LucasArts – The Cancelled Sequels

In relation to the prior Scumm Masters’ Timeline, I’m here today to talk about the sequels to the LucasArts Adventure Games that never happened. Either due to bad luck, people leaving the company or the original games just not being very successful to begin with. In fact, it’s rather notable how very few of the LucasArts’ adventure games ever received a sequel, especially in comparison to their biggest competitor Sierra Online, who practically lived on sequels: 8 King’s Quests, 6 Space Quests, 6 Leisuresuit Larrys, 4 Police Quests, 3 Gabriel Knights and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Compare this then to LucasArts and their two Maniac Mansion titles, two Indiana Jones adventure titles and four Monkey Islands (with a fifth made by TellTale). Sam & Max Hit the Road managed to have its sequel made only after the development crew left LucasArts and formed their own company (TellTale, again).

Now, let’s get on with the LucasArts’ sequels that were planned but never realized…

Edit 17.3.: I’ve also been informed that there was in fact a second original Indy game in the works during the mid-90s, called The Spear of Destiny, which was never finished but later turned in to a comic book. (Note: Not to be confused with the sequel to Wolfenstein 3D)

The Loom Trilogy

Brian Moriarty was a well-known writer for Infocom during the golden days of the Text Adventure Game (sometimes known as interactive fiction, ew). Moriarty thought he could make a name for himself in the graphic adventure game market with his ambitious epic fantasy adventure Loom. The game was such a big deal that the developers of The Secret of Monkey Island even hid a little reference/blatant advertisement into their game just to get the word out. However, all I need to say is that the two games Moriarty worked on with LucasArts were Loom and The Dig – and you’ll instantly realise why this guy was never heard from again. The Dig was pretty much dead on arrival but there were in fact big plans for Loom. The game even came with an audio cassette with a 30 minute opening narration with music and sound-effects to explain the complex back story to the game before you even got to play it.

And of course, Loom was originally going to be a trilogy. How ironic is it that the game which in turn featured blatant advertisement for this game ended up having, not two but in all three sequels in the future while Loom was destined to be forgotten by everyone except those who remember that Loom-guy from the Scumm Bar (“Aye”). But thinking back to it, you really have to wonder how frickin’ pompous and confident did Moriarty have to be in order to seriously believe he’d have a sure deal to make two more games to complete his “epic trilogy”. In the end, Loom did not sell well despite positive reviews and a part of the problem – in the opinion of many – were its unusual puzzles which left gamers stumbling in the dark during a time before the internet and GameFAQs.

The Full Throttle Sequels

One game I would have really wanted to have seen a sequel to was the 1995 bad-assery fest Full Throttle by the brilliant Tim Schafer. Now apart from its status as a cult classic its biggest contribution to the world of gaming was the fact that its graphic designers went on to create one of the best adventure games of all time (The Curse of Monkey Island). But LucasArts had in fact attempted to make a Full Throttle sequel. In fact there were no less than two separate efforts. The first sequel attempt occurred soon after the release of Grim Fandango and just before Escape from Monkey Island. Schafer had just left LucasArts and the project was going to be headed by one of the directors of Monkey Island 3. However, both the director and the main graphic designer left the game before it was finished and this sequel fell through.

A second attempt came a couple of years down the line. Demos were released and the game was one-quarter finished before that one too fell through. This second game apparently was designed to be more of an action than a proper adventure title, which is a shame – but having a sequel and a continuation to the FT story would, in my view, have been more important than nit-picking about genre. It kills me that this sequel almost-but-not-quite happened not once but twice. All I can say now is: Mr. Tim Schafer… you have your own frickin’ studio now!! When are you gonna get the sequel made!?!

Grim Fandango 2

Yes, LucasArts was actually considering it several years ago. Even though GF (again, by Tim Schafer) wasn’t a massive financial success, it received great reviews and is easily one of the best adventure games ever written and produced. Of course, it’s also an adventure game with a definitive finale which really leaves the sequel open to every possible story scenario you can think of. The whole world of the game was so interesting that I honestly wouldn’t have minded a second trip into the Eighth Underworld.

As far as I understand GF2 never went to production and obviously Schafer had nothing to do with it since he left LucasArts after Grim Fandango 1. The only time I ever heard about the Grim Fandango sequel was from a game magazine which listed an upcoming/announced releases list. Of course, game magazines are never 100% trustworthy sources, at times less than 50% trustworthy, but this list had come direct from LucasArts and therefore I don’t think they would have thrown “Grim Fandango 2” on the list just as a joke. However, in hind-sight, that list also had Monkey Island 5 on it and we all know what happened to that sequel (it got made, but only years later by a different company).

But if I could pick between having a Full Throttle or Grim Fandango sequel – I would want a Grim Fandango sequel in a heartbeat. Of course I wouldn’t want it to be another adventure with Manny Calavera, that would be silly, but at least the surviving cast from the first game (Glottis!) should make a reappearance. So again, Mr. Tim Schafer… get your ass on this project for frek’s sake!