A few of you may be aware of who I am, but I’m willing to guess most of you aren’t. Thus far I’ve mostly kept to the background of the project. Quietly doing my job, and rarely tooting my own horn. But as we approach the release of the Beta build of Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, I’ve decided it’s time to step forward and properly introduce myself.
My name is Jeff Hillary, and I’m the Community Manager for Replay Games. What this means is 90% of the time you’ve read or posted to our Facebook or Twitter, it’s me you’ve been dealing with. My job is to keep you guys informed, and hopefully entertained as well. In addition, I surf through the forums, read your messages and tweets, and pass along your questions and ideas to other people in the company. I also receive and post fan-art, and a myriad of other tasks. Hopefully those of you I’ve interacted with have found this a pleasurable process, or at least a relatively pain-free one.
If you have a moment, I’d like to tell you how I got this job, and more important to you, my personal private thoughts on the upcoming game.
I was a Sierra kid. Oh Lucasarts was great, but I didn’t discover those games until my later teens. For me, it was Sierra all the way. Gabriel Knight is still one of my all-time favorite game series. And nothing tickles my funny bone quite like Leisure Suit Larry. Like many of you, I had my heart broken by Magna Cum Laude. Then the pieces were spit on and burned by Box Office Bust. I spent years waiting for the Larry 8 I was promised… to no avail.
As the years went by, I would occasionally search for news of a new Quest for Glory, or King’s Quest, or Larry. Only to find that even the fan sites for these things were drying up and withering away. And then last year I heard about the Kickstarter campaign. I think my reaction was the same as many of you. “I DON’T WANT A REMAKE! I want a new Larry game by Al Lowe. And I especially don’t want a remake of Larry 1, I’ve already got TWO versions of that game!” But it had Al and Josh’s name on it, so I was willing to pledge what little I could. After all, after Box Office Bust, how much more damage could they do?
When it not only succeeded, but reached the stretch goal that offered us new content, and a NEW GIRL, I actually started getting excited. Sure it was still a remake, but there’d at least be a couple minutes of new content right? That’s the most new Sierra content I’ve seen in a decade.
That’s when I decided to put together a little fan video, just for fun. It gave me an excuse to go back through all of the games again, and capture the images I wanted. That done, I put together a video montage of all of the Ladies of Larry. On a whim, I sent a link to Paul Trowe, the CEO of Replay Games, and offered to help the project in any way I could. I didn’t honestly expect a response, but I lived in the same city as the company, so who knew? Paul brought me in, and offered to let me try being Community Manager for a bit. I think the idea was that if I was a complete failure, they could easily just kick me out…hell, they still might.
Now, I’ve told you this long boring story, to let you know where I’m coming from. I am a fan. Go back and read that sentence again, but picture it voiced by James Earl Jones, with just a bit of echo. As a member of this company, I’m expected to say things like “Oh, so the new artwork for Fawn is in. How does it look?” But inside I’m just screaming “LEMME SEE LEMME SEE LEMME SEE!” When we get in a sample of one of the Kickstarter prizes, I’m supposed to say “Yes, I think the fans will like that” when all I’m thinking is “Can I have one of those? PLEASE?” In all honesty, I’m just one of you guys who managed to somehow sneak inside the process.
So speaking to you, as one fan to another, I just wanted to say that you guys are seriously going to love this game. I wasn’t asked to write a letter like this, I volunteered, because I felt it needed to be said. There are so many things going into this game that you guys don’t know about yet (and I’ve been threatened with defenestration if I share anything I’m not supposed to). But trust me when I say that this game is not what some of us feared it would be. This is not a quick attempt to cash in on the heritage of a long running adventure game franchise. This game is a labor of love, from people who sincerely want to bring back what we consider to be a classic icon of gaming. Every line of dialogue, every description, has been rewritten FROM SCRATCH by Josh and Al. The new artwork is an amazing blend of modern HD technology and Larry’s classic (lack of) sensibilities. They’ve changed around a lot of the puzzles. They’ve added new rooms, added a bevy of new items and new puzzles, they even added in branching dialogue with the ladies. Nothing about this process involved cutting corners to save a buck or two. When they wanted music, they got a Grammy nominated composer. Half measures have no place at Replay Games.
Like I said, when I first found out about this project, I wasn’t thrilled about another remake. But this is so much more than that. This is a reboot of the Larry franchise. Actually imagine for a minute playing through the whole Larry series without the DRASTIC changes in visual style and technology. Imagine watching Larry grow older and pudgier as his adventures occur. Imagine a version of Larry 2 that isn’t horrifically plagued by dead-ends because you didn’t pick up an item three hours ago. And then imagine the new games we could make. Imagine the other franchises we could try to bring back to life. Imagine the new franchises we could create. Imagine a new era of adventure gaming. Are you imagining all this stuff? Because I promise you everyone in this company is.
I don’t know if Paul wants me to share this, because it might hurt our image as an money obsessed, fan trampling video game company, but making money has never been the first priority of this project. Every step of the way, the only concern I’ve ever seen is delivering the best possible game to the fans.
Let me tell you, as a fan, as one of you, I’m incredibly excited.
And as the Community Manager of Repay Games, I can’t wait to share this game with you.
Thank you all for your time. And especially thank you for all of your love and support. I hope to see you on our Facebook pages, or on our forums, or our twitter feeds.
Jeff Hillary – Community Manager (Super Fan)
P.S. Still speaking as an adventure game fan, if you haven’t tried out Fester Mudd yet, you really should. It’s a game that blends Monkey Island and Freddy Pharkas into one giant vat of fun. It’ll hold you over until you manage to get your hot little hands on Larry.
Fester Mudd: https://www.replaygamesinc.com/store/index/products/item/fester-mudd-curse-of-the-gold