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Grim Fandango design doc now on net

"Look how much stuff we had to cut."

Tim Schafer has uploaded the entire Grim Fandango design document for the internet to pick to pieces.

The 72-page document dates back to 1996, which was two full years before the PC adventure game sat on shop shelves. How times have changed.

"People said the puzzles in Grim were super hard, and I've always maintained that this was due to a deep character flaw or mental illness on the part of the player," writes Schafer on the Double Fine website.

"But now, reading this again, I've realised that holy smokes - some of them puzzles were nuts. Obscure. Mean, even."

Grim Fandango tells the story of Manny Calavera, a travel agent working in the Land of the Dead, where recently departed souls must go before reaching their final destination.

The game received wide critical acclaim and is generally attributed as one of the last great LucasArts adventures. But, reading through document, it's clear Schafer had to cut a lot of his original ideas to finish the project on time.

"Look how much stuff we had to cut just to get that game done in three years. The Pizza Demon! Giraffe Lady! Bernard, and my beloved Dillopede. And the five-puzzle action climax with Hector LeMans! If only we had one or two more years," he adds. "Well, reading about them ten years later is just as good, right? "

Schafer, brilliantly, had also not quite decided on an end puzzle sequence for Grim Fandango at the time of writing. His solution to this was fabulous.

"We didn't have the last puzzle designed when I wrote that document, so I wrote two nonsense paragraphs and then overlapped them in the file so it would look like the final puzzle description was in there, but obscured by a print formatting error," writes Schafer.

"That way I could turn the document in by the deadline. As if anybody was going to read it all the way to the end anyway. Ha ha. Obfuscation triumphs again! I delight in Evil!"

Tim Schafer is currently hard at work on third-person action game Brutal Legend for Xbox 360 and PS3. Here, players are cast as heavy metal roadie Eddie Riggs, who finds himself the unlikely hero of a faraway land.

Brutal Legend was dropped by Sierra (Vivendi) during the merger with Activision, and has sadly failed to publicly secure another publisher. However, Double Fine owns the rights to the game and was apparently very close to a new deal back in July. Can't have been that close.

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Brutal Legend

PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Grim Fandango


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Robert Purchese

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Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.