Happy Monday, LSL1 backers. Josh Mandel here to cover the current events. I’ve committed to writing updates for you on a biweekly basis at a minimum, even if there’s nothing dramatic to report.
Speaking of drama, let’s address the elephant in the room: our switch from Adventure Mob to N-Fusion. I won’t revisit the details, nor address arguments that’ve been made in forums and message boards around the gaming community, but I want to mention that the decisions not to go with Adventure Mob and to go, instead, with N-Fusion were made independently weeks apart. This was not a case of N-Fusion offering a better deal and an abrupt abandonment of one for the other. Paul Trowe, Al Lowe, and I agreed unanimously in both cases, and we agreed on the need to separate from Adventure Mob well before we agreed that N-Fusion was very well suited to accomplish our goals for the game. That’s all I feel comfortable talking about publicly, at least for the time being.
Al and I have finished the redesign of the game. This includes the new locations and the new female character (her name, it can now be told, is Jasmine, and that name is not merely incidental). But we’ve also redesigned many of the other puzzles. In some cases, Al identified puzzle sequences that he had always felt could use improvement; in other cases, we agreed together that there would be ways to handle a given puzzle sequence either more logically, more entertainingly, or both. We were careful not to stray too far from the source material because we still want the game to feel like the game you’ve played before. But we also didn’t want original players to be able to blow through the game effortlessly.
Another thing we’ve done is worked in a couple parodies of popular games. It’s always been one of Al’s trademarks to include in his games sly tips-of-the-hat to other games. For instance, the Larry games have always included references to other Sierra game series (a problem for us now, given the rights issues), and those of you who remember our last co-design, Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist, will recall the parody of Lemmings as envisioned with snails. We’ve done the same with the LSL1 redesign, but even though the game takes place in the ‘80s, we’ve updated the games we’re parodying for modern audiences. (Don’t worry, there are no arcade sequences in our LSL1 redesign. The original LSL1 didn’t have them, and neither will this remake.)
For my part, I’ve been spending copious amounts of time writing in-game messages related to the inventory items in the game. That’s something I can do independent of artwork. So I have my immense spreadsheet of inventory items (there are far more items in the remake than in the original) and have been doing what I love to do most of all: rewarding exploration. There’s an interesting article related to this on the Adventure Gamers website; read it at http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/21824.
On the topic of artwork, I’ve asked the artists at N-Fusion to plan now to create what I refer to as “Skirvins.” Bil Skirvin was one of the artists on many of the Larry games (and Art Director on the LSL1-VGA remake), and he occasionally worked into the backgrounds shapes that are, perhaps, best described as “subtly lewd.” I want the new Larry to maintain this tradition and, if possible, improve on it; gamers these days are very used to finding hidden objects, so I think that kind of exploration also deserves reward, even if it’s as passive part of your gaming experience (no, you won’t be able to click on them and get twinkly particle effects and a note in your mystery-keeper’s journal).
By the time another two weeks rolls around, I think I’ll have a lot more to talk about and show you. For now, N-Fusion is simply getting their minds wrapped around our perverse little project here, and I do plan to ask them to start joining in on the conversations on the Replay Games forum as well.
My name is Josh Mandel, and I approve this message.