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Question for Tim

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Now that Broken Age is done, and you've been revisiting older adventure games (DoTT,Grim) via remasters.. You have an engine written, a team, a fan base, great reviews on BA:Act I (and I assume hope Act II will only improve that). You could probably launch another successful kick-starter without the overhead of a documentary and engine development time, etc.

But this you already know...

Do you/would you WANT to go back to writing and working on adventure games full time? For that to be DoubleFine's primary focus - the creation of old school with a new twist adventure games?

Thoughts on creating another project like Broken Age but perhaps even more in the vein of some of the older classics (ie, include verb coin, more environments and scope, etc.)? Use the same B.A. engine, all Peter Chan art, etc.?

Loom 2? A "TRUE" Monkey Island 3? (Lucas seems to be throwing around the rights lately, and TellTale seems to have had their fill of Monkeys...). Full Throttle 2? MM3/DoTT2? A new IP all together?

If you kickstarter pitched any of those with a verb coin, pre-built engine, up to speed team, no doc overhead, etc... would this be the dream for you?

Or do you want to primarily seek other avenues / game types with more arcade or platformer elements in the vein of Psychonauts/Brutal Legend?

(Hint: please say full time adventure games ;))

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Well, I WISH I could tell you full time adventure games...

It has been fun to reconnect with the world of adventure games (mostly) but I really don't like to do the same thing twice. I usually like to do the opposite of whatever I did the last time, in fact, because it's fun to try new things.

So doing another adventure game is probably not the next thing I'm going to do, I'm sorry to say. Not set in stone though yet. So, never say never. :)

I hope you like whatever it is we try next. And I hope you like Broken Age Act 2!

Thanks for playing!

-Tim

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I got a little shiver realizing that I just "talked" to Tim Schafer himself. Wasn't sure if you would respond. Thank you so much for taking the time to write back, how cool! I am sad to hear that you won't devote your life to my every personal whim where I can control you as an adventure game producing puppet, but I am sure whatever you come up with next will be great.

As long as you promise after that to make another one with a verb coin like... Full Throttle 2 or DoTT 2 or Monkey Island 3 (if you could ever get Ron to work with someone again) or whatever is in the back of your head there. The only real adventure games in my head were the ones you Ron, Dave, and company came up with.

Thanks Tim! Can't wait for Act 2. As long as I get stuck once or twice, I will love it :D

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Seeing that Tim answered this insightful question I thought I had to add something.

While TIM might not tackle an adventure game next as lead or writer, that doesn't mean that someone else at Double Fine couldn't possibly go for it. Levi Ryken I'm sure based on that LeviWorld card game and Blake Lake brain of his has to have other games or stories that would fall perfectly under the umbrella.

Personally I'd LOVE to see them try to make Dave Gardner's What Could Go Wrong? That game has been on my mind still.

Can that happen? Can it? Huh? Please?

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I do hope that we will see yet more point&click; adventure games from DF, perhaps in a smaller scale like Machinarium, or something episodic, so that not all the knowledge gained and tools built aren't used again. That would be a bit of a waste.

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I do hope that we will see yet more point&click; adventure games from DF, perhaps in a smaller scale like Machinarium, or something episodic, so that not all the knowledge gained and tools built aren't used again. That would be a bit of a waste.

Hey, it's a multi-team studio, and I know that lots of them are adventure game fans. Perhaps we'll see something from them!

(care to pitch something next amnesia fortnight, Spaff?) :)

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Can you imagine a MI3 (or MI5 if you want a direct continueation) helmed by DF???

That would be amazing... PLEASE! :-D

No... I honestly can't. Monkey Island was more Ron Gilbert's baby. Tim provided jokes and ideas, but it wasn't HIS game.

TellTale Games MI game may have not been everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. I also think Tim probably has a good relationship with Dave Grossman and sees TellTale as an ally, not an adversary.

All that said... I want to see DoubleFine (be it Tim or anyone else in the company such as Levi, Dave, Lee, Anna) just try and do more narrative puzzle solving games like Broken Age because the tools are there.

At the same time, they might just actually release all the tools they developed that can be open source and easily reused by a programmer to allow communities to develop.

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Ron & Tim are friends, and while Ron doesn't always want to work in teams, I could see a partnership forming for MI with Ron joining up with DF for one game after he completes thimbleweed.

Relationship with Dave & TellTale has nothing to do with ally or adversary; TellTale licensed Monkey from Lucas, made their game, and have moved on to more big name franchises. DF licensing from Lucas the monkey rights, and Tim & Ron joining up under the DF umbrella for development in late 2016 is nothing that I would see as unlikely or unreasonable.

In fact, I would say its borderline bound to happen unless Lucas denies the rights... but seeing their current track record of granting licenses, and the fact they already licensed to TellTale, seems to bode well.

I just wouldn't expect to see an end product before 2019.

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Oh I didn't mean not possible of happening.

I worded myself wrong. I just would rather see NEW stories. I feel like that world has been explored to the death.

The only thing that could be explored further is the ending of Part 2, but I'm not sure how much more of a game that would be.

Actually it'd be a good way to maybe create a whole NEW world when the kids get lost in another ride based on Norse mythology or is more like a "It's A small world" so it encapsulates many styles of life perfect for a spy adventure. Maybe in this new world, LeChuck is the protagonist and Guybrush is an evil ruler.

I'm just saying people always want Monkey Island... and I personally want them to explore brand new territory. It can even territory charted before, but with that DoubleFine twist of ingenuity, character design and other such mumbo jumbo that makes DoubleFine special.

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Ron has previously said: "The only way I would or could make another Monkey Island is if I owned the IP."

http://grumpygamer.com/if_i_made_another_monkeyisland

Despite the fact that Disney are very unlikely to do anything with the IP, I highly doubt they'd be willing to let it go. So although I'd love to see the MI3a outlined in that post, I don't see it as very likely. We can only hope that the GF and DOTT special editions will be successful enough to shake something loose somewhere...

EDIT: of course, Ron did say in the comments, "Disney is not interested in selling the IP. That might change in a couple of years. Who knows." This was almost exactly 2 years ago!

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While it does break my heart to say it, because I like Ron Gilbert and Monkey Island was my first true gaming love, I'm not sure I'd want a Ron Gilbert fronted Monkey Island, at least not on the terms he states, for a few reasons which I'll try to only touch on briefly here.

1) I think Ron maybe gives himself a little too much credit for the success of Monkey Island as a series. Sure, you can't lose the fact that it's his baby and he concieved it, but whenever I've seen him talk about it I've generally seen a lack of acknowledgement of others contributions. If I was Ron IP would be my secondary concern. First I'd want to see if Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman and all the other artists who made the thing truly special would be on board. I don't think he can carry it alone, talented as he is. I get the sense that a lot of the things I really loved about MI2, for instance, were Tim and Dave's influence.

2) I think that some of it comes across as stubbornness. It'd be nice if Ron got the IP rights... sure, but when he made the game he was an employee of LucasArts, same as all the other people who made that game a success (see 1), and so what he's demanding here is a legal stake in something he never had a legal stake in, and was created by far more people than just him. I can see why he wants it; I can equally see why Disney would wonder why they should give it away at a low price.

3) Similarly, the whole stuff about rebuilding SCUMM because Lua isn't good enough. I can't help but feel there's a little bit of pride involved here. Sure, I'm certain SCUMM was great, but it's by no means a hill to die on with regards to writing an adventure game.

4) Monkey Island 3a. I get that he had other plans for the series but it wasn't his and only his baby, it was his decision to leave LucasArts and I really have no interest in an alternate Monkey Island history except as a curiosity. I think sometimes you have to let this stuff go.

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1) I think Ron maybe gives himself a little too much credit for the success of Monkey Island as a series. Sure, you can't lose the fact that it's his baby and he concieved it...

While I certainly agree that MI's success is not solely to be placed upon the shoulders of Ron Gilbert and was definitely an effort made by the team which included Tim to no small degree I'm sure, Ron's contribution when it came to adventure gaming in general (pretty much defining the top tier of the genre) and MI in particular is in no way a small one and I think he should be rightfully credited for it.

2) I think that some of it comes across as stubbornness. It'd be nice if Ron got the IP rights... sure, but when he made the game he was an employee of LucasArts...

I don't really understand your reasoning and I think you're assuming far too literal a reading of what was meant by what was said. I read it as Ron saying that the only way he will re-enter the franchise is if he has the ability to have complete creative control. I would say this is largely reasoned by the reduced creative control that was being afforded him and the team as the 90's progressed which resulted in arguably less high quality adventure games. Obviously there's other value to be had with "owning the IP", but I don't see that as the primary motivation. Finally, if Ron was the sole (or one of a small set) of people who conceived of the entire idea of Monkey Island - which is very possible given the small team sizes those days - then technically it was very much his intellectual contribution. Just because it was LucasArts' property by right doesn't mean he can't say "I really wish I could have it/buy it back".

3) Similarly, the whole stuff about rebuilding SCUMM because Lua isn't good enough. I can't help but feel there's a little bit of pride involved here. Sure, I'm certain SCUMM was great, but it's by no means a hill to die on with regards to writing an adventure game.

I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here. If you're talking about SCUMM in the 90's it was very much so a critical component to the success of LucasArts' adventure games. I've not ever read or heard of people saying that SCUMM was garbage, and only ever saying that it allowed designers and artists and developers to rapidly iterate and allowed them to make better games. A big win if you ask me. Hell, even SIERRA had things like AGI and SCI, so it's obvious you had to do this. If you're talking about him "reinventing SCUMM" for something like Thimbleweed or whatever, then all I can say is that it's very likely that his prior experience and knowledge is a big contributor to his desire to build something similar. If it means he can use it as a basis for future adventure games (since he certainly seems to want to make more post-Thimbleweed), feels familiar and brings across all the strengths of SCUMM, and lets him iterate more rapidly than perhaps a more fully-featured language might, then I say let him if it lets him and designers/developers that work on his projects iterate more rapidly and produce better games.

4) Monkey Island 3a. I get that he had other plans for the series but it wasn't his and only his baby, it was his decision to leave LucasArts and I really have no interest in an alternate Monkey Island history except as a curiosity. I think sometimes you have to let this stuff go.

I would hazard a guess then and say you're probably in a minority when it comes to MI fans. I think there are a lot of fans who would love to see Ron's interpretation of the 3rd instalment. I remember back when 3 came out, a big deal was made that it was not the original vision, didn't seem to fit consistently with what happened in 2 and so on, so it mattered back then, and I would say for fans of the series it still would matter.

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1) I think Ron maybe gives himself a little too much credit for the success of Monkey Island as a series. Sure, you can't lose the fact that it's his baby and he concieved it...

While I certainly agree that MI's success is not solely to be placed upon the shoulders of Ron Gilbert and was definitely an effort made by the team which included Tim to no small degree I'm sure, Ron's contribution when it came to adventure gaming in general (pretty much defining the top tier of the genre) and MI in particular is in no way a small one and I think he should be rightfully credited for it.

2) I think that some of it comes across as stubbornness. It'd be nice if Ron got the IP rights... sure, but when he made the game he was an employee of LucasArts...

I don't really understand your reasoning and I think you're assuming far too literal a reading of what was meant by what was said. I read it as Ron saying that the only way he will re-enter the franchise is if he has the ability to have complete creative control. I would say this is largely reasoned by the reduced creative control that was being afforded him and the team as the 90's progressed which resulted in arguably less high quality adventure games. Obviously there's other value to be had with "owning the IP", but I don't see that as the primary motivation. Finally, if Ron was the sole (or one of a small set) of people who conceived of the entire idea of Monkey Island - which is very possible given the small team sizes those days - then technically it was very much his intellectual contribution. Just because it was LucasArts' property by right doesn't mean he can't say "I really wish I could have it/buy it back".

3) Similarly, the whole stuff about rebuilding SCUMM because Lua isn't good enough. I can't help but feel there's a little bit of pride involved here. Sure, I'm certain SCUMM was great, but it's by no means a hill to die on with regards to writing an adventure game.

I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here. If you're talking about SCUMM in the 90's it was very much so a critical component to the success of LucasArts' adventure games. I've not ever read or heard of people saying that SCUMM was garbage, and only ever saying that it allowed designers and artists and developers to rapidly iterate and allowed them to make better games. A big win if you ask me. Hell, even SIERRA had things like AGI and SCI, so it's obvious you had to do this. If you're talking about him "reinventing SCUMM" for something like Thimbleweed or whatever, then all I can say is that it's very likely that his prior experience and knowledge is a big contributor to his desire to build something similar. If it means he can use it as a basis for future adventure games (since he certainly seems to want to make more post-Thimbleweed), feels familiar and brings across all the strengths of SCUMM, and lets him iterate more rapidly than perhaps a more fully-featured language might, then I say let him if it lets him and designers/developers that work on his projects iterate more rapidly and produce better games.

4) Monkey Island 3a. I get that he had other plans for the series but it wasn't his and only his baby, it was his decision to leave LucasArts and I really have no interest in an alternate Monkey Island history except as a curiosity. I think sometimes you have to let this stuff go.

I would hazard a guess then and say you're probably in a minority when it comes to MI fans. I think there are a lot of fans who would love to see Ron's interpretation of the 3rd instalment. I remember back when 3 came out, a big deal was made that it was not the original vision, didn't seem to fit consistently with what happened in 2 and so on, so it mattered back then, and I would say for fans of the series it still would matter.

1) What I was talking about has nothing to do with Ron's contributions to the adventure game genre in general, which were, of course, significant and very influential. I just mean to say that I've rarely seen him take the time to acknowledge what other people brought to Monkey Island as a series, which in Tim and Dave's case was more than a little. There's just this assumption that he should be the one who gets to control it, and I'm not sure that should unconditionally be the case.

2) It would be possible to negotiate a deal where he had complete creative control without owning the copyrights. He insists on the latter (in fact, having complete creative control is covered in a seperate point he makes in that article). I don't understand why, it seems to be a point of pride, and it's the thing that's most likely to ensure that a Ron Gilbert Monkey Island game will never happen again.

3) I'm talking about the bit where he says that he would rewrite SCUMM. Which is his prerogative, but what I dislike is that he uses it as an opportunity to dig at Lua (which he seems to do at every possible opportunity). My only point here is that you can make a good adventure game in plenty of different ways, and while SCUMM was great, it seems like a weird line to draw, and wanting to remake it seems like a point of pride more than anything else. Not a big point, but just indicative of a theme that seems to run through that piece.

4) I'm not even saying that I wouldn't want to see it, that I wouldn't be interested. Only that the set of conditions that would make me interested in it would be vastly different to most of the ones listed by Ron. I'd be interested if it (for example):

- Included Tim and Dave as writers/designers on the project like the first two.

- Similarly Michael Land and ideally Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian

- I'd want it to be a high res game, none of this low-res-but modern stuff. It's not that I don't like pixel art (I love it, I use it in my own games), but even as early as MI1 I feel like the games would have been much higher resolution if they could have been. MI1 had its painterly close ups, and MI2 of course incorporated hand painted backgrounds, it seems like they were trying to use the very best technology available at the time, so I don't understand why there would be a concession to pixel nostalgia, it doesn't really seem like it's in the spirit of the golden age of LucasArts.

Basically, I read that list and feel like his priorities are wrong. Or, rather, he's welcome to the priorities he wants, but the ones he's picked don't make me all that thrilled about even the theoretical prospect of 3a.

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Like Tim, Ron doesn't want to put his heart and soul into something that someone else then owns and profits from. That's nothing to do with "stubbornness". He's beyond having to work for companies that he doesn't want to in this stage of his career.

Also, I take Ron's opinion of LUA, and how frustrating he'd find working in it, as a perfectly reasonable and valid opinion from someone who knows a lot more about developing adventure game engines than you. How you can twist it into a reason not to make MI3 is confusing. If Ron says LUA is a bad fit for the for genre, what basis could you possibly have to argue otherwise? This is definitely the weakest of your arguments.

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Like Tim, Ron doesn't want to put his heart and soul into something that someone else then owns and profits from. That's nothing to do with "stubbornness". He's beyond having to work for companies that he doesn't want to in this stage of his career.

Also, I take Ron's opinion of LUA, and how frustrating he'd find working in it, as a perfectly reasonable and valid opinion from someone who knows a lot more about developing adventure game engines than you. How you can twist it into a reason not to make MI3 is confusing. If Ron says LUA is a bad fit for the for genre, what basis could you possibly have to argue otherwise? This is definitely the weakest of your arguments.

You're misinterpretation what I'm actually saying to the point of frustration. As I said, he's entitled to draw whatever lines in the sand he wants to. That's up to him. I don't want to suggest he should work in a way that's uncomfortable for him. But, that said, nothing about that particular piece he wrote gives me, personally, any confidence that he alone should be in charge of the future direction of the Monkey Island series.

Y'know, I can still respect George Lucas for Star Wars while having doubts about his involvement in it in the future. And here what I'm saying isn't even that bad - I'm just suggesting that I don't like the way he talks about his plans for the series and I'd like to see other people on board with decision making power.

Some of the things Ron says about Monkey Island whenever the topic comes around have come across to me as a bit ego-driven, and I don't think this latest statement does much to dissuade me of that.

The Lua thing is the weakest of my arguments, which is why I said it was at the time, and the only reason I brought it up is that it's not the first time I've seen him have a little dig at Lua vs SCUMM (or indeed his ability to make adventure games vs everyone elses) and it just comes across as very odd to me, and strangely disrespectful to other professionals in the industry who choose it as a scripting language to work in for adventure games. Like he's not just saying he preferred how SCUMM works, but saying Lua is a puny and worthless option next to it, which seems to me to be only one step shy of directly dissing the people who choose to use it.

Again, he's the expert in what he is best at using to make games, but I don't think that he often realises how he comes across, which is why people like Chuck Jordan have taken issue with the piece.

Like, I don't think Grim Fandango needs a sequel, but I'd feel weird about it if Tim started talking about one but on his list of things he'd want to do it right he failed to mention a single other person who helped make that game what it was. And I can't imagine that he'd do that because he's so collaborative in the way he works. That's the difference.

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By the way, because I feel I've talked a little harsh, I do want to emphasise that I have immense respect for Ron. He is largely responsible for adventure game design principles that I still believe to be the best around. He brought me two of my favourite games ever. I've met him, I've spoken to him, I like him. This is by no means any sort of personal vendetta situation. I *just* take a few issues with the way he talks about certain things like what I was talking about above. That's all. No need to rush to his rescue. He's alright by me.

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Ron has previously said: "The only way I would or could make another Monkey Island is if I owned the IP."

http://grumpygamer.com/if_i_made_another_monkeyisland!

Of those 15 points only one mentions Monkey Island specifically (storyline one), and one is actually saying that the game will be very different from MI. The rest are simply completely unrelated to IP.

So if he would want to make an adventure game that is very different from Monkey Island, with full control and copyright, SCUMM rewrite, full voice, old school, etc. etc - he DOESN'T even NEED Disney's rights, he can just name it something else and continue with a new twist on the story or whatever. Even with full rights he would probably be better off using another names for game and characters, since MI is already an established universe that doesn't include his vision at all.

The fact that he didn't make any proper adventure games for ages even when he had the chance (The Cave) tells very clearly that he doesn't want to make them anymore.

Resurrecting old IP only for the sake of resurrection, when creator has moved on from the genre long ago, is hardly going to make MI justice, even if he rounds off the story and reveals the Secret or whatever...

Edit: Oh, so he does in fact make an adventure game right now! I'm sure I read about it but completely forgot for some reason. Anyway, it's awesome that after so many years off he doesn't try to use old IP and I hope it would turn out even better than MI ever was.

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