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Sam & Max Sequel Canceled 401

Posted by simoniker
from the hit-the-roadkill dept.
Pluvius writes "A terse press release from LucasArts, the creator of classic adventure games such as Grim Fandango and the Monkey Island series, reveals that development on Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the planned sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road, has stopped. Says LucasArts exec Mike Nelson, 'After careful evaluation of current market place realities and underlying economic considerations, we've decided that this was not the appropriate time to launch a graphic adventure on the PC.'" The International House Of Mojo fansite has some editorial comments [original URL] on this move, the second Sam & Max game cancellation in recent years, lamenting: "LucasArts has made a gigantic mistake."
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Sam & Max Sequel Canceled

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  • by ja2ke (633770) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:27PM (#8456204)
    Our server is far too weak to be linked twice from a Slashdot post, but thanks :) Here's what the update said which is now unreadable due to you guys owning our server:

    LucasArts Cancels Sam & Max Freelance Police, Resigns Self to Mediocrity
    Yep, they've done it. LucasArts has just announced that they've stopped work on Sam & Max 2, saying "After careful evaluation of current market place realities and underlying economic considerations, we've decided that this was not the appropriate time to launch a graphic adventure on the PC."

    Don't believe that its possible? Here's the official announcement [lucasarts.com] from LucasArts.com. Our best wishes go out to everyone on the Sam & Max 2 team, who are apprently all still going to be kept on at LucasArts.

    To us, the decision seems completely absurd, and not just because "we love adventure games," or something. Surely Sam & Max's production was plagued with troubles, but from the sounds of it so is every game project. Everything that came out about Sam & Max seemed golden. The press was drooling over the game. It looked like they had a sequel going on that, unlike some other recent sequels, was actually going ot get it right. But now, out of the blue, its gone. Which really really makes all of us wonder...

    "What the Hell is Wrong With LucasArts?"
    an editorial by the staff of Mixnmojo

    LucasArts has made a gigantic mistake.

    There, we've said it. Everyone else is already thinking it, and other people have probably already said it, but now we've said it too. The official Mixnmojo stance on Sam & Max 2 being cancelled is that LucasArts has seriously screwed up, just about as much as possible.

    Production has stopped on the last original game --and the only game really-- anyone around here was genuinely interested in seeing. Cancelled. Why? From the sounds of it, the people in the Sales department spent the last three months winding themselves up about how impossible it would be for them to sell a quirky adventure game, eventually just snapped, and cancelled the title. Is that screwed up? Yes, that is screwed up.

    LucasArts has made a lot of really bad moves in the last year. RTX Red Rock was allowed to ship. It tanked hard. Who really thought RTX would be marketable, would sell well, would really catch the attention of gamers? Full Throttle 2, despite a constant stream of negative to lukewarm receptions from magazines and fans, was allowed to live on in production far longer than anyone really wanted.

    Armed & Dangerous, one of the few truly original gems LucasArts has dealt with in the last five or six years, was rushed out early by the suits, in hopes of grabbing some Christmas shoppers. This was decided despite Christmas being notorious for huge A-list titles like Lord of the Rings hogging the coverage and hype, and for mothers who know nothing about games being the ones doing the shopping. Not surprisingly, Armed & Dangerous had a poor holiday season. Who knows what might have happened if they'd let Planet Moon refine the game for a few months, and released A&D it in the nearly empty February, after everyone had exhausted their Christmas games and was looking for something new?

    Recently, they shipped Wrath Unleashed. For more on Wrath, see RTX a few paragraphs up. And finally, today we receive word that Sam & Max Freelance Police has been axed.

    Notice a trend here? Correct. Not one of the recent LucasArts bungles mentioned above contained the two magic words, Star Wars. If you give the suits at LucasArts a Star Wars game, they can sell it. Why? Because they don't have to try! No cleverness is needed. That's not to say it doesn't take any work, but for the most part you just need to get the screenshots out, buy a few ads on Gamespot, and tell the press "yep, it's
  • by Gubbe (705219) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:30PM (#8456240)
    That's because Full Throttle was also cancelled [slashdot.org] a while ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:31PM (#8456262)
    Mailtos (from the article):
    Randy Breen [mailto] - Vice President of Development
    Mary Bihr [mailto] - Vice President of Global Publishing
    Michael Nelson [mailto] - Acting President
  • by Malor (3658) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:34PM (#8456292) Journal
    Grim Fandango was one of the best adventures ever done. It had great graphics, great voices, tough but solvable (for the most part, anyway :)) puzzles, incredible creativity, and a truly superb storyline.

    It also sold dismally. LucasArts lost their shirt on GF. And that was BEFORE the huge slump in per-title PC sales.

    It's possible that gamers really are 'hungry for' this kind of title, but given how most titles are selling these days, that's an awfully big risk to take. They've been burned badly a number of times in providing exactly what gamers are asking for. We may want these things, but apparently there aren't enough of us that want them to make the projects profitable. LucasArts is literally cutting their losses.

    It's a shame... I imagine for this kind of game to really see a renaissance, it'll have to be developed in a low-cost country, which would allow them to sell, say, 25K copies and still be profitable.
  • by Tebriel (192168) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:39PM (#8456355)
    But Al Lowe is not involved.

    There IS NO SEQUEL.
  • by RichardX (457979) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:42PM (#8456384) Homepage
    The graphical adventure on the PC isn't quite dead... not yet.
    Perhaps commercially it is - but look how long the text adventure has been dead, and that's got a thriving fan/development community producing some outstanding stuff.. (To learn more about that google around for "Interactive Fiction", "Inform" or "TADS")

    And as for graphical adventures - there's some really neat free graphical adventure development systems (SLUDGE [hungrysoftware.com] Adventure Game Studio [adventureg...udio.co.uk]) - and of course, if you just want to play the games, there's plenty of those two, including some very polished efforts, such as Out of Order [adventuredevelopers.com]

    In short, don't wait for Lucasarts to make the next great adventure - get stuck in and do it yourself! :)
  • I will survive. (Score:2, Informative)

    by OrthodonticJake (624565) <[[OrthodonticJak ... l]}{[.][[com]] m> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:09PM (#8456665) Homepage Journal
    If Dreamfall [longestjourney.com] is cancelled, then I will seriously flip. Dreamfall is the sequel to The Longest Journey, one of the best adventure games ever. ;)
  • by Thud457 (234763) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:11PM (#8456676) Homepage Journal
    GPL SCUMM engine clone [sourceforge.net]

    Sam & Max fan-GA, anyone?

    Now you just need some good artists, writers and voice actors. (Well, there still is the trivial problem of copyrighted characters...)

  • by SScorpio (595836) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:34PM (#8456992)
    As others have stated Al Lowe isn't working on the new Larry game; however, that doesn't mean it won't be good. Don't condem it before it's out people.

    As for SpaceQuest, Sierra had 7 going back in the day but cancelled it. Also they had 7 being developed again but the studio working on it said it was cancelled last month. You can read about it here: http://wiw.org/~jess/sq7.html

    If you want to play some of the old Sierra games maybe of the VGA ones won't work properly on modern PCs due to timing issues. Here is a website with patches for the games: http://geocities.com/belzorash/
  • by arose (644256) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:49PM (#8457195)
    The first game was so good I still have it and a 486 just so I can go back every few years and play it.
    Get ScummVM [scummvm.org] and turn that 486 into a firewall or something.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:27PM (#8457694)
    LucasArts does not own the rights for Sam & Max, they belong to the comic's creator Steve Purcell. So LucasArts can't do anything of the sort, except publish the nearly finished (?) game. *fingers crossed*
  • by obijywk (596747) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:43PM (#8457886)

    If you want to help save Sam and Max 2 (if it's even possible at this point) or just let LucasArts know how big of a mistake they made, so it won't happen again next time:

    Sign the online petition at PetitionOnline. http://www.petitiononline.com/LACOSAM/petition.htm l [petitiononline.com]

    Also, send e-mail to LucasArts!

    pr@lucasarts.com
    webjedi@lucasarts.com
  • Sam n Max quote... (Score:3, Informative)

    by BMonger (68213) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:35PM (#8458465)
    "It's, like, several voices screaming out in terror... and then suddenly silenced." :)

    If you've never played the first one and never will... why not read the game read the game [fortunecity.com]?
  • by Calmiche (531074) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:38PM (#8459031)
    Yes. In fact, all the really old Lucas Arts games are playable on WinXP. You just need some free software and a little bit of tweaking. Check out http://www.scummvm.org [scummvm.org] for more information and manuels.

    They even have the sounds working correctly on some of the games.

    And, if I remember correctly, the Lucas Arts collection (Greatest hits, whatever it's called) have been updated to run under WinXP without any tweaking.

    Calmiche,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @01:29AM (#8460450)
    On the contrary all LucasArts adventure games were point-and-click until Grim Fandango and *Escape* from Monkey Island. These games used character based movement which easily mapped to a controller (despite being awkward with a keyboard).

    This game, from all indications, was supposed to go back to the point and click scheme. This would have made is VERY unappealing for a console conversion.

    If anything, LucasArts probably wanted this to be a console ONLY game. Things being as they are and the mature development as it was, that was not going to happen. So... they canned it.

    If they want to bring out more games for console I want to know why they haven't done a console port of Grim Fandango damnit. Arguably the best console game ever and in the running for best game in any category ever. Give me my Grim on PS2 / Xbox / Cube!
  • by Black Hitler (687112) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @02:09AM (#8460614)
    What about all the people that worked on Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, Indy, etc...?
    Ron Gilbert (Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Loom) - Makes children's games at Hulabee Entertainment (last I heard)

    Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango) - Working on Psychonauts (Xbox) at Doublefine Entertainment

    Hal Barwood (Fate of Atlantis) - making terrible games at Lucasarts (most recently RTX Red Rock)

    Michael Stemmle (Sam and Max) - Project leader on the now-canceled sequel; previously co-designed Escape from Monkey Island

    Sean Clark (Sam and Max, The Dig) - Project leader on the now-canceled Full Throttle 2; co-designed Escape from Monkey Island
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @04:05AM (#8461079)
    I haven't tested how well Sam & Max works with DOSemu, and my computer isn't fast enough to run it well under DOSbox [1]. However, ScummVM [2] plays it almost (there are a few minor issues that I'm aware of) flawlessly now. (At least the hopefully-soon-to-be-released 0.6.0 does, but even with 0.5.1 it should work fairly well.)

    As for availability... UK Amazon claims to have a Sam & Max / Day of the Tentacle bundle available. There's also a "LucasArts Entertainment Pack" that contains Sam & Max, The Dig, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, but I don't know how easy/hard that is to find.

    I also don't know how easy/hard it is to find in the US. LucasArts themselves used to sell a three-game pack with Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max and Fate of Atlantis. Although the page is still there, I couldn't find any link to it from their Web store.

    Failing that, there's always eBay...

    [1] http://dosbox.sourceforge.net
    [2] http://www.scummvm.org

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