Friday, April 16, 2021

Comment Sam & Max: This time it’s virtual! Bring the anti-crime comedy duo to virtual reality

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Sam & Max have conquered comics, television, games and returned for the first time in over a decade with Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual !. As the name suggests, independent police are making the jump to virtual reality for a whole new adventure. The game arrives on Oculus Quest this summer (and other headsets in the following months) is being developed by HappyGiant with help from Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell, acclaimed artist Peter Chan and other veterans of LucasArts.

Two questions you are probably asking yourself are, “What are Sam and Max up to date?” and “why VR?”. We caught up with Mike Levine, CEO of HappyGiant, and lead designer Mike Stemmle, formerly of LucasArts and Telltale Games, to learn about Sam & Max’s next adventure, the new character players are controlling, and how the team hopes to reinvent. the adventure game formula using the more immersive perspective of VR.

Sam & Max have always been known as adventure games, whether it was the point-and-click style Sam & Max: Hit the Road or the episodic Telltale series of the 2000s. While HappyGiant could have created another Heading into that mold, virtual reality offered a new twist to the formula that seemed like the next logical step for the genre as a whole. For example, players will pick up and inspect items with their own hands instead of just clicking on them. At the same time, that doesn’t mean the game won’t have some familiar genre traps.

“The classic adventure game consists of dialogue trees and[ing] on stuff until something happens or until you show things together, and there’s a lot of that in this game, ”Stemmle says. “But we also realize that ‘we’re a virtual reality man, we have a lot of cool things we can do.'”

Levine adds that “[VR’s] I’m not going to put the old type of games aside, but it feels like a progression, like a natural evolution. If you do it right, you feel like you are there with them in their world. And it is, it can be powerful.

To this end, players control a nameless and voiceless recruit recruited by Sam & Max, you will help the duo uncover an evil secret hidden in a fragmented amusement park. The reason players aren’t taking on the star roles themselves is because the team have found doing it dilutes the classic dynamic between the two. As the third character, you can not only watch Sam and Max do their jobs, but they’ll be interacting directly with you (with Max calling you all kinds of mean names like “Lumpy”), which the team hopes will be a treat for you. Fans.

The amusement park is owned by Cap’n Aquabear. The good captain’s fame was to sell pet tardigrades (think Sea Monkeys) which he nicknamed “Aqua Bears”, it was a fashion decades ago. As I mentioned before, Aquabear doesn’t just sell cheap micro-animals, but before you can review it, you need to prove yourself to Sam and Max by completing their obstacle course. While we don’t know what this specifically entails, it does offer some insight into the philosophy of the game in this strain is king.

Escape rooms, carnival games, bomb defusing, climbing walls, and good old-fashioned puzzle solving are just a few of the things players will get into, and Levine says that the game will build on mechanics as the game progresses. When it comes to the world, Levine describes the game as being “massive enough for virtual reality” with plenty of room for players to walk around and explore freely. That said, the game can also be played while seated. Along with interacting with the environment, fans should also look for tons of Aqua Bears as well as jokes and references from the show’s long history.

The switch to virtual reality has also forced the team to change their approach to comedy writing. Before players can click on something and have Sam and Max make a funny point without much interruption. But in order for such dialogue interruptions to feel natural in VR, the team had to reconsider their approach.

“… You have to let the player keep moving, you can’t lock it in place while you read a funny line,” says Stemmle. “So every time you grab a burrito and Sam starts to say something and Max says a witty return, you have to deal with the fact that the player threw the burrito against the wall really well and walked past here.” to something that actually is. really important. So you have to figure out how you are going to cut the lines, how are you going to blend into the next thing. You have to be much less valuable in your dialogue. “

The team are aware that there is a good chance that most players who get started with This Time It’s Virtual! have never played or even heard of Sam & Max, so they’re committed to wowing their minds with an adventure filled with clever gameplay and sharp writing. Even though it’s been a long time since the last Sam & Max title, the series has lasted this long (since 1987, actually) and has proven its versatility.

“As a Sam & Max fan, it felt like this evolution because they’ve always been adaptable,” says Levine. “They started in comics, they made a 2D game… then they made 3D games and toys. And Steve Purcell, the creator, you know, he was never afraid to try new things with them. And, I thought about it, like any great comic book duo, you can kind of get them into any situation, and they’re going to make it hilarious.

Sam & Max: This time it’s virtual! launches in June for Oculus Quest for $ 29.99. It will then be released later this year for SteamVR and Viveport Infinity. As for PlayStation VR, this version arrives in early 2022.

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