ALL Exclusive: Tales of Monkey Island Interview

Your servants had a short Q&A with Sean Vanaman, designer and writer at TellTale Games, in which we looked into the recently released Tales of Monkey Island episodes. We even threw in a little bit of insult swordfighting... Was it difficult updating such a well-loved franchise? Were there any worries by the staff to disappoint the huge fanbase?

Sean: Absolutely. You have to walk that fine line between revelry and fan-boy-dom. We're all HUGE MI fans and had to set that aside and just focus on telling a good story in the world. We were less worried about disappointing the fans and more concerned with the whether things would feel "Monkey Islandy" or not - we knew the fans would keep us honest. Are you yourself pleased with the results? What are, in your opinion, the best aspects of these new episodes? What could've been done better (if any)?

Sean: Quite pleased. Shocked at how well everyone on the team was on the same page at every step of the way, from making something feel like it belonged in Monkey Island to keeping characters like Guybrush and LeChuck true to their roots in a whole new game. I think the way the story and characters develop over the series is the thing I'm most pleased with - I think we could always do more when it comes to that - really nailing every character's arc, but all in all, I'm incredibly happy with the results. How long does it take to realize one episode, from starting to write the script until the final release?

Sean: Jeez... our production process is staggered because of the episodic release schedule, and we've got a lot our processes in place early on (that we just end up repeating for each episode) so it sounds inaccurate to say four to five months, but from actual script to release, that sounds about right. Storyline-wise: How much do you guys plan in front? How much more do you know already about Guybrush becoming a mighty pirate the fans are dieing for to discover?

Sean: We know the major beats. We don't quibble too much about the moment to moment details, as that's going to be the writer's responsibility. I think we could've planned even more upfront, but this being Telltale's first foray into episode-by-episode TRUE cliff-hanger storytelling, we were a little reticent to go crazy. Mike Stemmle and Mark Darin planned out the major beats of the story early on, when we had Ron Gilbert come by the office, and then from that framework we tinkered and built the season. En Garde! Touch

Sean: Huzzah! Toupe!

( Not fair, that one wasn't on our list...) Any chance of a Nintendo DS or DSi version? Why (not)?

Sean: It's not my place to say "no chance," but as much as we all LOVE the DS, we're not pursuing it as a platform right now. With the success of the episodic titles as well as the large request for classic point'n'click adventures, how big are the chances to see any other Lucasarts classics coming to Wii? (hint: we'd like a Grim Fandango...)

Sean: I have no idea. I'm a fan of them all as well - I'd love to say "as large as a spinner cay seahorse" but I really have no idea. would like to thank Sean Vanaman for answering our questions and Christopher Clarke for opening this opportunity.

Posted on 12-12-2009 by Dennis


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