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Interviews

Sam & Max

The man behind the Sam & Max renaissance in the spotlight

Senior Designer Dave Grossman designs episodic games for Telltale, writes scripts for them and generally throws his weight around - as well as pitching new projects, writing other odds and ends and basically doing whatever needs doing. "Occasionally, I make coffee," he adds...

So, Episode One of Sam & Max is out of the door - is it a good feeling?

Dave Grossman: You bet! Of course, at about the time it was going out the door I was fairly well wrapped up in episodes two, three and four, which were all in various stages of planning and production, so I hardly noticed it happening. But somebody told me it's out, and it's getting good reviews, so that's nice. It's like when your child brings home a good report card from school.

Based on feedback from Culture Shock, is there anything you're planning on changing in the gameplay of future episodes?

Dave Grossman: The main thing is that we're juggling things like the level of difficulty of puzzles and how much help we give the players, to provide the best all-around experience for the whole audience. And sometimes we try stuff but it doesn't work. We changed one feature for Episode Two based on some things said by people in the community, but I'm not going to say what it was, because I didn't like the way it was impacting the overall feel and insisted it be changed back again. Sometimes it's my job to be the crank.

You've set yourselves quite a tight schedule in terms of regular releases - do you reckon you'll be able to stay on target?

Dave Grossman: Yes. A number of uncontrollable catastrophes have occurred in the last six months, but we try to improvise and adapt, like the Marines. We're still more or less on the mark and expect to stay there." What new storylines and characters will we be confronted with as new episodes are released? "In Episode Two, Sam and Max get to go t o a low-rent television studio, where a talk-show host has gone berserk. They meet several peculiar entertainment industry characters, and naturally, they wind up on TV.

What are your favourite snippets of dialogue from the new episodes?

Dave Grossman: From Episode Two I like the following: 'monk paste,' 'upswing,' 'thrombosis,' 'rinkydink halo' and 'loveable but essentially useless lump of fur and icky stuffing materials.' Oh wait, do you mean whole LINES of dialogue? Well, now your challenge is to locate all five of those snippets in the game when it comes out...

Finally, an important question: what's your favourite breakfast cereal?

Dave Grossman: I've experimented much over my lifetime - I even used to write cereal reviews around 1990 - but I've been a diehard Cheerios eater for quite a few years now. Sometimes I even take them with me when I travel. Is that weird?

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