Chariots of the Dogs is here, complete with free demo!

Posted on March 2008 by TelltaleGames







The wait is over! Sam & Max 204: Chariots of the Dogs has been released. Finally, you'll find out what happened to Bosco... and maybe even save him from the nefarious clutches of T-H-E-M.



This is the episode where the disparate story threads of Season Two start to weave together, so if you've been following the season, you're in for a real treat. Plus we're headed for a mind-blowing season finale in April. Yes, I said mind-blowing.



But wait, let's not get ahead of ourselves! So where can you get this gem of a game?
Still on the fence?

If yesterday's five star review at Adventure Gamers didn't already convince you, these equally glowing reviews* will probably put you over the top:

  • IGN, 8.3/10 - "Chariots of the Dogs is definitely my favorite episode this season, and one of the strongest episodes of the entire series."

  • [readmore]
  • GameSpy, 4.5/5 - "...the episode's script is the funniest since Season One's Abe Lincoln Must Die! and includes some of the most enjoyable puzzles to date."

  • Strategy Informer, 8.3/10 - "The biggest pro is the way Chariots of the Dogs connects themes, characters, storylines and gags from both Seasons one and two."

  • Adventure Classic Gaming, 4/5 - "It is easy to see that Telltale Games has been focusing on delivering a great gaming experience by casting the episode in a completely different direction."

  • Cheat Code Central, 4.7/5 - "If the uproarious antics in Sam & Max Episode 204: Chariots of the Dogs are any indication, we can expect the season finale to be a major comedic blowout of grand proportion."

  • Gamervision, 9/10 - "It appears that Telltale has found its stride and hopefully keeps everything moving well towards an inane and cataclysmic end."

  • Aeropause, 4.5/5 - "All in all, Sam and Max Episode 4: Chariots of the Dogs is a great adventure gaming experience that shows off what can be done when a dedicated team puts a lot of quality into their releases, and keeps on schedule."

  • Destructoid, 10/10 - "I already knew the Sam and Max episodic series was one of the best things to ever happen to adventure gaming; until Chariot of the Dogs, I didn't know it was one of the best things to happen to gaming, period. Buy the whole goddamn series. Now."

Well? You heard the man! Buy it!



*WARNING! Some of these reviews contain spoilers. Telltale assumes no responsibility for the accidental spoiling of jokes or plot points initiated by clicking these links. You can trust us on the scores, though -- we didn't make them up!

Chariots of the Dogs... finally, find Bosco!

Posted on March 2008 by TelltaleGames





After an agonizing four week wait, Sam & Max 204: Chariots of the Dogs is up on GameTap, and will be here on Telltale's site in one short day. Finally, you'll get to find out what happened to Bosco! (Or will you...?)



We've been bursting with excitement over this episode and can't wait to hear what everyone thinks. Reviews are already coming out, including an excellent (and spoiler-free) five star review over at Adventure Gamers. AG has only given out a handful of perfect scores in the history of the site, so this is enormously high praise and we're just giddy over it.



For those who need a gentle nudge while playing, we've posted the official Chariots of the Dogs walkthrough. (It's obviously ridden with spoilery text and pictures, so if you don't want to ruin the surprise for yourself, don't click that link!) We've been holding back some concept art until after the game's release, so watch for that next week sometime.

New goodies in the store, and special bundle pricing

Posted on March 2008 by TelltaleGames

We just added a whole bunch of stuff to the venerable Telltale store. Like what, you ask? Read on, and I'll tell you!





The Sam & Max animated series on DVD! For the first time, all 26 episodes of the 1997/1998 Fox Kids show have been collected into a sexy box set.



3-disc set! Comes with new Steve Purcell art on the packaging and a bonus Freelance Police sticker! Region free!

[readmore]


Sam & Max Merchandise Bundles! If you've been waiting for the animated series DVD to come out before buying Surfin' the Highway, your patience has been rewarded!



Save $5 on Surfin' the Highway + DVD, or $15 on Surfin' the Highway + DVD + Season One.



Space Wolf T-Shirt! Graham Annable of Dank/Dunk fame designed this shirt based on one of his animated shorts.



This iconic design originated from a short video by Grickle illustrator Graham Annable. The video's good, the shirt's even better! Even Jack Black thinks so!



Fox Bunny Funny! Telltale's newest designer, Andy Hartzell, is the author of this excellent graphic novel.



100+ pages of foxes, bunnies, and an amazing amount of social commentary, considering the book contains zero words.

Storytelling in Games - Heather's perspective

Posted on March 2008 by TelltaleGames

And now, the riveting conclusion of "Telltale's take on story in games," courtesy of designer Heather Logas.




What elements make up a good videogame story?


The same elements that make up a good any kind of story. Interesting characters, dramatic tension, interesting situations that the audience can, in some fashion, relate to. The differences are not in the substance of the stories themselves, but in the mechanics of telling an interactive story vs. a non-interactive one.



What influences, if any, do you take from other media (i.e. film, tv, comics/graphic novels)?


I don't remember the last time I walked out of a movie without saying to my husband "Wouldn't that make a great game?" Other media is rich with ideas that would work great as games or part of games. When I am working on a game my brain is constantly tackling problems by sorting through similar situations in books I've read or movies I've seen.



It's kind of like having an "inspiration stew" in my head, that I can sort through, and pull out a potato of an idea. Then I can take that potato and play with it, maybe mash it up. Eventually it ends up on top of a shepherd's pie or I've moved on to a different root vegetable, but it all started with a potato from the stew.
[readmore]



Describe a narrative moment from one of your games that you are most proud of?


I still love the interactions of Fone Bone and Phoney Bone with the possum kids in Bone: Out From Boneville. Fone Bone and Phoney Bone are two extremely different characters, and we wanted to show who they were to the player through how they solve problems and through interactions with other characters. Fone Bone meets these possum kids in the forest and they have information he needs. So the player gets to interact with the possums as Fone in a very Fone Bone way, and the result is terribly cute and heart-warming. Then the player later gets to tromp on through as Phoney Bone and again these possums have information he needs. Phoney is grouchy and curmudgeonly, however, and the interactions the player has with the possums this time are caustic and acidic. These were all fun characters to work with, and I really enjoyed that we were able to tell part of the story, i.e. the differences between Fone and Phoney, in an interactive way. Plus, the possums are dang cute.



What is something you would like to see a videogame story attempt that hasn't been done yet?


It is my dream that one day I will play a game where I really feel as though I am interacting with the story at a very fine level, working with the authors of the game to shape the narrative. I want a game where my actions have (or appear to have) meaningful consequences. For example, in Fable, you took actions that made you either "more good" or "more evil," but being "more good" or "more evil" didn't actually affect the story in any meaningful way. Amongst people at our office, there is sometimes a debate about linear vs. non-linear stories and it isn't that I think linear stories aren't worth doing in a game; I just think that we (game developers as a whole) haven't really explored non-linear stories to a satisfying extent.



How does story fit into your development cycle? Does it evolve concurrently with development, is it saved for the end of the cycle when most of the gameplay is in place, or is it conceived at the beginning and treated as unchangeable?



Telltale is all about telling great stories through an interactive medium, so the story really has to come first. We like to get as much of the story nailed down as possible before we start in on art or gameplay.



Sometimes details will need to change later on during development for whatever reason, but the more we can get worked out in the very beginning, the easier the whole "making the game" part will be.



What's the difference between story and gameplay?


Ideally, as little as possible. Cutscenes have their place, but when thinking about game design, I always try to think how to tell as much as possible of the story through interactivity. The real storytelling power of games -- what makes playing a game different than reading a book -- is that the player gets to really participate. I want the player to be able to play the story, not just watch it in cutscenes.



Where do writers fit in the traditional structure of a development team?


At Telltale, we've had a couple different schemes for working with writers. We've had contract writers, the designers have doubled as writers, and we are starting to work more with dedicated on-staff writers, with the designers and writers being separate people. I think this is a great way to go, since both of those jobs (writing and designing) take an awful lot of brain energy and in different ways. Our games have so much dialog that having full-time writers makes a lot of sense.



What's one game story you admire? Why?


I really enjoyed how the story worked in Jade Empire. The main plot I barely remember, but some of the side, optional interactions were really awesome. Best of all, they didn't feel like side-plots, they just seamlessly felt like part of the story. There's a point where you can get involved in some crazy mobster marital dispute, and actually decide the dispute in several ways. It really felt like I was having an impact on these people's lives.



But I think my favorite part of the story was that I played as a female character and was offered chances to flirt with one of the male characters and something actually happened as a result. I remember thinking to myself when choosing to flirt with the character, "It would be so neat if I played a game where this actually had an effect." I found out much later that I WAS playing that game!



You're going to have to go try it, because I don't like being responsible for spoilers...

Well, did you?

Posted on March 2008 by TelltaleGames


I'm happy to announce that the official "Did you try...?" list for each Sam & Max episode is now accessible from its official episode page, which means you officially have a reason to replay each and every Sam & Max game we've released so far. (And the web team can officially check off one more task from our never-ending "to do" list.)



These lists, penned by our own Brendan Q. Ferguson, point you in the direction for some bonus jokes and Easter eggs that you may have missed the first time around. Some people say adventure games have no replay value, but to that we say, "Not true!" Now you have an excellent excuse to play an episode all over again, which is a great way to pass the time while you're waiting for the next episode to launch.



The most recent "did you try" list, for Night of the Raving Dead, is right here. The rest of them are on their respective episode pages, which you can get to from the Sam & Max homepage. Happy replaying!

Storytelling in Games - Chuck's perspective

Posted on March 2008 by TelltaleGames

Welcome to Part II of "Telltale spouts off about what makes a good story". Today we bring you Chuck Jordan's thoughts on the subject.



What elements make up a good videogame story?


The only hard and fast requirement is that the main character should have no memory of his past. After that, it's limited only to your imagination: he can be a marine, a space marine, an ex-marine, an elf, an elf marine, or a dwarf. And he can fight either demons or aliens, using either magic spells or cybernetic implants. The combinations are endless!



What influences, if any, do you take from other media (i.e. film, tv, comics/graphic novels)?


The Sam & Max episodic games are obviously based on a comic book series, so that's the biggest influence. I see the games as being an unholy combination of comic book, traditional graphic adventure game, and an animated sitcom.



Because our games have so much more dialogue than you'd see in a comic book or even a TV show, I'm always trying – to varying degrees of success – to keep it from feeling too expository or "gamey." I'd like to keep it conversational, like an episode of a sitcom where clues to get to the next scene are embedded in the jokes. And above everything else, we're trying to get the episodes to have the same feel of the comics – the non-sequiturs, the kinds of situations the characters get into, the way they talk (without just quoting the comics directly), and their remaining unflappable even as bizarre stuff is happening all around them.



More specifically, I'm a huge fan of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," and I've watched so much of it that it's affected the way my brain works. So I like to think the episodes have a little of that feel to them as well – a barrage of jokes and references, with semi-highbrow stuff and potty humor all mixed together, and if one joke doesn't work it'll be quickly followed by another that might.
[readmore]



Describe a narrative moment from one of your games that you are most proud of?


Even though it's "cheating" because it's a purely scripted moment that doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the episode, I like the scene in "Moai Better Blues" where Sybil breaks up with the head of the Lincoln Memorial. I like that with this season we're hinting at an overall storyline for the side characters, and the idea that the world doesn't just pause and wait for Sam & Max to do something. I also just like the random, senseless cruelty you sometimes see in the comics.



What is something you would like to see a videogame story attempt that hasn't been done yet?


I don't think the problem is for lack of attempts, just lack of successes. Games can get pretty derivative, but even now with the huge budgets, there's still plenty of experimentation going on – comedy, tragedy, suspense, romance, horror, surrealism, it's all been attempted. What I'd like to see (and to work on) is more attempts at telling the story through the gameplay, instead of relying on the old tactic of interrupting the game every so often to advance more of the story.



How does story fit into your development cycle? Does it evolve concurrently with development, is it saved for the end of the cycle when most of the gameplay is in place, or is it conceived at the beginning and treated as unchangeable?


Telltale's core focus is on story-telling games, so we always start with the story and let the gameplay fall from that. On the Sam & Max games, we start with an overall season-long story, and then break that up into the main plot for each episode.



During pre-production on each episode, we get the detailed story and puzzle design for the episode first. Once that's set, the script writing and creation of the new environments happens simultaneously, with the animation shortly after, and then the choreography. And because we're episodic, this is often happening concurrently with the previous or next episode. Nothing is strictly unchangeable, but we try as hard as we can to get the story solid first before any production is started.



What's the difference between story and gameplay?


Ideally, there is no difference. I think that's the biggest hurdle for storytelling games right now, to develop methods for advancing the story through the player's actions. And then, getting those methods to be as straightforward and easy to implement as cutscenes are now.



Where do writers fit in the traditional structure of a development team?


It varies from company to company and even team to team. The Season Two design was already solid by the time I came on board, and much of the first episode's script was already written. So for those I was mostly doing script editing (what they call "punch up" in Hollywood, I think), and the bulk of writing on the second. I got more involved in the design as the season progressed, so it varies even within a series.



Personally, I think it's crucial to have the writer or writers involved in the design process as much as possible and as early as possible. I have a much better idea for why things are happening in the story, and if I can picture how a scene is going to play out, I can suggest aspects of the puzzle design and player's actions that are going to build to that scene. I've read interviews with other game writers who have no interest in game design at all, and they seem to get good results, so I guess it varies from person to person.



What's one game story you admire? Why?


Last year, I was really impressed with Portal and BioShock, because I felt like we were finally seeing big-name titles experimenting with new ways to tell a story. The first reveal of BioShock's big twist was just a brilliant moment, because it threw a new layer of meaning on top of everything I'd done in the game up to that point, and more importantly, it did so without a cutscene or a character explaining to me what had just happened (until I went into the next room, of course).



Portal did an even better job, because it slowly built to that kind of reveal. You see that there's more going on to the test chambers than what you're told from the onset, and they trust you to figure it out for yourself – throughout the first dozen or so levels of the game, they build story and character more from what they don't tell you than what they do.

Storytelling in Games - Brendan's perspective

Posted on March 2008 by TelltaleGames

Back in January, IGN's Insider channel caught up with Telltale designers Brendan Ferguson, Chuck Jordan, and Heather Logas to talk about storytelling in games. We thought our fans would enjoy seeing the full interviews, and IGN gave us permission to post the interviews here. Brendan's answers are below, and Chuck's and Heather's will follow later this week. Enjoy!



What elements make up a good videogame story?


I assume you've had many people tell you what makes a good story in general, but a good videogame story in particular should allow the player to directly take part in the most important, interesting moments of that story. The most powerful videogame stories are those where I'm personally involved in the events that are unfolding. If I merely observe the story for a time, do something unrelated, then see more story, I'm not going to feel like it's MY story.



What influences, if any, do you take from other media (i.e. film, tv, comics/graphic novels)?


As with anyone, I'm moved by many kinds of stories in different ways. As a game developer though, I'm always thinking about how I could let someone experience those stories firsthand rather than watching them from the sidelines. I'm often amazed by our capacity to be swept up in a story, but there's something different and special about actually being the one that makes the decisions that propel the story forward.



Describe a narrative moment from one of your games that you are most proud of?


I could, but we haven't released that game yet, and I don't want to spoil it.
[readmore]



What is something you would like to see a videogame story attempt that hasn't been done yet?


One of many things I'm interested in is allowing people to experience life from a different point of view, to understand in a direct way the challenges or pressures faced by others. This actually has been attempted in a variety of ways, but rarely with the aim of deepening our understanding of people. Naturally, most games are designed merely as vehicles to let you goof off, but they have vast potential as a means to enrich our appreciation of life, and other people especially.



How does story fit into your development cycle? Does it evolve concurrently with development, is it saved for the end of the cycle when most of the gameplay is in place, or is it conceived at the beginning and treated as unchangeable?


At Telltale, the story and game design are closely intertwined. Everything you do in the game needs to fit in the story, and the story needs to promote interesting gameplay. As such, we will shape both the story and gameplay to fit each other. Nothing is unchangeable, but while developing the game, we constantly ask ourselves, "How does this serve the story?"



What's the difference between story and gameplay?


The story encompasses all the events of a narrative, while the gameplay consists of the events that rely on the player's involvement. Those events have a different character because they don't simply occur, but involve an active process on the part of the player, in which he must take in information from the game world, and make decisions about how to act.



Where do writers fit in the traditional structure of a development team?


At Telltale, the designers ARE writers because all game actions are intended to fit in the story of the episode. The completed design of the game generally specifies all of the plot points, the characters, and the relationships between those characters. At that point, we have dialog writers (who may or may not be the designers) come up with the exact words that the characters say to each other. Sometimes, in the process of writing the dialog, great new ideas will occur to us about how to shape the story, but for the most part, the story is complete before the dialog is written.



What's one game story you admire? Why?


I like many stories for a variety of reasons, but one that comes to mind is Gabriel Knight. There were parts of the story where I felt personally involved in the mystery, where I experienced the twists and turns just as immediately as the characters. I didn't passively think, "How mysterious," I actually had to consider everything I had learned about the world and the characters and their motivations to make new revelations. Let me say, when you finally get in that crypt, and see what's in there... well, I remember it like it really happened to me. And that's pretty amazing.

Last week in pictures

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames

GDC and WonderCon were back to back this year, which resulted in 1) much revelry for all, and 2) no time to post pictures. But now they are both over, and you get two galleries for the price of one!



First, shots from our party last Monday. We had a zombie theme going on to celebrate the release of Night of the Raving Dead.










Left to right: the calm before the storm; a zombie makeover in progress; Nick sporting the mark of the damned. Click a thumbnail for more pictures!




[readmore]







Left to right: Steve Purcell and Ron Gilbert engulfed by the crowd; the corpse of Heather Logas; shiny happy zombies.











Left to right: the DJ kicks it out Brady Culture awkward style; the last of the Bosco Tech napkins; a guy having a bad head day.



So, that was the party. It was fun. As for the rest of the week, it's all a blur. I met with a lot of press and showed off a teeny tiny part of episode 204, so expect some previews to start hitting tomorrow. We also got quite a lot of questions about Nintendo's announcement that we're working on a WiiWare game, which we answered with varying levels of coy secrecy. More will be revealed in time, I promise.



Now let's fast forward five days, to the Con of Wonders...



This was our first year with a booth at WonderCon, and I have to say, it's a lot more relaxing than exhbiting at Comic-Con (well, as much as any trade show can be relaxing). It helps that we're local, so we didn't have to ship anything. We had a wide assortment of merchandise at the booth, including Surfin' the Highway, a display copy of the Animated Series DVD, and a few brand new items coming soon to the Telltale store.



On Sunday Steve did a signing at our booth -- always a popular attraction -- and we also did a panel called "Turning Comics into Games You Want to Play," which was really just an excuse to talk about Sam & Max. (But hey, the San Francisco Chronicle enjoyed it!)











Left to right: Doug approves of Telltale's booth; Jake ponders a tough question; a child is corrupted. Click a thumbnail for more Wondercon pics!











Left to right: fans queue up for Steve's signing; Surfin' the Highway, here to stay; so cute it's disturbing.











Left to right: panelists Steve Purcell, Brendan Ferguson, Mike Stemmle, Dave Grossman, and Chuck Jordan say awesomely insightful things.











Left to right: forumite Sybil Pandemik with her creation; Doug, Jake, and Jared killing time at the booth; Mike Stemmle and wife Molly walking the floor.



Visit Telltale at WonderCon this weekend!

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames

Live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have nothing to do this weekend? Come to WonderCon, the Con of Wonders! Yes, your chance is finally here to resume stalking Gillian Anderson for the first time in ten years, or maybe to surreptitiously trip Joss Whedon as he walks by and watch as he struggles to put all the pages back in his three-ring binder, accidentally stepping on and breaking his own clarinet in the process.



Also, we'll be there![readmore] Telltale will be at booth 643 with a variety of goodies, including the long-awaited reprint of the Sam & Max comic collection, Surfin' the Highway, and a sneak peek of the upcoming cartoon DVD! Stop by the booth to get a look at the book, check out our latest games and schwag, and shoot the breeze with some of Telltale's finest.

This year WonderCon is being held at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. The show starts today and runs through sometime late Sunday afternoon. Here are a few things we'll be up to that aren't just sitting behind our booth table the whole weekend:



Signing with Steve Purcell

Sunday, 12:00pm at Booth 643

Steve will be at the booth to sign Surfin' the Highway, game discs, or anything else you might want signed. Have you always wanted to meet the man behind the mayhem? Now's your chance!



"Turning Comics into Games You Want to Play"

Sunday, 2:00pm in Room 236/238

Join Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell and Telltale designers Dave Grossman, Brendan Ferguson, Chuck Jordan, and Mike Stemmle for a lively discussion about bringing an unpredictable comic duo into games that are fun to play.

February Interloper: Exciting hiring news and a recipe for Blutwurst

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames

Along with this month's round-up of the latest and greatest Telltale gossip, we bring exciting news: Sam & Max Hit the Road designer Mike Stemmle has joined the crew at Telltale. Read the full story inside our February newsletter.[readmore]


























Published almost monthly from the offices of Telltale Games in beautiful California. Visit us: www.telltalegames.com!

Vol IV, # 1 Feb. 2008
SURFIN' THE HIGHWAY IN PRINT
Paperback and limited-edition hardcover on sale now



After ten years relegated to exorbitant eBay auctions and the dusty corners of your neighborhood comic shop, the collected Sam & Max is back in print. Telltale worked together with Steve Purcell to bring the Surfin' the Highway 20th Anniversary Edition into the world, and into the hands of people like you.

In addition to all of the content of the 1995 original, the new edition contains 25 pages of content developed over the last two decades, bringing the page count to 197 with 45 pages in full color. The book is available in two versions, a $19.99 trade paperback (shipping now) and a $49.99 signed and numbered limited edition (expected to ship in Spring 2008, can be preordered now). And if you place your order by February 29, you'll get a free gift!

Order your copy of Surfin' the Highway today!
NIGHT OF THE RAVING DEAD AVAILABLE NOW
Zombies attack, dance in streets



The third installment of Sam & Max Season Two, Night of the Raving Dead, is set in Stuttgart, Germany, at the height of a worldwide zombie raid instigated by a trend-setting vampire. Sam & Max are sworn to take him down, but will they lose their souls in the process?

» Check out the free demo
» Watch the trailer
» See how the episode starts


CSI WII SHIPS
Now with even more swabbing action

CSI: Hard Evidence, Telltale's first title for Nintendo Wii, has been released. It's available in our online store, as well as in retail stores across North America. The Wii version will be released in Europe soon. CSI: Hard Evidence is also available for PC and Xbox 360.

If you'd rather try before you buy, a Hard Evidence demo is available. The demo plays on the PC, but the cases are the same in all three versions, so it should give you a good sense of the game no matter which platform you're considering.

» Download the CSI: Hard Evidence demo


SAM & MAX EPISODES FOR YOUR LONELY NIGHTS

Sam & Max 203: Night of the Raving Dead
Can Sam & Max outsmart this emo and his flesh-eating army?
$8.95

Sam & Max Season Two
All five downloadable episodes in one thrifty bundle!
$34.95

Sam & Max Season Two Upgrade
Already bought an episode? Get the rest and save some money!
$26.00

Sam & Max Season One Upgrade
If you bought any episode, you can upgrade to get the rest!
$21.00

Season One downloads updated, Bone and Hold'em to follow

Telltale has rolled out a massive update to the downloadable Season One games. The biggest news is that all Season One downloads, including Culture Shock, are now fully Vista compatible. Also, the unlock process is easier, and you can download the games directly from your Telltale account or from any mirror site without the need for special download links and weird passwords. (These changes do not apply to disc versions. If you're playing Season One from a disc, you don't need the update.)

Similar updates will be made to the Bone games and Telltale Texas Hold'em in the near future. Customers will receive an email when these games have been updated.

» More details about these updates



Strange man named Stemmle starts showing up for work

A bearded man calling himself Mike Stemmle has covertly joined the ranks at Telltale's San Rafael office. "I'm not sure where that guy came from," says choreographer Marco Brezzo. "I came to work one day he was sitting at the empty desk next to mine. He seems to know what he's doing, so I figured he belongs here."

Stemmle, best known for obscure titles such as Sam & Max Hit the Road and Escape from Monkey Island, appears to be right at home among Telltale's finest. "To say that I'm tickled pink would be an insulting understatement. It's more like I'm rapturous violet," says Stemmle. "Joining up with the whacky goofballs of Telltale is like a dream come true for me, only with more clothes and fewer troubling appearances by Walter Cronkite."

Don't just take our word for it! Rumor has it Stemmle will join Steve Purcell, Dave Grossman, Brendan Ferguson, and Chuck Jordan at this Sunday's WonderCon panel, "Turning Comics into Games You Want to Play," at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.


Ja, this is my favorite Recipe from when I was just ein wenig Kindvampir. This was before my cruel und unloving Mother weaned me from solid Foods.

1 lb leaf Lard
10 lb Onions, diced
1/2 lb Butter
1 quart heavy Cream
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp pate Spice
1/2 gallon beef Blood

1) Remove the Skin from the leaf Lard (flaying works nicely und is quite fun!) und dice into teensy tiny Pieces. Smother the Onions well in butter until they stop screaming, let them cool to about Cadaver Temperature und add in the leaf Lard.

2) Add all the other Ingredients, stirring carefully when Blood is introduced. You don't want to waste any! Using a Funnel, fill pork Casings and twist to desired size. I like mine big and luscious... mmm!

3) Drop these Sausages into boiling wasser, lowering the Heat immediately to prevent bursting. And let me just say, It makes SUCH a mess when it bursts everywhere. I had to take my good Cape to the Drycleaners last time.

4) Using a small Pot or Ladle, keep the simmering Water in motion. Cook the Sausages for about 25 minutes, or until congealed to taste.

5) Using the tip of one Claw or silver Dagger, pierce one Sausage. If no Blood comes out, the Sausages are now well done und suitable for non-vampiric Guests. Remove from Water und lay on Sheet Pans lined with Towels.

This will make 8 pounds of the most delicious Blutwurst! For an even tastier Recipe, substitute beef Blood with something a little more... rich. I recommend the corporate CEO perhaps.

NEW MERCHANDISE YOU MUST HAVE

Sam & Max Surfin' the Highway
After a decade selling for way too much money on eBay, it's back!
$19.99

Sam & Max Highway Surfing Poster Print
A full-color print of CGW's August 2006 cover.
$14.99

CSI: Hard Evidence
The latest and greatest CSI game, now available for Wii! (Also PC and Xbox 360.)
$39.99

Sam & Max Freelance Police - The Complete Animated Series
Coming to Telltale's store on March 11!
$24.99






Sam & Max: Night of the Raving Dead is upon us!

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames







Zombie attack! Sam & Max are off to Stuttgart to kick some undead ass. And YOU can join them! If you're already a Season Two customer, go to your account and download away. If you're looking to buy the episode, head to the store. And if you just want to dip your toe in and see what Night of the Raving Dead is all about, download the demo!



But wait, there's more! We've captured the first three minutes of the episode on video, embedded below. So if you're looking for any more proof that this game is awesome -- or if you're just looking for something to keep you occupied while the game downloads -- here you go!





In honor of Lincoln's birthday...

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames







...Sam & Max 104: Abe Lincoln Must Die is still free!






For those of you not in the know, Abe Lincoln Must Die is the fourth episode of Sam & Max Season One, and one of Telltale's favorites. It's also one of the best reviewed episodes, and is a great way for new players to get into the season. And its political themes are particularly timely!



Also... Sam & Max 203: Night of the Raving Dead is out for GameTap subscribers right now (go play it!), and will be on our site tomorrow. If you're already playing it and in need of the official Night of the Raving Dead walkthrough, you'll find it right here.


Steve Purcell says, "Buy this book!"

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames



If you can't trust his endorsement, whose can you trust?



We had a very pleasant surprise today. The Surfin' the Highway paperbacks have arrived at the warehouse, weeks ahead of our previously-announced February 25 ship date. This means that if you order the paperback now, it'll ship very soon, and if you already ordered it, it'll ship even sooner! Woo!



Now you have no excuse! Go order your copy now!

Night of the Raving Dead eye (and ear) candy

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames

0
Hey look, it's a Night of the Raving Dead video. What can we say about such a gem? There are no words, really. Just sit back, relax, and watch your heart out.



Also, listen to the new MP3 tracks!






Don't forget, Night of the Raving Dead comes out Tuesday on GameTap, and Wednesday right here. (That's two days earlier than previously announced!)

Surfin' the Highway is here!

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames



Let's get the important part out of the way first -- the brand new, incredibly classy Surfin' the Highway anniversary edition is now available for preorder in both paperback and hardcover format.






The paperback costs $19.99 and should start shipping by February 25 (very likely sooner). The $49.99 hardcover is a limited edition, and each one will be signed and numbered by Steve Purcell himself. (The hardcover is still in production, but we're working on it! Expected shipping timeframe is Spring, 2008.)



As if that's not enough, if you buy the book between now and February 29 you'll get a FREE copy of Ice Station Santa, to either play yourself or send to a friend, if you've played it already. As the best reviewed of any of our Sam & Max episodes so far, Ice Station Santa is a great place to start.



The curious among you may wonder what exactly it took to reach this glorious day (or, put more bluntly, why it took so damn long). Sit back, and I'll tell you a story...



[readmore]


Months of work, reduced to a messy pile on Jake's desk.



Do you remember when you found out that Surfin' the Highway would be reprinted? Was there a spark of disbelief, a mental double-take, an almost-afraid-to-say-it-out-loud moment where you thought, "Wait, is this for real?"



It was an idea Telltale had been talking about with Steve for months before we uttered a word of it to the world, so I don't remember exactly when I first heard about it, but I do remember when we let it slip. At last year's WonderCon, we did a panel about the Sam & Max games, and during the Q&A, a question was asked (as questions often are) about whether the long-unavailable Sam & Max collection would ever be rereleased. Steve mentioned that he'd been thinking about it, and Lois Buhalis, who lettered the original Surfin' the Highway and happened to be sitting in the audience, later dropped a note about it on her blog. This was picked up on by the ever diligent Hero1 on our forums, and *poof* all at once, speculation was running wild. What had for months (years, even) been kicked around as one of those great ideas we should do someday was suddenly starting to feel like something real.



Soon after this, Steve brought over a huge package of the film pages from the original book. The films had been tucked away for years and he wasn't even sure if everything was in there. We carefully unpacked the films and combed through them. Since our printer would be using a digital printing process, they'd need to scan each of these pieces of film, and then assemble these with the new content Steve wanted to add to the book. It was definitely not a straightforward job. We mailed them the film so they could get started.





This is how they printed books in the old days.



With the film safely off to the printer, we felt comfortable that the book would be coming out in the not too distant future, and we announced it as one of the activities commemorating the 20th anniversary of Sam & Max. Then we (mostly Jake) got to work on the nuts and bolts.



For this anniversary edition of Surfin' the Highway, Steve didn't want to just reprint the same book as before, but to update it with additional content and a new cover. He put together a master copy of how he wanted the new book to be laid out, a huge sheaf of 11x17 paper cobbled together from photocopies and printouts and the occasional sketch. Some of the new content, like "Kids Take Over" and "Sam & Max: Skeptical Investigators," was released after the original book's publication. Other new pages were pieces Steve pulled from his archives, like ads he did to promote the original Freelance Police comic book back in 1987, and recent paintings promoting our Sam & Max games and the animated series DVD.







Our Surfin' the Highway production bible, featuring original art by Steve Purcell.



The last piece of the puzzle was the cover. Steve wanted to retain the look of the original enough that it still felt like Surfin' the Highway, but also to change it enough for people to know that this version was a little different, and that time had passed. The result was a sepia-toned version of the original, set into a leather-like, old-timey cover... the kind of book you might find in a trunk in your crazy grandpa's attic.







The cover, in various incarnations.



In October we hit a bump in the road. Our printer ran into problems scanning the film and formatting some of the files for the new content. Steve had long since sold many of the original pages from Surfin' the Highway, but he kept very high-quality photocopies. He brought these in and we rescanned the pages that hadn't come out well from the film. Then we did weeks of touch-up work and assembled the book into a PDF so massive, the only way to get it to the printer was to buy an external hard drive and FedEx it. Due to the Season Two launch and other projects the team was already neck deep in, we couldn't complete all this as quickly as we would have liked, which is why the intended 2007 release slipped to 2008. If you were banking on finding Surfin' the Highway under the Christmas tree, we're sorry, but the book will be much better because of it!



For all these months we'd been working on Surfin' the Highway, we knew (sort of) that someday there would be a finished book in our hands, but somehow it still didn't feel real. Then we started getting proofs back -- proof (so to speak) that the book was being printed, but still one step removed from the real thing. With a little anxiety over whether they were perfect enough, we approved the black and white pages and the color pages and the cover. Then all we could do was wait. The future of Surfin' the Highway was out of our hands.






Proof. It exists.


The day the cover came off the press, the printer sent us a few copies so we could see how the colors turned out, and big sighs of relief were heaved all around. It looks great. Then yesterday, he called to tell us the books were being bound (ahead of schedule!) and he would overnight samples to us. There are no words for how exciting that news was. If he had been in the same room instead of thousands of miles away, I would have kissed the guy. (No, I'm not kidding.)



As I write this blog, we are anxiously watching the windows for the FedEx truck. We were already planning to put the book in the store for preorder today, but the fact that today it will also be a real thing, in our hands, is an amazing and awesome coincidence. I can't wait to sit down and read the whole thing, cover to cover. Even better, I can't wait for all of you to do the same.



Yes, guys, Surfin' the Highway is back in print. It's real. And we think you're going to love it.



Bonus Update! FedEx came by and dropped off a tiny handful of the paperback edition, and it looks awesome! Check out some photos of the book by clicking here!

Sam & Max turn to stone (sort of)

Posted on February 2008 by TelltaleGames

As if the games, Surfin' the Highway reprint (almost ready for release!), and Freelance Police animated series DVD (coming March 11!!) aren't enough, the Sam & Max revolution now includes a new, limited edition statue from Symbiote Studios. Steve met these guys at Comic-Con last summer and was impressed with their work – which is really the best stamp of approval a Sam & Max fan can ask for.





Steve's concept art, and presumably what the statue will look like...


Upcoming Telltale Events

Posted on January 2008 by TelltaleGames

Welcome to February! We're going to be at two shows this month, GDC and WonderCon. If you'll be there too, maybe our paths will cross! Here's where you'll find us...
[readmore]









Telltale Games at GDC and WonderCon '08



Are you headed to San Francisco in February? So is Telltale! We'd love to meet with you at GDC or WonderCon to talk about Sam & Max Season Two, the hot-off-the-press Surfin' the Highway reprint, and our upcoming plans. Here's where you'll find us...







Game Developers Conference
February 18-22

Members of the studio will be available throughout the week for interviews and game demos. We are also participating in two lectures.



"Sam & Max - Episodic Content Creation"

Wednesday, 9:00am in Room 3004, West Hall

Jared Emerson-Johnson and Julian Kwasneski of Bay Area Sound will reveal the highs and lows of producing audio for this first-of-its-kind episodic game project.



"Pioneering in Episodic Games and Digital Distribution"

Friday, 10:30am in Room 2004, West Hall

Join Telltale CTO Kevin Bruner to hear lessons learned from Sam & Max and suggestions for others who are considering jumping into the episodic gaming arena.





WonderCon
February 22-24

Telltale will be at booth 643 with a variety of goodies, including the long-awaited reprint of the Sam & Max comic collection, Surfin' the Highway, and a sneak peek of the upcoming cartoon DVD! Stop by the booth to get a look at the book, check out our latest games and schwag, and shoot the breeze with some of Telltale's finest.



Signing with Steve Purcell

Sunday, 12:00pm at Booth 643

Steve will be at the booth to sign Surfin' the Highway, game discs, or anything else you might want signed. Have you always wanted to meet the man behind the mayhem? Now's your chance!



"Turning Comics into Games You Want to Play"

Sunday, 2:00pm in Room 236/238

Join Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell and Telltale designers Dave Grossman, Brendan Ferguson, and Chuck Jordan for a lively discussion about bringing an unpredictable comic duo into games that are fun to play.







Press Appointments


Telltale is available to meet with the press at these events. To arrange a game demo or interview, email us at pr@telltalegames.com.






Sam & Max 203: Night of the Raving Dead details

Posted on January 2008 by TelltaleGames





There's a new episode a-coming! Check out the trailer, screenshots, and concept art on the Night of the Raving Dead page.



Also, I have good news. In the spirit of leap year, the release date has been moved up by two days, so Night of the Raving Dead will launch on GameTap February 12, and on Telltale's website February 13. You have permission to weep openly.



Okay, that's all for now. Go watch the trailer, and then hit our forums to speculate about what it all means...

Sam & Max Season One games have been updated

Posted on January 2008 by TelltaleGames





A few minutes ago, we did a huge update to all of our Season One downloads. It's been a long time coming, and if you were me you'd understand what a momentous day this is, but since you're not me, you'll just have to take my word for it. What this means to you is...



Downloading and unlocking your games is a lot easier!

If you're playing Season Two, you probably noticed that we're using a new unlock system. We like it so much (and we've received so much great feedback about it) that we've migrated Season One to this new system.* So, anyone who has bought Season One games can now download them directly from your My Telltale account – no special download links required! – and unlock them using either your Telltale log-in info or a serial number. (If you didn't have a My Telltale account before, one has been set up for you, and we sent you an email with your temporary password.)[readmore]



All the Season One games now use the newest version of our game engine!

Best case scenario, you won't even notice this, but if you've ever had performance problems with the Season One episodes, you should check out the new ones to see if those problems have been resolved. (Note that Season One has NOT been updated to support widescreen resolutions. That's a bigger task than just updating the engine, and not something we're planning to do. Sorry, widescreen users.)



Season One is now fully Vista-compatible!

Until today, the downloadable version of Culture Shock didn't work on Vista, which was a real pain in the arse for Vista users trying to get into the series. Now that problem is gone, and balance has been restored to the universe. Woo.



If you haven't bought Season One yet, you can access the new versions in our online store, or just grab a demo from the Sam & Max section of the site.



Before you rush off to download these beauties, we do have a few caveats. Saves from the old versions won't work with the new ones, so if you're in the middle of an episode, you might want to hold off on updating until you finish it. Also, if you are playing from the DVD and it's working well for you, you don't need to bother upgrading unless you really want to. These updates are most significant for people playing the download versions.



If you have any problems redownloading your games or accessing your account, don't hesitate to email us. We live to serve.



Happy gaming!



*We're also going to be updating the Bone games and Telltale Texas Hold'em in the very near future, so that's something to look forward to.

CSI: Hard Evidence demo - get it here first!

Posted on January 2008 by TelltaleGames



Finally, you get to find out what CSI and mini golf have in common!



We made a demo for CSI: Hard Evidence, and although it hasn't been widely released yet, our pals at Ubisoft said we could go ahead and post it on our website. So, voila! Here it is, a playable portion of the first Hard Evidence case, from us to you.





This demo is for the PC, but the cases are the same in all three versions, so it should give you a good sense of the game no matter which platform you're considering. And if the demo convinces you to buy the game, great! Just head over to our online store and choose your poison platform.



(Like the game, the demo is rated M for mature. You've been warned.)




Farewell to a Friend

Posted on January 2008 by TelltaleGames

We were very sorry to hear of the passing of our respected peer and friend, Mark Haigh-Hutchinson. Mark, like many of the people at Telltale, spent time at LucasArts back when the entire studio felt like one big family. Many hours were spent together with your team and you really got to see all sides of a person.



The one thing about Mark that always stood out to me was how much he cared about the people he worked with. He was responsible for many decisions, and despite a ton of pressure, always tried to do the right thing for the people on his team.



The industry definitely lost one of the good guys this week, but hopefully his legacy can be carried on by the people he touched. Rest in peace, Mark.

Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues is here!

Posted on January 2008 by TelltaleGames


The agonizing two month wait is over! Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues is here for your volcano god pacifying and spelunking pleasure.



If you already bought it as part of Season Two, simply head over to your My Telltale page, download and enjoy! And if you're still on the fence, check out the free demo.



Also, we don't mean to brag or anything, but some great reviews have already come out...


[readmore]
GamesRadar – 9/10

"Two episodes in, the second "season" of Sam & Max is already blowing the first six-game series out of the water. In fact, it's not a stretch to say that Episode 202: Moai Better Blues is the best game so far in the demented point-and-click series about a dog detective and his gruesome rabbit sidekick. It's certainly the funniest by a wide margin, being the first episode to actually make us laugh out loud more than once. And considering what a bunch of jaded humor snobs we are, that's no small compliment."





Adventure Gamers – 4/5

"The most creatively strange game yet in the series; a significant number of new and gorgeous environments along with an amazing soundtrack; those frustrated with easy games should find more challenge here. There are criticisms, to be sure, but ultimately they feel like small nitpicks on what is an intelligent and wildly creative episodic adventure that continues the series with the requisite lunacy."





Cinematic Happenings Under Development – 8.5/10

"As always, the humor is where its at. This episode seems to be the most niche of all of them, and if you don't know about the history of the Bermuda triangle and the people who supposedly got sucked into it you'll miss a bunch of jokes. Besides that, the Moai statues are hysterical, and especially their infatuation of them by Abraham Lincoln's severed head."




IGN – 8.2/10

"Moai Better Blues is shorter and smaller than previous installments in the series. Compared to the sprawling locales and stories of Reality 2.0 or Situation: Comedy, this episode seems almost too short. But size and length isn't an indication of quality. If anything, the smaller scale means that there's no filler here. Everything you come across is pure comedic content. Moai Better Blues never loses its focus so you'll get as much enjoyment out of its two-hour length than the three or four hours you spent playing some of the previous episodes. Add in puzzles that require multiple leaps of logic and a longer memory and it's easy to see why we're so encouraged by the direction that Telltale is taking this series."




GameBoomers – A-

"Sam & Max Episode 202: Moai Better Blues is an excellent presentation from Telltale Games, as always; the style has been maintained, and the quality remains high in all aspects of the game from music, to acting, story, and graphics."





Jolt – 8.2/10

"In terms of overall quality though, which is the aspect which really counts, Moai Better Blues is easily in the same league as Ice Station Santa. While we’re probably still one episode away from unequivocally recommending a purchase of the whole season now, despite what we would argue is a low likelihood of the remainder turning out to be duffs, there’s no doubt that Sam & Max are as on form as they ever have been. Our only question is if Father Christmas has featured at Christmas and Easter Island has featured in mid-winter, what’s the setting going to be at Easter?"






Enough glowing praise for you? Go play it already!


Season Two upgrade! Official Moai Better Blues walkthrough! General giddiness!

Posted on January 2008 by TelltaleGames






YES! We have stuff to tell you about!




First things first, the Season Two upgrade is now available, which means anyone who bought Ice Station Santa can now convert to the full season for $26.00. If you do it today, you'll get a Season Two serial number and an email tomorrow when the new episode comes out; if you wait until after tomorrow's launch, you'll have immediate access to 202 after checkout. Either way, you're a great big winner.




Secondly, we've posted the official Moai Better Blues walkthrough for all your puzzle solving needs. Like all walkthroughs, this provides solutions to the entire game, and it's accompanied by pictures that we normally wouldn't release due to their spoilery nature. The right time to read it: When you have the game in your hot little hands and need help because you're stuck (or just prefer to play with a walkthrough by your side). The wrong time to read it: Right now, because you're too impatient to wait for the game. You've been warned!




Last but not least, you're probably wondering when you can get your hands on the game. If you're a GameTap subscriber, it's up now! If you're planning to buy it from Telltale, keep an eye on the Sam & Max page tomorrow, because that's when you'll be able to find it, accompanied by virtual confetti and general revelry.