Developer Telltale Studios, currently working on a Sam & Max game, has cut the price of its flagship Bone adventure series to $12.99 per instalment.
It really wasn't that long ago when almost every other must-buy game seemed to emerge from the infinitely talented LucasArts, and the merest mention of a new one was enough to cause your heart to beat out of your chest. And then the second Star Wars trilogy spoiled everything and turned the once-peerless studio into a digital merchandising operation dedicated to milking the brand for all its worth.
Actually, it wasn't quite as straightforward as that. One-time LucasArts president Simon Jeffrey loved the creative energy of the narrative-driven classics (having famously laughed until milk came out of his nose upon reading the back of the Monkey Island box), and tried to steer the company away from its increasing reliance on the Star Wars cash cow.
In fact, under his four-year stewardship at the turn of the century, new Full Throttle and Sam & Max titles were commissioned as a means of signalling the change of direction. But it wasn't to be. Full Throttle 2 was wisely canned (for being a bit of an action-heavy travesty, by all accounts), but the merciless canning of Sam & Max: Freelance Police for basically not being Star Wars-related was an astonishing decision. Everyone close to the project was mystified how such a promising project could bite the dust in such a ruthless display of corporate indifference. Jeffrey left, the Star Wars-overload intensified and LucasArts had unwittingly followed its own dark path into creative doom. One can only hope that now the Star Wars movie bandwagon is over and done with, the company will begin to realise what it was that put the games division on the map in the first place.
Every cloud has a silver lining. When LucasArts inexplicably canned Sam & Max: Freelance Police at the start of last year, what we didn't perhaps appreciate at the time was that much of the talent behind some of its best-ever game would stick together and form its own start-up outfit. In effect, the withering of LucasArts' adventure ambitions gave birth to Telltale, and in turn its debut project Bone.