This is Heather Logas, Telltale's resident curmudgeonly game designer/whatever else I happen to be doing that day and future ruler of everything important. Yes, I am still here. While you have been floating about in a Sam & Max induced haze, some of you may have been able to clear your heads from the fog just long enough to wonder what in heck ever happened to those charming Bone cousins and their mysterious valley. In fact, we have not abandoned Jeff Smith's curious world. In these past several months while some have been obsessing over certain canines and lagomorphs, others of the stalwart Telltale team have been re-visiting our treasured Bone games and gently massaging them with renewed care and affection.
"Hey Fone Bone, is it me, or is there something different about Thorn?"
You see, although Jeff holds our telling of his tale in high regard, in hindsight there were just a few things he wished had been included in the first two Bone games. There were some updates we wanted on our end as well, and so we decided to work together to produce new, shinier versions of Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race. Most of these changes are not too drastic, although you may find yourself enraptured by the new opening cutscene in Out from Boneville and startled by how much better our dear Thorn looks and sounds. The other little changes may be harder to catch, but definitely make an impact on how the story feels throughout both games.
Oh how silly of me! I almost forgot to mention that you can now play both games in multiple resolutions. Hoorah!
Storyboards for Out from Boneville's new opening cutscene.
The best part of course is that if you are already proud owners of Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race (congratulations on your excellent taste), you are entitled to a perfectly free update to the Director's Cuts. (I attempted to convince Emily that you should at least have to mail in donuts or caffeinated beverages, but unfortunately she wasn't convinced.) So enjoy the Director's Cuts while they last. Which, actually, will be a very long time as they are replacing the previous versions of the game on our site.
Curse our endless generosity!
To mark this grand occasion, our own Emily M. (known in some circles as simply "E.M." or "EM" or possibly even "M") threw some questions by Jeff Smith (known in some circles as simply "Jeff" or "Mr. Smith" or "The creator of that wonderful and charming Bone comic"), and he threw some answers back.
EM: What was your reaction when the idea of a "director's cut" came up?
Jeff: I thought "Great, let's do it!"
EM: What sorts of changes did you suggest?
Jeff: Two basic types of changes. The first type was to clean up some places we were rushed in the story scenes back when we first launched. For example, I thought the ending of Out from Boneville was a little jumpy and confusing; so I carefully tracked the scenes and wrote new material to explain where everybody was going and why. The second type of change was to start setting up the larger BONE story that will take place over the course of all our games. To do that, we've created a very atmospheric beginning called "The Prophecy" that tells the story of MIm, Queen of the Dragons, and her battle with the Lord of the Locust, setting the stage for the Bone cousins' arrival. Things we see in the Prophecy will reverberate throughout the series. I didn't make any changes to the actual games or puzzles.
EM: Can you describe your process of working on the director's cut? How did you evaluate the original games and decide what changes to make in the new version?
Jeff: Heather had a "movie" version of the game made for me to watch straight through. I was able to watch the game as a film and figure out where the weak spots in the story are.
[EM's Note – to do this we had our summer intern play through both games and video capture the whole thing. The files were very big!]
EM: Of the changes that have been made for the director's cut, which is the one you felt most strongly about?
Jeff: I think cleaning up the ending of the first game was most important to me, but in the long run, I bet the new Prophecy beginning will be the favorite among players. It gives the story depth, and sets the stage for the newer installments and will tie them all together.
EM: Do you have a favorite part in either of the original of the original games, something you wouldn't change no matter what?
Jeff: Hands down, my favorite part of the first Bone game is early on, when Bone is lost in the mountains, inching through the dark standing stones and as he makes his way forward, the sun comes up, and we see the Valley for the first time. Not only is it a stunningly beautiful picture, it's a really clever piece of game programming. I think it's better than the same scene in the comics!
I love the storyboard art. :) Did Jeff Smith do that?
December 4, 2006, 10:18 pm
Wow, nice interview Emily! I've always wanted to know what Jeff's thoughts were on Telltales 'Bone' games and what his contributions were (other than the obvious) to making the game itself. I purchased the deluxe version of 'Out Of Boneville' and absolutely love it!!
Comment by Mack Daddy
December 4, 2006, 11:15 pm
Great Blog and thanks for the interview. It was so much fun to play the first two Episodes again as Directors Cut Versions. I hope there will be some news about a new Bone-Episode soon.
Comment by ThudaDragon
December 5, 2006, 6:35 am
Movie versions of the games... sounds nice. All games should have that. Except Doom.
Comment by Derwin
December 7, 2006, 5:12 pm
I'm a cheap bastard, I know...but any plans for a CD bundle pack? I'd like to pick up both, and I still live in the dark ages and like to get "physical" versions of things I own. Gives me something to put up on my mantle.
Comment by Brien
December 7, 2006, 8:56 pm
I have order the great cow race, would not download ???? can you send a full cd this both
bone-out from boneville code 0750-10011-2012-18488 & great cow race for mac os x
Comment by jerry danyluk
December 8, 2006, 5:44 pm
Brien - we might offer a CD bundle, but we're waiting until the CDs are actually available to make that decision.
Jerry - I looked up your order using your email address. Your wire transfer has not gone through yet. You won't be able to download until it does. Usually it takes a few days. You should get an email when the wire transfer is complete and you can download your game.
Comment by Emily
December 8, 2006, 8:46 pm
The Games are just fantastic! Love Bone and Sam & Max.
The only thing I do have a problem with: online activation.. Anyways keep up the great work!
Comment by GermanFan
December 10, 2006, 6:37 am
I don't know if a decision has been made about that yet, but we're definitely keeping our options open for Mac releases. :)
Comment by Emily
December 14, 2006, 12:46 pm
Phew, news of a Mac release as an option :P
Would save me having to reboot into stupid XP!
Just bought the "Out From Boneville" book- saw it at the local bookstore and went, OMG SWEET! $15 (AU).
Will download the new versions and play the game through again after I finish my essay! You're making it difficult to get things done, what with Zelda here too! :P
Comment by kendals
December 16, 2006, 11:57 pm
Well, I think it's very nice to revisit already released parts to enhance the story. Clearly shows the quality you are after :)
Nice interview as well... when are we expecting a next Bone episode?
Comment by bashar
January 1, 2007, 11:42 pm
Oh yes, please do a Mac OS X Version of the Directors Cut (And also a Version of Act"! ;)