This project has been making me think alot lately about the possibilities that could open up with independently-funded games, where the pressures of marketing and demographics and other corporate shenanigans might be greatly reduced. To me, it seems this may be a unique opportunity for some of the best talent in video games to bring something new to the table.
Much of the talk about this game has been centered around a return to the old school, and it seems like many backers and fans want the creators to simply re-make Monkey Island. I completely understand this way of thinking, as I still feel the old LucasArts adventures were some of the finest ever made. However, I think that the creators should be free to take this opportunity to work in that old school style, but perhaps explore new things that have never been dealt with in games before. I would love to see this art form mature even further, and incorporate more intellectual content that could be expressed in the ways this medium provides. I wonder, what does everyone think about this?
I've always thought it unfortunate that adventure games became unpopular, because they are unique in the way the player becomes completely immersed in the story and world of the game. They're a personal experience - one that causes the player to internalize so much. The puzzles and humor and need to think your way through the story could make them capable of tackling some complex subjects, or perhaps explore philosophical or psychological ideas in the mind of the player. I'm certainly not suggesting that the game play like a college lecture, but I do think you can achieve a balance, where the game is fun and also enlightening. For some examples of things that got me thinking in this direction, check out some of the "RSA Animate" videos on YouTube. There was one I saw recently about what drives innovation that I loved, and in particular made me think about this project (and included a few Back to the Future jokes, so added bonus).
I know this has been attempted in other games before, but the clearest precedent I can think of is Psychonauts. That game was very fun and hilarious, but also had some incredibly dark, heavy ideas that it presented to you about the inner workings of the characters' minds. This (to me) is why that game was so great. I think if the designers and developers are allowed to get as dark and heavy and deep and complex as they want, within the framework of an old school adventure with amazing, evocative 2D artwork (the surrealism of Dr. Fred's mansion in DOTT and the wonderful feeling of exploring Woodtick at night), we might end up with a product that will truly advance the art form.
Of course these are just my opinions, and I thought I'd lay them out here, where I assume is the appropriate place. I would never presume to give direction to Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert, or any of the talent working on this project. I gave my money so that they could be free to make the game they want with less pressure than they might usually find themselves under, and I hope that they don't feel required to appease anyone - even the backers and fans - if it means not making the game they want to make. I just think that intellectual content, and how to balance that with humor and good storytelling, particularly in games like this, are interesting to consider and discuss.