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Questions for Mike Stemmle? Post 'em here!

posted by Emily on - last edited - Viewed by 3.1K 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.

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  • [quote=Jake]We're going to use Monkey Island as a political and religious football.[/quote]A++ humor, would pre-order again.

    ...

    All right. Thanks. That makes me very happy. :)

    And I apologize for almost bringing disaster and destruction upon us all.

  • @Jake said:
    Really, though, the focus of Tales of Monkey Island's big picture story is all about the piracy, seafaring, legends, nationalized health care, and voodoo-infused goodness that we all "remember" when thinking about MI. In short, going topical with the overarching story and themes isn't something we see as part of Monkey Island, unless those topics happen to be humor and awesome, hopefully evocative, pirate stuff.

    References to Captain Jack Sparrow?
    Pirate ships with overtly politicized bumper stickers?
    "Don't Download This Song" By Weird Al in the soundtrack?
    :p

  • @Dionysus said: Hmmm... I absolutely adored Escape. I actually started playing it again last night and remembered how great it was. I had just got done playing CMI and the first thing I noticed in EMI is that I was actually laughing out loud--frequently. Don't get me wrong, CMI is perfect in everyway and I enjoy it immensley, but I find EMI more witty and hilarious. I never did understand why it was the "odd duck out." Maybe I am just weird.

    Although, I do understand two things: I missed Lechuck as the lead villain and...

    When I control the game I DO feel like I am operating heavy machinery. Accursed post 1997 belief that point and click was dead!

    I think Escape was the first Monkey Island game I ever finished, and I really did enjoy it. Personally I liked that Lechuck wasn't the lead villian, in the same way that I really liked that Gannondorf was absent in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. It gave it the chance to be something really different.

    I also liked the topical humor and was glad that the new Sam and Max episodes also have that.

    What I didn't like was when I went back to play the other games and finding out how the story doesn't fit together so well because of story elements introduced in EMI.

    It probably bothers me more than it should, but there are so many direct contradictions to things said in past entries in the series. Were you aware of these contradictions present in EMI when it was released?

    I'd like to see the story get straightened out so the chronology makes sense but I'm doubtful that will happen.

  • 1. As a fan of the original games, for me the story of the first two games are the only one I consider the real story. The third game was something as an alternative story arch that I accepted because it was funny and entertaining. But in my opinion, the fourth game was......blasphemy. It rewrote the story arch from the first games, which are my all time favorite games. For example, the robot monkey destroyed much of the part in the first game where you were on Monkey Island. What was previously a port something that resembled hell, was now a robot?

    My question is; Can I expect these new games to ignore references to the fourth game, or is it a a continuation of the series, that accepts such things as the "Monkey Head Robot"-failure? (which it is imho)

    I may sound negative there, but I have quite high hopes that Tales of Monkey Island will be something like the Curse of Monkey Island. Which means that it might not be something that we can feel is Ron Gilberts true vision of a sequel (I say feel, since I can´t read Ron´s mind), but something that at least tries to the story arch from part one and two. Which is way I have pre-purchased the whole season.

    2. I still hold the puzzles from the first games as something of the best in the genre. That is because if didn´t rely so much on plain "use object A on object B" inventory based puzzles. They had many of those, but at the same time, they varied them with other. For example, the treasure hunt based on dancing lessons, the "the hip bone connected to..." song, the spitting contest and so on. Can I accept puzzles and problems like those, or do you think such puzzles are to hard for the target audience for Tales of Monkey Island?

    3. Which adventure games besides those from LucasArts and Telltale (like Broken Sword, Syberia, Blade Runner, etc) would you say that you really like? None is an answer to. ;)

    4. Do you have any opinion on the subject "is it possible to continue the story in Grim Fandango"? :)

    I have high hopes that you will deliver some very entertaining adventure games in this first season, and I´m really glad that you are giving this a try. I have purchased many games from you before, and even if don´t like Tales of Monkey Island, i will continue to support you. :)

  • Mike,

    I have a really weird question for you. It is so improbable, that there's really no point in me asking it. But, then again, if you never ask, you never might find out, so here goes:

    How about you gather all the fans from the Private Pirates Club, and work with them on a sequel to one of those great games (Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango etc)? I'm sure noone will ask for money, and plenty of us have different talents (or, at least friends with different talents), and you could control a workforce that may not be 100% reliable, but true to it's wishes.
    Fangames usually die due to lack of interest or leadership. If we would work with you, you can invest a smaller budget into the creation of this game. We could all sign a digital contract, to keep this whole thing secret under penalty of law.
    Have you ever thought of that? Would it work? Could we at least try it?

  • And here I thought Guybrush would prefer a healthcare system that allowed him to seek his fortune through the means of obtaining private health care specifically designed to aid pirates. After all, I haven't exactly seen Threepwood deal with the government, um, ever. Other than sleeping with it, I mean.

  • @Rather Dashing said: And here I thought Guybrush would prefer a healthcare system that allowed him to seek his fortune through the means of obtaining private health care specifically designed to aid pirates. After all, I haven't exactly seen Threepwood deal with the government, um, ever. Other than sleeping with it, I mean.

    I think Guybrush is more likely to start a Pirate union and organize union health care :-D

    He seems like a card carrying pirate union kinda guy to me ;-D

  • @parabolee said: I think Guybrush is more likely to start a Pirate union and organize union health care :-D

    He seems like a card carrying pirate union kinda guy to me ;-D

    Except, who would the pirates unionize against? The captain? In that case, Guybrush, being a captain, would have to actually deal with unionized pirates. There could be a lot of humor in that. (Though I'm glad it's not in the game)

  • @hplikelike said: Except, who would the pirates unionize against? The captain?

    I think that's called a mutiny.

  • I've finally come up with a question.

    I know that Telltale only works with licenses from other companies, so you can consider this hypothetical. If you were given free reins to design a game from scratch, without having to pay attention to market, budget or other boring restraints, what would you do? What would the story be like; would it even be an adventure game? What's your "dream project"? Apart from Monkey Island and Sam & Max, that is.

    This forum = the bestest fan service imaginable. Keep it up, Telltale! We love you.

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