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Questions for Mike Stemmle? Post 'em here!

posted by Emily on - last edited - Viewed by 3.4K users

While the Q&A with the team thread is quite possibly the coolest thread in the history of Telltale's forum, we wanted to give you guys a chance to get a little more in depth with the folks working on the game, so starting this week we will be doing Q&As with specific members of the Tales of Monkey Island team... starting with designer Mike Stemmle!

[quote=Tales of Monkey Island team page]During his decade-plus tenure at LucasArts, Mike was kept as far away from Star Wars as possible, instead acting as lead designer on titles like Escape from Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Afterlife, and the never-released Sam & Max: Freelance Police. After several years working as lead writer on Star Trek Online, Mike came to Telltale, where he co-designed Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. His disturbing blend of dry wit, convoluted syntactical constructions, and bathroom humor have added a healthy helping of absurdity to the Tales of Monkey Island proceedings.[/quote]

Mike's the lead writer/designer on the first Tales of Monkey Island episode, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, so you should definitely pick his brain about that. But also feel free to ask about other projects he's worked on, his favorite color, his favorite Star Trek character, etc.

169 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Hi Mike,

    A non Monkey Island question to start. Telltale have so far either brought back old franchises or built an adventure game around established characters. While I'm not expecting you to spill the beans, do you have any wonderful ideas for a new episodic series and if so do you think they are likely to eventually become a reality?

    On a Monkey Island note, what is your favourite running gag of the series?

  • Hi Mike.

    When I preordered I wasn't expecting the private forum to be a genuine perk - how wrong I was! This is great fun.

    As one of a seemingly large British MI fanbase, I have a few related questions.

    Has Europe, and particularly the UK, been a large target market for TTG and is that even more so with the Monkey Island IP?

    Has any British humo(u)r been a major influence on you and your writing?

    Have you visited the UK often?

    One other unrelated question - Was moral in the team affected by some negative comments (especially about graphics) that appeared when Tales was announced?

  • Hi there!
    I'm sorry if this question has already been answered, but how will the player interact with the hot-spot objects on the screen? Will you have the option to 'examine', 'use', 'talk to' and 'pick up'? Or is it just one-click interaction like Sam & Max?

    Thank you!

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @Arodin said: It was commented in an E3 interview that you guys are all 10-15 years older now than when you last worked on Monkey Island and other classic adventure games. It also follows that most die hard fans of the classic Monkey Island games are also 10-15 years older now. How has that influenced your writing of the jokes and puzzles, if at all? Do you feel that you are purposely trying to go for more sophisticated humor to appeal to us old farts or trying to think 10-15 years younger to match the humor of the classic games?

    I can absolutely guarantee that my humor hasn't gotten any more sophisticated over the years. If anything, I've become more fascinated with bodily functions, words that sound dirty (but aren't), and the timeless comedy of blows to the head.

    Hopefully, the rest of Monkey fandom has regressed with me.

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @LuigiHann said: What? No. Just that you and Mike Chapman have the same first name. It was kind of an "I can't think of any good questions" question.

    Har! Congratulations on inadvertently discovering a sore spot in my writing armor! Seriously, if you go take a look at the first draft of the script for SBCG4AP episodes 1 and 3, you'll find, like, a gazillion uses of the word "hey." It's a conversational crutch that I lean into like Don Baylor crowding a strike zone.

    And yes, both Mike C and I did respond to "hey Mikes" simultaneously on occasion. The prevalence of Mikes in the world is one reason I'm typically referred to as "Stemmle" in the office.

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @mhaley said: Hey, Mike.

    I have a question, but I don't know whether or not it can be properly answered until after the game is released to the public. While designing Tales of Monkey Island, were there many ideas that were tossed around, but in the end, left on the cutting room floor?

    I'll let you know after we ship :)

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @PariahKing said: Why did Stone LeChuck die at the end of Escape?

    True evil can never die. Just look at Dick Cheney. Or better yet, don't. If you ignore him, maybe he'll go away.

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @Silverwolfpet said: Hello Mike!

    First, it's a great privilege to talk to you and I want to thank you (as I thanked everybody on the team) for bringing back our childhoods once more.
    Second, the questions (I'll try to keep them short):

    1. What was the first line that you wrote for the game (the first thing you actually put on paper)?
    i.e. One of Guybrush's lines, the plot summed up in one sentence, a minor detail regarding one character or something more practical such as "must buy milk" etc.


    According to the database, the first line I actually wrote is something about "Pink Pajamas Pierre." How weird. Of course, by that time, we'd already worked out the plot, written a whole bunch of story outlines and whatnot. I couldn't tell you what came first.


    2. How does a normal work day go for you? Do you enter work place - sit down - drink coffee - write ideeas - watch youtube - write some more - draw - go home? :) I'm really curious how much work there is to be done on a normal day.


    During non-crunch my days start at 8:30 (I'm an early riser, especially with Charlie and Max getting me up at 5:30), with coffee and emails. Then it's a full day of writing, coding, and reviewing, usually punctuated by a one-hour design meeting for projects down the road (right now it's episode 4) and a one hour lunch at my desk (inexpensive and healthy). On normal days I go home at six. Right now that's stretching out a bit.


    3. What exactly did you work on in MI4? I am talking about an ideea that was 100% yours that made it into the game (i.e. the duck or Giant LeChuck Statue)


    Sean Clark and I pretty much designed the whole kit and kaboodle of EFMI together. I couldn't tell you which idea came from where at this point.


    4. Would you work on a Monkey Island Movie? (I know it will never happen, but if someone would just have sooo much money on his hands and was a MI fan?) :p


    I'd be glad to, but they'd probably cast Owen Wilson as Guybrush or something, and that would kinda suck.


    5. What is the most dearest memory of them all, regardin the MI series?


    The skeleton dance of Guybrush's parents. No wait, Insult Swordfighting. Or maybe it was the spitting contest. Or the puppet show. Do I really have to pick?


    Okay, I've got to go polish the finale,
    Mike

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    Sean A Telltale Staff

    Hey Mike ole buddy ole pal!

    Let's say I want to write for Telltale, but I have no game experience or marketable skills of any kind. Several questions that might help me along:

    What are the chances a resume written on a scrap of toilet paper will get me anywhere?

    If I stalk you, is that a bad thing? (Keep in mind I give a mean footrub.)

    What's the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?

    How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if his father forced him into it?

    Do I have any recourse at all? How did you get into it (I'd imagine it was a different world back then, but it's always interesting to find out)?

    Has anything this blatant and pathetic ever worked?

    Thanks ahead of time if you answer these. If not, ampersand off.;)

  • [quote=shoemonkey;137589]
    what's the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?
    [/quote]

    42 duh!!

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