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Q&A With the Design Team

posted by Chuck on - last edited - Viewed by 4.3K 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
  • [quote=pwblaine]Was the point and click genre simply a matter of the development technology available at the time? or is it a more deeply rooted stylistic choice? I must say, I've stayed such a true fan over all these years because it seem your team has stayed loyal to it's fans. As graphics and rendering power has increased, so far you haven't let that change how the gameplay feels. What would an open world sam and max game play like? What's your opinion on changing gameplay between games in a series?[/quote]
    To be clear: there are no plans for an open-world Sam & Max game; that was a joke.

    Dave could talk about the overall design focus better than I could, but basically the appeal of graphic adventures (not just point and click!) to TTG is that they're best suited to storytelling and character development, which is the company's focus. I don't believe the company is as attached to the "graphic adventure" label as much as "how do you use a game to tell a story?" The adventure game format is one that usually works well, though, and is one that most of the people in the company are familiar with and like playing.

    [quote=pwblaine]Oh and, are there any games in you've developed that you feel you were a mistake? or that weren't what you wanted when you thought them up?[/quote]
    No, no game is perfect but they all end up telling you something valuable about what works and what doesn't.

    [quote=Huggernaut]What sorts of games to the designers tend to play? Is it a pretty mixed bag, or do one or two genres come up most of the time?[/quote]
    Almost half the office plays Team Fortress 2, and that got my vote for game of the year whenever it came out (2 years ago? Longer?) I can't speak for the other designers, but my favorite games tend to be RPGs, city-building or world-building games, or whenever a big story-based shooter comes out like BioShock or Half-Life 2. And Final Fantasy Tactics is the best videogame ever made.

  • @Diduz said: a nice cover by Steve (I assume Steve will handle the cover) . :)


    I really hope they don't give us a cover that's like the Wii or retail PC releases. I was really not impressed with Save the World, and while Beyond Time and Space was a good deal better...it just doesn't compare to the Steve Purcell cover.

  • Ok, I have a quick question: Will the basic movement and control and movement be the same for all consoles? Because I wasn't really a fan on ToMI's click and hold movement that was meant more for the Wii.

  • What's your favorite of Bosco's disguises from Season 1?

  • @Chuck said: The PC players most interested in those would be you guys on the forum, who seem to prefer the detailed "Did you try?" lists over achievements anyway, since there's a little bit more info and y'all can discuss them on the message boards.


    Maybe my experience with Anno 1404 influenced me, but even if that's a PC SP title it seems to be popular amongst folks getting all achievements. And they can get pretty detailed (more so than the lists on the site). Not to mention be talked about on forums (true, mostly the bugged ones, but still :p)
    Or maybe I just try to convince you guys because I find it more convient to see it all ingame, instead of going our here browsing to the site.

    Anyway, enough rambling from me, on to some more questionaries:
    * Are there 'sets' from previous seasons that return, the restaurant and office (and modified street) excluded?
    * With the talk of 'one game' ToMI have you guys dedicated effort into making S&M 3 possible to be played as one streamlined game in the end, or would we still be required to end the game and start the new one manually, even having all 5?

  • Many filmmakers have said that they can't watch the movies they've made. Could you ever sit down and play a game you've worked on? Or does the process of making them kind of burn you out on that prospect? Especially with adventure games, which are mostly very linear experiences?

  • @BoneFreak said: Ok, I have a quick question: Will the basic movement and control and movement be the same for all consoles? Because I wasn't really a fan on ToMI's click and hold movement that was meant more for the Wii.

    Hi Bone Freak,

    If you've got questions about the control system for S&M:TDP, check out this thread first, and if you still have questions, post them there.

  • @Hassat Hunter said: Maybe my experience with Anno 1404 influenced me, but even if that's a PC SP title it seems to be popular amongst folks getting all achievements. And they can get pretty detailed (more so than the lists on the site). Not to mention be talked about on forums (true, mostly the bugged ones, but still :p)
    Or maybe I just try to convince you guys because I find it more convient to see it all ingame, instead of going our here browsing to the site.

    Isn't the main achievement in an adventure game is that you finished it, solved all the puzzles and completed the story?

    Everything else that is an "achievement" are really just Easter eggs that give a story based game some level of re-playability. The second time around you already know how to solve the puzzles, so you can go off and do anything but solve the puzzles until you've explored all the dialog options you can. That's how you're supposed to find Easter Eggs.

    The "Did You Try?" lists here just give some of the pointers to things that are funny in the games that aren't required to complete the puzzles, but they're worth doing for the humour value. They're not really 'achievements' as such, and don't change the outcome of the story, they're just cool little things the designers, writers etc put in the game to make it a richer world, funnier and worthwhile playing the games for a second or third time.

  • @Will said: Probably the most classic example of this would be the "banang" joke from 204. All that was recorded was Sam saying "banang!" and it was going to be a one-off throw away line. Then Nick Herman went through and made like 3 different chores out of that one voice line making for one of the more memorable gags.

    That makes sense! I should have thought about it: I did wonder why Max wasn't saying anything.
    But I get the point. There are lots of visual jokes, timing jokes, or jokes that can use the voices that have already been recorded (possibly modifying them like the banang thing) that can be made. It has to be smaller things, I guess, but sometimes these can be the best.

  • @TheHutt said: Question: Why the logo change?

    The original logo was sleek, elegant, cool. Personally, I find the added serifs at the bottom ends of "A" quite distracting and falling out of style.

    We wanted it to be a bit more angular and chunky to go with the Devils Playhouse logo.

    @TheHutt said: However, considering the ampersand specifically - the left side of it looks like it was cut off inaccurately.

    That's just bad resizing/antialiasing. In real life there is a curve there.

    @TheHutt said: I really hope they don't give us a cover that's like the Wii or retail PC releases. I was really not impressed with Save the World, and while Beyond Time and Space was a good deal better...it just doesn't compare to the Steve Purcell cover.

    We put some work into making sure you in particular wouldn't like those covers, so job well done on us I guess.

    The 3D rendered covers are usually done at the request of our retail publisher (The Adventure Company and Atari both passed on using Steve's box paintings for the retail versions, preferring upres'd, re-lit game art renders), but we love the painted covers, so expect Steve's art to continue to grace the Telltale Store DVDs.

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