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Questions for Mike Stemmle? Post 'em here!

posted by Emily on - last edited - Viewed by 2.8K 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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  • I actually still don't get it why you can beat Jojo Jr. only if you loose bananas up to the point where, if you score, he looses all his bananas too. It's weird! Is it like a... karate kid thing? A "wise old man" theory? A "You can only win if you learn how to lose" stuff? Oh well...

  • @Silverwolfpet said: I actually still don't get it why you can beat Jojo Jr. only if you loose bananas up to the point where, if you score, he looses all his bananas too. It's weird! Is it like a... karate kid thing? A "wise old man" theory? A "You can only win if you learn how to lose" stuff? Oh well...

    Um, I don't understand. Granted it's been a while since I last played EFMI, but I thought you just keep attacking him until he makes the mistake of going for a tie instead.

    This does seem to be the only theory that makes sense. I always just assumed there was no logic to that puzzle (and that's the reason I hated it so much) but this seems to be a somewhat plausible explanation.

    The monkey, in addition to beating his head, will also droop his hands down to the ground first - which LeChuck also does, allowing Elaine to escape.

    I always thought this was obvious, but the final cutscene admittedly doesn't make it clear - and you don't really have to work it out to do it. Winning's not working, nor is losing - going for a draw's the only thing left.

    Still, all the Monkey Island games, save MI2, have easy finales. At least this one's epic! I just wish it had been a Giant Stone Monkey, with the same head. I wouldn't have had a problem with that.

  • @The Tingler said: Um, I don't understand. Granted it's been a while since I last played EFMI, but I thought you just keep attacking him until he makes the mistake of going for a tie instead.

    I don't really remember much, but I do know that this was not the way I beat him. Hmmm... Let me get back to you on that. I'll check out some gameplay footage.

  • @The Tingler said: I always thought this was obvious, but the final cutscene admittedly doesn't make it clear - and you don't really have to work it out to do it.

    I think it's a little hard to figure out. I mean why should a giant stone egoless LeChuck act exactly like a monkey? I don't recall any dialogue that would have possibly have pointed me along that line of thinking, or anything that highlighted the importance of the monkey reaction animations. I think I did notice the finger waging was the same but I just thought they were reusing animations because of budget or time restrictions.

    That's got to be the second most confusing Monkey Island ending I've ever seen.

    But, yes it was at least epic. I know I have been doing a lot of complaining about EMI but I still really like the game. There's a lot of things it did right. It just has a few issues is all.

  • [quote=nadir]If you have a better theory that explains how exactly 3 draws in Monkey Kombat allows LeChuck to regain control I'd like to hear it.[/quote]

    Well, LeChuck is a powerful beeing and if his desire to marry Elaine saved him from death several times, it is possible, that he broke from Ozzie spell when his bride escaped (and her escape was caused by Monkey Kombat move - that's right). Just a theory - that's how i thougt it happened. Would be nice to get some details from Mike : )
    And one more detail - if I recall correctly, every "draw" animation was a single move (droping hands down, finger waging or hitting head - always one while you draw)

  • @nadir said: I think it's a little hard to figure out. I mean why should a giant stone egoless LeChuck act exactly like a monkey? I don't recall any dialogue that would have possibly have pointed me along that line of thinking, or anything that highlighted the importance of the monkey reaction animations. I think I did notice the finger waging was the same but I just thought they were reusing animations because of budget or time restrictions.

    That's got to be the second most confusing Monkey Island ending I've ever seen.

    But, yes it was at least epic. I know I have been doing a lot of complaining about EMI but I still really like the game. There's a lot of things it did right. It just has a few issues is all.

    Well, if humans didn't have egos wouldn't we all act like apes, the previous evolutionary ancestor? :P Might be a bit of a stretch, but it makes sense to me.

  • Didn't work on Pegnose this way - he started to act like a scared child or a paranoic, but not an ape.

  • I don't know that I care much how epic the ending was. It was still my least favorite ending of the four games. Solving the last couple puzzles didn't make me feel like I accomplished anything...turning off the tower was too obvious, and I sorta stumbled on how to beat Ozzie/LeChuck without really understanding why I needed to do those things.

    The best MI ending was MI2. It becomes obvious what the puzzle is to beat the game, and it relies on knowledge you've gained by playing the game, but it still takes awhile to figure out how to put all the pieces together. That was a great final puzzle.

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    Hey guys, sorry I've been away so long, but we've been bolting down the press build for Chapter 1, which is looking to be about 98.3% of the actual Chapter 1 gameplay experience (plus-or-minus a few bug and music tweaks).

    While I'm here, I'll clear up a little confusion about the end of EFMI: LeChuck and Ozzie are indeed defeated because Guybrush goes for the tie in Monkey Kombat, causing the giant LeChuck statue to slap his head with his hands, just like all the monkeys do when there's a tie. Nasty puzzle, without as much foreshadowing as I would throw into it if I were writing it today.

    As to how LeChuck survived getting blowed up real good for the umpteenth time, well, there's a story behind that...

    Mike

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @OzzieMonkey said: Hey Mike!
    I know that the fourth episode is called "The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood", so would that have anything to do with the goodsoups and/or blood island? Also, if you were able to fix any plot holes that were in EMI with TMI, what would you fix? I guess for me i would probably fix the herman story, but thats just my opinion :D

    No Goodsoups currently planned in Ep 4, just a good old fashioned pirate-y trial and execution for Guybrushs's various crimes.

    As for plot holes, my preferred modus operandi is navigate around them rather than fill them. These stories are short enough as it is without wasting a heckuvalotta time on continuity smoothing. That said, if I can retcon a really bad idea (particularly one of mine) away with a single line of funny dialog, I'll jump at the chance.

    Note the complete lack of an actual answer there,
    Mike

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