Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Where are they now? - Day of the Tentacle

"I feel like I could.... TAKE ON THE WORLD!"

For today's "Where are they now?" post I wanted to talk about the key personnel behind one of my favourite games of all time, Day of the Tentacle by Lucasarts. I've already typed up blog posts on a few of the guys that were involved in this game because they're legends of the industry (at least in my eyes). Why was Day of the Tentacle so good? Well, I must admit that it came out around the time I was most active in PC gaming which would've been around the early 1990s, so like many games around this time, I tend to have fond memories of it. Another aspect of the game I was impressed with was the dialogue and voice acting; it was just too good and to this day I can recite several quotes from the game off by heart. The puzzles were memorable too as it involved taking advantage of time travel in order to solve them.

So who were the team behind this classic point 'n' click adventure game? And where are they now? Well, the designers of the game were Tim Schafer and David Grossman. Schafer is arguably one of the most famous in the team (for better or worse) and he went on to develop more point 'n' click adventure games at Lucasarts such as Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. He eventually founded his own company called Double Fine in 2000 and has been the CEO there ever since, developing games such as Psychonauts, BrĂ¼tal Legend, Broken Age and recently, a remastered version of Grim Fandango!

Grossman on the other hand worked at Humongous Entertainment on several point 'n' click games aimed for children before eventually joining Telltale Games along with a bunch of other ex-Lucasarts guys and worked on games such as the new Sam & Max games, Tales of Monkey Island and Back to the Future: The Game. Grossman left Telltale in 2014 to become Chief Creative Officer (CCO) for Reactive Studios which released a voice activated interactive fiction game called Codename Cygnus for smartphones. The company is now working on a product called "Earplay" and it seems to enable budding authors the ability to easily create voice activated interactive stories. Choice!

Both Grossman and Schafer were given credit for writing on Day of the Tentacle but there were another two giants of Lucasarts that helped in that area as well: Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. Both of these chaps worked on the original Maniac Mansion (which Day of the Tentacle is a sequel of). I talked about Ron Gilbert twice on this blog so be sure to read about him here and here. In a nutshell, Gilbert never lost his passion for making games and neither did Winnick (who I also talked about previously on the blog). Both Gilbert and Winnick reunited in 2014 to propose a new retro point 'n' click adventure game in the same vein as Maniac Mansion called Thimbleweed Park. They went to Kickstarter to raise funds and managed to raise $626,250 from over 15,000 backers. The game is set to be released sometime this year and it's personally one of my most anticipated titles for 2016.

Finally, whatever happened to the composers of that zany Day of the Tentacle soundtrack? Well Michael Z. Land I've discussed about before and unfortunately, I don't think he composes music for games any more. Peter McConnell composes music mainly for Tim Schafer's Double Fine and scored the soundtracks to Broken Age and Grim Fandango Remastered. Clint Bajakian is now a composer with a company called Pyramind Studios which composes music for games. He contributed music to the expansion to World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor, among other projects.



Phew! That's a lot of people (and still nowhere near the entire team of wonderful guys and gals that developed the game). The most exciting news though for those who are fans of Day of the Tentacle (like myself) is that Double Fine are in the process of creating a remastered version of the game due for release this year! I can hardly wait :). 2016 is going to be a good year for point 'n' click adventure games it seems!

I unfortunately don't have the time to cover what happened to the entire development team but if you happened to be part of the original Day of the Tentacle development team, then let us know! We'd love to hear your stories and anecdotes! :)

LINKS:
[ Wikipedia: Ron Gilbert ]
[ MobyGames: Ron Gilbert ]
[ Wikipedia: Gary Winnick ]
[ MobyGames: Gary Winnick ]
[ Wikipedia: Dave Grossman ]
[ MobyGames: David Grossman ]
[ Wikipedia: Tim Schafer ]
[ MobyGames: Tim Schafer ]
[ Wikipedia: Michael Land ]
[ MobyGames: Michael Z. Land ]
[ Wikipedia: Clint Bajakian ]
[ MobyGames: Clint Bajakian ]
[ Wikipedia: Peter McConnell ]
[ MobyGames: Peter McConnell ]

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