Our review of Sam & Max: Save the World is going to be up on Sunday, but to whet your appetites until then, we asked Dan Connors – CEO of TellTale , to answer a few questions for us.
For those that didn’t play the original Sam & Max back in the day, or didn’t catch any of the episodes on the PC, can you let them know what they’re in for?
Well, a big part of the appeal of Sam & Max is never quite knowing what you’re in for. They’re a talking dog in a suit (Sam) and a mentally unstable rabbitty-thing (Max) who call themselves “freelance police” because it sounds like it has more authority than just “detectives.” Their cases are usually stream-of-consciousness adventures that have them cracking jokes in the face of unspeakable horrors. In the comics, they’ve gone up against a volcano god in the Philippines, aliens in ancient Egypt, and giant rats and cockroaches on the surface of the moon. The episodic series has them up against former child stars, a mind control plot in a TV studio, the mafia, a reanimated Abe Lincoln, and the internet itself.
Other than the rebranding, has anything changed with Sam & Max Save the World from Sam & Max Season One?
The game has been completely retooled for Xbox, with widescreen and HD graphic support, achievements, leaderboards. This game is like an interactive sitcom, so Xbox LIVE Arcade is the perfect place for it, since you get to lounge on the couch, watching the game on your big plasma TV.
When can we expect future installments to be released?
The second Sam & Max season, Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, will be coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade later this year. We also have Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures running on Xbox LIVE Arcade right now, so people who enjoy Sam & Max should check those out as well.
You’ve released Sam & Max on the PC, Wii and now XBOX 360, are you planning on releasing it on the PS3 as well or is that not on your radar at the moment?
PS3 is definitely on our radar! Right now, our development tools work for PC, Wii, and Xbox 360, so that’s where our focus has been, but we’re very interested in Playstation Network as well as other platforms such as OnLive and iPhone. For Telltale, it’s all about getting our games out in as many places as possible, and you’ll probably be seeing new platform announcements from us in the not too distant future.
This type of game is more slower paced than modern day gamers are, perhaps, used to. Is it a challenge when developing this type of game to get the right mix of strategy over action is maintained, without upsetting the older demographic who are hankering for more P&C gameplay of old?
We tend not to think about games in terms of “point and click” versus “action” or “strategy,” but in terms of storytelling and characters. The real challenge is figuring out how to make a style of game that fits in with the characters and the type of story we’re trying to tell. The best part of Sam & Max is their humor and the unexpected way they go about solving problems; putting them into a straight action game would lose a lot of their character. So the question isn’t how to cater to the point-and-click demographic or the action demographic, it’s how best to tell a story. When you as a player are focused on putting together cool story moments, you’re at least as engaged as you would be shooting guys or giving orders to troops.
We’ve already heard of the Secret of Monkey Island getting a revamp, can we expect other former LucasArts gems? Grim Fandango maybe. Or how about going for a completely different genre and releasing X-Wing vs Tie Fighter?
We’re doing Tales of Monkey Island, which is a new series of Monkey Island games launching this summer. That’s in addition to LucasArts’ Secret of Monkey Island remake. I don’t know what else they have planned for the old franchises, but we love those games and wouldn’t object to new series based on Grim Fandango, or any of those old franchises, if the opportunity came up. But we don’t just want to be known as the company that revamps old franchises, either. There are a lot of series out there that are a great fit for the types of story games that we make and we’re always looking for fresh, new game ideas!
What else can we expect from Telltale Games over the next few months?
Well, besides Tales of Monkey Island coming to PC and WiiWare this summer, we have the rest of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures on PC and Xbox LIVE Arcade, and the second season of Sam & Max games coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade, as well as PC and Wii retail. We’ve also just started work on new Sam & Max games. Beyond that, we’re not telling… but I promise it’ll be good.
We’re particularly pleased to hear that they haven’t ruled out a Grim Fandango game, or in fact any of the other LucasArts games (Tie Fighter, Tie Fighter, Tie Fighter!) and we’re also getting ourselves excited about the Secret of Monkey Island remake. If they can keep the quality up and do the classic franchises proud, while keeping prices reasonable, TellTale will rightfully earn a place in gamer’s hearts.