A few months ago, Telltale was offered the chance to do a Tales of Monkey Island postmortem in Game Developer, and they asked me to write it. The article appears in the May 2010 issue which is going out to subscribers now and will be available for purchase soon. I received sample copies on Friday—it turned out great!
In typical postmortem fashion, the article outlines five things that went right with Tales of Monkey Island’s production, followed by five things that went wrong. The “went rights” include telling one big story broken up into five chapters (rather than five little stories strung together, as Telltale had done with previous episodic games), striking a good balance between favorite Monkey Island characters and new ones, and of course working with legends like Ron Gilbert. The “went wrongs” delve into scheduling issues, the little problem of many of the secondary pirates looking very much the same, and that old favorite: feature creep.
It’s a good read if you’re a Monkey Island fan and/or if you’re interested in how episodic game development really works… and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. (Of course, I had lots of help from members of the Monkey Island team—guys like Dave Grossman, Mark Darin, Mike Stemmle, Dave Bogan, Derek Sakai, Will Armstrong, Matt Hansen, Eric Parsons, Jake Rodkin, and surely others who I’m blanking on at the moment.)
The issue also includes a Monkey Island “playthrough” by Ron Gilbert and a sort of horrifying collection of crunch stories from various anonymous developers. My advice: buy it, read it, and then store it in plastic for the next fifteen years so you can lovingly pull it out and read it again in a fit of Monkey Island nostalgia.
Update: As of May 5, the issue is available for purchase in PDF format, for the low price of $3.95. Just saying.