Here's the questions and answers Mister Grossmen answered for Dagbladet (Norwegian Newspaper) from the Norwegian internet fans. I'm gonna give the link, but will copy/paste the questions/answers for people too lazy to move from the site:
Just one comment...
Longer episodes, please! :o)
also, I want DOTT2!
Submitted by: tom
How about if we just make the characters talk slower?
How are it hanging dude.
Submitted by: Ole
Very well, thanks.
By the way, sorry for the slight technical difficulties which prevented me from being here two hours ago. Welcome to the digital age!
How important has the digital download services, such as steam etc, become for developers as you?
And do you think it has sort of "saved" the PC-platform? And what do you think is the next "step" in the right direction?
Submitted by: PC gamer
Well, digital download is absolutely critical for us - it's really the only way to do episodic delivery effectively. (Imagine if you had to go to the store to pick up each episode of your favorite TV show.) We do have a channel on our own site, but Steam, GameTap, and the like have also been hugely important in getting our games out. Not to mention WiiWare and XBLA. And it will only get better, as every appliance in your home starts to have a download channel, we'll make games for them all. Look for Monkey Island on your toaster soon.
Murray for president!
How about a spinoff game: Murray's EVIL adventures. You have to solve impossible EVIL puzzles to find suitable (or totally unsuitable) bones so he can finally spread his demonic presence to the world!
Submitted by: Mats \"Yaharr?\" Aubell
I like it. Murray's a fun character. Maybe we could also do a game about Stan, where you have to sell hair tonic to bald people and so on....
I don't need no fancy title
I was trying to think of some funny quote from the monkey island games but then i figured, why bother? You've probably heard them all before. Do you have a favorite quote from Guybrush Threepwood or any of his friends, and what is the most common quote people give you when they talk to you about the games?
Submitted by: Sveinzorro
I think the one I use and hear most often is some variant on "Look, a three-headed monkey!" which captures something of the very silly flavor of the entire series. But the one that continues to be my favorite is "Hi, I'm Guybrush Threepwood, and I want to be a pirate." (Possibly I haven't quoted that exactly perfectly.) It tells the player everything she needs to know in one sentence - I wish all adventure games set themselves up that quickly and then just let you play.
As i move through the new contend in monkey island i fall in love... will i ever see a DOTT follow up?
That game is my all time favorite and no game comes close to that one except monkey island.
I think its to little point and click games today, and we need more!
Submitted by: Magnum
I'm glad you're enjoying the series!
And I'm glad you liked DOTT, too. As for whether we, or anyone else, will continue that series, I'm afraid I haven't got an answer for you. Time will tell!
I miss MI for mac
I was so thrilled to see that telltale was reviving Monkey Island (but considering the fact that Guybrush had an unbreakable 5 game deal, I guess you didn't have much of a choise :)
But I wish you would make the game available for mac too. For once I regret getting a mac...
Keep up the good work! I'd love to see Maniac mansion/DOT in a telltale version.
Submitted by: Systeryster
I feel your pain. I used to be a die-hard Mac user, too. That's also true for some other people here at the studio, including our CTO, so maybe someday we'll find the bandwidth to make our games work on the Mac as well. (No promises, though.)
What do you think of Brutal Legend? I think it was a huge disappointment.
Submitted by: Peter
It looks great projected on the side of a two-story building! (We did that one evening here at the office.) I think the story and details are awesome and hilarious - head-banging miners, for example, which is generally the case with everything Tim does. I wish there were more games with that kind of imagination behind them.
Monkey Island uses an old theme. When will we see some true innovation in the adventure genre?
Submitted by: Morten
Monkey Island is a little bit retro on purpose, because of the nature of the existing audience. But I think if you compare it to earlier adventure games, it's quite different. The story design is different, the puzzle design is different, even the controls are different. Small changes, yes, but of critical importance.
Lechuck's revenge was and still is my favorite computer game ever, Will there be a remake of this game like the secret of monkey island special edition? and if so, will both the easy and hard game mode (extra puzzles) be available?
Submitted by: Klogd
I don't know if LucasArts will do a special edition for LeChuck's Revenge or not. You'd have to ask them that. It wouldn't surprise me, though.
A opersonal observation
I have played trough most of the MI-series, with the first one for over a decade ago. What I remember from that time was that the game took so much longer to play trough, since we actually had to solve all the riddles our selves. And if we didn't, we had to ask our buddies at school, or wait like a month until a gamer magazine came with a solution. For my part this was one of the things that made the games special, and I have many memories from all those hours trying weird combinatons of actions to solve a problem.
Nowadays, we can just alt-tab and Google our problem, and it's solved within a minute. In one way I feel that this is taking the fun out of the game, but in the same time I find that i don't want to use the whole afternoon just to try to get on with the story. Its kind of too easy to get the answers now.
Is this something that you are aware of when you are developing games as this one?
Submitted by: Jan M. Oland
Yes, we're aware that the audience for games has changed since 1990, players are older and have less free time and less patience, and we take that into account when we design. And since we're working episodically, there's also this: It's really important that players finish each episode, and do so by the time the next one comes out. So we try to walk that line where they are both challenging and solveable.
I also think that if you get to that point where you go to Google for a puzzle solution, the designer has missed the mark and made something that's too frustrating.
Hey there. The games industry has become as soulless and shameless as the movie industry. Most of the products are either remakes or sequels, why are there no one with the balls to make NEW and INVENTIVE things? It seems bedroom gaming and the acne infected 18 year olds were better at creating games than multimillion dollar companies. I for one wont buy these blatant cash-in products. I loved the originals, and out of respect I refuse to touch these new gimmicks.
Submitted by: Tom the nerd
Original IP, pffft!
OK, actually, I love working on new stuff, but working with an existing IP is a huge head-start, and I'm not sure people outside the industry understand to what degree that's true. Developing an original takes more time since you start with nothing, and then when you're done, you have a huge marketing challenge, to find the audience and explain the game to them. As a game developer, you can expect that to double your cost, no kidding. Which is a big leap to make when you're trying to keep a studio afloat, which is why you see more novel ideas coming out of people's garages than out of multi-million dollar companies. What you're seeing are the results of cold business realities rather than the desire or ability of developers to come up with new intellectual property.
Why did you make Guybrush so cartoonish?
Bring back the old Mr. Threepwood like he was portrayed on the front covers of MI 1 and 2 and i might actually start playing the series again!
Submitted by: G.P. LeChuck
We put a lot of thought into the look of the series, and Guybrush in particular. We wanted to preserve something of the painterly look from MI 1 and 2 (and Guybrush's coat is a direct nod to LeChuck's Revenge), but made Guybrush kind of tall and thin to accentuate his character (less so than in MI3, though). (Guybrush, by the way, might have been taller from the beginning of the series, but in 1989 there was a limit to how big we could draw the characters.) Also, we wanted everything to look good on the Wii, and that helped define the direction as well. All in all, I think we came up with a great look.
Hello and thanks for some great games, reviving the adventure genre and not least the MI series!
But why did you chose the keyboard+mouse combination for your games instead of the classic point and click system? Was it just to save time and money for console conversions? Why not let the PC players choose? One of the great things with the classic system is that you have a free hand to drink Grog with! ;)
And do we get a Money Island season 2?
Submitted by: Trono
Partly the intent was to make something that would feel familiar to the overwhelming majority of gamers who are used to console systems, but we also wanted to capture the feeling of involvement that you get by driving the character directly - point and click is cool and I'm a big fan, but it definitely feels more passive than a direct control scheme. Our approach is a bit of a hybrid, and in fact the keyboard is optional - you can drive the character with the mouse alone (hold down the mouse button) if you want to keep a hand free for holding your grog.
Season 2. When?!!
Submitted by: Erlend H. Kannelønning
I couldn't say, but it's nice to know you want one!
Telltale games coming to Playstation 3?
First of all thanks for making great games! Is there any plans of porting some of Telltales games over to the Playstation 3?
Many adults own a PS3 and would probably love your games. Again thanks and keep up the good work at Telltales! :)
Submitted by: Svein Olav Larsen
We'd love to get onto the PS3 (we'd love to get onto anything that has a download channel). It's a question of juggling opportunities more than anything else, but it's certainly on the "things we'd like to do" list.
How much wood
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Submitted by: Øyvind
I would check with Chuck.
A tricky question
What is, of all the endless possibilities, the best use of a rubber ducky with a pulley in the middle?
Thank you for a fantastic season and hopefully theres a second one coming in the near future too.
Submitted by: The not-so-mighty pirate
Sliding back and forth along the shower curtain rod, of course. But be very careful while doing this. Most injuries occur in the home.
What was the plan?
Did you ever think the Monkey Island series would be such a major success? Were there any signs during development? The first game is forever a part of who I am, still the best game I ever played!
Submitted by: Cesc Pistols
Midway through development I think we were confident that we were making something fun, but that's as far as it goes. The fact that people are still talking about the game twenty years later is awesome and flattering, but I don't think you can ever predict that sort of thing until it happens.
Thanks for the compliment!
As a big fan of Monkey Island, I though Monkey Island 1 Special Edition was a great thing!
Can we expect Monkey Island 2 and 3 to get a special edition?
Submitted by: Erik
That's a question for LucasArts. I can give you their number....
Thanks for a great series.
Wonders if there is any plans to produce an x360 version of tales of monkey island?
Submitted by: Erik
Why, haven't you got a PC or a Wii?
OK, actually, sometimes we do take a series to a new platform - Sam & Max, for example, is on the 360 now. But I can't say whether we will or won't do that for Monkey.
When is the next episode coming? :]
You satisfied all my expectations and then some with this new Monkey Island story! :) I love it! (and I'm old enough to have played the first one too)
Has the game been the success you wished for? Will there be more? (when?!) How is the marked for this kind of games these days? What age is your typical customer/player?
(ps:I try to sell it to my friends! They are kinda slow and want to try before buy..:o)
Wish you all the best Grog(tm) in the world!
Submitted by: Morten Threepwood
Your enthusiasm is invigorating! I'm glad you approve of Tales of Monkey Island. It's done well for us, probably our most striking success to date. And I'd like to give you more episodes, but we just released the season finale yesterday and the office is half empty today. Everybody's pretty tired, so I'd like to let them rest for a bit.
this game will be available for download on Xbox Live any time soon? Pretty please, with dairy farmers on top?
Submitted by: Mancomb Seepgood
See earlier question about the 360 for my maybe someday answer. Which I guess is not precisely the same question, but if we did it for 360 the chance is pretty high that it would go out on XBLA as opposed to being a retail game.
More Monkey Island? And some more...
I had never before this summer ever heard of Monkey Island. I read an article about it, and thought it might be funny to play it, so I began with Tales of Monkey Island. I loved it. I bought SoMI - Special Edition the very same month as it was released. So thank you mr. Grossman, and the others at the awesome Telltale Games for the Monkey Island experience!
So to my questions: The end last episode was one a beast. Many wonders if there are coming more seasons of Monkey Island from you. I just wondered that if it does - how can you make a game that tops this one? Especially the very last scene in episode 4? I really do not want to be disappointed, so it would be cool if you did. (That is, if you ever will make a MI game again, of course.)
Do YOU know the Secret of Monkey Island, or is the only person who knows that named Ron Gilbert?
And finally: Is it fun to make games?
Thanks for a great game^^
Submitted by: Ravn
You're welcome, and I'm glad you're enjoying Monkey Island. Since you mentioned "others at the awesome Telltale Games," I want to take a moment to give props to just a couple of them:
Kudos to Mark Darin and Mike Stemmle, for designing and writing an excellent season. Joe Pinney and Sean Vanaman for wrangling the tricky middle episode. And Jake Rodkin for adding his excellent cinematic instincts and working late into the night to solve problems cleverly. Yay, team!
As for how we top this, be it with more monkeys or some other series, I'm not sure. It's quite a challenge. But we'll think of something.
Secret of Monkey Island: I suppose Ron could have been lying to me. But it doesn't matter, because I have been bound to secrecy by means of an ancient voodoo curse which will cause me to crumble to dust if I reveal anything.
Making games: Anything you do for a living automatically becomes work. But I bet making games is more fun than other kinds of work.
Why episode based?
Why is it that everything is episodebased these days?
I love the early LucasArts games purly because they were big, simple, yet complex and funny.
But lately, with the episodes, it's almost like playing an extended demo.
I understand that it's a sale-strategy, but it seems like nothing comming out today's going to be as epic as DOTT, or MI 1/2/3, because one episode last as long an act in these games, and therefor is not that memorable.
Submitted by: Stewart
The short answer is that by working episodically, we change the goal from entertaining you for the duration of a game to entertaining you for about five or six solid months. The speculation and discussion that goes on between episodes, the feedback from the audience during the run, the contests we have at the web site, the music tracks we release, all of it is part of the experience. And I would argue that working episodically feels MORE epic, not less, because the overall tale has something like twenty acts instead of three or four, and because of the actual calendar time that you spend with unresolved questions in your head. And I know that at least some of the audience agrees with me on that point, but you certainly don't have to.
Hey! What about making a new Day Of The Tentacle game, i think that Day Of The Tentacle is one off the best games ever!!
Submitted by: Alex
I'll get right on that.
(Thanks for liking DOTT!)
Hey, Grossman. Do you think Maniac Mansion 3 will be made?
Day Of The Tentacle is one of the best game ever.
Submitted by: Daniel
See previous question....
His apperance in the third episode is without a doubt the high peak of the TMI-series, you should consider having him on every episode.
Murray in one of five episodes was far to low.
Submitted by: Alexander
Murray is like a fine caviar. You want to use him sparingly. Although somebody did suggest making a whole Murray game, which would probably be pretty fun.
The Telltale Tool
Congratulation on a great season of MI, and thank you for everything you've given to us point'n click-adventure-gamers.
My questions are:
1: - Valve has released a public SDK, and has profited on buying public game-projects like L4D,CS and Team Fortress(2). I'm sure Telltale could profit the same way!
- What are the chances of Telltale releasing a public-version of the Telltale-Tool?
2:- Beeing a big fan of both Telltale and MI, I was one of the first to pre-order ToMI. What was the sale-expectations of ToMI before its release, and have it met its expectations after? - Were you surprised in any way by the number of (pre)orders?
3:- On behalf of all scandinavians and americans with scandinavian roots(Scandi-Americans!), I'm a bit dissapointed that there hasn't been much reference in your games to our dark, fearsome history. The last I've seen was Stans Viking boat in 'Secret of Monkey Island'. (Yey!)
- Are you Scandi-American, and will you consider altering the upcoming Sam & Max-season's screenplay by any means neccesary to include some norse/norwegian elements? If Obama can get the Nobel peace-prize, why can't Max get it? I'm sure its already on his list of "Things to do before _SAM_ dies".
I guess that's enough questions (for now!).
Again thank you for making great games, I'm looking forward to the next release of Sam&Max.
Submitted by: Magnus Henning
1. The Tool is awesome and does all kinds of interesting things, but I think it's got a way to go before it's user-friendly enough for public use. It's a work in progress, with a new version literally every day. So I wouldn't look for a release any time soon.
2. Without getting into specifics, sales have been good, and we're happy about that.
3. A clear oversight. I'll have my people work to correct this immediately. (I happen to be one-eighth Swedish - is it a mistake to mention this on a Norwegian web site? I have some cousins who are Norwegian....)
Regarding Ron Gilbert
Dear Mr. Grossman,
First of all, thank you for participating in the production of what i regard some of the finest video games ever made. I still play the classics from time to time - they are truly timeless.
My question relates to your work with Ron Gilbert: How do you feel about him no longer being involved in the Monkey Island universe? For me, the games lost some of their charm after MI2 - it may be naïve to acredit this simply to Gilbert leaving, but still - it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Submitted by: Andreas
In this modern age, it's quite common for a series to pass from hand to hand, it's just part of the framework in which we operate. With The Curse of Monkey Island, I actually appreciated this, because it meant that I got to experience a Monkey Island game from the point of view of the audience.
That said, when I think of Monkey Island, I do immediately think of Ron, and I know the series to be near and dear to his heart. Fortunately, your assertion that he's not involved is not entirely correct - early in the design process for Tales of Monkey Island, I called Ron to talk about it, and he wound up coming in for several days to put his two cents in. Not the same as having him run the project personally, granted, but helpful nonetheless to talk about the characters and situations with him.
First of all I'm wondering if the mostly undisputed quality-wise boom in television (which is mostly episodicly planned) the last couple of years have given you any incentives as to how you construct episodic games, and if so, are there any particular favorites for the development team?
Submitted by: Jonas Hansen
We certainly do take some inspiration from television when it comes to structuring the experience. Also comic books, Harry Potter novels, and, well, all sorts of things, really.
As for favorites, I can't say that this series was specifically a source of structural inspiration, only that an unusual number of people in the studio seem to like it: Arrested Development. Which probably says something about us as a studio....
from where do companies like telltale recruit their script/dialogue writers? do a lot of them have, say, experience from TV/movies/comedy, or is it more of a "i've got this friend who's hilarious" kind of approach?
Submitted by: magenta cartridge
Telltale is a little bit unusual in that the tasks of writing and designing are so intertwined in most cases that it's a single job, so we have to look for these rare people who can think on both sides of their brains simultaneously. The tendency is for them to be game designers who can also write well (being hilarious, by the way, is not an indicator of whether someone can write well), but some go the other way, that is, they're writers who have a facility for game design and non-linear thinking. Hardly any have done TV or movies in any serious way - some of the skills translate well, but the transition to an interactive medium is difficult.
And I hate to say it, but this is going to have to be the last question - I've got to get something to eat and get back to work. Thanks for having me, and for giving me things to talk about. And of course, be sure to go out and buy more Telltale games immediately....