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Questions for Mike Stemmle? Post 'em here!

posted by Emily Telltale Alumni on - last edited - Viewed by 10K users
While the Q&A with the team thread is quite possibly the coolest thread in the history of Telltale's forum, we wanted to give you guys a chance to get a little more in depth with the folks working on the game, so starting this week we will be doing Q&As with specific members of the Tales of Monkey Island team... starting with designer Mike Stemmle!
During his decade-plus tenure at LucasArts, Mike was kept as far away from Star Wars as possible, instead acting as lead designer on titles like Escape from Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Afterlife, and the never-released Sam & Max: Freelance Police. After several years working as lead writer on Star Trek Online, Mike came to Telltale, where he co-designed Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. His disturbing blend of dry wit, convoluted syntactical constructions, and bathroom humor have added a healthy helping of absurdity to the Tales of Monkey Island proceedings.

Mike's the lead writer/designer on the first Tales of Monkey Island episode, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, so you should definitely pick his brain about that. But also feel free to ask about other projects he's worked on, his favorite color, his favorite Star Trek character, etc.
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  • Hey, Mike.

    I have a question, but I don't know whether or not it can be properly answered until after the game is released to the public. While designing Tales of Monkey Island, were there many ideas that were tossed around, but in the end, left on the cutting room floor?
  • Hi, Mr Stemmle, I have one question for you. For a long and a difficult time, the adventure game was near to death. Then, Telltale Games in the USA and others in Europe have tried to reborn this kind of games... I hope successfully and for a long time... I won't ask you about the Telltale's Games (They are great of course !!!) but I would like to know what do you think of the european productions like Jack Keane or Runaway 1&2 (especially because they are tribute to MI and LucasArts productions) ? And Thanks to you and Telltale Games to be so close to your customers in this great event ! It's like participate in the game ourself ! Thanks again !
  • Thanks for the reassuring answer :)

    When you write/design/etc. on ToMI, how much freedom do you have in re: the MI franchise? Given that you guys seem to be driving character dev. forward, were there calls to make to LA, or are they quite cool about your creative freedoms?
  • Why did Stone LeChuck die at the end of Escape?
  • Are you also excited about Bill Tiller's Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, the way he is excited about Tales of Monkey Island?
    2 games like that coming out soon; for Monkey Island (or MI-related) fans that's like heaven :)
  • - Since you've worked on both of the "3D" Monkey Island projects,
    I wanted to know which of the control interfaces did you prefer?
    The EMI keyboard or the TMI point & click?

    In case you answer point & click, I have another question.
    - Why wasn't there a point & click interface to EMI?
  • Hi.

    1. What kind of variables are you talking with your team about/thinking a lot about in the equation of making a good game?
    2. How do you react when you've put down shitloads of time in a project like MI 4 and then what you put out gets heavily critisized by the more hardcore fans?
    3. Where do you think the future of gaming is (in terms of gameplay)?
    4. I reckon you're very proud of your ToMI. Is it very hard to resist the urge of just spamming the forum with screenies, hints and spoilers? Do you have general guidelines to follow?
    5. How does creativity come to you; do you have it under control or do you get possesed by it?
  • i have to say that i'm currently replaying Escape, and while there's a lot that's making me smile there are still things in it that i don't like, and frankly i think i'm one of the much kinder people to the game. i love, for example, that you can throw pretty much every single thing in your inventory at Herman. i love howling at the moon by Meat Hook's. i love that mists of time puzzle (who doesnt?). some of the puzzles are just a bit too random though, not really up to the whole 'ah why didn't i think of that!' standard of old. like, the names on the bottom of the manhole cover rewarding you with the fake skin to get into the bank. i never got that one...

    anyways... i guess what i wanted to ask was given that Escape is seen as the weak link in the series, does that effect your approach coming in to Tales? i mean, Sam and Max Hit the Road is an absolute classic, and your Telltale episodes have been some of the strongest ones (i think).

    Escape is really the only thing on your record approaching a black spot. Are you approaching this as a shot at redemption? Are you worried about getting a similar kind of backlash? Are you trying to put it all behind you and just focus on making Tales as good a game as possible, or are you more doing the whole 'what went wrong? how do we fix that?' post mortem.

    in a weird way, you may well know better than anyone else what kind of jokes and puzzles work in Monkey Island game cause you mainly only hear the bitching about the ones that didn't.

    well apart from that swamp of time puzzle. everyone raves about that one. rightly so. i still think it's one of the funniest puzzles in any adventure game.
  • When you spend every waking day of the week working on these stories, do you ever dream about them at night? What's the weirdest dream you ever had?
  • Mike, having worked on so many successful games, are you surprised by how often fans seem to dwell on the games/things they don't like?
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