Bad Brains and Sam & Max?

The Wolfgang Kierdorf Q&A on Adventure Gamers talks with the CEO of Bad Brains about their plans to revive the Adventure genre with projects like A Vampyre Story, I-Jet, and (no kidding) The Orgastic Four ("a mix of The A-Team, a 70's porn movie and The Godfather"). The conversation also probes for confirmation of rumors that they are working on acquiring the rights to Sam & Max: Freelance Police, receiving a somewhat encouraging response:
No comment (I signed an NDA). All I can say is: yes, we are talking to LucasArts about a game that might involve animals, but that's all folks! I guess we will see what´s happening in March 2005 at the latest.
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27.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 7, 2004, 03:28
27.
Re: No subject Dec 7, 2004, 03:28
Dec 7, 2004, 03:28
 
For everyone discussing why adventure games are dying/dead, just becaues you don't like linear, plot-heavy, dialog-heavy, adventure games doesn't mean we feel these are bad qualities.

There is nothing wrong with good plot and dialogue. In fact, these things can add a lot to a game and make it all the more engrossing. Unfortunately, these things can't compensate for tired and uninteresting gameplay.

26.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 14:38
26.
Re: No subject Dec 6, 2004, 14:38
Dec 6, 2004, 14:38
 
Ultimately, adventure games boil down to pixel hunting and trial-and-error, neither of which is particularly fun.
The trial-and-error can be fun, though, if the developer plans for it. Certain games make humorous things happen when you goof up.
The biggest argument against "linear isn't entertaining" is movies. There are certain movies you can watch over and over again because they're compelling.
Similarly, there are certain games you can play over and over again because they're compelling.
Yes, many of them, if you "take the story out" there's not much left, but that's because the story is what's important. There are also those where the story is awesome, and the gameplay is interesting.
I'm sure there are others for whose Sam and Max isn't fun anymore, and that's their prerogative. It was still fun (and funny) for me a year ago when I played through it again.

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25.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 10:37
25.
Re: No subject Dec 6, 2004, 10:37
Dec 6, 2004, 10:37
 
For everyone discussing why adventure games are dying/dead, just becaues you don't like linear, plot-heavy, dialog-heavy, adventure games doesn't mean we feel these are bad qualities. There just aren't enough of us around to finance the increasingly high production costs. BUT, if someone would just make a game with cheap graphics but great puzzles, dialog, and story, they will make money.

OTOH, While I LOVED The Longest Journey, there is no way in hell it competes with Sam & Max, Grim Fandango, Maniac Mansion 2, Gabriel Knight 3, or Space Quest 4. And the Ultimate King of Adventure Games is Gabriel Knight 2, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a complete and utter moron!

Ahh...I love my coffee and flaming in the morning!
24.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 09:36
24.
Re: No subject Dec 6, 2004, 09:36
Dec 6, 2004, 09:36
 
No, that is certainly not true. Dreamfall is currently on schedule for Q4 2005 the earliest. Disregarding any delays, Dreamfall will be the best game of whatever year it will come out.

The Longest Journey still ranks as my overall favourite game of all time. I am looking forward to Dreamfall more than just about any other game ever.

Parallax Abstraction
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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23.
 
No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 09:22
23.
No subject Dec 6, 2004, 09:22
Dec 6, 2004, 09:22
 
I was hoping Ron Gilbert would grab the license, though he's busy making his own game. Oh well, it's better than having it rot in LucasArts' vault of expired games, as if they'd do anything with it.

It'd be cool if Wolfgang contracted Ron Gilbert to make the game. How sweet would that be?

22.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 06:03
22.
Re: No subject Dec 6, 2004, 06:03
Dec 6, 2004, 06:03
 
I agree with Jarek. The gameplay model was broken from day one, and nobody ever really fixed it. Even in it's prime, the gameplay was only vaguely fun.. it was more the satisfaction of solving a puzzle more than anything. The weaknesses in the gameplay soon became all the more apparent as more open-ended gameplay came onto the market in the mid 90s (RPGs, FPSs, etc). Adventure developers never stood up to this challenge, instead they kept churning out the same old tired game.. something that they are STILL doing. Just play a demo of the most recently released adventures like Black Mirror, Syberia 2, or Moment of Silence.. 10 years and absolutely no change, except for better graphics. There were the occasional attempts to revolutionize, like Access Software's Tex Murphy series, but there was never any forward momentum from a large number of developers. This of course all led to a decline in sales, which also meant less development money. So even if said adventure devs wanted to try something different, they didn't have the dough to do it anymore.

In addition to the financial situation, they find themselves facing the question of relevance. They are in a situation now where other genres have incorporated their genre's best elements (story, character interaction, etc.), while leaving the bad stuff behind. So is there really any incentive anymore for the average gamer to pick up an adventure, when they could instead get the latest action-adventure or RPG-adventure hybrid, and get twice as much game?

Two things adventure devs need to do.

Reinvent. Starting with the puzzles, which is essentially the key gameplay element. This would mean complete non-linearity. multiple solutions to puzzles, and no more of the single solution trial-and-error BS. A complete move to 3D will also be needed in the long run.

Survival. they need to consider moving into online distribution for the time being. In other words, selling only to a small hardcore audience and cutting out publishing costs and what not. Revolution and the guys behind the Tex series want to try this, and it might just work. They might find that this is the future of adventures, and forget about Reinventing.

But still, a total renaissance of the genre will take a long time. And like I said, there is a high chance it will be seen as redundant, as FPS's are already well on their way down the road to reaching the perfect action-adventure hybrid, which the adventure genre would JUST be starting to travel.

21.
 
Re: Adventure games won't make a comeback
Dec 6, 2004, 02:31
21.
Re: Adventure games won't make a comeback Dec 6, 2004, 02:31
Dec 6, 2004, 02:31
 
So, adventure games are too linear but HL2 is not? That's a twisted logic you have there.

Think of linearity in overall terms. Yes, HL2 has linear game progression. You go from one level to the next. But in approaching each situation, you have choices. You can barge into a room with guns blazing or you can pick off targets from afar. You can lure enemies into traps, use the physics engine to your advantage, etc. Adventure games offer no such freedom. You walk around, clicking on everything to ensure that you don't miss any items or interactive objects. You then use these objects to solve puzzles (which are often a trial-and-error affair). The only impetus for completing an adventure game is the storyline, as the actual gameplay is mundane.

20.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 02:26
20.
Re: No subject Dec 6, 2004, 02:26
Dec 6, 2004, 02:26
 
I don't understand why you still have not brought up the real reason why the adventure genre died (FYI, it did not) and that is because no developer succeeded in making a successful transition to 3D.

When one or two adventure games come out a year, I think it's safe to say that the genre is dead. Your point about graphics is well-taken, but not entirely accurate. Even if an adventure game has great 3D graphics, the core gameplay will still hold it back. The fact that every situation must be approached in the same way is a severe deterrent to involving gameplay. Gabriel Knight 3 was a good adventure game and the graphics at the time were well-done. Unfortunately, the gameplay still clung to the traditional, linear style of the genre. Syberia and Syberia 2 had greatly detailed 2D graphics (which isn't necessarily a cause for poor sales, as the RE games had mostly prerendered backgrounds and they sold very well), but their gameplay too was simply uninteresting. I have no problem with 2D games. In fact, Commandos 2 is one of my favorite games. I love 2D graphics when they are highly detailed.

The last good adventure game that I can recall was Omikron, though that was technically an action/adventure/RPG. It had a deeply immersive gaming world and despite a general lack of polish, it was highly enjoyable.

In the end, it's all about gameplay. Take away the storyline of an adventure game and what motivation do you have to continue? Certainly not the gameplay. This is why traditional adventure games are dead.

19.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 01:30
19.
Re: No subject Dec 6, 2004, 01:30
Dec 6, 2004, 01:30
 
recently went back to play Sam and Max and I grew bored within 5 minutes of starting the game. Adventure gaming simply doesn't cut it for me anymore. I need something more involving. Sure, adventure games are ideal for good storylines and characters, but if the core gameplay isn't interesting, it's all for naught. Ultimately, adventure games boil down to pixel hunting and trial-and-error, neither of which is particularly fun.

I don't understand why you still have not brought up the real reason why the adventure genre died (FYI, it did not) and that is because no developer succeeded in making a successful transition to 3D.

Nowadays it's all about fancy 3D graphics, if your game doesn't have them, it won't sell. Either you are mainstream or you are out of business.

Fancy graphics is also the primary reason why I have hope that Dreamfall will succeed and become a great selling game; alongside with an epic story and an immersive gaming world.

18.
 
Re: Adventure games won't make a comeback
Dec 6, 2004, 01:18
18.
Re: Adventure games won't make a comeback Dec 6, 2004, 01:18
Dec 6, 2004, 01:18
 
The genre died for a reason. Simply put, adventure games are too linear.

So, adventure games are too linear but HL2 is not? That's a twisted logic you have there.

I'm pretty sure that Dreamfall will be less linear than HL1, HL2 or Doom3 are, in fact the longest journey was already less linear than any of those shooters and for the most part even more immersive.

Strange thing that the FPS genre has not yet died due to the general linearity found in the last year's shooters, don't you agree?


17.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 6, 2004, 01:15
17.
Re: No subject Dec 6, 2004, 01:15
Dec 6, 2004, 01:15
 
I beg to differ. Go back and play Grim Fandango or Sam and Max and tell me they aren't still fun.

I recently went back to play Sam and Max and I grew bored within 5 minutes of starting the game. Adventure gaming simply doesn't cut it for me anymore. I need something more involving. Sure, adventure games are ideal for good storylines and characters, but if the core gameplay isn't interesting, it's all for naught. Ultimately, adventure games boil down to pixel hunting and trial-and-error, neither of which is particularly fun.

16.
 
No subject
Dec 5, 2004, 23:09
16.
No subject Dec 5, 2004, 23:09
Dec 5, 2004, 23:09
 
There's nothing wrong with linear gameplay, if it suits the game, and the game is enjoyable. Movies are entirely linear by necessity, and there is no shortage of brilliant movies out there (not to mention a very sizable variety of ways of telling the story within the linear movie framework), so there's no fundamental reason why excellent linear adventure games can't continue to be made, and made well.

Having said that, most adventures I can think of have a reasonable degree of non-linearity in that you can usually tackle a number of different available problems in any order at any given time

This comment was edited on Dec 5, 23:11.
15.
 
Re: Adventure games won't make a comeback
Dec 5, 2004, 20:14
15.
Re: Adventure games won't make a comeback Dec 5, 2004, 20:14
Dec 5, 2004, 20:14
 
I beg to differ. Go back and play Grim Fandango or Sam and Max and tell me they aren't still fun.

What we're seeing as emergent gameplay comes into the forefront is that it's becoming harder and harder to tell a cohesive story with a cinematic feel. Yes, there's something to be said for non-linear gameplay, but I feel both linear and non-linear games have a place in the future of entertainment.
Some people complain that certain games are "too scripted", but there's nothing wrong with scripted sequences if they help immerse you in an experience that's bigger than just your effects on the environment. Games like Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, and Half-Life 2 may not be revolutionary, but they're still fun. (Yes, I'm an FPS player primarily.)
This isn't to say there's not a place for San Andreas, which does a fair job of weaving free-form gameplay with a linear story progression.

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14.
 
Adventure games won't make a comeback
Dec 5, 2004, 19:55
14.
Adventure games won't make a comeback Dec 5, 2004, 19:55
Dec 5, 2004, 19:55
 
The genre died for a reason. Simply put, adventure games are too linear. Emergent, free-form gameplay is becoming the standard and adventure games represent the exact opposite of that. Every puzzle must be solved in a specific way and progression follows a certain path, with no opportunity for deviation. Action games can get away with linear progression because the actual gameplay is the focus in the game. Adventure games, on the other hand, don't have much gameplay. Most of them boil down to pixel hunts, with the user trying to figure out what item to combine with the other item in order to get a lever to pull up. In order for the adventure genre to be revived, it has to evolve. A greater focus on actual gameplay needs to take place.

Oh, and I don't think HL2 is revolutionary. In fact, I don't think the original game was revolutionary either. Sure, it was highly immersive, but the core gameplay was no different from other shooters. HL2 is a good action game, but hardly the next stage in gaming history.


This comment was edited on Dec 5, 20:01.
13.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2004, 19:41
13.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2004, 19:41
Dec 5, 2004, 19:41
 
Two words: Grimmer Fandango

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12.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2004, 19:30
12.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2004, 19:30
Dec 5, 2004, 19:30
 
Awesome! I want to see Sam & Max again! They sure don't make adventure games like they used to anymore.

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11.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2004, 18:50
11.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2004, 18:50
Dec 5, 2004, 18:50
 
Dreamfall isn't late, I don't think. They were still saying it was supposed to come out in 2005, right? I'm not sure the specific release date though. GameSpot.com is still listing January 10th, 2005.

No, that is certainly not true. Dreamfall is currently on schedule for Q4 2005 the earliest. Disregarding any delays, Dreamfall will be the best game of whatever year it will come out.

It's time again for a serious game with a real story and characters and not some average mainstream FPS like HL2.


Flame away, I can't wait for people trying to justify how revolutionary HL2 is
This comment was edited on Dec 5, 18:51.
10.
 
Yeah,,,
Dec 5, 2004, 18:40
10.
Yeah,,, Dec 5, 2004, 18:40
Dec 5, 2004, 18:40
 
screw HL2, this is the best news so far this year!!!

9.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2004, 16:15
9.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2004, 16:15
Dec 5, 2004, 16:15
 
Dreamfall isn't late, I don't think. They were still saying it was supposed to come out in 2005, right? I'm not sure the specific release date though. GameSpot.com is still listing January 10th, 2005, which I'm sure can't be right (surely if this game was only a month away we'd be hearing about it). Either way, I can't wait.......... definitely the game I'm most looking forward to. I should dig out the Longest Journey and play it again.

8.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 5, 2004, 15:27
8.
Re: No subject Dec 5, 2004, 15:27
Dec 5, 2004, 15:27
 
Sixis:

You're not the only one waiting for Dreamfall

"I find your lack of faith disturbing." - Darth Vader
Smile Like You Mean It
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