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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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  • That sucks! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thag (8436) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:18PM (#8456079) Homepage
    Sam & Max would be my candidate for best adventure game of all time. I think a sequel would do well. I know a bunch of friends who were waiting for this one.

    Maybe they could cut costs by releasing it as a console game instead?

    Jon Acheson
  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:18PM (#8456083) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people won't agree with me, but the recent graphic adventure games coming from Lucas Arts have been mediocre at best. I don't know if it was their move to 3d or what, but it seems TAXING to get through a game. They seem too easy and lack any fun, after you get through the "introduction phase".

    I don't think the market is unwilling to accept another graphic adventure, but rather, unwilling to put up with a boring game.
  • I hate Lucasarts. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PTDC (690049) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:19PM (#8456092) Journal
    To be honest I lost faith in Lucasarts after Escape from Monkey Island. But even that, stinking pile of bullocks excrement that it is, is nothing as to this monumentally stupid decision. What a bunch of wankers.
  • A history of this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AgTiger (458268) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:20PM (#8456109) Homepage
    LucasArts cancelled something because it wasn't the right time to milk the most amount of money out of everyone? I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you.

    LucasArts also cancelled the sequel to their first Full Throttle game: "Full Throttle: Hell on Wheels", which pissed me off. I was looking forward to that one.

    Anymore, if the publisher is LucasArts, I end up thinking, "Nomatter when I buy it, I can guarantee I'm getting soaked. Nevermind."

  • Noooooo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cruciform (42896) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:21PM (#8456113) Homepage
    Damn! I was really looking forward to this.

    Sam and Max Hit The Road was a great adventure, with excellent writing and production. It's too bad we'll miss out on a sequel so that another Pod Racer game or somesuch will see the light of day, and our beloved Max won't have a chance to disembowel anyone for our entertainment pleasure.
  • Hello Egg! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hambonewilkins (739531) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:22PM (#8456130)
    I'm chicken!

    People may not play these type of games because they don't exist anymore. People perhaps aren't playing adventure games like Full Throttle that are years old but they also aren't playing FPSs that are years old (let me boot up DOOM II again).

    It's a chicken and egg situation. People aren't buying because these games don't exist any more due to the shift in popularity (but mostly hype) to FPSs, RPGs, and sports titles. But knowing that many gamers are older and enjoy games that harken back to earlier times, this game could have been a hit. Could have, but now won't since *POOF* it doesn't exist any more.

  • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:22PM (#8456136)
    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.

    This is a good example of everything that's wrong with letting corporate market-trend watchers make the decisions for an entertainment company.

    It's always a good time to release a good game (by "good," I mean fun to play and judged by many to be worth their hard-earned money), no matter what the style or genre, or how many similar games might have failed recently. It's also never a good time to release a crappy game that nobody will want to play, no matter how hot the market for games if its ilk might be.

  • by Pizzop (605441) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:23PM (#8456150) Homepage
    It should be a crime not to release a sequel to this game. :( I'd always hoped they would start a long line of Sam & Max Games (ike Leisure Suit Larry)... Damn You Lucas Arts.
  • translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acidrain69 (632468) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:24PM (#8456158) Journal
    MMORPG's are really hot right now, and we are busy dumping money into SWG. Yeah, we know that there isn't a lot of room in the MMORPG market, not nearly as much room as in the traditional game market, but we have marketting droids to please. We are clueless and think cartoon games are out. Peace out, consumer slugs.

    disclaimer: I didn't read the article. I have never played S&M (the video game anyway). Big fan of Monkey Island series though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:26PM (#8456180)
    I'm here at work and I actually said "NOOOO" fairly loudly upon reading the headline.

    SAMNMAX, the original game, was possibly the funniest game I've ever played in my life. LucasArts needs to tap into that old funny-as-hell adventure game vibe they used to make:

    Maniac Mansion
    Day of the Tentacle
    Sam n Max Hit the Road
    Grim Fandango
    Monkey Island & Sequels

    Every one of those games was money well spent. What the hell happened to adventure games, anyway? I mean, everyone SWORE they were dead years ago, but then we saw the latest Monkey Island and Grim Fandango prove EVERYONE wrong.

    Hell, these games are so damn good that third parties have written game engines to play them on modern systems (see: scummvm)

    Now, for the quotes:

    Sam: "That's an awfully big rasp on that keychain"
    Max: "Out of toilet paper?"

    Max: "What about our car?"
    Sam: "Wait for it"
    *car drops out of the sky*

    Max: "Why don't I get any inventory?"
    Sam: "Where would you keep it?"
    Max: "That's none of your damn business, Sam."

    Sam (to the siamese-twin circus owners): "So, who makes your clothes, anyway?"
    Twin 1: "We don't wear clothes"
    Twin 2: "Our skin is green and naturally vinyl-like"
    Max: "Good Lord! He-e's buck naked!"
    Sam: "So are you"
    Max: "Yea, but I'm cute, and marketable!"
  • by Cruciform (42896) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:27PM (#8456201) Homepage
    Something like this doesn't really *need* 3D graphics though. Would The Simpsons be any better if they got Mainframe to do the animation?

    If the focal selling point of a game is that it's in 3D, then that game shouldn't be made. Gameplay and entertainment value are why games should be made.
  • by Cherveny (647444) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:27PM (#8456202) Homepage
    I understand where you are coming from, although I still would of liked to see it released.

    Old adventure games with puzzles tended to be quite hard at times, taking a fair amount of figuring to solve.

    These days, most puzzles in games seem to be EXTREMELY easy. The answers are practically handed to you.

    What ever happened to game puzzles that used to make you work for the solution. In my opinion, when you solved these games, you had much more of a feeling of accomplishment than you do in solving one of the "non-puzzles" of today. I'm almost convinced that game designers have decided that the general population is just too stupid these days to figure a difficult puzzle out, or too lazy to invest a few brain cells to figuring out a solution.

    Of course, this is all IMHO.

  • appropriate time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:28PM (#8456210) Homepage Journal
    this was not the appropriate time to launch a graphic adventure on the PC.

    If not this, then what?!?

    The genre is dying. And not as much because of less players, but because of less titles released. Young players don't know the tastes, humor, puzzles of Monkey Island style games, they would love them if they saw them - with gfx reaching nowadays standards (at least resolution), but there's no such games. The market is dying.

    One thing that could save it would be a few daring, great titles that would shake the game world, attract people, revive the genre, bring profit to the authors. S&M could be one of them.

    But it seems, it won't be the case. The time may be actually not appropriate - too late. And it won't be appropriate ever - the genre will die, because "nobody produces because nobody would buy", "nobody buys because nobody knows", "nobody knows because nobody sells or produces".
  • by the_weasel (323320) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:31PM (#8456257) Homepage
    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.

    This may not really be the trend watchers. Its always worth remembering that 'corporate media drones' would employ the same wording if the real problem was that 'It was total trash and we killed it before this embarassment cost us any more money.'

    I am not saying the game was trash - just pointing out that a press release is generally not a source of facts, just spin.

    nevertheless I agree with you entirely. It is always a good time to release a good game. It is never a good time to release Deer Hunter 9.
  • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:34PM (#8456297)
    Planning game design based on faceless kids on geek sites is probably a hell of a lot more reliable than relying on the marketing losers who are probably responsible for green-lighting all those shitty movie-licensed games like "The Italian Job" and "The Hulk."

    There's more risk in doing something original, but more upside, too.

    No marketing executive would ever suggest releasing a Beach Volleyball game incorporated into the a Japanese dating sim as the sequel to a pvp fighting game, but "Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball", love it or hate it, was a massive hit with X-Box owners, and fairly cheap to put together (since the DOA3 engine could be adapted to handle the gameplay & animation, and they could steal the code-base from any of a hundred "H" games to handle the relationship management part.) Thankfully, the lead geeks at Team Ninja have earned a fair ammount of creative freedom from the success of their various other works, so a game like DOAX was possible.

  • by elmegil (12001) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:37PM (#8456332) Homepage Journal
    Maybe you can read a little higher up there (assuming you sort on points) where it says "it's always a good time to release a good game, and never a good time to release a bad one." High Priced Marketing Teams are far from infallable, and the BS they're spewing on this one doesn't really sound like it makes any sense. Unless this game was turning out to be a complete turkey, there is no reason they shouldn't have released it. From the screenshots etc, I'd be hard pressed to expect it to suck. I'm with a lot of other people here who were waiting with open wallets to pay whatever they were gonna charge to get this as soon as it came out. Stupid Lucas Arts for ignoring that; this is a property that has more anticipation for it than just about anything else they could release as a game, and for a market segment they've ignored for a long time now. It's not like the same people are waiting anxiously for yet another star wars game.
  • Re:Hello Egg! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buffer-overflowed (588867) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:40PM (#8456367) Journal
    Hey, it doesn't need to have fancy graphics, it doesn't need to be 3d.

    Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle, et all were hillarious, they're still funny today. The graphics aren't all that great now, but they don't need to be.

    They could use ye old Scumm engine, or just update it to be higher resolution, release a real honest to goodness Sam and Max or Monkey Island title and I'd be happy. Ecstatically happy. I think the move to 3D really hurt a lot of the older franchises.

    Not that they're going to listen to me or anything.
  • by AvantLegion (595806) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:43PM (#8456389) Journal
    What I don't get is, why (in this age of middleware and reused engines) can the game not be made on a more modest budget?

  • This sucks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raygundan (16760) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:44PM (#8456400) Homepage
    Why aren't there any adventure games made anymore? RPG's just aren't the same. I managed to satisfy my need for new games for a while by playing the old ones I'd never managed to get to, but that field is getting a little thin. I've got Beneath a Steel Sky and Simon the Sorcerer to finish, and I discovered a surprisingly well-done port of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars for the GBA, of all things, that I am now working on. but I've pretty much exhausted Sierra and Lucasarts' backcatalogs.

    I guess my old-timer market is getting dried up, and nobody wants to make games for me now that I have the money to buy them. :P Sure, I buy a lot of other games, but these would be instant sales, with no hesitation. Hell, they'd get at least one free sale with crap as long as they stuck "Space Quest" on it.

    Why do they think people don't like adventures? Did no one pay attention to Myst?

    Anyway, anybody got any obscure adventure game suggestions that I might not have played?
  • by wynterwynd (265580) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:58PM (#8456553)
    This is a huge disappointment, my favorite games have always been adventure games and the Lucasarts ones have always been the cream of the crop. To see this genre fail and falter wounds me. Doubly so, to see the razor sharp barbed wit of Steve Purcell swept under the carpet yet again. Sam & Max is the funniest comic/cartoon/game I've ever read/watched/played and I was waiting, wallet all a-quiver, to buy this one when it hit. Based on the latest stream of crap pouring from the Lucas media group's outlets, I can only presume George has fallen to the Dark Side, and is even now hatching a plan to slip Ewoks into Ep3.

    I don't like this heavy trend Lucasarts has made towards console-based game design and development only. Some games were meant to be PC-only - the goofy controls in the latest Monkey Island installment should prove that. Mouse/kb > gamepad for these kind of games. And don't even get me started on FPS and RTS, both are tailor-made for mice. But going for the largest market is the corporately correct thing to do, so I guess us PC gamers will shiver in the cold winter of sterile gaming, brewing up our own indie adventure games like peasants boiling shoes for soup.

    At least Syberia seems to have survived to breed another, even if it had to sell it's soul to the art world to do so. I personally found the game beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, and mind-numbingly boring. A sequel I think of with much the same enthusiasm I would have for a new coffee-table book of log-cabin paintings.

    Bring back adventure games! Interactive Storytelling is not dead, it's just been forgotten in the back of the Entertainment Media toy chest, along with Reading Books and Playing Board Games. Email Lucasarts [mailto](webjedi@lucasarts.com) and rage against the dying of this light with me. Or just flame them. Or whatever, just make a stir to help make this country safe for domesticated animal crimefighters to thrive in once again.

  • by AllenChristopher (679129) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:07PM (#8456642)
    These days, the stumbling block for an adventure game is not the programming, it's the art. Halo could get away with thousands of identical hallways. A good adventure game needs new art assets for every single scene.

    It's very much like producing an animated movie, except that you also have to script everything, and put in funny descriptions should the player choose to try the rasp on everything he can see...

    And enormous task.

  • by BTWR (540147) <americangibor3@y ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:08PM (#8456655) Homepage Journal
    If it is such a "huge mistake" to cancel this game, why doesn't lucasarts simply "outsource" the rights to make the sequel? In this plan, company X would make the game, sell it, and lucasarts would get %15 profit for doing NOTHING! They can't lose! Plus, they could always have an "up-front" $100,000 licensing fee or something. And also they could stipulate that it is a one-time deal, that they still own 100% of the rights to the game after this one is made.
  • by klevin (11545) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:15PM (#8456716) Homepage Journal
    I haven't bought or played a PC (or console) game in almost nine years. I find them to be boring and pointless. However, "Sam & Max Hit the Road" was one of the few games I've ever played that I actually enjoyed (joined only by Abuse, Day of the Tentacle and the original Full Throttle).

    For a new "Sam & Max" game, I would have scraped up the pennies off the sidewalk and borrowed my dad's laptop (`cause the new Sam & Max would no doubt be Windows) in order to play.
  • George. Ha. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yroJJory (559141) <me AT jory DOT org> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:18PM (#8456755) Homepage
    Mr. GF Lucas has about as much hands-on affiliation with LucasArts as does GW Bush with the rest of humanity.

    At least when I worked at LEC, George came to visit once in my 2 years...and that was to a company meeting at the nearby Civic Center.
  • by NonSequor (230139) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:19PM (#8456768) Journal
    The thing is, couldn't an adventure game be made on a shoestring budget these days? The adventure game fans care about the writing more than anything else. I wish we could convince them to keep making 2D adventure games for cheap and they should be able to make at least a small profit.
  • Mmph. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Niet3sche (534663) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:20PM (#8456773)
    we've decided that this was not the appropriate time to launch a graphic adventure on the PC Translation: since it's not an FPS, kiddies won't buy it. It's witty, wry, and downright FUNNY. Quick! Yank it! A sad, sad, sign of the times. I played with GLEE the original Sam&Max game ... I guess we've come too far to go back to games being intellectually immersive (RAMA, S&M, etc). :(
  • by DonGar (204570) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:26PM (#8456854) Homepage
    I strongly suspect the important bit there was "on the PC". Trends have been away from PC gaming. The problem could have been that the Sam & Max sequel couldn't be easily adapted to the console.

    I've never played the original, so I don't know how hard it would be to squeeze it onto a console's interface.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:30PM (#8456914)
    No such thing.

    Even if you completely skip the engine development, you soon learn that the real cost of an adventure game lies in the 'adventure'. In other words, the cost lies in the artwork, the story line, the dialog (incl. voice actors)..

    Then there's playtesting (adventure games shouldn't, as a rule, ever reach a point where you have screwed yourself out of continuing the game [a rule Sierra broke repeatedly with KQ5]).

    Also, you can never just get by without changing the underlying engine. Every new game has to have higher res graphics, else it doesn't shine when compared to the competition. You have to 'tweak' the engine to do what the story demands.

    Just.. yea. Please don't pretend like you know, when you don't. No game is cheap to make, at least if you want it to be remotely good and complete.
  • by HarveyBirdman (627248) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:31PM (#8456950) Journal
    LucasArts has made a gigantic mistake.

    Sorry, but unless they have their own marketing data to back this up, it's just the opinion of someone who wanted a Sam and Max game.

  • by TomServo (79922) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:33PM (#8456989)
    Probably exceedingly easy. The control schemes on Sam & Max, Monkey Island, Full Throttle, etc were all very simplistic, and easily ported over to a console. Especially the newer ones that rely on a few keyboard movements rather than the mouse.

    That being said, I don't think Escape from Monkey Island did too well in the console market. It wasn't advertised very heavily, and almost everyone who remembered the old Monkey Island games still owns a computer, and would prefer to play it on a computer. I bought my copy for the PC, and despite how much I want to support the franchise, I didn't buy a second copy for my console.

    (I did recently buy it *again* for the PC though, if only to get the Mega Monkey bundle that comes with Monkey Island 1-4).
  • by prozac79 (651102) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:33PM (#8456990)
    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.

    I agree. LucasArts has been one of the few companies that has still invested in creating adventure games. They are one of the best in that category. However, all their critically-acclaimed adventure games have not done very well in the market place. Grim Fandango was a great game, but it wasn't exactly flying off the shelves. The Monkey Island games were also fun, but didn't set any records. There are those faithful that will always play adventure games, but their numbers are going down. It's simple supply and demand and there just isn't demand for it. Unfortunately, any slapped-together Star Wars game will almost always outsell a finely crafted LucasArts adventure game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @06:38PM (#8457059)
    Do yourself a favor, and put yourself there. Go get the game (the CD version, the voices are what makes it) and a copy of ScummVM. Play the game through.

    When you do, play the game excessively. Try to interact with everything you can. 'Look' at everything. Listen to the answering machine messages. Play the minigames. Listen to all the 'rubber duckie' dialog when you interact with characters.

    Once you do, you'll understand why there are so many people who are so damn excitable over this game. It is arguably the best adventure game ever. In fact, most of the other contenders for this title are other LucasArts games!

    Hence, ScummVM. Hence, this reaction.
  • by cubicledrone (681598) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:40PM (#8457864)
    is PUSSY

    That's right. PUSSY.

    These big-shit "executives" are such hot shit when they are laying off the division, or stuffing their pockets with a bonus, or making the "big presentation" in a phone commercial, with their wire rimmed glasses glinting in the flourescence.

    But when it comes time to take a real risk, they fold like a pair of threes.

    Business, as usual, is totally ass-backwards. The tiny companies, with little capital and even less time, are the ones who are REQUIRED to take risks, because the bloated, fat-assed pussy-staffed corporations won't. Business would NEVER move forward if it weren't for small business and entrepreneurs.

    The big companies should be financing the risks, because they can AFFORD TO. That's what CAPITAL IS FOR. But no. Better to hoard the capital and starve the market for better ideas.

    Guys who put up their shingle and bet it all on one product are the guys with the huevos to get the job done. Not some buffed-shoes, blow-dryed, acronym-dropping fuck who can't make a fucking decision unless there is someone to blame if it goes wrong.

    So, instead of just putting the cards down and CALLING THE FUCKING BET, some bullshit committee has to turn this near sure thing into some half-assed editorial about graphic adventures on the PC.

    Well guess what, uppity-fuck. Graphic adventures could buy and sell most other genres four times before Corn Flakes. The second-best selling PC game of all time is a graphic adventure, with over SIX MILLION UNIT SALES. This horseshit attitude is what tried to cancel the Sims and what delayed Everquest for three years while management built a little gazebo of "not my fault" around their ever-widening pock-marked asses. Of course, they were first in line to stuff their pockets when the tall dollars arrived.

    They said the Sims wouldn't work. They said Everquest wouldn't work. They said Star Wars would fail. Again and again and again some "executive" says "it'll never work."

    Well they were WRONG.

    This kind of thing makes me shoe-puking sick.
  • Re:Hello Egg! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Negatyfus (602326) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:47PM (#8457932) Journal
    This is just plain wrong. Games like Doom were revolutionary at the time, as were LucasArt's. But when 3D kicked in, the adventure gaming world reluctantly caved in. It didn't work. These games did also sport fancy 3D characters, but only few managed to pull off a believable atmosphere.

    Hell, I'm playing Full Throttle and Beneath A Steel Sky on ScummVM right now, as my new 2.6 kernel is compiling. There are VERY few modern games that have managed to pull me in.

    Original poster was right. These games don't NEED super-graphics. The gfx that are there provide enough to get immersed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:56PM (#8458045)
    Yes, because those , what are they , 1500 votes, are soo representative :/ .. NOT.
  • Re:I disagree. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aglassis (10161) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:24PM (#8458353)
    You said: "The PC adventure market is mostly dead. No reason to go into reasons why, but who in their right mind would fund a game in a dead market? Sometimes a game comes along that can surprise everybody, but not that often."

    Funny thing. You could have substituted adventure for RPG six years ago. Now you can't swing a dead cat around without hitting someone who is talking about their RPG characters or the RPG that they just bought or are playing, etc. The release of Baldur's Gate and its sequels, in my opinion, completely revived the market (though some might argue it was Everquest). The point I'm trying to make is that while the adventure market may be dead for now, if the right game comes around and it inspires people, the adventure market could come back in a flurry. Some company might get rich off of it (look at Bioware), but they won't get rich if they cancel the games.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:28PM (#8458398)
    Agreed on X-Wing Alliance; it wasn't even that great of a game story-wise(they botched the ending with Anton), but it was a solid game none the less. These days, no one is even bothering with space sims, let alone arcade style space sims. Demand for Freespace 2 was so high that Interplay had to do a re-print of it earlier this year, some 5 years after the game was released, but still no one has bothered to even try to put out a similar game in the last 5 years. It's sad to think that we may have already seen the peak of the space sim genre, and from here on, it's dead.

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