Oh, to be a LucasArts veteran. To have lived through the days of Monkey Island and Full Throttle, and slipped away when it became about bad Star Wars games. To live as some sort of renegade idealist, criss-crossing the country on a Harley, rounding up a posse of old friends and starting your own development studio to produce a completely original adventure game. It's been done - a few times now in fact,
(just look at Psychonauts) - so could we be about to see it happen again?
A Vampyre Story is the brain-baby of game-art guru Bill Tiller. It stars Mona de Laffite ("after the loading dock in the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride at Disneyland," explains Tiller), an unwilling vampiress who finds herself sharing an adventure with Froderick, her friendly bat companion. Expect pointing-and-clicking on a classic LucasArts level, with vampiric abilities such as shape-shifting playing a part in the game's puzzles.
So, can we expect funny? Monkey Island-funny? "Sure," says Tiller, "after all, it's a comic adventure! Many people seem to think it's like The Curse Of Monkey Island and The Secret Of Monkey Island, just in the horror genre instead of the pirate genre. So, while the game has a darker subject matter and art style than a pirates-in-the-Caribbean setting, and definitely has its own style, we're striving to produce a game that's both very funny and unique. Our writer, Dave Harris, is one of the most talented and most funny persons ever to walk the face of the earth, and also a LucasArts veteran, so Monkey Island-funny is probably a good way to put it."
Just as we found with Psychonauts and the recent batch of Sam & Max games, the spirit of the old Lucasarts classics is seemingly alive and well in A Vampyre Story - not just in the writing, but in Bill Tiller's own art style too.
"There are a lot of influences on my work," Tiller tells us. "One of my favourite artists is Edward Gorey. He might be not that famous in England - he did these great black-and-white ink drawings of Victorian aristocrats in macabre and funny situations. He's the main inspiration, along with Dr Seuss and Tim Burton. Originally we were planning on making the game in black-and-white, using the Edward Gorey pen-and-ink style.
But we abandoned it when it became clear the colour version looked better. I still want to do a short pen-and-ink-looking mini-adventure game, maybe some day."
And, as some sort of litmus test of point-and-click heritage, how many tree stump gags can we expect in the new game? "That tree stump joke never gets old," laughs Tiller. "There'll be a lot of references and homages to 'the old days' - but what exactly, you'll have to wait and see!"