Maniac Mansion creators Kickstart spiritual successor

November 20, 2014 | 12:05

Tags: #adventure #crowd-funding #gary-winnick #lucasfilm-games #point-and-click #scumm #thimbleweed-park

Companies: #kickstarter #lucasarts #lucasfilm #ron-gilbert

Adventure game pioneers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick have joined forces once again to create a spiritual successor to their much-beloved classic Maniac Mansion, unsurprisingly turning to Kickstarter for funding.

Released in 1987, Maniac Mansion was the first computer game product from Lucasfilm - which would later go all-in on the format with the launch of the LucasArts sub-brand. Based on tropes from schlock horror films with a hefty side-helping of humour, Maniac Mansion proved extremely popular with a fan following which continues to this day - even to the point of inspiring a 66-episode TV series in the 90s. Gilbert developed the game using a tool he dubbed the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, or SCUMM, which would become the underpinning of LucasArts' adventure game output until 1998's release of Grim Fandango and its replacement GrimE engine. In short: Gilbert and Winnick know their stuff.

Now, they're looking to pick up where they left off. In a funding pitch positioned as 'like opening a dusty old desk drawer and finding an undiscovered LucasArts adventure game you’ve never played before,' the pair are seeking funds to produce a new adventure game with classic LucasArts design: Thimbleweed Park.

The game puts the player in the shoes of five characters, including two washed-up detectives charged with investigating a dead body found floating in the river near the decaying town of Thimblewood Park. While far from a direct successor to Maniac Mansion, the title promises to continue its humorous themes complete with deformed big-head characters in a low-resolution 2D art style, mind-bending puzzles and even the text-adventure-inspired control system of choosing verbs to drive the action which was a staple of the earliest point-and-click games from LucasArts and its competitors.

The pair are seeking $375,000 in funds to make the game, and have raised more than $200,000 at the time of writing. More details are available on the Kickstarter page, while a trailer for the game is embedded below.

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