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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.

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  • @nadir said:
    Originally Posted by prizna View Post
    I know there is no real need to tidy up the few "problems" like Herman Toothrot is H.T. Marley and the whole who pushed H.T. Marley into the whirlpool thing but if they chose to clean it up it could be done in a joking way, like it being explained and then Guybrush responding really sarcasticaly that it makes a lot of sense.

    Yes, that would be good :D

    HT: "Sorry saying that I was your grandfather Elaine, was a sideffect of my
    amnesia, in fact I am your mother Luke... Guybrush "

    HT:"What did I just say, I cannot remember anything"

  • @werpu said: HT: "Sorry saying that I was your grandpar Elaine, was a sideffect of my
    amnesia, in fact I am your mother Luke... Guybrush "
    HT:"What did I just say, I cannot remember anything"


    Now THAT is great. ROFL...

  • This is a total offtopic question, but seeing your avatar I couldn't resist. What are the possibilities of an Afterlife sequel? :D I loved that game, one of my all-time favorite strategy games. Allthough I prefered Jasper. Greetings from a humble HOHORAFSUMAist. ;)

  • Hey Mike!

    I'm sure you've answered this question somewhere on the internet, but I figure this thread's here for a reason! My question is this: What are your thoughts on Escape from Monkey Island?
    As I'm sure you're aware, some people adore it, some people hate it, some people are kinda in the middle. Presumably you did everything you could to make it the best game ever (I'm trying not to give away my own thoughts here). So how do you respond to the various different opinions people have voiced about it? Do you think everything in it was perfect, or do you regret some/most/all of the decisions you made for the game?
    I just figure I'm going to get the best understanding of the game by asking this to you, instead of discussing it with other MI fans.

    As a side question, when working on Tales do you find yourself drawing ideas and references from Escape more than the other three (because you wrote it) or do you manage to be fair and make Tales the sequel to the whole series, not just Escape.

    Apologies if I said anything to offend you. I'm not entirely sure what you think of Escape now. (which is why I asked the questions)

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @nadir said: Hi Mike,

    As long as they are well informed that these bugs will be squashed it shouldn't be too bad... Hopefully.


    Your lips to Oa's ears...


    Here are my questions:
    1. Who are your heroes, both in and outside of the games industry.


    Curiously, for a guy so into super-hero comics, I try not to have too many real-life heroes... that road can lead to idolatry.

    That said, I grow increasingly impressed with guys like Einstein, George Washington, John Adams, Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson with every passing year. Spines and brains... we need more of them.


    2. I realise this is a very important franchise with a lot of fans to please. For many this will be their first episodic adventure game, so it's got to make a good impression. I was wondering if a longer production cylce or a larger team has been allocated for TMI than previous telltale games, in order to help meet fan expectations.


    Well, we've been working on this puppy for quite a whole, but not particularly longer than any other franchise start-up. At least, that's my impression... I've only been here for a year-plus, after all :)


    3. Will forum goers get more opportunities to suggest book tiltes and the like for later episodes. I am concerned I may have put in my suggestions a little late.


    Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if something comes down the road... but don't quote me on it. Plans DO change constantly around here.


    4. You mentioned you like Zelda before. Which is your favourite Zelda game? I think Mines probably Majora's Mask, but it's a close call though.


    Curiously, Majora's Mask frustrated the heck out of me. Perhaps I should replay it in my Copious Free Time(tm Telltale Games). Wind Waker for the DS was better than I would possibly have imagined, and deserved to take its place with the other Zelda games.


    Thanks for taking the time to talk to us on this thread, and good luck getting everything finished for Tuesday :D


    Danke. It's almost there! I've officially been locked out of the code, which is always a good sign!

  • Hey mike hope no one asked this yet.

    Do you remember most of the plot/goal of Sam & Max: Freelance Police? If so 1. Ever thought of making under TellTale?
    2. Did you ever post or could you post the story and how it was gonna go?

    That's about it...i enjoyed the games that You worked on so keep up the good work.

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @martymcfly said: Hi Mike.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply in this forum.

    My questions with regards to game design is:

    1. Do you ever worry that the episodes won't retain the feel of the full length games that came before? Is this even an issue or is it good to be different?


    It's an issue, which is why we've tried really hard to design the season as though it were one massive Monkey Island adventure, broken into five fulfilling chapters. By the end of the season, if we've done our job, you'll feel like you played a HUGE Monkey Island game.


    2. Do the constant deadlines help or hinder?


    Nothing focuses the mind like a hard-as-nails deadline. It's stressful, but it's a passing stress.


    3. Is the overall story planned well in advance, or do major changes take place even towards the final episodes?


    The big beats are planned out well in advance. That said, the further out the episodes are, the more wiggle room we have to make some changes to the individual plots. Over the last few days we've re-rigged a number of plot points to the fourth chapter, making it even more over-the-top insane than we previously imagined.


    4. Would the games have been made if Dominic wasn't available? Or would that have been a major deterrant?


    I don't like to imagine a world in which Dominic wasn't available. We probably would've come up with an excuse for Guybrush to lose his voice for most of the season, or something equally lame.

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    ttg_Stemmle Telltale Staff

    @Lenar Hoyt said: This is a total offtopic question, but seeing your avatar I couldn't resist. What are the possibilities of an Afterlife sequel? :D I loved that game, one of my all-time favorite strategy games. Allthough I prefered Jasper. Greetings from a humble HOHORAFSUMAist. ;)

    I'd say there's a snowball's chance in heck :)

    Although, ye gods, what I could do with that concept today...

    Let's see if I can translate that without looking it up:

    Heaven Or Hell Only
    Reincarnation Always (Loops) Fate
    Souls Undergo Multiple Afterlives

    Mike

  • Hey Mike! First, I just want to say thank you so much for all your hard work on this project. Making alot of people happy. My question has to do with the character of LeChuck. Will he be the main threat in this game or will he have a role similar to Escape from Monkey Island (which I think is a great and very underrated game)? Thanks for your time and good luck with the remaining episodes.

  • @ttg_Stemmle said: I'd say there's a snowball's chance in heck :)

    Although, ye gods, what I could do with that concept today...

    Being an optimistic, i'll take that as a yes. :D Seriously, AL was a great game, very funny and all, but what i loved was the duality/balance concept. I also would love to see what you can with the concept today.... ;)

    @ttg_Stemmle said:
    Let's see if I can translate that without looking it up:

    Heaven Or Hell Only
    Reincarnation Always (Loops) Fate
    Souls Undergo Multiple Afterlives

    Mike

    In fact i don't recall the exact meaning. It was my status line or nick some years ago and i just memorized the acronym. But your translation makes a lot of sense. And yes, a L is missing, a typographic mistake. :rolleyes: HOHORALFSUMAists forever.

    Anyways, Mike thanks for answering, thanks for the new Monkey Island, and thanks for the great moments I spent with Afterlife in the days, and sorry for the offtopic.

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