At this weekend's PlayStation Experience, Sony and Double Fine announced that the studio would revisit classic LucasArts adventure game Day of the Tentacle with a remaster bound for PC and PlayStation consoles. Like Double Fine's remastering of Grim Fandango, which hits next month, Day of the Tentacle Remastered will be crafted to preserve the game for a new audience. In other words, it will be the same game, only prettier.
"We just knew that [Day of the Tentacle] was a game that we wanted to see again and have new people see it who hadn't seen it before," Double Fine founder Tim Schafer said in an interview with Polygon. "We had a lot of fun with [Grim Fandango Remastered] but when we first started, I thought 'No one's going to care about old games.' But they had such a passionate response to it.
"It's just really nice to revisit them and to remember those games and what was good about them and learn from them again. As you work on these games, you remember little things... you were a different person when you made those games. It's interesting to revisit that and revisit an old version of yourself too."
"It's a miracle that it happened"
Work on Day of the Tentacle Remastered is very early, Schafer said. Double Fine is still discussing what it wants to do. But one thing sounds certain: The game will be in 2D and will stay true to the Chuck Jones cartoon-inspired visuals of the 1993 original.
"We'll add a couple pixels here and there," Schafer said. "We're not going to go 3D."
Schafer said getting permission from Lucasfilm to make the Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle remasters is "a miracle," considering the corporate ownership of those old LucasArts games.
"There were just some people at Disney, Sony and Lucasfilm that care about these games," he said. "They're old enough that some of these people who are executives played them when they were kids. I've been really impressed with the fact that these kind of deals have come together because there's so many reasons for this deal not to happen. There's so many parties involved and so many people who could've said no, that it really took a passionate drive by people in the right places to escort it through the process."
And now that the door to revisit those games has been kicked wide open, Schafer says there's always a chance for more of those classic games to get a similar treatment — like Full Throttle, for example. They're games that Schafer seems more than happy to revisit.
"I would love to revisit them all just to give them some love."
"I feel strongly about all those games," he said. "I care about them and I want to take care of them. I want to preserve them. A lot of them, the fans have had to preserve them. Grim Fandango, for years was pretty much preserved by fans, who wrote emulators. It's like my old car, I want to keep it running. You can't just let it sit in the garage...
"I would love to revisit them all just to give them some love. Keep them happy and healthy. Grim was not healthy and happy it was pretty much lost to the world. You could only pirate it or buy it on eBay."
Like Grim Fandango, the remastered version of Day of the Tentacle will come to Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC.
Schafer is still working on wrapping up his latest game, Broken Age. The second half of that crowdfunded adventure game is expected to arrive in early 2015. But don't expect him to futz too much with Day of the Tentacle, a game he said he already spent enough time futzing with in the early '90s. Instead, expect more of a Criterion edition-style approach to the game.
"It's more of a question of finding a team to enhance it and then talking about what the scope is and what special features we'll have," he said. "Like with Grim we have that commentary. I was involved with that, but that game is being handled by crack remasterers. I had my list of a couple things I wanted to see specifically improved. But mostly we have these genius engineers go in and try to figure out how to make these old assets dance and sing again.
"There's smarter people than me working on it."