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Q&A With the Design Team

posted by Chuck on - last edited - Viewed by 3.6K users

Hello, honorary Freelance Police! Thanks for pre-ordering the game.

I'm Chuck Jordan, designer and writer of "The Penal Zone", the first episode of "The Devil's Playhouse." I'm also the guy responsible for making sure all the season's stories fit together in some semblance of order.

This thread is for your questions about the new season, as well as "Beyond Time and Space" and "Save the World," and general Sam & Max design-type stuff. I'll be starting out, and as we go on I'll try to rope in the other designers: Mike Stemmle, Andy Hartzell, Joe Pinney, and Dave Grossman.

I'll be answering your questions whenever I've got the time & know-how, with a super-bonus semi-live Q&A today (Monday Mar 15) from 2-3 PM.

So ask away!

479 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Rather Dashing said: Is deep space the next logical step, though? For the story to get "bigger", do we have to...well, plunge through space? Or can we be content to have Sam and Max just drive to Mars once while globe-trotting?

    Does the story have to get bigger? I think it can get different. Sam & Max isn't like Lost where each season we zoom out to an even more macro view. It could take a hard right turn and spend half the season in a pocket dimension found in Jimmy Two-Teeth's rathole, and would be alright.

  • @Chuck said: Some of the other guys may have a different answer, but I wouldn't really redo anything. I think the new environments and characters look fantastic, and it's great to see everybody's hard work paying off and the chore guys' having more tools at their disposal. But I'm not an art guy, so the appeal of the other episodes was always the stories and the characters, which worked fine with the "old-style" environments.

    The writing and characters is what I fell in love with in the earlier games, and I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe I was getting more of that along with the snazzy new visuals. So a definite "agreed" on that point.

    @Chuck said: I saw a comment somewhere saying that the models hadn't been improved in season 3, which is disappointing since they got bumped up exactly where it counts: in the faces. They can do a lot of the expressions from the comics now, and it makes a world of difference. It would be interesting to see how the old scenes play out with the new facial animation, but I think the jokes carried about as well as they could even with the old models.

    The improved facial animations were one of the aspects of ToMI I got the most excited about. I'll take expressiveness over superfluous polygons any day. On that note ...

    @Chuck said: (While I'm thinking of it: I've actually seen some people online complaining that Sam & Max should've been made "furry". That's just wrong!)

    ... Yeah. No comment. Well, except for this, which is awesome mostly because it's a one-shot deal, not in spite of it.

    @Chuck said: Well, the comics treat Sam & Max as roughly equal in terms of insanity, but we have a harder time doing that in videogames. You can't have your "main" character be as completely unpredictable as Max, or you wouldn't be able to have any control over the story. So we've had to rein Sam in a little, and make him a little more Guybrush-y. We've been looking for ways to bring back a little of Sam's mania, though, and give him some more jokes instead of just handing them all over to Max. Over the course of the season, you should see Sam's character getting more interesting.

    Makes sense, and that's actually something I appreciate about the games. I enjoy the larger gulf between Sam and Max because it turns them into kinda-sorta-but-not-quite foils for each other, which we don't really get in the comics. Not at all a slight against the comics, though -- I love them too much for that. It's more a matter of personal preference, of what gives me more of a kick when it comes to interplay between "dynamic duos."

    That said, I do agree that giving Sam more to do than solve puzzles and volley jokes to Max can only be a good thing. I look forward to finding out what you mean by "Sam's character getting more interesting" during the season.

    (Oh, and, um, my question was referring more to Max getting to become president, a priest, and having his latent psychic powers realized while Sam apparently Can't Have Nice Things, so to speak. I'm not sure if I got that across before, or if I'm just missing something. It's pretty late right now, after all ... :o )

    @Chuck said: But you know, Max just is, and that's half the fun of the characters.

    But of course!

  • So who is designing each of the remaining season 3 episodes?

  • @stevens said: So who is designing each of the remaining season 3 episodes?

    To the best of my knowledge (I am possibly incorrect here, but...):

    1 is Chuck

    2 is Andy Hartzell (W&G: Fright of the Bumblebees, W&G: The Bogey Man) with Brendan Ferguson (Sam & Max Season One, Sam & Max Season Two) doing some early work with the design as well.

    3 is Joe Pinney (Tales of MI: Lair of the Leviathan, W&G: The Last Resort) design, and Mike Stemmle (Tales of MI: Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, Sam & Max Hit the Road) writing

    4 is basically the reverse of that, from what I hear -- Mike designing, Joe writing

    5 is Chuck

  • What influenced you to change the overall FEEL of The Street? I love how grimy it looks!

  • @The Highway said: What influenced you to change the overall FEEL of The Street? I love how grimy it looks!

    They wanted it to be closer to the feel of the comics.

  • Okay, first of all, SO! EXCITED! And thanks for coming here and answering all our questions.

    Right. Said questions:

    The control scheme - Is it similar to ToMI, straight-up point'n'click like previous seasons, or something else? For the record, I really liked the controls in ToMI.

    Also, new dialogue system! Very nice, very... Mass Effect-y. Speaking of, will there be any more dialogue-puzzles featuring direct control of Max's big mouth? I've really enjoyed the two (I think? Culture Shock and Ice Station Santa? Missing anything?) occasions where we've been able to switch back and forth between them in dialogue.

    And finally, with all the new wacky stuff going on, will there still be a driving mini-game in every episode?

  • @Winther said: The control scheme - Is it similar to ToMI, straight-up point'n'click like previous seasons, or something else? For the record, I really liked the controls in ToMI.

    Actually, there is a thread about that in the Sam & Max forum. Possible controls are Click&Drag, WASD, arrows, numpad and gamepad. I don't think I forgot any.

  • I didn't like the new way of making Sam talk. I preferred the old way, with the list, but i suppose I'll get used to it. Did you originally consider just keeping the old way for PC and changing it for PS3, or was it one way the whole way?

  • You mentioned stuff like Plan 9 from Outer Space and the Twilight Zone as being an influence on this series. Any other movies or any particular Twilight Zone episodes that I could watch to get in the mood for some freelance policing?

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