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The Unabridged History of Sam & Max 2 (LucasArts, The International House of Mojo, and the cancelled 2004 Freelance Police game)

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LucasArts fansite The International House of Mojo has published this book-length restrospective (~30,000 words!) on Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the game that was abruptly cancelled in 2004:




This one that had this trailer:




Well, it's ostensibly about Sam & Max: Freelance Police - and covers that game's development very thoroughly. But the first few parts are about LucasArts in general, and the changes in the company through the '90s that led to it releasing little other than Star Wars games. And it's also about the relationship between the company and its fans (hence the subtitle, "A Mixnmojo Memoir") - particularly in Part 9, about the fan reaction to the cancellation. And it concludes with the switch to Telltale.


"A job too important to be left to the professionals," they originally intended the article to be a tenth anniversary feature. Then a 15th (which still appears in the URL, "sam-and-max-2-fifteen-years-in-the-grave"). And now they've published it, sixteen years since the game was cancelled. :D


They commissioned Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis cover artist William Eaken to do this illustration (link to full res version):




They've also published the full interviews that went into the feature:



Quoting one short section on how the cancellation was conveyed to the developers, with a hilarious assertion about downloadable games:




I tried to get a sense from the developers of what the last days of the project were like, and if there was anything in hindsight that should have made what came less surprising. Stemmle insists that, as the fans have always believed, the cancellation was “Totally sudden. No foreshadowing. Not even any twoshadowing.” That doesn’t mean his bosses weren’t ready with peer-reviewed “studies” to justify it as a business decision. Speaking now, Stemmle refers to a surreal meeting that he has brought up a few times in the past:



All I know is that I was brought into a small meeting room, and told in no uncertain terms that the entire European adventure game market had literally disappeared. There were 100,000 of them one year, and the next, nada. To this day, I wonder if the game was cancelled due to a rounding error, or some sort of half-assed European preview of the Rapture.


It’s unclear whether or not he’s being facetious here, but I’m inclined to believe that it’s not far from the truth, because a separate meeting that Dan Connors remembers isn’t appreciably less farcical. Freelance Police’s producer recalls that at the end of one work day “they invited me to a meeting at Lucasfilm with LucasArts publishing and some LucasFilm folks where a Kellogg Business School grad student explained how downloadable games wouldn’t be viable for 10 years.” Yikes.



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