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Dear telltale games

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 642 users

I was wondering ...

You all know what Lucas arts did to Ron Gilbert.

They fired him and he has been upset about it ever since.

Ron gilbert the maker of maniac mansion and monkey island one and 2. A brillant man just might give you the rights to maniac mansion and monkey island in order to make more games if he still owns the rights.

Could you imagine working with steve and ron ?


Maybe Im just a dreamer or crazy. Im sure Im not the only one though.

Maybe you guys should contact Ron gilbert and see if you guys can make even more classic game remakes.


Lots of people want a monkey island game but lucas arts doesnt have the balls to do it. Most people argue that monkey island isnt the same without Ron there anyways.

Maybe Im just overly excited about your new game sam and max but I hope that some day you or Lucas will dare to be innovative enough to bring us a new monkey island or maniac mansion. I rather have fresh innovative individualls as yoursleves do it though. Because you dare to be different you dare to go out on a limb and to try new things , different things. The world needs different and Id software and Lucas arts just doesnt have the balls to be different anymore.


THATS RIGHT LUCAS ARTS!!! All your games are the same. ! Down with lucas arts and up with telltale!!!!

30 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • [quote]I'm not sure what Telltale is doing that's particularly original. Episodic content has been done before, [/quote]

    Well, yes, but not quite like this on a monthly basis. The innovation I believe is approximating a TV series in approach and delivery (and hopefully in creating similar audience loyalty).

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    Anonymous

    [quote][quote]I'm not sure what Telltale is doing that's particularly original. Episodic content has been done before, [/quote]

    Well, yes, but not quite like this on a monthly basis. The innovation I believe is approximating a TV series in approach and delivery (and hopefully in creating similar audience loyalty).[/quote]

    Eh. Changing the frequency of delivery isn't all that innovative to me. To brag a bit, considering some of the concepts I've come up with, I think I have a fairly high bar for what I consider innovative.

  • It's not just the frequency though, is it?

    It's using the TV model as a basis for gaming.

    A season premier / pilot.

    A regular new episode every month with machinema shorts between releases.

    Standalone stories with an overall story arc that spans the whole season.

    Trying to make digital delivery of games as accepted / widespread as digital music delivery now is.

    And you are right, Telltale could be more innovative, but they need to take cautious steps this early in their life. Also don't get hung up on the use of one particular word that you might read in a press release or on gaming sites. "Innovation" can mean many things to many people.

    And are you going to share any of your 'set-the-bar-very-high' concepts? And are any of these concepts going into production at some point in time...

  • [quote]
    And you are right, Telltale could be more innovative, but they need to take cautious steps this early in their life. Also don't get hung up on the use of one particular word that you might read in a press release or on gaming sites. "Innovation" can mean many things to many people.[/quote]

    To add to that, innovative does not always equal good. Remember when someone thought FMV interactive movies would be a good idea? Anyone remember Cyberswine? Or even just the ads? Ick...

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    Anonymous

    [quote]
    You might see more original content from them if I end up working for them after college, or someone similarly ambitious, but for now, they don't really deserve praise for anything but filling a need.[/quote]

    I'm very interested in ideas for design innovation. I hope you'll be willing to share some of yours!

  • [quote][quote]You might see more original content from them if I end up working for them after college, or someone similarly ambitious, but for now, they don't really deserve praise for anything but filling a need.[/quote]
    I'm very interested in ideas for design innovation. I hope you'll be willing to share some of yours![/quote]

    Hehe, actually, that's how I used to think once upon a time. Then, I actually came to work at Telltale and realised that everyone here is about ten times more experienced and talented than I am, and that I still have tons more to learn in the process of making good games.

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    Anonymous

    [quote]It's not just the frequency though, is it?

    It's using the TV model as a basis for gaming.

    A season premier / pilot.

    A regular new episode every month with machinema shorts between releases.

    Standalone stories with an overall story arc that spans the whole season.

    Trying to make digital delivery of games as accepted / widespread as digital music delivery now is.

    And you are right, Telltale could be more innovative, but they need to take cautious steps this early in their life. Also don't get hung up on the use of one particular word that you might read in a press release or on gaming sites. "Innovation" can mean many things to many people.

    And are you going to share any of your 'set-the-bar-very-high' concepts? And are any of these concepts going into production at some point in time...[/quote]


    I still fail to see how this is particularly innovative. It doesn't make all that much of a difference. The game is broken up into smaller pieces, and delivered sooner and more frequently....

    Eh. It works for a title like Bone, and I suppose you can make it work for Sam and Max, but it's still not very praise-worthy, IMO.

    A TV model for a game? Not really. I'll tell you what a TV model in gaming would be like. Weekly episodes following everyone's favorite cast of two dimensional archetypes. Each week, a new dilemma would face our insipid heroes, which they would quickly resolve within the hour of programming. Every time the game reaches a particularly intriguing section, you'd get ads. Oh, and forget not that every character would show their closeness to the lives of real people, through emotional struggles with their children, spouses and co-workers!

    Yeah, I don't want that either.

    If we really broke it down, any word could mean a lot of different things to different people. But if we acknowledged that, well, we'd have an awful hard time communicating. Innovation is a idea that takes advantage of gaming as a medium. Originality in story would not count, since that originality can be applied to any medium.

    As for Telltale games, I think you may misunderstand what I want from them. I don't want them to alter graphic adventure games, I just want them to try improving them. Too many designers think they know "the essence" of graphic adventure games, and end up making titles that are RPGs or action games with a few graphic adventure elements thrown in. Others, like Telltale, seem to focus on maintaining the tradition without making any of the necessary improvements. Of the two extremes, the latter is better, but I'd still rather see progress. Progress that wouldn't alienate traditionalists, either.

    As for my concepts... I know I probably came off arrogant, but coming up with innovative concepts is one of the few things I know I can do spectacularly. All the others parts of design I need a little more work, so please don't take it as me suggesting I'm some kind of infallible genius.... In a lot of ways, I'm actually quite dumb...... I just happen to be great at coming up with innovative ideas. And yes, I'll give some example of my work, but this is all I plan to say in this particular reply....

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    Anonymous

    [quote]Then, I actually came to work at Telltale and realised that everyone here is about ten times more experienced and talented than I am, and that I still have tons more to learn in the process of making good games.[/quote]

    Oh, you're far too modest. Or else you're way too, um, braggadocious about the rest of us. (Not necessarily a bad thing.) The truth is, we all have tons more to learn about making good games! Certainly, we have to choose innovations that we can successfully pull off in a timely fashion, that fit the license we're developing, and so on, but our ears and minds are always open to ideas on how we can improve!

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    Anonymous

    well as far as the telltale model I still think theres room for 4 or 5 actions look/walk/use.. I still think they need to get the right balance for story/gameplay.. Yes these days its all gameplay and no story but theyve swung to all story less gameplay.. I still want to play a game not a story.. I think people are more willing to download larger file sizes.. people are regularly downloading 350 meg tv shows each week so a higher quality 400 meg game for those that want it should be an alternative for games.. a little more freedom in the game as to where you can go and the order puzzles can be solved,,as for design innovations i'll leave that to the experts..

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    Anonymous

    [quote][quote]
    You might see more original content from them if I end up working for them after college, or someone similarly ambitious, but for now, they don't really deserve praise for anything but filling a need.[/quote]

    I'm very interested in ideas for design innovation. I hope you'll be willing to share some of yours![/quote]

    Sorry for responding to you so late, but I kinda got burnt out after the first fourteen hundred words. Forgive me if there are a few errors in this behemoth, but I'll leave the editing to a day when I don't have homework due in ten and a half hours. :(

    And again, while I'm very good at coming up with innovative ideas, the rest of my design skills need some work. I suppose the best way to share my ideas is to go through what I've done.

    The signature element of all my design documents is my willingness to go deep into left-field, both in terms of content and design. Over the past three and a half years, I've created five design documents ranging in length from a page and a half to thirty one pages (or about one thousand to eighteen thousand words). The first one was me just testing the waters, and it's kinda embarassing in retrospect, so I'm not going to talk about that one. The order that they were released in was: Breaking Heart Reality, Heart (At its release, its name was literally the heart symbol, not the word. That got old quick.), Pure Sin and Macabre.

    Breaking Heart Reality wasn't as innovative as my next two projects, but it was my first foray into ideas that could be plausibly implemented. The core of the gameplay consisted of navigating obstacle courses at high speeds. On screen, there was a heart rate monitor that, if it dropped below a certain level, you would die. The idea was force the player to constantly perform high risk maneuvers in rapid succession. The story played off of that. You weren't literally the player, but you were "possessing" him. He needed your skill at navigation to survive in a harsh reality, but he resented your control, and wished to lead his own life. Thus, he would act and speak as his own person, but you had the ability to "override" him. This culminated to the final scene, where the world cannot exist without the player, but he chooses to spend the dying moments of the game with his love anyway. It was a decent idea, though I could have done a lot more with the story and story-oriented mechanics, but it set some patterns that I would repeat. Namely, the presence of love stories in my documents, and a willingness to break the fourth wall with reckless abandon.

    Heart was where I started really doing some crazy things. The idea was to create a story that could be told without the interference of non-interactive dialogue. The end result was a story about a deaf musical genius who expresses himself, throughout the story, through dance. It was a love story at its heart (no pun intended), and it was very minimalistic. Most of the story was based on raw emotion, meant to accomodate the style of the protagonist. Though focus on themes was light, it was an interesting twist on good versus evil, though I'd make some changes to the pacing if I went back now. As for the gameplay, I wanted something similarly simple and elegant. It was only natural that this game be a rhythm action game. I decided upon using only the two analogue sticks. You used one stick to comply with the rhythm and set the instrument, and the other to execute dance moves. Simultaneously. This document is probably the one I remember most affectionately, simply because I know it would work, and it was very distinct. However, it still wasn't as innovative as I would have liked.

    Which is probably where Pure Sin came from. By far my most bizarre, and at times, loathed creation. It was incredibly difficult to conceive, which leads me to believe that it best demonstrates the limits of my creativity, if not my design ability. In previous games, my minimalism had caused me to create universes that were pretty original, but not videogame mechanics that were all that new. Pure Sin, in contrast to most of my other designs, is really complicated, top to bottom. It is a Wii game that uses the DS as a controller in order to control the story, one part musical, one part visually told. You alternate between manipulating your victim emotionally and logically in order to make them fess up their sins. Emotional gameplay consists of attaching various emotions to key words in lyrics, while logical gameplay involves cycling through various thoughts, and storing them on the corners of your touch screen without looking (it actually works, though whether it's a good idea or not, that's another story). There's also this 4th wall breaking plot that I have going on, and there are a few mind-bending plot twists. If you want to read the document, don't read the next little bit.

    SPOILER!

    The main character starts off in a computer simulations, but strangely, the simulation begins merging with the “real†world. It turns out that the world is actually an elaborate computer simulation, which allowed both simulations to merge. However, it's not just a computer simulation, it's a computer simulation created by a game designer, me. Or more accurately, my dark side. I turn the main character into believing that the only thing to be done is to destroy the world, as it is fundamentally evil, as I am a flawed human being. The main character turns out to have some semblance of good in him, and despite my claims of God having no domain in my creation, his power over me has caused my supposedly purely evil character to have some good in him, which he directs in love to the best thing outside of God (since he has no link to God in the simulation), another human being. It's convoluted.

    SPOILER END!

    It's really creative, but I have questions as to how viable it is, and the document could have been written a lot more clearly and completely. Though I have some major problems with it, as a "demo" for my creative abilities, it pretty much proved that I can come up with some amazingly crazy ideas. Now that Pure Sin is out of my system, I plan to concentrate on using my creativity where it is needed, rather than for its own sake. I can link you to this design document if you want, but be warned, it's a very long and difficult read.

    Macabre is different from the others, because it wasn't created for its own sake. I wrote it with the intention of turning it into a playable videogame (which I'm still planning to do), so I purposefully avoided anything that hadn't been done in other videogames. Gameplay wise, anyway, as the story is definitely its own thing. It's a story about a murderous little family in a world ruled by Satan (not to be confused with hell). It concerns an assassin without a soul, a world bent on the destruction of our own, and a jubilant girl who seems very concerned that her father dies a relatively painless death. It's not entirely a drama, though. The game is partially inspired by Grim Fandango. Try to sum up the plot of that one without making it sound like a drama, and you'll see why my description doesn't do the comedy part of the game justice. Though less ambitious than my other projects, it's the first where I feel entirely comfortable with my storytelling style. Although I will soon go through what I feel can improve the graphic adventure genre, Macabre doesn't really follow much of that. I'd rather start with something basic.

    My next project I hope to take lessons from all these design documents, and end the "developmental" stage. I've come close a couple times, but I haven't really created a document that has shown the full range of my abilities. I have documents that show my raw creativity (Pure Sin), my deepest emotion (Heart), and most polished storytelling ability (Macabre). What I need is a document that will put all these things together, and I think this next one is that, mostly because I don't feel I've got too much left to prove.

    Um... yeah. So that's a brief history of my design documents. But enough about that. This is the forum for Telltale games. I should be talking about graphic adventure games, no?

    There are three major problems with graphic adventure games, so I'll go through them, and what I think are the solutions.

    1. Uneven puzzle design. Even the best of them can get tricky. Grim Fandango threw some real curve-balls at me, as did The Longest Journey, Syberia, Day of the Tentacle.... they were all plagued by certain puzzles that were just bad ideas.

    It's been said that a writer should assume nothing about what their audience knows, but to assume the audience has some intelligence. The same principle applies to graphic adventure games. Do not assume your player immediately understands what something does, the context of a situation or that they know what's happening. This doesn't mean you have to tell them outright; if you want, feel free to puzzle it out. However, you better be sure that every single person, with some thought, will be able to understand what an item does or what a person wants.

    My single biggest pet peeve is to attempt to solve a puzzle multiple ways, fail, then check a walk-through only to find out that I had attempted something similar. Grim Fandango had this puzzle where you had to pop a balloon in front of these birds, but if you tried simply using the balloon, you failed. This ruled out, in my mind, the possibility of the balloon being at the heart of the solution, even though it was. It's possible to allow this sort of thing to happen, as long as it's implied that you're on the right track, and should be doing something similar.

    Getting stuck will happen even if you design intelligently. Some people just won't get the puzzle. For them, provide an out. Make at least one more puzzle solution that will get them to the same place. One of the things I like about graphic adventure games, actually, is that there is only one solution. That said, I don't like it so much when I'm stuck, and I have no idea what to do. Have an alternative puzzle or two that will show up when the player gets stuck.

    2. Graphic adventure games are so alive... until you get stuck. How many times have I been punished for not knowing what to do next? New areas stop popping up. Dialogue options are exhausted. Every item in your inventory seems to be entirely useless. This has to stop. You can do all you want to help the player get through the puzzles, but at some point, they're going to get stuck anyway. Might as well give them something to do in the meantime.

    When the game stops moving forward, get it moving sideways. Open up new dialogue options, create little cut-scenes, allow the player to go on a vacation of sorts from the real game, and visit some sort of eccentric and fascinating location totally aside from the story. Needless to say, none of this should be important to the main game, but it will at least keep the main game a game, rather than a puzzle come to an absolute standstill.

    Misery loves company. If I'm frustrated, I want my main character to be frustrated too. It makes sense; after all, he's the one who can't move forward until he figures things out. If anything, the main character should be more frustrated than the player. There should be dialogue options opening up whenever the player is stuck that reflect that. In fact, this is a good place to integrate hints for a solution (though that won't work for every game).

    Integrating character into solution is a good idea. I don't get the sense that graphic adventure designers ever ask themselves, “when this character reaches an impasse, what would he/she do?â€. It's a good way to integrate the alternate solutions I suggested earlier. If a character is a hitman, then why wouldn't he try force? If the character is a diplomat, wouldn't she try to talk her way out of her problems? It's a good way to ease the obtuse, abstract nature of some of the puzzles without ever breaking out of the reality of the circumstances.

    3. For a genre called graphic adventure, there doesn't seem to be much adventure. This one drives me crazy. There is a large element of exploration, but it's not properly handled. There seems to be a real lack of proper pacing in this area.

    Most adventure games show their hand too early, giving you access to most areas quickly, then forcing you to retread them repeatedly. Come on, the pacing has to be better than that. Open up a new area every couple puzzle solutions, consistently reward players with new areas. Not only will this better distribute the novelty of exploration, but it will better motivate players to solve puzzles. Just be careful that you don't give the player access to too many different areas. If you do, you exponentially increase the number of variables, and therefore possible puzzle solutions, making the design overwhelming. Open up new areas gradually, close off old areas gradually.

    It'd also be nice to be rewarded more often for going off the beaten path. If the player tries to go someplace out of the way, or do something rather odd, try to give them some kind of reward. Some kind of gag, a pretty animation, many a new little area, just a little perk of some kind. Just don't let these things become possible puzzle solutions, or you'll unnecessarily complicate things.

    As a personal aside, I'd also like to see more graphic adventure games explore time as a puzzle element. In some games, it adds an intriguing layer of depth and urgency, having to consider both what to do, and when to do it.

    Anyways, those are my thoughts on how to evolve graphic adventure games. Fairly small tweaks, you'll notice. Before creating Pure Sin, I would have tried to come up with something much crazier. :p

    I'd just like to make one final note. The graphic adventure that has true longevity is the one with terrific writing and storytelling depth. Accomplish that, and most will overlook the faults.

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