Telltale Games disclosed tonight what many adventure fans have been waiting to hear for over a year: Sam & Max is making a comeback.
The announcement came during a special event, "The Future of Digital Entertainment," which took place in the San Francisco office of consulting firm AT Kearney. The evening started with presentations by Pixar Supervising Animator Alan Barillaro and AT Kearney Vice President John Ciacchella, focusing on the direction of the digital entertainment industry. Telltale principals Dan Connors, Kevin Bruner, and Troy Molander then took the floor to talk about Telltale's corporate goals, development process, and market strategy. The presentation closed with the surprise announcement that Telltale has entered into an agreement with Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell to reintroduce the popular dog and rabbit team to the digital age.
The deal was inked only days ago, and few details are available as of now. Telltale stresses that the game will not be Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the LucasArts title whose highly-publicized 2004 cancellation was widely mourned by fans. New content will be developed, and the game will be implemented in an episodic format similar to that of Telltale's Bone games. Purcell, who works at Pixar, says he will be as involved with the Sam & Max project as he can be.
"If there's a better match, I don't know who it is… I trust them," Purcell said, when asked why he chose to work with Telltale. Purcell knows the Telltale team from their LucasArts days and is comfortable with their handling of the upcoming first Bone game, which is adapted from the well-known comic by Jeff Smith. When LucasArts' hold on the Sam & Max rights ran out this spring, Purcell and Telltale had the freedom to move forward.
Telltale has positioned itself as a company intent on delivering high-quality, story-driven games to an audience hungry for interactivity. "Around a year ago, we left the bosom of the game industry because we saw opportunity," Connors said of the team's departure from LucasArts. According to Bruner, Telltale's plan for licenses such as Bone and Sam & Max is "bigger than video games. It's interactive entertainment."
Adventure Gamers will provide more details about the Sam & Max project as they become available. For now, disillusioned fans can stop signing petitions and set aside the bitterness over all those false rumors. We spoke; they listened.