Happy CyberMonday, Larryettes. (May I call you that?)Before I get into this week’s bits and pieces, I want to thank everyone who supported Corey and Lori Cole’s HERO-U Kickstarter project. Though they made it a nailbiter, they DID reach their goal, so the project is a big thumbs-up. In fact, projects from ex-Sierra designers have a 100% success rate on Kickstarter (Jane Jensen, the Coles, the Two Guys, and the Larry project)…and in the games category, the general success rate for funding is under 40%. We’re hoping that this fact isn’t lost on the major publishers.
Now onto Larry news.
We’ve got the additional final backgrounds for:
- Mugger's Alley
- Fire Escape Alley (Right side of Lefty's building)
- The Payphone closeup
- The Video Poker closeup
- The Come 'n' Go exterior
Mugger’s Alley called for some clever thinking on Colin’s part. This alley actually appears in numerous places throughout the game, and we wanted to make sure that it matches up well with all its locations. In the best of all possible worlds, and with an unlimited budget, each alley would look completely different, but that’s neither practical nor really necessary, as you never get to spend more than a few seconds in these alleys.
The Video Poker Machine will actually have several skins depending on where it appears, because we’re putting it in several places throughout the game. This is a departure from the game’s earlier incarnations, simply to reduce the number of cab rides that a player has to take.
Speaking of departures from the original design, we’re also taking out the concept of death due to going broke. There will always be a way in the game to get a buck or two with which you can rebuild your funds (I’m not going to reveal that methodology; it will become apparent only when and if it’s needed). This is borne out of our feeling that running out of money should just be another obstacle to overcome, not a cause for death.
That’s not to say we’re caving completely to current trends and removing death from the game. There are still many ways to die, but three that we’ve removed are:
- Going broke
- Bringing an alcoholic beverage into the taxicab
- Running out of time
In the original game, some deaths would result in Larry being taken to the “Larry Factory” underground. In the very first LSL1, it was an assembly line, and you could see other Sierra characters also waiting to be reassembled. In the VGA remake, it was more of a blender-and-mold affair. Our Larry Factory is neither of those; it’s a concept which I’ve actually hinted at obliquely many times throughout my updates. This new Larry Factory will return you to the exact point you were at in the game *before* you made your fatal error, so it’s as pain-free a death as possible.
We are *this close* (making pinching gesture with fingers) to signing our composer, and if it hadn’t been for the usual Thanksgiving shutdown of everything in the United States except for retail sales, we’d probably have it by now. We’re so excited about this that I’m going to put out an extra Update as soon as we can release the info.
Along with Windows and Mac builds, N-Fusion produced its first iOS build of the game last week. I had it up and running on an iPhone, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Jeff had it running on his iPad, and we were arguing on the phone about which looked cooler, and why.
That’s the news for now. Take care, keep warm, don’t fight, and thanks again for your support, not just for our game, but for all the resurgent Sierra-related projects. Those of us who are anxiously watching the Sierra renaissance are looking forward to a truly memorable 2013.
As we in the United States begin a season that focuses on gratitude, I’d like to wish everyone a happy Veteran’s Day.
On the topic of gratitude: despite dire predictions, my immediate neighborhood was treated fairly gently by Hurricane Sandy. Both flooding and wind damage were minimal. (I had been preparing for something similar to the previous year’s Hurricane Irene, in which a creek backed up into our house and the sewer lines collapsed, resulting in a nightmarish and expensive mess.)
As most of you probably know, though, Sandy devastated major portions of the East Coast, with an estimated 40,000 homes lost and some areas still – after almost two weeks – without electricity. Anything you can do to help right now would be great, but I’d especially like to point out that *blood* is a particularly useful gift that money can’t replace. So if you can see your way through to donating a pint, or double-red cells or plasma, that’s the kind of contribution that may prove just as valuable to an ill veteran as to an injured storm survivor.
Our developer, N-Fusion, was right in the storm’s path in Northern New Jersey. Their power was out for a full week (from Monday, October 29th ‘til Sunday night, November 4th). Fortunately for our project, several of the team members had power at home and were able to continue working throughout the week. Today marks N-Fusion’s third milestone on the project, and, due to their extra commitment and push through this past week, it looks like they’re going to make it.
I think I mentioned last time that Al’s choice for musician has been made. The contracts still aren’t signed yet – there’s a lot of negotiation involved because the musician is a monumentally hot industry talent, and we’re on a Kickstarter budget. So I’m still not at liberty to mention a name, but I will as soon as I'm cleared to do so.
Colin has been cranking on the final background art, and both Al and I are completely in love with everything he’s been doing. At this point, the finals we have are:
Lefty’s Back Hallway
The “Secret Room”
The Upstairs Room
Every single one of these is an absolute gem. Al and I were both doing virtual flips over the Cab (Al deemed it “brilliant”) late this past week. The attention to detail is simply incredible. N-Fusion has been providing us with a new build every Monday, so we can see the incremental progress being made. I’m expecting a new build later today that should have all of Larry’s “idle animations” included for the first time, and, also for the first time, they’re loading my messages into the rooms.
With each new Kickstarter update, I’m torn about releasing artwork. On one hand, it’s so unbelievably good that I just want to share it all with you and get you as pumped as Al and I are. On the other hand, Lost Wages is a lot smaller than, say, Morrowind, and every time I share finished background art, that’s one less major happy revelation you’ll get when you play the game. I’m inclined to err on the side of undersharing. It’s not that long ‘til testing starts anyway, and then much will be revealed to many of you.
I don’t want to be miserly, though, so here are three previously-unreleased pieces of art:
• The model sheet for the taxi driver. Love this guy! If we’d known he was going to look this good, we might’ve given him a bigger part (in the game)!
• A rough animation of the clerk (in what we’re now calling the “Come ‘n’ Go”) being paid for something; I love how this guy’s movement is so simple and deft, but reeks of personality.
• A rough animation of the (only) babe in the bar at Lefty’s (she’s been the object of some prurient curiousity). Does Larry have a chance with her? You’ll just have to wait ‘til the end of this sentence, where I say, “No.”
Before I close it out for today, I’d like to turn over the microphone to Corey Cole, who, along with his wife Lori Cole, created one of the most unique game series in history: the Quest for Glory games. As we mentioned last week, they’ve got their own Kickstarter push going on for Hero-U (I am a full and vocal supporter), and Corey had this to say in an interview with AdventureGamers. It’s something Kickstarter supporters, and potential supporters, should read.
Corey: We're not sure if you realize how much power you have. When we left Sierra, the game industry became mired in an endless succession of first-person shooters. Adventure games died overnight because publishers didn't want to spend millions of dollars on games that would only sell a couple hundred thousand copies.
Gaming as we knew it died, except for a few decent MMOs. But now there are signs of life, and you're in charge.
By backing projects you care about, games that have quality and good design, you can help make smaller games possible. Big publishers have so much overhead, they're only interested in mass-market games that don't require any brains to play. They've abandoned the adventure gamer, and are providing only a watered-down husk of role-playing games.
Nobody has picked up the mantle we discarded in 1999, the idea of making an adventure game stronger by adding role-playing elements. It's a unique sub-genre that a lot of people found fun in the 1990s, and that most of you will still enjoy now.
But it's up to you whether these games even get made, and whether they have enough budget to rise to the level of quality of top-tier games. You can't sit back and wait to see what will happen. If you do, here's what will happen – Nobody will make hybrid adventure/RPGs. Very few people will make adventure games of any type. The people who started paying attention when Double Fine Adventure and Project: Eternity got their huge budgets will say, "Ah, I thought so. Those were flukes. Nobody really cares about those kind of games. Next shooter! Next endless sports game clone! More action, more special effects, less thought!"
You can stand up for the kind of games you want to play, or you can watch the adventure game renaissance die its second death. It's all up to you. Please support our new game, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption on Kickstarter. And support other worthy games such as Shadowgate, ones with quality design that don't have $50 million advertising budgets. If you don't, the creative, thoughtful games will die out just as they did in 2000.
Let's not let that happen this time, ok?
Corey has said it better than I ever have, so I’ll leave it at that for today.
Hey guys. Josh is currently battening down the hatches and preparing to ride out Hurricane Sandy (or so he tells us, I think he may be in Hawaii this week), so I've stepped in to take over the Kickstarter Update. Let me first say that work on Larry is going great. N-Fusion is making some great strides, and everything is on course for you to have the game in your hot little hands by the first quarter of next year.
Speaking of great adventure games (and really clever segues) we're releasing another adventure game in January. Look for Fester Mudd: The Curse of the Gold coming to Mac, PC, iOS, and Android devices. It's a great old school style, western themed adventure game packed to the gills with the kind of humor we know you love.
Now, let me put your minds at rest. We acquired this game after it was already finished, Paavo Harkonen did an amazing job creating this game. All the original team has to do is port it over to a new engine. Us releasing this game has in no way detracted our focus from bringing you back Leisure Suit Larry. Think of it more as an added bonus. On a personal note, I've played through the current build of the game, and I really think you guys will love it. It was like discovering an adventure game from the early 90's that I'd never heard of. If you want to see screen shots, or video of the game, check out our Facebook page.
Our very own Chief Creative Officer Josh Mandel (you know, the fellow who normally does these updates) is even lending a hand to the creators to punch up some dialogue, add some more descriptions, and generally cram in extra humor, because we know how important that is to you guys. With his extensive experience making the games you know and love, I’m sure he’s going to be able to find your funny bone. Paavo did a great job on the game, but when you’ve got an asset like Josh Mandel at your disposal, you use it. So if you were a little hesitant about picking up a game made by someone you’ve never heard of (and you shouldn’t be, this game is a blast) know that it’s coming through with that extra Josh polish you’re familiar with.
For anyone who doesn't know, tensions have really been brewing on Larry's Facebook page. Seems Larry has decided to run for King of Daventry. There's been a lot of political mudslinging on both sides of this one. At the bottom of this post you'll see one of the videos that Larry and King Graham have been posting back and forth.
So head over to Larry's page on November 6th and vote for who you think should be the next King of Daventry.
I'd also like to point out to everyone that there are two new Kickstarters you might be interested in. Lori and Corey Cole's Hero-U, a new hero-based adventure game from the creators of Quest for Glory. It’s exactly the kind of thing you’ve been hoping for from them, and it’s definitely worth your support.
And there’s the new Shadowgate Kickstarter, which we're very excited about. We always love it when the original creator of a franchise gets a chance to make something new with their creation. One of the great things about Kickstarter is it enables the people who made the games you LOVED provide you with something new. We hope you’ll show them the same love you’ve showed us!
To conclude, I'd like to personally thank all of you for contributing to bring back Larry. It wouldn't have been possible without fan support, and you guys are some of the best fans I've ever seen. Thank you all, I promise we won't let you down.
Just a couple of brief notes today, and then onto something I know will make everyone salivate.
N-Fusion completed their second milestone last week: the fully navigable game, using rough artwork and the music extracted from the VGA version of the game. No puzzles yet, but this way we’ll be able to see new animations, backgrounds, and features plug into the existing game as they’re readied.
I fully expect us to have at least one or two exciting announcements VERY soon about the music. Selections have been made, details are being worked out, but I don’t want to post anything until all the ink on the contracts are dry.
We had an outstanding reaction to our Social Media department’s request last time around. We’ve put some *exclusive* behind-the-scenes photos and concept artwork onto Replay Games Facebook page (you have to have “Liked” Replay Games to access it, and we’ll be adding new exclusive artwork to that page occasionally). I also have a new message from the Social Media department regarding a quasipolitical battle going on behind the scenes here (which has made for some very uncomfortable situations):
In case you weren't aware, our pal Larry has his own Facebook page at http://facebook.com/TheLarryLaffer and now is the PERFECT time to Like his page. Larry has apparently decided to run for King of Daventry. By Liking his page, you can stay up-to-date with the latest political attack ads, platform decisions, and even responses from his opponent. Of course, Larry also provides regular doses of his own special brand of comedy and musings. All of this can be yours for the low, low price of a button click. Lastly, you can follow Replay Games on Twitter to get the latest information on the game, exclusive fanart, and much more…@replaygamesinc.
Okay. It’s time to reveal what many people would agree is the single most emblematic image in the game: the front of Lefty’s, as reimagined, polished, and finished by heroic artist Colin Merlo and the dedicated men and women of N-Fusion. View it and weep.
'Til we meet again,
pledged of $500,000 goal
seconds to go
Apr 2, 2012 - May 2, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $5 or more
A 5-pack of full HD wallpapers in 1920x1080 resolution of "the girls of Leisure Suit Larry" (plus one of Larry himself). We're using final art for these so that's why we're estimating delivery in August BUT that date might be earlier or later depending on when the final art is available. Enjoy!!!!Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $15 or more
Digital Copy of Game: For a pledge of $15, when Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded is finished, we’ll send you an incredibly personal, deeply heartfelt download link (via Steam or DRM free version) so that you can get the game instantly. It’s the same way you probably get ALL your games…only this time, it’s legal!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $25 or more
Game plus: For a $25 pledge, when the game ships, you’ll receive a handcrafted download link to the complete digital musical soundtrack. Warning: we are not responsible for the theme music getting stuck in your head. But we do sympathize. Plus, you’ll get the $15 reward tier as well: a digital copy of the game.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $40 or more
Game, Music, and a Shirt: A $40 dollar pledge gets you digital copies of the game and soundtrack plus a specially designed t-shirt, exclusive to Kickstarter backers. We’ve all visited Lefty’s Bar in the past, and now we’ll have the t-shirt to prove it. (Please add $15 dollars for international shipping.)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $50 or more
Game premium: A $50 pledge gets you a PDF file, suitable for printing (or wrapping fish), of “The Art of Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded,” a book of production drawings, concept art, and high-res game art used to re-erect Leisure Suit Larry for the new millennium. The usual adjectives are “lavish,” “fine art quality,” and “gorgeous,” we just weren’t sure where to stick them. Plus you’ll get all previous reward tiers!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $75 or more
Alpha & Beta testing: At the $75 pledge level, this is where you start to become actually involved in the game’s development. You’ll have access to the beta versions of the game, so that you can respond to us with praise, suggestions, praise, compliments, complaints, praise, bug reports, and great joy and gratitude. Plus you’ll get all previous reward tiers: the digital copy of the (finished) game, the digital edition of the soundtrack, and the PDF of “The Art of Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded.”Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $100 or more
Collector’s Edition: For a pledge of $100, we start to add to our careful selection of premiums with mindless gibbering gratitude. We’ll custom-mail you (whatever that means) an actual physical game and game box, PLUS an actual CD of the soundtrack of the game, PLUS a softcover version of the Art of Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded art book, PLUS something Sierra would NEVER have put in the box: an actual Leisure Suit Larry™ Brand Condom. Don’t scream, it’s still in its wrapper. Plus you’ll get all the previous reward tiers, too! (please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $150 or more
Lefty's Bar Pack: For $150 dollars, you'll get all the items necessary to survive inside Lefty's. We're including one shot glass from Lefty's, and four matching coasters to go with it. In addition, we're giving you some spicy cinnamon breath spray to ensure you're in a fresh state to woo the ladies. And in case you strike out, we've included a one of a kind "reveal" pen featuring a lovely lady from the reloaded version of the game. This plus all previous reward tiers! (Please add $15 for international shipping.)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $250 or more
Collector’s Premium Edition: A pledge of $250 gets you all these special collectibles: A deck of Leisure Suit Larry playing cards featuring the characters from the game instead of the usual nameless royalty, and 3 gorgeous, ceramic Leisure Suit Larry Casino Chips (guaranteed to get you thrown out of any casino in Vegas). PLUS you’ll get all the previous reward tiers, including the Larry Condom, the softcover Art Book, the physical game, box, and soundtrack CD, access to the beta version, and on and on and on. What are we, crazy? (please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $500 or more
Signed Edition: Our $500 pledge “Signed Edition” should really be called our “Descent Into Madness Edition.” You will get a limited HARDCOVER edition of “The Art of Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded,” SIGNED by Al Lowe (with his OTHER hand!). AND you will get “Special Thanks” in the actual game credit. That’s right, your name will be right up there in pixels! AND you will get a sheet of 20 authentic, collectible Leisure Suit Larry 1st Class postage stamps. These are actual, legal, US gubbmint-approved stamps which you can use to send letters. Hey, remember letters? They were things you sent in the mail. Hey, remember mail? Plus, you’ll get all the previous reward tiers! (please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $750 or more
20 backers All gone!
Larrywood's Walk of Shame Edition: For each of our 20 $750 pledgers, we're creating a Larrywood Walk of Shame. We'll be putting your name into the game -- not just in the credits, but engraved on its own individual star set into the sidewalk somewhere in beautiful Lost Wages! (We reserve the right to let Larry or the Narrator make some kind of comment about it when he finds it, just in case your name itself isn't very funny.) And, of course, you'll get everything from the lower tiers as well. Note: these stars will ONLY be available at this tier, not at any of the higher tiers! So grab 'em while we've got 'em!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $1,000 or more
42 backers Limited (8 of 50 left)
Limited Edition: There is no possible way to set a price on all the collectibles you get at the $1000 pledge level. (Oops, we just did.) We are striking 50, and only 50, signed and numbered lithographs of custom Larry artwork. For a $1000 pledge, you will receive one of these 50 signed/numbered lithographs, PLUS one of a limited edition (again, only 50) “Girls of Leisure Suit Larry” calendars, again with custom artwork, and again numbered and signed by Al Lowe. The calendars and lithographs are available at this tier only, not in any of the other tiers! You’ll also receive all the premiums from all the previous reward tiers! What a bonanza! (please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $1,100 or more
2 backers All gone!
Lizard’s Edition: At the $1,100 pledge level, you’ll get one of two gigantic, durable, limousine-sized Leisure Suit Larry banners. Two is all we have, and we’re not making any more, so don’t even ask. These banners are signed by Al Lowe, and each contains an exclusive typo that makes it highly unlikely that anybody can (or would ever want to) duplicate them! These banners will not be available at any other tier! Plus, of course, you’ll also receive all the premiums from the Signed Edition tier and below…because we care. (please add $20 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $1,250 or more
4 backers Limited (1 of 5 left)
Pervert’s Edition: So let’s say you want to pledge $2,500, but you can’t see yourself ever setting foot in a disco, real or virtual. We can’t blame you for that, but we’ll still make you famous. One of Larry’s most memorable scenes is when he attempts to buy a “lubber” at a convenience store, and the customers jump out from behind the aisles and scream “Pervert!” at poor, demented Larry. We’ll make YOUR face into one of those pervert-yelling patrons! You’ll also receive all the premiums from the Signed Edition reward tier and below.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $2,500 or more
1 backer All gone!
Doggie Style Edition: Here’s another hypothetical: you’d love to be in the game, but you’re really more of a dog person than a disco-dweller or a pervert-shouter. We’ve got you covered! For a $5,000 pledge, we’ll immortalize your dog in the game. Whenever Larry gets…uh…refreshed by the dog outside, that’ll be YOUR dog! (Please, oh please, let it be a Shih Tzu!) You’ll also receive all the premiums from the Signed Edition reward tier and below, because why should your dog have all the fun? (please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $2,500 or more
2 backers All gone!
Drunk's Edition: Here is another option for the $5,000 pledge. There are two featured drunks in Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, and you can be one of them! We’ll use your name and image to recreate you as a down-on-your-luck, staggering, sloppy drunk…and knowing you, that’ll be a cinch for our artists. You’ll also receive all the premiums from the Signed Edition reward tier and below. Maybe you could sell some of those collectibles and get a fresh start?Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $5,000 or more
4 backers All gone!
Lefty's Bar Edition: For a pledge of $5,000, you can be a patron at the bar that Destructoid called the #1 bar in all video game history! We’ll use your name and image as one of the drinkers at Lefty’s, sitting right there on your very own stool, an “honor” previously reserved for Sierra employees only. You’ll not only become a part of Sierra history, you’ll also receive all the premiums from the Signed Edition reward tier and below. (please add $15 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $5,000 or more
2 backers Limited (4 of 6 left)
Disco Edition: For a $5,000 pledge, we’ll make you part of gaming history…by putting you into the game itself!!!! (So if you haven’t hidden the kids yet, now’s the time.) We will feature your name and likeness as one of the people in the Lost Wages disco. We are only going to turn 6 of the disco patrons into Kickstarter pledgers, so this is a VERY limited offer and will not be available in any other pledge reward tier. You will also receive all the premiums from the Signed Edition reward tier and below.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $5,000 or more
1 backer All gone!
Naked Edition: Another alternative reward for a $5,000 pledge, and this is truly one-of-a-kind; only one pledger will be able to claim this reward. You can be the broke gambler wandering the streets of Lost Wages wearing nothing but a barrel! We will use your name and image as the Barrel Man (or Woman), and we promise not to show any of the naughty bits (“unless,” as Kathy Bates always says, “the script really calls for it organically”). You will also get all the premiums from the Signed Edition reward tier and below.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $5,000 or more
0 backers Limited (1 of 1 left)
Age Verification Edition: Here’s our last unique pledge, and then we’ll shut up about the unique pledges and start talking real money. At the beginning of the game, we have famously used a bank of random questions called the “Age Verification” quiz to keep out players too young -- or too tasteful -- to play. We will use YOUR NAME in the bank of quiz questions. You will end up in every walk-through in every gaming website across the world! This is a one-of-a-kind offer; only one person will be able to claim this reward. Plus, you will get all the premiums from the Signed Edition reward tier and below!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $10,000 or more
1 backer Limited (1 of 2 left)
No Free Lunch Edition: For $10,000, we’ll create a memory that will last a lunchtime. You will be flown (domestic airfare only) to Seattle to enjoy lunch, dinner, or a morning-after breakfast with Leisure Suit Larry’s Mommy’s Baby Daddy, Mr. Al Lowe himself. He’ll sign whatever you want him to sign (except IRS forms and blank checks), answer all your questions about life, tell you some dirty jokes, and, best of all, he’ll do something that he’s never done before in the history of the world: he’ll pick up the check! We’ll put you up overnight and send you back home happy, fed, and loaded down with all the goodies from the Signed Edition reward tier and below. We’ll even give you the entire chocolate factory for your very own…oh, wait a minute, that’s a whole different licensed property.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012