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Return to Monkey Island


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This is a general catch-all thread for discussing Return to Monkey Island including all promotional media and preview content released for the game before it comes out. If you want to go into the game cold and spoiler-free you should probably avoid this thread!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, KestrelPi said:

Hmm, maaaybe, but I find it hard to believe that Dom didn't know exactly how he wanted to deliver these lines.

 

Yep, I know. I actually asked Dom this a billion years ago on Twitter because I wondered how his Curse Guybrush could be so flawless and perfect to me (and the other games, too actually), but his SOMI Guybrush could be off to me. (Don't worry, I asked in a very nice, roundabout way -- I wouldn't want to insult him!)

 

He absolutely confirmed what you suggested: He delivered the lines exactly how he heard them when he played SOMI (and had imagined them for years). So yeah, it seems he gave the performance he wanted and was happy with. Just a different interpretation to what I'd imagined, I guess.

 

Of course, that doesn't mean a director couldn't have nudged him in a slightly different direction towards things he may not have considered if they'd had the time. 

I still have the non-voiced version of SOMI to keep me happy, either way. And I still love Dom's work elsewhere.

 

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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Posted (edited)

Random thought i just had is that i think it's a safe bet that a Steve Purcell cover art is likely out of the question now.

 

I think after the backlash about art styles, its probably soured any possibilty.

 

Part of me thinks it wasn't in the cards anyway as where they have a single artist vision, they will likely get Rex to do the cover art to keep it consistant.

 

Also if they plan to appeal to a new audience they will likely want to showcase Rex's art.

 

 

Edited by Toymafia88
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10 hours ago, ThunderPeel2001 said:

 

In short: I blame the production values of MI1:SE, not the style of writing (although I agree that wouldn't have made things easier). I don't blame the voice director either (Darragh O'Farrell also did Curse of Monkey Island -- so clearly he knows what he's doing). I just don't think they had the time to get it all right.

 

Darragh O'Farrell was the voice director on Curse and Escape (also The Dig), but not on the Special Editions. David W. Collins is the credited voice director on those (O'Farrell was the head of the sound department by then, from what I've read).

 

In 2009, I listened to a very interesting audio interview discussing the first Special Edition. I don't remember where, and I can't seem to find it now, but I do remember one of the interviewees was O'Farrell. I remember that very specifically, because he mentioned how the recording script they got for The Dig was very disorganized and uncinematic, but that he had listened to the voice acting again years later and thought the result was good and that the actors responded well to each other.

 

Interestingly, they also discussed the Earl Boen situation. Contrary to what Wikipedia might suggest (it says he retired in 2017), it seems Boen was already retired in 2009, and living in Hawaii, so special arrangements had to be made to have him in the games.

 

As I said, this I remember very specifically. I also have a vague recollection (so I wouldn't swear on it; take it with a grain of salt) of them mentioning that, because of this special situation, and even though David W. Collins was the voice director for the rest of the game, it was actually Darragh O'Farrell who directed Boen when he recorded his lines.

 

I wish I could find that interview again, but it seems to have vanished from the internet (it was an audio interview, so that makes it trickier).

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Posted (edited)

That’s actually VERY interesting, and it explains a lot of things (particularly why Boen’s recordings stand out.)


I could never have imagined the SE’s being directed by Darragh O’Farrell, he’s way to good a director for that. Based on his other works, he would’ve never made the mistakes they did.

 

I also remember a throwaway line from Rob Paulsen from one of his Talking Toons podcasts, where he said something like, “if you thought that was bad, try being directed by a LucasArts intern”. I always found it oddly specific, and I think he was referencing the MI:SE recordings. I don’t remember the episode number though, nor who the guest was.

 

Edited by Lagomorph01
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So I mentioned before that I really wished we could play MI2 with original gfx and remastered music, basically lamenting that it wasn't feasible with the Ultimate Talkie and that I couldn't mess around with the SE's wavebanks in a way that it would work in Classic mode....welll, scratch that, cause I've cracked it!

 

Basically, for those not in the know, the SEs pull music from wavebanks, which are essentially a data structure that stores .wav files and uses a respective cue file to make the music play in game. Both classic mode and SE mode have one (MusicNew.xwb/CuesNew.xsb and MusicOriginal.xwb/CuesOriginal.xsb). I thought that initially you just needed to swap the names around of each file, but that resulted in a totally silent game...boohoo me. 

 

I discovered, thanks to Benny's brilliant template for the program responsible for creating wavebanks (XACT), that you could rip the SE music from the game (using Benny's MI Explorer), create a new wavebank, then put the SE music in the ordering that the MusicOriginal.xwb file uses, and with the correct compression and other settings, save a new MusicOriginal.xwb that would overrite the one in the SE and trick it into playing SE music in both modes. Voila! Remastered music over classic graphics.

 

Now in case this has all given you as much of a headache as it has me, I don't mind sharing this new file I've created for those who are curious and don't want to do all this messing. I won't post anything yet in case there are some legal issues with doing so (though I don't believe there is, considering this is pretty much exactly how the CURSED soundtrack of MI1 was put into the SE of that game and you still need to own a copy of the entire MI2:SE for this to work, I'm merely supplying one file) .

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Heh your experimentation just made me realise something.

 

I guess because the classic music is also essentially just using mt32 recordings, there’s no way of experiencing the full iMuse implementation in MI2SE, as there’s no MIDI.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Groggoccino said:

even though David W. Collins was the voice director for the rest of the game, it was actually Darragh O'Farrell who directed Boen when he recorded his lines.

 

Wow. That's an interesting tidbit...

 

3 hours ago, Lagomorph01 said:

Rob Paulsen from one of his Talking Toons podcasts, where he said something like, “if you thought that was bad, try being directed by a LucasArts intern”.

 

Well I guess it was the director being inexperienced after all (which again, I'm sure comes down to budget constraints).

 

2 hours ago, Toymafia88 said:

During my lunch break i thought i do some quick sketches on how I think Guybrush might look in Return.

 

Sorry they are pretty rough looking.

20220516_125725.jpg

 

Love this!

 

2 hours ago, Thrik said:

I guess because the classic music is also essentially just using mt32 recordings, there’s no way of experiencing the full iMuse implementation in MI2SE, as there’s no MIDI.

 

Yes, I started thinking about maybe inserting the Peter Chan/Steve Purcell backgrounds from the hi-res scans we have of their original artwork, but... we hardly have any when you look at how many have actually been released, and you wouldn't be able to hear the MT-32 music. So it would be a weird mix.

 

Still I wonder if we could improve the backgrounds with the few images we have, even in the original game. Better compression algorithms these days!

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, ThunderPeel2001 said:

Well I guess it was the director being inexperienced after all (which again, I'm sure comes down to budget constraints).

I've heard that term fly around a lot about the first SE, but are we sure there were budget constraints? Because if there were, why hire grade A Los Angeles based union VO talent? They could've just gone the Telltale route and mix and match the established LA based talent with unknowns who didn't have to be payed union scale. That would've been an easier and better way to cut costs than on voice direction.

 

19 hours ago, Toymafia88 said:

Random thought i just had is that i think it's a safe bet that a Steve Purcell cover art is likely out of the question now.

 

I think after the backlash about art styles, its probably soured any possibilty.

 

Part of me thinks it wasn't in the cards anyway as where they have a single artist vision, they will likely get Rex to do the cover art to keep it consistant.

 

Also if they plan to appeal to a new audience they will likely want to showcase Rex's art.

I think a Steve Purcell cover art isn't very likely either, but I don't think it has anything to do with the backlash (which is still a small minority of the fan base). It probably has more to do with the reason Bill Tiller did the COMI backgrounds, to fit the game's style. Steve's style doesn't really match with Rex's, so I'm sure Rex will do the cover art (which I'm really curious about btw!)

Edited by Lagomorph01
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1 minute ago, Lagomorph01 said:

I've heard that term fly around a lot about the first SE, but are we sure there were budget constraints? Because if there were, why hire grade A Los Angeles based union VO talent? They could've just gone the Telltale route and mix and match the established LA based talent with unknowns who didn't have to be payed union scale. That would've been an easier and better way to cut costs than on voice direction.

 

True. I'm just trusting what I've read here.

 

I know a bit about SAG-AFTRA productions when it comes to TV/film, but I don't know much about VO work. I don't think you can "mix and match" with film and TV? If SAG-AFTRA get wind of a non-union production they contact their members and warn them not to participate. I know sometimes union actors used pseudonyms to work on non-union stuff to reduce the chances of being told off. So it seems it's all or nothing with film/TV.

 

Is it different with VO work? If they wanted Earl Boen and other cast from the previous games, sometimes actors will ask if it's union. And being that it was LucasArts (ie. connected with LucasFilm), maybe they wouldn't want to risk getting a black mark against them from the unions?

 

That said, didn't Lucas famously quit the DGA? I don't even know if the Star Wars movies were union films at all! Were they Indies?

 

Maybe you can explain?

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15 minutes ago, ThunderPeel2001 said:

 

Yes, I started thinking about maybe inserting the Peter Chan/Steve Purcell backgrounds from the hi-res scans we have of their original artwork, but... we hardly have any when you look at how many have actually been released, and you wouldn't be able to hear the MT-32 music. So it would be a weird mix.

 

Still I wonder if we could improve the backgrounds with the few images we have, even in the original game. Better compression algorithms these days!


It’d be a fun experiment but I think would be jarring for an actual playthrough. As you observe, there are lots of assets we don’t have, and on top of that a fair bit of digital work seems to have been done on the art to finalise it.

 

I’d probably be more interested in seeing some AI try to smooth out all the existing backgrounds using those paintings as a model. Maybe one for @Laserschwert

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Thrik said:

I’d probably be more interested in seeing some AI try to smooth out all the existing backgrounds using those paintings as a model. Maybe one for @Laserschwert

 

 

Yep, that crossed my mind as well! I wonder...

 

Actually Laserschwert's AI upscaled Curse backgrounds and videos still look fantastic when squished back down to the original resolution (better than what you see in the final game). It feels like it should be reasonably easy for the smart brains at ScummVM to find a way to drop new assets in. The videos in particular look fantastic. It's basically CMI Remastered.

 

@Serge? :)

 

WATCH FULLSCREEN:

 

 

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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4 minutes ago, ThunderPeel2001 said:

 

True. I'm just trusting what I've read here.

 

I know a bit about SAG-AFTRA productions when it comes to TV/film, but I don't know much about VO work. I don't think you can "mix and match" with film and TV? If SAG-AFTRA get wind of a non-union production they contact their members and warn them not to participate. I know sometimes union actors used pseudonyms to work on non-union stuff to reduce the chances of being told off. So it seems it's all or nothing with film/TV.

 

Is it different with VO work? If they wanted Earl Boen and other cast from the previous games, sometimes actors will ask if it's union. And being that it was LucasArts (ie. connected with LucasFilm), maybe they wouldn't want to risk getting a black mark against them from the unions?

 

That said, didn't Lucas famously quit the DGA? I don't even know if the Star Wars movies were union films at all! Were they Indies?

 

Maybe you can explain?

What I know is that in movies and tv productions it's not done to mix and match union and non union actors. That's why Sonic the Hedgehog keeps changing voice actors, between games and series.

Video game land seems to have a kind of a wild west thing going on, although I'm not sure how come. LucasArts have always hired union va's as far as I can remember, so maybe it was just standard protocol, but Telltale clearly used non union VA's in the early days (that's why Sam and Max changed their VA's), and if I remember correctly some of those are in TMI too.

(@Jake, even though you weren't involved in casting, maybe you can shed some light on this?)

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8 minutes ago, Thrik said:


I’d probably be more interested in seeing some AI try to smooth out all the existing backgrounds using those paintings as a model. Maybe one for @Laserschwert

That's an interesting idea, I haven't thought of that. I don't know how well it works, because to train a model like that, the sources would have to line up perfectly.

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2 hours ago, ThunderPeel2001 said:

Actually Laserschwert's AI upscaled Curse backgrounds and videos still look fantastic when squished back down to the original resolution (better than what you see in the final game). It feels like it should be reasonably easy for the smart brains at ScummVM to find a way to drop new assets in. The videos in particular look fantastic. It's basically CMI Remastered.

 

@Serge? :)

Not sure what you're asking about 😋 But Laserschwert's video does indeed look great - rarely see upscales that really work for me. 🙂

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Re. a Purcell poster, iirc he was actually offered the job of doing the poster art for COMI and turned it down because he felt it would be awkward/unfair when his art wasn't in the game. So I suspect even if they went to him for ReMI that he would turn it down. Maybe he could do an alternate version for a physical edition, or something...

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, TimeGentleman said:

Re. a Purcell poster, iirc he was actually offered the job of doing the poster art for COMI and turned it down because he felt it would be awkward/unfair when his art wasn't in the game. So I suspect even if they went to him for ReMI that he would turn it down. Maybe he could do an alternate version for a physical edition, or something...

He did do the Tales poster after, but maybe that was more of a one off special favour to Telltale.

Edited by Toymafia88
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Posted (edited)
On 5/16/2022 at 4:00 PM, Lagomorph01 said:

I think a Steve Purcell cover art isn't very likely eather, but I don't think it has anything to do with the backlash (which is still a small minority of the fan base). It probably has more to do with the reason Bill Tiller did the COMI backgrounds, to fit the game's style. Steve's style doesn't really match with Rex's, so I'm sure Rex will do the cover art (which I'm really curious about btw!)

 

Here's a nine year old article that I keep re-reading.

https://www.theverge.com/2013/9/19/4716444/how-atari-box-art-turned-8-bit-games-into-virtual-wonderlands

 

This is about game covers / posters / key art from the Atari era, and how they worked with the imagination of the player to transform the pixelated monochrome oatmeal on the tube into the greatest graphics you've ever seen. Likewise, my favorite Monkey Island cover didn't take that many pointers from the art found in the game.

 

Now, Rex will probably do great cover art, he's done some great stuff for Knights and Bikes already. But when I listen to Rex describing his art for ReMI as purposeful blanks that we're supposed to fill in, I wonder whether the cover art could not attempt the same thing that those Atari covers of old did.

 

Game cover art is not in the best of states. A cover is something to be put on a box, on a poster or a magazine, things we don't really have any longer. Steve Purcell made some great covers for Telltale back in the day, but if I remember correctly, they mostly came out after the respective Season had finished, in time for the physical/retail editions, so these artworks haven't really had the opportunity to inspire the day one most hardcorest fan.

 

When gog.com first released Tales of Monkey Island, they were so desperate for meaningful key art that they stole one of @Laserschwert's fan artworks for the background (I hope I remember that accurately). 

 

I'd feel great about getting so much of the old back. Cover art before release day would be incredible. And to do the cover art, get Rex Crowle ... or Steve Purcell ... or, I don't know, there are so many great choices. Peter Chan, or Olly Moss. James Gurney. Juanjo Guarnido. Heck, Wylie Beckert would be an incredible fit.

 

 

Edited by Vainamoinen
TEH very late amendments
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Just read the new Ron Gilbert interview.

 

"The ending of Monkey Island 2 had a huge cliffhanger," Gilbert explained. "I left Lucasfilm right after that and never resolved it. Future games did their best but we wanted to tackle it head on. While Return to Monkey Island does start right after Monkey 2 ends, it's not a 'sequel' to Monkey 2 either. It's going to be a fun journey. It will be an e-ticket ride."

 

Glad to hear they won't gloss over the cliffhanger. Sounds like they will fully explain it.

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1 hour ago, Toymafia88 said:

Just read the new Ron Gilbert interview.

 

"The ending of Monkey Island 2 had a huge cliffhanger," Gilbert explained. "I left Lucasfilm right after that and never resolved it. Future games did their best but we wanted to tackle it head on. While Return to Monkey Island does start right after Monkey 2 ends, it's not a 'sequel' to Monkey 2 either. It's going to be a fun journey. It will be an e-ticket ride." 


It impressed me somewhat, because in the past Ron Gilbert said that the ending of MI2 wasn’t meant to be a cliffhanger. He wrote it in the live chat of a MI2 SE stream, on May 4th, 2013:

 

Quote

 

Yeah, I was stuck on the ending for quite a while.

It came to me one morning while in bed.

It was not meant to be a cliff hanger.

 


(Source: https://pastebin.com/XrL69Psy).

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Toymafia88 said:

He did do the Tales poster after, but maybe that was more of a one off special favour to Telltale.


I suspect that he was more comfortable doing that because the in-game art was (outside of UI etc) 3D so he wasn't really stepping on anyone's toes.

 

EDIT: ah, here's where I got the COMI thing from: 
https://mixnmojo.com/features/sitefeatures/LucasArts-Secret-History-12-The-Curse-of-Monkey-Island/5
 

Quote

 

You and Larry Ahern drew the game's superb cover art. Is it true that Steve Purcell turned down the offer to do so himself?

Thanks! Yes he did turn it down, but not because he didn't want to do it. He liked the style we came up with so much that he felt Larry and I should do it. At first when we heard he didn't want to do it we were a bit bummed. I think even Jonathan was bummed. But when we talked to Steve we had the opposite reaction, it was a big compliment, especially coming from him.

 

 

 

Edited by TimeGentleman
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