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Interviews

Tales of Monkey Island: Episode 2

Interview: Was the first episode a success?

Tales of Monkey Island: Siege of Spinner Cay, the second in a five series season, was launched last week on PC, with a WiiWare vesion due soon. To find out how the first one went down, we caught up with season and co-lead designer Mark Darin and marketing director, Joel Dreskin.

Tell us about the feedback you received from the first episode? Was it everything everyone dreamed of?

MD: The first chapter has been very well received, which is quite gratifying to me. I knew we were making something special, but with so many people holding on to such fond memories of the past games, there was a lot of potential to mess this up.

Thankfully that doesn't seem to be the case. People seem to be loving this game and we have a lot more Monkey Island goodness still to come.

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How well did it sell compared to other episodic titles you've previously published online? Better or worse?

MD: We've been overwhelmed by how popular Tales of Monkey Island has been, we can definitely say that is has been our most successful Telltale franchise to date.

Was there any one bit that a lot of people got stuck on?

MD: Hard to say. Different people find different aspects of the game challenging. Some people got lost in the jungle while others navigated it like professional treasure hunters. Others spent a while in DeSinge's lab.

As far as I can tell, people were sufficiently challenged by the game's puzzles, but our built-in hint system kept people from being stuck so badly that they just lost interest in playing.

What was the reaction like to the new mouse control method?

MD: Gamers who didn't especially like using the keyboard were pleased that we implemented a method of control that allowed you to play entirely with the mouse. Fortunately, the keyboard controls were fully functional for people who found the mouse control a bit tricky.

Have you found that more people are interested in buying the full, boxed edition than purchasing the episodes individually or is the other way around?

JD: We've been selling Tales of Monkey Island primarily through the full season. Even more than previous Telltale series, Tales of Monkey Island is an epic saga told across five episodes and the full season purchase is the best way to experience it.

That said, we've been piloting different ways to get the games to customers, including individual episodes through Amazon's Digital Game Download channel (currently available in the US only).

Looking across different Telltale series over the years, the seasons to episodes comparisons really vary from franchise to franchise though full seasons generally outweigh individual episodes.

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How far along the dev cycle are you in the series? Do you already have release dates for episodes 3 and 4 or are you still working on them?

MD: Our development cycle is already set, but that doesn't mean we have hard release dates to announce. We know that we have to keep our monthly release schedule and we work very hard to maintain that.

We do have a little bit of wiggle room inside of those limitations to work with though, you always have to account for the unexpected. With Chapter 2 wrapping up, production of Chapter 3 is moving into full swing.

Tell us about something cool in the second episode that me may otherwise miss.

MD: At one point Guybrush whistles a song that he has stuck in his head. It's actually Largo LeGrand's theme music form MI2: LeChuck's Revenge! No, Largo is not in this game and the song means nothing, I just like little call backs like that.

Tales of Monkey Island: Siege of Spinner Cay is out now

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