Behind The Back To The Future

By John Walker on October 25th, 2010 at 9:54 am.

Same pic yet again.

Telltale really does have a gift for picking up licenses people are craving for. Sam & Max, Monkey Island, and now Back To The Future. And they’re not going in alone. As the making of videos below show, they’ve got co-creator Bob Gale involved with the project. And as we’ve seen before, Christopher Lloyd is on board to provide his all important voice. Michael J Fox won’t be providing his voice, but has given permission for his likeness to be used. And so they set about casting a sound-alike. You can see all this below.

The story begins three months after the end of Back To The Future 3, with Marty McFly trying to get on with life without the Doc. However, the Delorian reappears, and Marty has to go back through time to find his old friend. Gah – I was hoping for forward in time! Perhaps that will come later. And the guy’s McFly impression is pretty decent!

Sadly I can’t find any decent assets, and Telltale are saving their official trailer launch for a television programme. Which always strikes me as a strange choice. The game is due this Winter.

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72 Comments »

  1. Alex Bakke says:

    I like Christopher Lloyd. “Videogames are hot”

  2. Aubrey says:

    They are not wrong about the sound alike. Hairs sticking up on the front of my palms!

  3. Nyst says:

    Oh god the music!
    *tears up*
    I missed you so much! Welcome back!

  4. Scumm says:

    “Telltale really does have a gift for picking up licenses people are craving for..” and then ruining a perfectly super-awesome 2D classic style franchise with ultra-cheap 3DS Max 2.0 looking 3D models that make your eyes want to plop out your sockets and run and hide behind your original Monkey Island 1+2 collection.

    The “old” Sam&Max game was such pure win that I can’t but call this modern incarnation a travesty.

    If that’s how they’re going to treat all the other “craved after” subjects, then woe is me/us.

    • Rich says:

      Speaking as a serious MI fanboy, I’m just going to go ahead and say it… ready?
      Tales of Monkey Island may my favourite one so far! Yeah you heard me.

      Although I would point out that a draw a faint line between MI1+2, and MI3 and Tales. Of the first two, MI2 wins hands down. Of the last two (there was only two, MI4 was just some horrible nightmare I had), Tales wins. MI2 vs. Tales is difficult. Tales wins on story telling and delivery, MI2 wins on puzzles and probably the plot itself.

    • Rich says:

      I suppose I should also say that, to put this in perspective, Grim Fandango might well be my favourite game of all time. Despite it’s hideous control system.

    • sfury says:

      “Hideous”? I’m afraid there’ll be no Number Nine ticket for you when you arrive in the Land of the Dead, Celso.

    • ynamite says:

      I’m going to have to concur with the OP. Even if Tales of MI, Sam & Max etc. are good games in their own right, I cannot bear to look at them let alone play them. I’ve tried with Sam & Max and while some of the writting and voice acting especially in the first few episodes was very well done, it just didn’t do it for me in the end. And I can play through the old games 700 times without ever wishing that graphics were better. When I play the recent incarnations, after a good ten minutes my vision blurs and goes red from all the blood that pours out from my eyeballs.

      I haven’t played Tales, but just looking at that butchered version of Guybrush is enough for me to shout blasphemy. I mean, how could they? It’s almost as bad as in the Monkey Island Special Edition where Guybrush looks like a mixture between Mary from “Something about Mary” (that scene with the uhm, hair wax), Tintin and Will Turner from Pirates of the Carribean. If the game is really as good as people make it out to be, than that’s even worse for me. Why couldn’t they go with an art style that was truer to the originals?

      These 3d models just look like they were never loved. Ever.

    • Rich says:

      I was sceptical about the character design before actually playing it, but it won me over. I would’ve preferred if Guybrush looked a bit more like he did in MI3 through.

      Of course, compared to MI4 (awakes with a scream) its visuals are glorious.

    • Rick says:

      Well excuse TTG and adventure games for not being able to secure decent budgets for graphics when the masses just go out and buy generic crap like Modern Warfare 2. Perhaps if the masses had all bought Psychonauts instead of Halo 3, TTG would be able to get itself a budget more than their current “just above an indy developer” level.

      Besides, a) Tales of Monkey Island’s graphics were held back by size requirements for the WiiWare version – episodic development doesn’t really allow for two separate versions to be created, and b) The Devil’s Playhouse was beautifully rendered. These things don’t need to be Crysis level.

    • ed says:

      I’m a big fan and supporter of Telltale and all of their creations, but I have to say the character models have always bugged me as well. Adding some variety in shaders to the engine (so everything doesn’t have to just look like plastic with x% reflectiveness) and more detailed texture work (rather than keeping things Wii-ware fittable at the expense of texture quality) would go a long way. There is generally some great art direction happening on some level, but the engine and possibly execution seem to prevent the games from really shining visually.

      I can understand that they want to go for something stylized over realism, but something can still be stylized and detailed. It’s 2010! The tech is there to be rid of the plastic look and give everything its own sense of texture (be it realistic or stylized).. and to even potentially go as far as seeing Max’s hair ripple and fuzz when he gets excited, for instance. Telltale games are getting better all the time, but I think the visuals are still the weakest link and do make the games feel a little dated at times.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Honestly, Guybrush was a jerk and he looks like a jerk in Telltale stories…

    • airtekh says:

      I quite enjoyed TOMI and thought Telltale did a very good job with it. That said, I would take Grim Fandango over any other adventure game, hands down.

      Between the music, the characters, the locales, and the story – it just holds a special place in my heart.

      OT: Ahh, Back to the Future. Just listening to the music gives me goosebumps. Hopefully Telltale can do the franchise justice.

    • Urthman says:

      At least they got Strongbad 100% perfect. Maybe they need to do more Flash comic adaptations.

    • Guhndahb says:

      While Telltale’s Sam and Max didn’t pull me in at all (I hope to try again someday), Tales of Monkey Island was spectacular. Telltale could not have done more justice to the Monkey Island franchise and I I’d rather see them do any further sequels than even Double Fine w/ Gilbert (NB: I love Schafer and Gilbert – but I don’t trust Double Fine to do a pure non-action adventure game and then publish it for PC anyways).

      I admit that graphics are a minor concern to me but I too was initially put off by the character designs. But once I was engaged in the writing I came to like the designs just fine. Now, when I saw Guybrush in the promotional materials for Force Unleashed 2, I actually felt the Telltale Threepwood design would have been superior.

      While ToMI is not perfect (it’s too easy), I urge folks not to give up on it because of looks. To me, it’s at least on par with the best of Monkey Island because the writing and voice acting are superb.

      Also, Grim Fandango’s controls were absolutely infuriating – but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the greatest games ever made. I didn’t like ToMI’s controls all that much either.

      I’m looking forward to Telltale’s take on BttF. I really hope Tom Wilson will be on the cast. He’s great.

    • Classix says:

      It should be added that Sam&Max is also a special case, because the Purcell comics exist.
      The first and only Sam & Max adventure captured that style perfectly, and 2D is just MADE for it.
      It really is. 3D is just plain WRONG for it.

      But it is also a sad rule of thumb that the love for “artsy” looking backgrounds, the immense DETAIL and little fiddly animations / odds and ends of infinite love and “mine”-ness that the era of 2D adventures had, nearly NEVER carried over well to anything done in 3D.

      I am not sure whether this is because you are a lot “closer” to the material when you are drawing “right on it” and you can literally “feel” it more, rather than mouse-rotating some obscure 3D model, or whether some other human factor comes in.

      One way or another, the detail and love that I have experienced in all the 2D adventure classics got so thoroughly raped down to a cold, plastic-y, at times even barren 3D ick, that it’s just an insult to aesthetics and taste and simply lightyears away from where we used to be, especially on an artform level.

      That’s just how I feel and I believe that if you made proper resolution printouts of some old 2D games and laid them next to 5-15 year newer 3D versions and let people judge what looked prettier or FELT nicer, that the 2D stuff would win hands down every time.

      “Because it’s (3D) the new thing” is not a proper design choice reason for gaming imho.

      I still remember the time. People did it, because other people did it, it seemed.

      Sad.

  5. Rinox says:

    Every time I see the Doc I have to think of this now

    http://flimmr.passagen.se/movie/family_guy_back_to_the_future.action

  6. panther says:

    cannot wait

  7. Quasar says:

    The development of this game came as something of a surprise to me, as I was convinced that Christopher Lloyd died years ago. Why was this?

  8. clownst0pper says:

    Was looking at this in the new GamesTM over the weekend; the art direction is spot on :)

  9. Brumisator says:

    Telltale logo flux capacitor.
    ICWUT U DID THAR!

  10. Navagon says:

    Should be very good. It’s just a shame that Telltale dropping their games to nothing in sales has killed my interest in buying this until it goes the same way.

  11. Anthony Damiani says:

    Kinda surprised Fox wouldn’t lend his voice to the project; there are so few roles that he can do these days, despite remaining a beloved film icon. Sound-alike isn’t bad though.

    And, man, that theme is, apparently, one of the great 80s film scores that has an electric wire directly into my nervous system, like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Superman. Don’t think I realized that until now.

    • Rich says:

      Did Fox decline to do it, or was it just that he’s too old? His voice has changed a fair bit.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      In the trailer they said he was ‘unavailable’, so that could mean anything. He might even be working on something else…

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      I adore this franchise, sadly work in a cinema for a year killed any love I could have for its theme tune. The six CD changer we had to play the ambient music broke once, it was still able to play but none of the CDs could be changed out. Sadly, two of the four CDs were John Williams’ scores and the mechanism was broken for TWO MONTHS.

      Even now, six years later everytime I hear a Wlliams’ piece i find my teeth involuntarily grinding!

    • Atic Atac says:

      Fox has MS and hasn’t really doing much of anything for the last 10 years or so except fight his illness sadly.

    • Auspex says:

      I though Fox had Parkinson’s? I think the sound-a-like sounds /amazingly/ like Fox did back in the day.

    • Rich says:

      Auspex is right, he has Parkinson’s. It effects his motor functions, more than anything else.

    • Jad says:

      My understanding is that the symptoms of his disease are very variable; there will be days where he is relatively normal and could do voice-over work just fine, and there will be others where he would be unable to do so. So a project with a somewhat tight time schedule and a limited budget for flexible recording studio appointments like a episodic videogame might be less workable than some other kind of project.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I *think* he had knew he had Parkinson’s when he was working on Back to the Future. Apparently his signature hand swiping through his hair comes from him hiding it.

    • James T says:

      I adore this franchise, sadly work in a cinema for a year killed any love I could have for its theme tune. The six CD changer we had to play the ambient music broke once, it was still able to play but none of the CDs could be changed out. Sadly, two of the four CDs were John Williams’ scores and the mechanism was broken for TWO MONTHS.

      Even now, six years later everytime I hear a Wlliams’ piece i find my teeth involuntarily grinding!

      Would it help if I said the BttF theme was by Alan Silvestri?

    • ReNeilssance says:

      I was wondering if it might be to do with the fact he’s not recording Marty in an animated film, he’s recording Marty as the protagonist of an adventure game. Lots of ‘I can’t use those things together!’-esque lines of dialogue to get through, as opposed to Christopher Lloyd’s presumably story-based role.

  12. the wiseass says:

    Ok, I just popped a boner… in a nonsexual kind a way. THIS IS EXCELLENT!

  13. wm says:

    Oh I hope this turns out well.

  14. Hodge says:

    Wot, no one’s linked to this yet?

    • mbourgon says:

      And that’s why they’re “saving their official trailer launch for a television programme” – 25th anniversary special segment on a TV show really does seem the perfect place to start the ad campaign.

  15. The Hammer says:

    Ohhhhhh, Lloyd! Wow, he looks more like the scientist guy now than ever!

    But! Am I the only reader of RPS more interested in the Jurassic Park game? I am VERY interested in how that turns out. I hope they go for a more realistic visual style than their other games, and have the trademark T-REX ROAR. I -love- that sound.

    It’ll be interesting how they portray the action scenes during the game, too? Surely having to stop to figure out puzzles will break the momentum of a fully-fledged raptor attack?

    ANYWAY, don’t mind me! Get back to talking about Deloreans!

    • Rich says:

      Use…
      Stick
      On…
      Nacho cheese
      “Now the stick is all sticky”

      Use…
      Sticky stick
      On…
      Knife
      “It’s a rudimentary cheesy spear”

      Use…
      Cheesy spear
      On…
      Raptor

    • Jad says:

      I am definitely interested in the Jurassic Park games as well. As you say, I don’t know how they will translate the action-y movies to an adventure game, but I’m excited to find out.

  16. Jarkov says:

    This is the closest I will ever get to Toonstruck 2.

  17. spork says:

    I can’t believe we’re finally getting a Back to the Future game and it’s gonna be (from my understanding of Telltale’s work) a point and click “adventure”. This is very disappointing, for many reasons.

    One: Graphics. Way too cartoony.

    Two: No real gameplay. Sorry, but point and click adventures generally don’t have any real gameplay to them. In most, you don’t REALLY control your character and all actions are pretty much done for you.

    Three: These types of games are either good or they aren’t, either boring or fun. Which will this be?

    I absolutely LOVED Sierra games back in the day, but that was before they went to the mouse interface. I much prefer the parser interface; at least with it you felt some connection with the game. Point and click mouse controls took that connection away, IMO.

    A BTTF game should be done in nice, realistic 3d gfx, not cartoon gfx, it should be 3rd person with full camera control. I hate to say it but the GTA style game is 100% perfect for a BTTF game, just on a smaller, more focused scale.

    Seriously folks, do you really want to have to point and click to fly on a hoverboard? Is that REALLY acceptable to any Back to the Future fan?

    • Rich says:

      “A BTTF game should be done in nice, realistic 3d gfx, not cartoon gfx, it should be 3rd person with full camera control. I hate to say it but the GTA style game is 100% perfect for a BTTF game, just on a smaller, more focused scale. ”

      Hmm… no.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      oh shit man you’d better e-mail them right away, tell them what an awful mistake they’re about to make. They’re obviously unaware that point and click adventures are shit.

    • Dominic White says:

      “I absolutely LOVED Sierra games back in the day, but that was before they went to the mouse interface. I much prefer the parser interface; at least with it you felt some connection with the game. Point and click mouse controls took that connection away.”

      Oooooohh.. I get it. You’re a masochist!

      http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/KQ/

      The parser-based King’s Quest games were a neverending stream of bullshit designed purely to either drive you insane, into an early grave, or to spending ten times the cost of the game itself on hintline phone calls. Nostalgia is a bitch.

    • TheTingler says:

      Wow, seriously? And I thought the people whining about having to control Guybrush directly in Tales of Monkey Island were grumpy old men complaining about kids on their lawn. I’ve never heard someone be so much of a pedant that they actually prefer text adventures!

      Adventure gaming is the only way Back To The Future would get a good game. GTA-style would a) not work, b) be awful, and c) be so expensive no game publisher would make it anyway.

  18. Nero says:

    I’m extremely pumped for this game and hearing the Marty voice actor was great. Bring it!

  19. Viper50BMG says:

    Actually, the score is by Alan Silvestri, not John Williams. One of his best scores, and like most of Williams’ music, one of those scores that connects directly to that adolescent part of my brain that makes me clap my hands with glee on hearing the first three notes. *wistful sigh*

  20. Grey_Ghost says:

    Hmm no Michael J. Fox eh? Do Michael J. Fox impersonators exist?

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      Haha I suck. For some reason I thought these vid’s were old. Anyway that guy does a great Marty McFly impression.

  21. spork says:

    “The parser-based King’s Quest games were a neverending stream of bullshit designed purely to either drive you insane, into an early grave, or to spending ten times the cost of the game itself on hintline phone calls. Nostalgia is a bitch.”

    ROFL, some of us enjoyed the shit out of the parser interface and had no problems getting through Sierra games. I can still fire up LSL1 on Dosbox and play through it in one sitting. I still enjoy the first two Police Quest games, Hero’s Quest, Codename: Iceman, and many others. Heck, I would even still play Hugo’s House of Horrors if I had it.

    ““A BTTF game should be done in nice, realistic 3d gfx, not cartoon gfx, it should be 3rd person with full camera control. I hate to say it but the GTA style game is 100% perfect for a BTTF game, just on a smaller, more focused scale. ”

    Hmm… no.”

    Nice explanation. Why not? The movies weren’t a stupid kids cartoon, so why should the game be? Sorry, I’m not 4 years old, most BTTF fans are in their 20′s and 30′s and the only cartoons we watch are Family Guy and South Park.

    I’ll still buy this game (as long as it’s on Steam) but I’ll still be waiting on a proper BTTF game. Maybe some friendly modders will make a normal looking BTTF mod for some game. Maybe.

    • RakeShark says:

      Allow me to argue against the idea of a GTA-esque BTTF game.

      BTTF focuses on set pieces, meaning specific locations are integral to the story being told. Let’s take for example Hill Valley High School. The set pieces there from the first movie are Hallway, Cafeteria, and Gym/Dance Hall/Stage. With a GTA-style game, the school would have to be fully recreated beyond what was seen in the movie. An adventure title would more or less focus on the featured set pieces with an additional one or two extra places to contain puzzles and work-arounds.

      The problem with a GTA-style game is that a full recreation of Hill Valley High School would mean that there is a lot of “wasted” space within the location that has no bearing on the plot progression. You could wander up and down the halls for hours, jumping around and exclaiming “I don’t need a hall monitor!”, but for the most part you’re just wasting time, and you would be hard pressed to find any reward or worthwhile interaction for your wandering. I’m not saying people can’t enjoy something like that, but considering the property involved, location without substance doesn’t fit the theme of BTTF.

      Another problem with the GTA-style of gameplay is the lack of environment interaction. Let me clarify this. GTA provides a great depth of detail within the environment it uses, don’t get me wrong. But the extent the player him/herself can cerebrally interact with the environment is typically limited to a hotspot that triggers a cutscene. Press X on the prompt, and player control is taken away for a nice but non-interactive cutscene that does everything for you. I’ll admit, adventure games have their fair share of “I’m not putting my lips on that” situations, but there isn’t a great deal of afforded depth beyond one specific action associated with a hotspot in GTA-style games.

      Then there’s the Delorian, which I figure is biggest wish of the GTA-style game: The ability to drive anywhere. I can sympathize a little bit, being able to drive around in the iconic car without any strings attached would be fun. But it’d be fun for maybe 15 minutes before it became a boring lengthy hassle of going from Point A to Point B. Plus, GTA doesn’t stop when you crash your car, but BTTF would undoubtedly stop if you crashed the Delorian. Additionally, modders are usually trying to put in the Delorian into driving games, like Crysis and GTA4.

      For me personally, it makes sense to use the adventure game format to make a narrative-driven video game of BTTF over a GTA format.

    • Rich says:

      RakeShark has managed to articulate, in a way I couldn’t without investing more time than I should during a working day, almost exactly what went through my head before commenting. That was signified by “Hmm…”

  22. Wulf says:

    It’s good to hear that music again, it really is. I like the exaggerated style of the visuals (reminds me of ToMI, which I found aesthetically pleasing considering their limited budget), and their voice actor for Marty is spot on. This is going to be something a bit special, at least for those who aren’t hung up on graphics like they were the only thing that mattered.

  23. Lambchops says:

    I’m looking forward to this. I think Telltale have done a rather good job of their franchises (aside from the hatchet job on Wallace and Gromit, the less said about that the better!).

    Plus it’s great to see Cristopher Lloyd return to games after his rather brilliant turn in Toonstruck.

  24. Oak says:

    The system requirements seem really high for an adventure game. Why would I need 1.21 jiggabytes of RAM to run this thing?

  25. Jahkaivah says:

    You know, now that I think about it, are they going to go the Day of the Tentacle route and introduce timeline alteration puzzles? Would seem a waste not to.

  26. Ultimanecat says:

    Actually a Jurassic Park adventure game was made for Sega’s CD add-on for the MD/Genesis. It was pretty good!

    It played from a first person perspective from stationary points throughout the original island after the events of the first movie / book. You had to collect eggs from each species on the island before guys from whatever competitor Nedry was working for came and took them all. The more ornery dinos had to be either distracted quickly through typical puzzle stuff or just plain put down with tranqs if they were man-sized or less.

    Really was pretty good. Wish I could play it now.

  27. JimmyJames says:

    To be fair, the parser interface did get a thousand times better when it paused the game to allow you to enter a command. I can’t really remember specifics but I can remember my 6 year old self typing furiously to try to get something done before Roger or Graham got his ass handed to him. It was probably better than Mavis Beacon in terms of practice, at least.

    I’m looking forward to a BTTF adventure game. At least some are still being produced! I recently played Ben There, Dan That! and had a great time–we should count our lucky stars that in the age of Halo we’re getting stuff like that.

  28. watch harry potter 7 online says:

    And now after 25 years when Back to the Future hit on theaters worldwide. A greand anniversary for 25th that this movie arrive. Congratulation to all casts of the movie 25 years ago you are stil number 1.

  29. Bad Asp says:

    I think I’ll accept the new voice of Marty. He seems talented.

    I will NEVER accept the current voices of Sam and Max. The new voice of Sam puts many people to sleep, and the new voice of Max is too annoying. I just wish Telltale would allow a proper dub of the Sam and Max series that allows Bill Farmer and Nick Jameson to reprise their roles. Why they aren’t giving those two talented actors a fair chance is beyond me.

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