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March 04, 2013 - dracula versus the bi-weekly kickstarter
Hello loyal Leisure Suit Larry fans!!
I speak for everybody at Replay and N-Fusion when I say we absolutely loved your comments to the Alpha version of Larry. As a game developer / publisher, you never know how the game is going to do until you release it to the public. No matter how many reviews are out there, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and you guys have made us more than happy. Well, a better word for it, IMO, would be ecstatic.
We are THIS CLOSE (imagine my fingers being spread one inch apart) to releasing the beta. We're putting the polish on all the characters, backgrounds, recording the voices, and Austin Wintory, composer extraordinaire, is working with our very own Josh Mandel on a song for the Cabaret. We think you guys are really going to like it. Josh played a scratch track for me on the phone over the weekend (yes, we're working every single day at this point) and it sounds absolutely incredible! I hope every single one of you dig it as much as we do.
So, in regards to development, besides what I listed above, there's not too much else going on. I can, however, say that some of the girls close ups are finalized and they are looking GOOD (well, except for the girl above Lefty's bar, that is). The music is being recorded live in Los Angeles next week and Al is flying down to oversee everything. In addition, I personally convinced Al to do a sax solo to the Leisure Suit Larry theme on the OST (official sound track) of the game. If you purchased this tier you are going to be STOKED!! If you didn't, well, you can always buy it afterwards. I asked him to do this since seeing him play at Video Games Live at E3 last year. He had the stage all to himself and the crowd went WILD when Tommy Tellarico announced Al Lowe was coming on stage. The performance was so good, that I absolutely had to make sure we had a duplicate of that on the OST. Don't get me wrong, the big band recording of the theme is AWESOME, but after all, this is THE Al Lowe, here, and hearing him play the solo was just awe-inspiring.
Before I let you go, I just wanted to let you guys know that, in the meantime, while Larry is in development, we've intentionally signed an AMAZING adventure game to publish to tide you guys over until you get to play the full version of Leisure Suit Larry. It's called Fester Mudd: The Curse Of The Gold. When Al, Josh, and I evaluated this game we immediately knew it would be a hit with our audience. We're first releasing it on PC, Mac, and Linux and in a few weeks we'll be putting it out on all iOS and Android devices. I love point & click adventure games on the PC mainly but found myself in love both the iPad and PC versions for 2 totally different reasons. You'll know when you pick it up. We're keeping the price intentionally low so you guys won't have to shell out a fortune to get a great game before Larry goes gold master.
Oh, I forgot to tell you!! You guys are the first ones hearing about the release date. We're sending out a press release tomorrow announcing where people can buy it but obviously we prefer if you buy it directly from our store (launching tomorrow on replaygamesinc.com) instead. That way, 100% of the revenue goes to us and Prank instead of any of the numerous distribution partners we have set up for it. And if you like to collect nostalgia, we'll be releasing a retail version worldwide in about a month.
In the meantime, keep holding your breath because you're about to get some amazing stuff. And rest assured, we will not release a half-assed, bug-ridden game. We're going to test, polish, test, polish until it's perfect. AND we don't think it's going to affect our release date, which is extremely cool.
Take care, and speak to you guys soon. If you want to ask me any questions directly just hit me up in email or on Twitter.
p.s. You'll be pleased to know that *most* of the Kickstarter items are in and we're flying Al down from Seattle to personally sign the items we promised in our Kickstarter (and, of course, help assemble the boxes...but don't tell him I told you that...he doesn't know we're going to make him sweat when he gets to Austin)
February 18, 2013 - the biweekly kickstarter update must be destroyed
Happy Monday Holiday again, faithful Larry backers!
It's been an incredibly eventful couple of weeks. I'm referring, of course, to the release of the alpha version four days ago.
I think it's safe to say that there wasn't an individual at Replay or N-Fusion who wasn't as nervous as hell about this. Alpha versions are not intended for viewing by the general public, and for good reason. We don't want people rushing to judgment about the final product based on programming, art, music, sound, and text that are incomplete. Speaking only for myself here (although I'm sure I'm not alone), I was fairly certain that we would be inundated with emails asking us about features, puzzles, scenes, and characters that aren't in the alpha.
Instead, the response blew us all away. The vast majority of commenters clearly had no trouble understanding the concept of an alpha, and, better yet, were overwhelmingly supportive of our efforts. That's not to say there aren't issues people have brought up, and we're listening to them.
But most of all, I think the alpha has proven something to that small, vocal contingent who've been doubting that we were serious about bringing Sierra On-Line gameplay, and Larry in particular, back to life.
We know the job is far from over. None of the music you heard is final. Some of the backgrounds you saw aren't final, including the close-ups of Eve, Jasmine, Faith, and Fawn. There are literally thousands of lines of text and dialogue that aren't plugged in. There are many characters you haven't seen at all yet, dozens of animations yet to come, and a lot of fixing and tweaking of stuff that is there. Then there are the voices. So there's still a lot of heavy lifting still in front of us, but now the world knows that we were serious when we said that Larry will Live Again.
In other news...
The various Backer rewards are all in progress; some are actually finished and in the Replay offices. Here's a shot that Britton Mathews found of the silkscreens for the exclusive Larry t-shirt.
As I've mentioned before, the Backer rewards will all go out at the same time, at the end of the game's production. We need to wait until all the artwork is finalized, because some rewards, such as the calendar and the art books, require finalized artwork.
We had an interesting little hiccup in the Breath Spray production a couple of weeks ago: on the label, we had text that included the words "Contains industrial-strength breath spray." The company that produces the custom-printed spray contacted Kevin Kettler and said, "The FDA is refusing to allow us to put that on the label." So we did a rewrite, but Kevin pointed out that while Larry has been rejected by many women over the years, this is the first time he was actually rejected by the government as well!
By the time I speak to you again, we'll be startlingly close to beta. So hang on. The best is yet to come.
One last tidbit before I turn back to my spreadsheets. Al recorded Larry's Theme with his MOJO Big Band just a few days ago, and although we don't have a final mix for you yet, we thought you might enjoy it. Here it is.
February 14, 2013 - alpha release
Dear loyal backer of the Leisure Suit Larry campaign:
We were scheduled to go Alpha on February 16th, but we came in two days early and I couldn't think of a nicer present to give you guys than the ability to check out and play the official alpha build of Leisure Suit Larry: ReLOADed. You guys have stuck with us through thick and thin and we have done everything to not only live up to your expectations but to also exceed them. Please keep in mind this is only an alpha build (meaning all the features are not in and there are some significant bugs we still need to fix) but at the very least we hope this will wet your appetite for the beta, and eventual release to the world in early April.
The voices aren't in yet, so if you hear a voice to some response, it's probably one of the guys in the studio goofing off. After all, if we don't have fun at work, what's the point, right?
Anyway, I know you guys haven't seen anything from me in a while but I pressed the team REALLY hard to get this to you guys tonight. I hope you have as much fun playing it as we've had building it.
We'd love to hear what you guys think, not only on our forums, but also on the TellTale forums as well as Adventuregamers.net, or wherever else you'd like to brag about being one of only 2,200 people in the world that gets to play the game this early.
Josh wrote a TON of dialogue for the game so, for fun, trying talking to, licking, unzipping your fly, and doing things you wouldn't ordinarily do. We all hope you get a laugh or two, especially out loud (LOL). (Josh tells me that the vast majority of the text isn't even in the game yet, so if you get generics like "It isn't much to look at," that's placeholder stuff and there's thousands more messages already in the pipeline.)
Your Steam key will be in an email that you should be receiving shortly.
Unfortunately, this build is for PC only. It was the only way to get you guys something today and I had to personally make the call. I apologize to all of our Mac and Linux users out there. The Beta will have Mac support for sure and *hopefully* Linux support.
From all of us at Replay,
February 04, 2013 - we turn the big five-o!
Hi, ya, KSers! It's me, Al Lowe, back again with another huge bunch of news for our thousands of favorite people in the whole world! (But not everyone. You. Over there. Yeah, you! The person not reading this. You're no favorite. But all the rest of you are!)
It's been a busy few weeks here at Larryton Abbey, so let's get right to the deets!
Alpha release scheduled
Those of you who qualified for the Alpha release of the game get the first big news: right now, we think our Alpha version will be ready for download on February 16, yes, a mere dozen days from right now!
You'll receive complete details via a Britton Mathews magic email, but I don't think he'll mind me letting it slip that it's going to be a download from Steam. Now remember: this is an Alpha and (like making laws and sausages) it ain't pretty, but rejoice in the knowledge that you're going to get the very first look at Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded of anyone outside of us inside the Larry Compound.
Sure, the game is buggy; in fact, it's so buggy we not going to accept bug reports from you. Nope, all you get to do is enjoy it! No responsibilities. How Larryish!
Beta testers, be patient. You won't get off so easy; from you, we're going to expect lots of bug reports. But when the beta release will be, we're not sure - but it won't be long from now!
Achievement and Points
We're in the process of implementing a new Achievement system for the game. While all of my games used Points to indicate your progress (as will this new version), now you'll be able to share your progress with your friends via Achievements. I can't tell you much about it, but just think what Achievements from Josh Mandel (and me) could look like. Ah, the implications! The double enten-dres! The embarrassment!
MusicYou know how I feel about game music in general and how much of it is weak. But not Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded! Every weekly update we get from Austin Wintory confirms in my mind what a genius he is - and what a lucky slob I am for being able to land him for our project!
I'm so delighted to hear what he's doing with my humble little Larry theme song. He's treating it as a leitmotif that you'll hear throughout the game, subtly weaving it into a tapestry of beautiful colors that capture the emotion of the various scenes perfectly. And yes, I'm still talking about Leisure Suit Larry.
The game's logo is now finalized and here it is:
Speaking of artwork, we've also finalized the design for the Leisure Suit Larry playing cards, con-doms, cocktail napkins, shot glasses, poker chips, and other cool KS higher level rewards. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (wait; anachronistic), uh, dirty CD (nah; dated) repetitive download (hmm?), anyway, it's some of the coolest stuff I've ever seen associated with a game. I can't wait for you to see it. Which you will. Soon. But not too soon!
Fester enters beta
Fester Mudd: Curse of the Gold is currently in beta and will be rolled out to PC and Mac via a brand new platform on our very own website, as well as most other major portals worldwide. An-droid and iOS will follow soon after. Set aside some time to enjoy this one!
More is worth a wait
Because of all the cool things we've added to the game, our schedule has slipped ...a little. We planned for a March release; unfortunately, we're going to be a few days late. Let's just say early April.
Please consider this good news: by waiting just a little longer, you're going to get the best game we can create! And isn't that worth a little wait?
I didn't mean to wear out your scrolling finger with this update, but I'm so proud of the Replay and N-Fusion teams and the work they're doing here at Laffer Manor that I just couldn't stop bragging!
Until next time,
January 21, 2013 - the biweekly kickstarter update's bloody terror
Happy Martin Luther King day, Larryettes. How is it that these updates always seem to fall on holidays?
We're working pretty furiously and starting to get very excited. I'm going to keep it very short this week and cover a few more questions we've been getting.
The Alpha is coming! We are estimating two weeks 'til the Alpha build.
LINUX. Yes, we are definitely coming out with a LINUX version. It may not be "Day One," but we're doing it. We're considering the degree to which we can use our LINUX-friendly Kickstarter patrons as testers; obviously they will be helping us to some degree, but we also have to figure out how much professional testing it will require.
Music is coming in fast and furious from Austin Wintory, and so far I'm adoring what I'm hearing...and that's just the synth versions. It's all going to be recorded with live instruments before it goes in the game. Austin and I are also working on a little surprise. Say no more.
The backgrounds are almost all done; the only remaining ones are a few locations in the Casino, and the close-ups of Fawn, Faith, Jasmine, and Eve (which Colin is taking the most time with, seeing as how important they are to the game).
The text, too, is almost done; all I have left to work on are those locations that don't have backgrounds, plus the inventory-on-inventory (which won't be voiced, so as long as it's done in enough time for the translators, it'll be easy to slip into the game).
We won't be able to afford foreign language voiceovers right out of the gate. But it's on our "most wanted" list of additional features, should the game be popular enough to allow us to budget it as an add-on.
Lastly, I want to alert all Sierra fans to a new upcoming Kickstarter project: ex-Sierra composer Ken Allen (who did some of Sierra's greatest music) is producing an album, Under the Half Dome, based on music from his computer game composing career...from 1989 to 1996. (By the way, Ken is also doing the soundtrack for the Two Guys' upcoming SpaceVenture.) The Kickstarter hasn't begun quite yet, but I believe it's scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, January 22nd! For the moment, you can follow it at www.kenspace.com (Ken's project blog), or on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/UnderTheHalfdome. This is a huge deal for Ken's fans (like me) and lovers of the best of Sierra's golden years.
Back to work! Teambox awaits!