Sam Suede Returns? Yawn.

If by chance you were on Twitter today you probably heard about the relaunch of the Sam Suede project because, honestly, I hardly saw the news anywhere else. Those of you with good memory will surely recall this game that was previously announced back in 2006 and would have meant Al Lowe’s big comeback to the game industry. By the way, if you don’t who Al Lowe is or never heard about Leisure Suit Larry you should probably stop reading this blog. Like right now.

So, Al was a co-founder of iBase, the former company in charge of Sam Suede which went bankruptcy shortly after its announcement. The game was billed at the time as an “action comedy” title and, while it wasn’t the flaming return to the adventure genre we were all expecting, it was simply good enough to hear that Al was back in game development. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be involved with this new incarnation of Sam Suede, which is kind of disheartening to say the least. Four years ago the sole mention of Al’s involvement with this project was huge publicity – in fact, it was the biggest selling point of the game. However, Icarus Studios, the new developer behind Sam Suede, is not even crediting him as one of its original creators. You’re not supposed to do that kind of thing.

But don’t fret! You can still get your share of good ol’ Al Lowe — sort of. He’s been running for years the Cyberjoke 3000 mailing list which is more or less the ultimate collection of jokes ever. I swear, he’s shared more than 5,000 jokes over a decade without a single repetition. Even better, his iPhone app is a must if you happen to own the ubiquitous device. It’s basically the funniest Cyberjokes condensed into this handy app with a slick interface and told by a professional comedian. I often have some business to attend and find myself stuck in long waiting lines. Since I can’t play games in those situations and the mood isn’t proper to listen music (yes, I’m weird) I fire up Cyberjoke 3000 and listen to a few ones. There’s well over a hundred and I still have a long way to go. It’s like having this tiny secret friend in your pocket that you can ask to whisper funny jokes in your ear whenever you need to. In the end, this app has become as useful as the maps or the calculator.

Anyway, this bitter news was a huge letdown. What seemed like a great morning turned into a really lousy day. I sometimes hate this industry.

9 Responses to “Sam Suede Returns? Yawn.”

  1. Steven says:

    Oh dear, this does not bode well for the game, not to mention it sounds like huge slap in the face to Al Lowe. With Activision just having shut down fan project “The Silver Lining” too, adventure game fans are getting lots of bad news these days.

  2. Patrick says:

    I don’t think it’s bad news about adventure gaming- just about adventure gaming tied to big corperations. Sierra started from scratch- I think new adventure gaming needs to come from the continually growing movement of independant gaming. Some amazing games of ALL genres have come from that (World of Goo is a fun example). I had not heard about Silver Lining being shut down (I didn’t even know Activision had any involvement in it, since Vivendi handles Sierra copyrights, or so I thought)- there’s Himalaya Studios, connected to Anonymous Gamers who remade Kings Quest 1 and 2, and Quest for Glory 2… they did Al Emmo, reminescent of a combination of Leisure Suit Larry meets Freddy Pharkas (both great Al Lowe games) with their own twist, and they are working on a new upcoming project too.

    No, I don’t think adventure gaming is bad off, so much as betrayed by big companies. I think Al Lowe should either join Himalaya, or start his own company! :)

  3. Patrick says:

    PS- Isn’t there something illegal about taking an idea Al Lowe started/worked on and not giving him credit? Even if not- I think we should write into them, and even start a boycot among adventure gamers unless they add him back.

  4. Agustín says:

    Steven, yes, it’s been a though week for adventures. The cancellation of Silver Lining was already crappy news and this didn’t help either – you can’t imagine how just demotivating all this can be.

    However, I feel like this move with Sam Suede was a real low hit. There’s a slim hope that Activision has actual plans for the King’s Quest franchise which could mean some logic behind their actions (as much as we dislike them). But Sam Suede was originally posed as an Al Lowe vehicle and he was basically the only thing that fueled the project. It’s frankly appalling that he’s been stepped over like this…

  5. Agustín says:

    Patrick, I don’t think that boycotting anything will help. About the “legality” of this, there’s legal and then there’s moral. I’m sure that Icarus Studios are legally entitled to do whatever they’re doing (we don’t know the details of the arrangement that Al previously had with iBase). However, I’m sure as hell there’s nothing moral about disregarding Al as one of the original creators of the project.

  6. Hillel says:

    It’s funny, I came here through CyberJoke3000, thinking to myself “Damn, I hate this industry” and your post ended with the same conclusion!

  7. Agustín says:

    Yes, it’s hard to conclude anything else when you hear news such as this :(

    On top of it, there’s that mess going on at Infinity Ward these days. You can’t help but feel like it’s all going downhill for the few people that matters.

  8. Gnome says:

    Quite infuriating really… Surely Mr. Lowe must have at least allowed/sold the use of the name though; otherwise he can happily sew them for the next few decades.

  9. Chris says:

    What the crap? Their press release actually says “Ken Wegrzyn, Sam Suede creator and Executive Producer”. I don’t understand why they continually crap on his IP. Even after Leisure Suit Larry 7 won game of the year. I was initially excited, but now quite miffed.