And since episodes are almost always cheaper than a full-blown game, more people would be willing to plunk own the dollars to see if they're interested enough to continue the series.

        The only problem that I see with episodic games is the length of the game. It's a very delicate balance between providing enough material that the customer feels that he got his money's worth and not so much material that the release is not cost effective. It's a bit of a gamble, but the feedback for Bone and Half-Life 2: Episode One would seem to sugest that episodic gaming is being accepted as a viable alternative.
    • I love my first-person shooters like Battlefield 2 and Battlefront II;
      There's something funny about the names of those games.
      • That's not surprising, the latzter is pretty much a clone of the former. Except it allows you to shoot gungans so of course it's more popular.
  • man (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iocat (572367) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:52PM (#15827956) Homepage Journal
    I can't wait for this! I hope the # of comments isn't indicitive of the sales potential, because I want this to succeed all crazy style.
    • Re:man (Score:1, Insightful)

      by cheese-cube (910830)
      Fear not, mortal. I have noticed that Slashdot is horrible at predicting market trends, what with it having an extremely limited reader base (read: nerds). [ducks]
  • 0 Comments? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Apotekaren (904220) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @05:52PM (#15827959)
    Am I alone on this one? WAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    I feel like punching a rabbit, for some reason.
  • by nappingcracker (700750) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @06:28PM (#15828175)
    [Sam] The words "big" and "large" only begin to describe this thing.
    [Max] "I think "stupid" and "inane" would be useful additions.
    [Sam] Not to mention "grotesque."

    Yippie! make it portable to all platforms! (hey, we can hope...)
  • Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine [himalayastudios.com] (sorry for the flash site). This has sort of been flying under the radar, but deserves more attention. There is a demo available, with the full version available soon. Very well done for an "off-broadway" production, and the people that are making it deserve some support!
  • But seriously, I loved the bit about "ok, how do we do the hard part in the mansion? ok, let's put it behind a wall, then we don't have to animate it".

    Telling stories by games is how I got into game designing originally. If there's no story, I tend to lose interest fast. Additionally, as the interviewer notes, games with stories in them tend to appeal to women and casual gamers.
  • Don't forget ScummVM (Score:3, Informative)

    by brownsteve (673529) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @07:28PM (#15828449) Homepage
    A relevant link here is ScummVM [scummvm.org], an OSS project to make these games compatible with all modern systems. If you own the original disks, you can use ScummVM to play Sam & Max natively on Linux, Mac OS X, even your PDA.
  • Argh. One of the greatest games of all time, and the sequels get 18 lousy posts. :(

    I just may have to break my little boycott of modern games, and buy this thing.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @07:57PM (#15828577) Journal
    Will be in the 2nd. I completed the first Sam and Max mostly smoothly and didn't get stuck on many puzzles. It was the only adventure game that didn't piss me off that I couldn't solve a puzzle. Now we have the internet, so if I do get stuck in the sequel, I can always look up the answer off the net. To me, the internet makes adventure games playable. I half think adventure games were made obscenely hard just to get people to buy the walk through guides.
    • by XanC (644172)
      At the end of Space Quest V, how the frig are we supposed to know where to go in the Jeffries tubes without a map??
  • We work small enough that we don't need to have the license that's the biggest movie of the year... if we just have kind of a small devoted fanbase, we can make something that's kind of personal and fun.

    That means an OS X release, then?

  • by fov (992665)
    There's more info about the Sam & Max project (and some fun stuff to play with) on Telltale's site [telltalegames.com]. Steve Purcell (the creator of Sam & Max) is doing a webcomic on the site - the most recent installment [telltalegames.com] just went up yesterday.
  • "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard!" I am yet to be convinced of the instalment model - perhaps I'm in the minority but I prefer to play a game that has a definite conclusion to it. Something about releasing by instalments feels like the story equivalent of the "release and be damned!" mentality of the games industry heavyweights, and the whole attraction of adventure games as a genre to me is story. If the story suffers then I'd question whether its for me. That said, I would kill for multiplayer
    • I am yet to be convinced of the instalment model - perhaps I'm in the minority but I prefer to play a game that has a definite conclusion to it. Something about releasing by instalments feels like the story equivalent of the "release and be damned!" mentality of the games industry heavyweights, and the whole attraction of adventure games as a genre to me is story. If the story suffers then I'd question whether its for me.

      Why do you assume that episodic means no conclusions and a suffering story? As long as
      • I agree, and was really just thinking "Jeez, I really hope they don't screw this up". Two of my favourite games series (Ultima and Sierra's Quest games) came from much the same philosophy, so I hope my fears are unfounded =)
  • What TFA doesn't say is that the first episode will be released this fall. See the telltale website.
  • This game could have the graphics of the original game from the early 90's and I'd be just as excited. Honestly I was kind of disappointed with the putty-like cg look the early screens of the sequel had. I'd rather see something that mimics the look of the comics, close to the way the original game looked... minus the pixels.
  • The big question for me is, will this be faithful to the original comic, as opposed to the "kid friendly, cartoonish gun free" version? While the weirdness factor was faithful enough to keep the show from sucking too much, the mindless mayhem factor was indeed lacking.

    I guess I need to do a lagomorphic mindmeld on them to find out.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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