Leisure Suit Larry, which first appeared way back in the late 1980s on PC, is, or perhaps was, an adventure series best known for its bawdy humour and sexual innuendo. The brand actually boasts 10-plus titles, from the six original games through to the likes of casino games, and between 1992 and 1997 grossed over $35 million. Ker-ching!
2004 and the Leisure Suite Larry series is making a comeback, developer High Voltage Software working on Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. Published by Vivendi subsidiary Sierra, the title is heading to PC and next-generation consoles and is due at the end of the year. We recently spoke to High Voltage to find out more about the game.
What's Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude all about?
High Voltage Software: The basic story finds Larry, a sixth-year college senior, lonely and depressed in his dorm room at Walnut Log Community College. Larry isn't much of a ladies' man; he's the big loser on campus. He'd like to follow in his uncle's footsteps [his uncle being the original Leisure Suit Larry star, Larry Laffer], so he resolves to become a contestant on a reality dating show that is taping an episode.
The show won't let him audition until he proves that he can score with chicks, so he sets out on a quest to seduce the girls on campus.
Why choose to resurrect the Leisure Suit Larry series now?
High Voltage Software: The adventure game genre has been pretty stale for the past few years, and we think the time is right to create a game that focuses on humour, characters and story telling. Larry is obviously a legendary name in adventure gaming, which is why we were so excited when Sierra approached us about developing a new title.
How does Magna Cum Laude relate to previous games in the series?
High Voltage Software: We've really worked hard to maintain the tone of the original Larry games. The comedy is still the core of the experience, and even with the switch to the nephew, the character is still basically the same. The new game makes all kinds of references to characters from the old games and there are a lot of jokes that only old fans of the series will recognize.
This game contains a whole new set of interesting characters - there are 15 girls that Larry can talk to and interact with and dozens of other characters on and around the campus. There are definitely some familiar elements of exploration and examining things and so on. The biggest changes have been the gameplay, as we move into the console generation with more action and less complex puzzle solving.
Where have you drawn inspiration from for Magna Cum Laude?
High Voltage Software: The game has been inspired by films like American Pie and There's Something About Mary. I think everyone on the team is a fan of both of these films. We like them for their humour, as well as the shock value they carried when they were first released. In many ways, we tried to make the tone of Larry match the tone of those films. There are many different kinds of humour - some of it innocent, some of it bizarre - that come together to make it what it is.
One specific tip of the hat is our band geek character, who resembles the character in American Pie to an extent, although I'd say ours has a couple of extra screws loose.
What classic comic devices are you using for the game - what's going to make us laugh?
High Voltage Software: We mix all types of humour into the game. For example, the opening cinema ranges from obscure pop culture references to safes falling on people's heads. Our goal has been to aim for a Simpsons-like range - throw enough different types of jokes that something is bound to stick.