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mighuel
03-23-2004, 09:38 PM
I just came across an editorial I wrote on 3 December, 2003 regarding the cancellation of Full Throttle 2, which predicted the demise of Sam & Max 2... Time for a little reflection...

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"Full Throttle 2: Hell on Wheels" Cancelled
IGN Insider - IGN.com
A. Mighuel Pettit
2003.12.3

Lucasarts' hesitation to release big-budget adventure games stems at least in large part from the tragically disappointing sales of Grim Fandango, which, in my opinion was the most elegant and immersive storyline created by any developer.

This was then followed by the unimpressive Escape from Monkey Island which suffered from a derivative plot lacking the charm of Ron Gilbert, and an awkward attempt to salvage the 3D engine that Grim Fandago managed to pull off.

Of course the bottom dollar is the real reason that LucasArts has veered sharply away from the adventure genre. Why invest in something as expensive and risky when there are millions of console drones who buy anything with the StarWars logo. The first-person shooter is so popular that it doesn't really matter what the subject is, but having the Star Wars tie-in is a total gold mine.

It doesn't help that LucasArts' legal department is notoriously aggressive in maintaining brand identity (just look what happened to the poor Star Wars Combine folks...) and I imagine that a lot of their best talent have been alienated. Poor Ron Gilbert was locked out of the development of the Curse and Escape from Monkey Island, and Steve Purcell, Tim Schafer and others have fleed the Ranch...

Personally, I feel that LucasArts failed by trying to get too much out of 3D technology, which even today is still pretty primitive. Pod Racing and first-person shooters rely on 3D modelling for some sort of realism, but true fans of the adventure genre don't need a herky 3D experience to fully enjoy a game.

Sam and Max 2, according to the limited screen shots released to the press, is going to be realized in 3D. The characters look like jagged, low-polygon models that betray the feel of the Steve Purcell comics upon which Sam and Max Hit the Road were based. If one looks on the LucasArts Sam and Max 2 preview page, you can see the beautiful concept art which should have been used like Curse of Monkey Island. If they just couldn't bear not implementing a 3D platform, perhaps they could have experimented with cell shading and produced a much more polished product.

I won't be suprised if come Spring 2004 we are treated to a similar abrupt and vague press release announcing the cancellation of Sam and Max 2. No, I won't be suprised, just extremely disappointed.

I would love to see a post-modern return to Adventure gaming, but it's hard to imagine the vehicle on which this might happen... Non-RPG Adventure gaming has never really translated successfully to the consoles, which basically dictate the direction for software developers... We'll see... We may have to rely on the Gameboy Advance for a while or even (shudder) the XBOX, but there will hopefully always be a niche for good old school PC users as well...

jp-30
03-23-2004, 09:50 PM
Oh. So it's all YOUR fault?

Let's get 'im, lads!




// pitchforks & burning torches //

Udvarnoky
03-23-2004, 09:56 PM
Originally posted by mighuel
Sam and Max 2, according to the limited screen shots released to the press, is going to be realized in 3D. The characters look like jagged, low-polygon models that betray the feel of the Steve Purcell comics upon which Sam and Max Hit the Road were based.

I guess I'm supposed to politely ignore that.

Nice editorial, though. You'll have to forgive me for not congratulating you on your correct prediction.

mighuel
03-23-2004, 10:34 PM
I kept feeling like it was my fault for not checking the LucasArts website EVERYDAY... There was a lapse of about a month there, and I kept getting this nagging feeling like I should check the site since the Sam & Max release was so close... Bam! It had been cancelled... See what happens when you blink, even for a second? Tragic things...

I didn't have any direct ties to LucasArts, and especially not their marketing department, so I don't think I can shoulder ALL of the blame...

Now is the time to use our wishes though!

I expect that within the next month the production will be back on, be it at LucasArts or another company... They licensed Sam & Max to Infinite Machine once, why not do it again...

Also something that I haven't read suggested is that maybe this isn't the right time to release an Adventure Game and it's being delayed until the holidays...

"Stop Production" sounds pretty drastic, but hopefully the developers were already finished with the last milestone of the game and there is just a little last minute polishing to do. The last thing we need is another hastily released product that will inevitably do poorly because there's no marketing catalyst to push sales.

I was as crushed as anyone when the cancellation was announced - I have played every Lucasarts Adventure Game since the first Maniac Mansion on the Commodore 64. However, I have faith that we will see this product come to light eventually. Be it LucasArts, a third-party developer, or a grassroots effort as we have seen with Zak McKracken 2.

If there actually are as many people up in arms as the petition would have us believe, there will be a revival of some sort - How it's manifested, I am anxious to see!

Brushguy
03-23-2004, 11:08 PM
I'll second that. Sam and Max will come back, they always do.

BTW, a "grassroots" effort, is already underway with Red Guitar Media, who is going to do a Sam and Max game, but with the help of the Sam and Max forums fans. Finally, it'll be backed by Steve Purcell, or so the project leader hopes. While all of this is great, Lucasarts is gonna bring their game back. Nice "delay til Christmas" idea, though.