CEO Dan Connors assesses chapter one and previews chapter two.
VideoGamer.com: You mentioned that you're looking at some of the feedback regarding the control system. Have you had any thoughts on how it might change for episode two?
DC: We feel pretty good about how our controls are continuing to evolve. We're going to keep pushing it and making it better. Right now it's just getting a lot of different eyeballs on it, letting users play with it and get a feel for it and trying to understand what they find limiting about it, and trying to lift those limits and trying to make it better for everybody. We've got one of our best guys focused on it. We really feel like it's a major change for us, and we're happy with where it's going and how it's evolving.
VideoGamer.com: What can you tell me about episode two? What can you tell me about the story and how it picks up from the end of episode one?
DC: Well, obviously something's going on with human LeChuck. He seems to be getting along with Elaine a little bit too well. The fact that LeChuck is actually quite a nice guy apparently is going to be a big part of the next episode. At the same time the pox is continuing to affect Guybrush, so he's getting a little bit more zombie-ish. He's prone to outbreaks of getting angry and things like that. So there's going to be some character development that will be real interesting for people to see.
They're off at sea and they do a bunch of island hopping in this adventure. Going around to different islands and exploring more of the area that is the series of islands that Guybrush lives on. There's a lot on the ship, a lot with Winslow, and you get to find out who is the one that puts the sword to his throat at the end of the last episode. Much is revealed, new relationships are established and the affect of the pox starts showing itself.
VideoGamer.com: You're not afraid to give poor old Guybrish a hard time are you?
DC: That's the beauty of him, right? He is the most unflappable guy. It's been a long time since anybody's spent time with Guybrish. You realise what a likeable character he is, how it's almost impossible to hate Guybrush. But at the same time it is very fun to give him a hard time and put him in difficult situations and see how he deals with it. At the end of the day, his character is one of the best, and it's almost uniquely gaming from that time period. I don't know from what other genre Guybrush could have come into existence. Even just his name. You've heard the story of how he got his name, right?
VideoGamer.com: For those of us who don't know, tell us.
DC: They were using DPaint [Deluxe Paint] to create him. DPaint created .brush files. The first name that Steve Purcell gave him was Guy, so he was Guy.brush. Then that just stuck. He's such a creation of that era, that innocent, geeky, young, kind of the heroic geek. He just deals with all situations just by being smart and clever, or not smart! He kind of bumbles his way through. He's a great character.
The first episode felt to me like it spent a lot of time setting things up for the rest of the series. The supporting characters, the ship and the narrative were laying the groundwork for what was to follow. Is it a challenge when creating episodic content in that the first episode always has to spend time doing that, and gamers have to accept it?
DC: One thing about it is on all previous episodes we went far to make sure every episode was standalone. With Monkey Island, because it is such an ongoing series anyway, you only have to think of the full games, one, two, three and four, they're all very much connected with continuing story lines – we believed that for this one we wanted to go after a narrative that gets told over five episodes. So it is the first time, probably since Bone actually, we are using the first episode to set up so many story lines.
It is going to take a certain amount of acceptance from gamers, but the good news is Telltale has at this point, you put the name Telltale around the experience and there's an expectation that it's something you're going to be engaged in over a five month period, and it's not just a one off experience. A lot of people who are coming over to play this, especially the people that dug Monkey Island, are open to the concept and seem to be responding well to it. If this was the first one out, it would be an unfathomable risk for us to take, but this is our sixth series.
VideoGamer.com: Do you have any update on an XBLA version? Last time I spoke to you, you mentioned it was something you were considering and having conversations with Microsoft on.
DC: We always want to be on every platform. It's just a matter of dealing with the programming needs of the channel, and the different things required to get LIVE on the channel from a business and development standpoint. It's certainly something we're interested in talking to them about. I know that the LucasArts Secret of Monkey Island remake seems to be doing really well there, so we definitely know there's a huge fan base for this franchise and this type of game that exists there. It's a huge priority for us to get there.
VideoGamer.com: But nothing concrete at this stage then?
DC: Nothing I can talk about or make any guarantees on unfortunately.
VideoGamer.com: I assume that's the same situation for PSN as well?