Yes, Of Course: Grim Fandango Remaster Confirmed For PC

By Alice O'Connor on July 9th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Cheer up, it's not the end of the world.

When Double Fine announced during E3 that they were remastering Grim Fandango for release on PlayStations, they carefully hemmed and hawed around saying it’ll be coming to PC too. “Talk about other platforms soon!” Tim Schafer cried, saying something very enthusiastic about working with Sony before leaping out a window and running for the hills. But obviously it will, right? Of course it will. Today Double Fine announced they’ll release their jazzed-up version of the lovely LucasArts adventure game for PC, Mac and Linux alongside the Sonybox versions.

By some strange coincidence, this announcement comes exactly one month after Double Fine initially announced the remaster. Why, it’s almost as if they signed a contract requiring they only talk about PlayStation! What’s one month of being a bit concerned about what if they don’t port it? when it means (I speculate) Sony give Double Fine money to work on it?

I wonder quite how much they’ll change. Surely that tank movement will be gone, and the awful digging-in-pockets inventory system replaced with something sensible. A mod has done that to the original on PC, bringing in something like a classic adventure game. Well, not like a classic adventure game, because you don’t need to type text into a parser or select verbs from a long list. Like a less-frustrating adventure game. Running it in a higher resolution, obviously. Redrawing character textures to be crisper seems likely. What about those pre-rendered backgrounds?

If you missed either this video or Grim Fandango itself, here, have a retrospective:

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84 Comments »

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  1. Bravado says:

    Thank Gaben it will come to the best platform!

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    DrScuttles says:

    It’s been a month since it was announced on the PS(3? 4? N?) already? A whole month? We’re in freaking July now? I swear we just had April the other day. This is somewhat difficult to process, like some kind of existential limbo has confused me and rendered my internal chronomonomatron (my brain) giddy, like a fish sliding through lard.
    Then again, looks like I don’t need to wait very long for its release.

    • kalirion says:

      Yup, time sure does fly as you grow old, doesn’t it.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Wait? It was released two years ago. You just missed the 75% off Steam sale.

      Nope, too slow, now it doesn’t run on any current computer any more.

    • Excelle says:

      You don’t have to wait ANY time for release. To the Chron-o-john!

  3. Lemming says:

    If they were under some 30-day gag order by Sony to let the dust settle after the “EXCLUSIVE!!1″ announcements from e3, let’s hope the same applies to No Man’s Sky.

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      welverin says:

      They’re currently focused on PS4 due to manpower issues, so don’t expect announcements on other platforms any time soon.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        I don;t buy that excuse. Surely they’re creating the game on PC’s and not playstations.

  4. willy359 says:

    Are you kidding? The digging-through-pockets inventory was brilliant. It meant there didn’t have to be any interface elements on the screen. No cursor, no windows, no glowy outlines, no pop-up text. Just Manny in his world. It was awesome. More games should try as hard to hide their gameiness.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      It made Grim Fandango feel so much more game-y for me. I don’t particularly notice or think about point-and-click movement or pop-up interfaces because I’m used to them. They’re just there, with minimal impact. They feel entirely natural. But If I’m frustrated turning around or rifling through my pockets, I am so very aware that it’s a game and this game is making things irritating.

      • willy359 says:

        Sure, we’re all used to that interface stuff. I just wish we didn’t have to be. I can’t help thinking it’s lazy design, like the developers couldn’t think of a way to make the game work using just the items in the world, so their solution is to stand behind you slapping post-it notes on the screen. It’s not immersive. I think if VR headsets work out, developers will have to stop leaning on that crutch so heavily. I’m looking forward to that.

        • gwathdring says:

          I think your concept of imersion is off, but that’s a different discussion.

          For the moment, I’ll say that I think conventions are a *good* thing for basic structures like movement mechanics and inventory management. The fundamental conceits of entire genres are solved problems. It’s healthy to have avant garde and otherwise innovative weirdness, too, but *most* of the time the basic mechanics should be standardized. Simple, effective, and consistent so that they work well enough and don’t require gamers to re-learn the fundamentals every time they pick up a new game.

          That’s not lazy. That’s not a crutch. As far as I’m concerned, you might as well call it lazy for authors to use existing languages rather than inventing their own signifiers through which to tell their stories. By all means support innovative systems, but don’t call standardization of core mechanical conceits *lazy.*

      • P.Funk says:

        I liked how everything in the game world felt embedded, there was no fade to black so we can look at the abstraction on top of the environment, it was the environment. I appreciate that more than anything that was annoying about it.

        To me, even if it could be obnoxious at time, it was ambitious. It was trying to do something more organic than stupid point and click and menu interface. It contributed to the world feeling like it was breathing and alive.

        Its been 16 years, so possibly rose coloured glasses, but I was also at the time a gamer just coming out of a DOS environment. I had no problems interacting with menus by using arrow keys and shortcuts. I guess the mouse menu generation are an irritable and impatient bunch sometimes.

        Here’s a question. Is Dwarf Fortress too gamey for you owing to no mouse controls? I would think a great deal of its charm comes from its self aware anachronistic nature.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Grim Fandango definitely felt like a step forward from Monkey Island and the like to me. The 3D graphics helped, but direct control of the character rather than probing around the screen with the mouse felt like a revolution in adventure games. Things like Manny’s head looking at something of interest rather than playing the “mouse all over the screen until something lights up” game put me more in the world than previous point and clicks. Sadly the genre didn’t really progress and it’s still the pinnacle of point and click games to this day in my opinion.

          I don’t want to see the digging in pockets gone, also I disagree that it made it more “gamey” than pulling up a big list of crap to select from. It made you use your brains more, you couldn’t just stare at a big grid of items and decide which to use, it almost made you remember what items you have and think “ah, this would be useful”, then dig it out of your pockets. To me it was restrictive for a reason, not because they designed it badly.

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            phlebas says:

            So instead of looking at a big grid or list of icons trying to figure out what might work, you have to page through them one at a time – that’s less jarring?
            Actually I don’t remember having issues with the inventory system in general – the only real problem I had with it was that they used an interface that didn’t allow you to use one inventory item on another and then introduced a puzzle where you had to use one inventory item on another. So you had to find the right place to put one of them down before you could use the other on it. That was poor.
            The head-pointing was an interesting idea but turned out to be more cumbersome than the alternative – instead of being able to point at things with a pointing device you had to move Manny all around the place to see what you could interact with. As soon as it becomes fiddly to get him lined up with what you’re interested in, you lose immersion. Ditto the direct controls – I might feel more involved if I’m steering Manny around rather than just clicking to tell him where to go, but if it takes any degree of skill to walk through a door I’m out of the story again.

      • TimOfLegend says:

        Actually, you can summon any inventory item quickly on PC by using the number keys.
        1 is always your scythe. Try it!

      • Arglebargle says:

        All games are chock full of abstractions. Unless you are trying to be irritating, don’t use the clunky ones.

        I loved Grim Fandango, but the interface always ended up beating me pretty quickly.

        So I say ‘Yay!’ to the new version. Double Yay!

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        FriendlyFire says:

        I know it’ll probably never happen, but the way to make that sort of inventory work would be to make it context sensitive. When you want to get out something from your pocket, it’s usually to use it somewhere, so just have contextual cues for the game to sort the inventory according to where you are. To make it feel less contrived, perhaps make it put the objects in random order and put the object you should be using towards the beginning of the list so you’re not scrolling through all of it.

        Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I often feel like games could be smarter about things.

        • bbungle says:

          Having the game automatically select the correct inventory item for a given situation kinda defeats the entire core mechanic of an adventure game, which is working out which inventory item to use in a given situation.

      • AyeBraine says:

        I think, with all being said in this thread, there are two considerations why it’s more immersive than a UI inventory.

        First is the absence not only of UI elements, but of mouse cursor in the game. It really was an achievement, and it’s consistent all throughout the whole game process. Think of the heap of gamey elements it would inject into the game world: icons of items; abstract grids\wheels to arrange them; optionally, mouse cursor. But that was covered by others.

        Second issue is, I think, more important. Manny has a hammerspace inside his hollow chest: it’s a joke, it’s a gimmick, but it’s basically one of the best quest inventory rationalizations ever. He puts away one large thing and fishes out the other, like from a magic hat. And this is not all: it also ties in with iconic noir elements – namely, the obligatory double-breasted suit jackets with big inner pockets.

        So the Grim Fandango inventory not only does away with every gameplay convention; it’s meticulously tied into both of the main parts of the narrative: skeleton people and noir.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That was the motivation, apparently.

      I found Tim Schafer talking about it while reading through ResidualVM’s bugtracker to see if it was ready yet (working but with a few rough edges). (That time offset talks about the tank controls.)

      (Since that video was filmed with Tim playing via Residual, because the original game wouldn’t run any more, I kinda hope Double Fine do this work by contributing to the project to hammer out the last deficiencies. But that’s possibly too wishful thinking, even for a “nice” company.)

      • DanMan says:

        Schaefer already said that they want to implement the best community changes/fixes.

        • LionsPhil says:

          That’s very different from “get the engine done by finishing off the 80% work already done as open source”, though.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Aww. I liked the tank controls. I mean you wouldn’t make a *new* game with those controls in this day of ubiquitous analog sticks but it worked for that game. Same for the inventory. It wouldn’t feel like the same game if they killed the controls. If they’re going to update that aspect, make it optional.

    • TimOfLegend says:

      Tank Controls rule! You are the smartest!
      We plan to have options for the player.

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        VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Tank controls? The only saving grace was that Grim Fandango never had switchback staircases like Deadly Premonition…. (I shudder at the memory).

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Great to hear. Thanks for all the amazing games! (and this one in particular)

    • sd4f says:

      I agree, it took a little bit of getting used to at first, but later on, when you are running between locations, it’s really handy because you always ran forward and it didn’t matter if the orientation of the image changed.

      • twincast says:

        The controls and the save system are the two main reasons why I still prefer the original five Tomb Raider games to the first reboot, let alone the QTE-ridden second one. The camera in the original engine never bothered me as it didn’t matter at all, but in Anniversary and Legend it frustrated the hell out of me – Underworld was much less of a hassle, I believe.

        Nowadays third-person games normally keep your character going into the same direction, only readjusting your movement in relation to the camera angle once you stop and/or change it (the games above being notable exceptions), so I don’t miss the controls as much as I used to, but damn, how Super Mario 64’s controls ever frustrated me back in the day when the camera angle changed while balancing on some plank.

        Still, point and click trumps that sort of hey-we’re-doing-3D-aren’t-we-hip movement in adventure games any day of the week. At least Grim Fandango’s strong stylized art direction and pre-rendered backgrounds saved it from being butt-ugly like all the other adventure game series/studios that made the desperate jump to still early polygons at the time (and usually added action gameplay, to boot, but some earlier adventure games had had such elements already as well – to their detriment, more often than not; those who do not remember the past and all that).

    • Turkey says:

      Yeah, I never got what the big frustration with the tank controls were. It’s not like they had you jumping over gaps or avoiding zombies or anything.

  6. almostDead says:

    Something tells me nostalgia will be expensive.

  7. mezron says:

    I’m really looking forward to this. The only thing I’d like to see changed, is up the resolution and adjust the controls so I don’t have to find “just the right pixel” to trigger things. I remember swearing quite a few times in year 3 or 4… trying to get a door open with the scythe

    I didn’t mind the tank controls, or the inventory system. I thought those were part of the charm of the game.

  8. DrMcCoy says:

    for PC, Mac and Linux

    s/PC/Windows/

  9. Demon Beaver says:

    I hope they gather the original voice actors and add more dialogue! I also hope they leave all the original audio. Nothing to improve there…

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    J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I completely missed it first go-round (was a console gamer during those years). I’ve also never looked into it, so I’ve no idea what the fuss is about. Enlighten me, kind RPS readers.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Humour, atmosphere, and charm in spades.

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        Jackablade says:

        and pathos. The combination of noir trappings and the fact that the characters are travelling through Purgatory lends the game a melancholic and occasionally beautiful tone that is quite unlike anything else you’re likely to play.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Tim Schafer (DOTT, Full Throttle) adventure game.

    • SRTie4k says:

      In a genre that values story above all else, Grim Fandango was, and still is, the epitome.

      It also had a wonderfully unique and beautiful art style, a fantastically bluesy soundtrack, typical LucasArts deadpan (get it?) humor, and was just plain fun. The controls and inventory system were merely minor inconveniences in an otherwise perfect game.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Cross this guy with this guy and you’re some of the way there.

    • willy359 says:

      Best narrative experience in video game history, IMO. Also, best dialogue, best voice acting and best music. No fooling. This is a masterpiece.

  11. lovcol says:

    Pleeease, let it have mouse controls. And verbs. Lots of verbs!

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    caff says:

    I’m another pleb who missed this first time round, so I am very much interested in this. Thanks all the lovely people at Double Fine!

  13. Distec says:

    Yo, Sony. I see you over there, hustlin’ business from my PC games.

    Why don’t you dial it back a bit before we have an incident.

  14. dethtoll says:

    I missed out on this the first go-’round (was primarily a console gamer and also poor.) My attempts to, uh, “procure” a copy years after the fact went poorly at best (could not find it in English, only Spanish, which its own sort of irony.)

    So I’m looking forward to this. Also, I would not have been surprised if it was going to be console exclusive — Tim Schafer to me has lost sight of his roots, as his comments over Brutal Legend (which I refuse to play for reasons other than Schafer’s comments, mind) show.

    • Frank says:

      Now I want to play it in Spanish. Here’s hoping that good Spanish voice actors are their top priority for the remaster.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Spanish movie dubbing tends to be pretty dang good. I used to watch Hong Kong action/soap opera TV series dubbed into Spanish, and it was of far better quality than the Kung Fu movies dubbed into English.

        So if they follow proper procedure…..

  15. Gnoupi says:

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Ehm.
    Carry on.

  16. Frank says:

    Good of DF to sign a shorter exclusivity deal this time around. It’s impressive that they even survived that last bout after Psychonauts.

  17. DanMan says:

    “for PC, Mac and Linux” should really be “for Windows (7?), OSX and Linux”, even though “Linux” doesn’t quite fit either.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If we’re being pedantic, nor does “OS X”.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Huh? The phrase used in the article is more than adequate. We all know what it means.

      • DanMan says:

        Sure we do. But PC and Mac describe hardware platforms, at least in my head. Linux is a kernel. What really matters is which OS it runs on though.

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          So you’re saying it might not work on Windows 3.2, Snow Leopard, or any number of obscure Linux distros?

          We know. We’re pretty adept with computers. You want them to list every OS it works on, and those that it doesn’t?

          Seems pretty long-winded to me.

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            FriendlyFire says:

            You misunderstand: people, especially people using Linux, dislike the PC = Windows association.

          • dethtoll says:

            Especially? More like “only.”

          • gwathdring says:

            Some misguided pedants also object to the Mac != PC distinction as well. The trouble is that many pedantic folk are not really interested in linguistic accuracy but in a special brand of unmitigated linguistic conservatism that is at times more about claiming cultural power-space than about language at all and is, further, at times quite inaccurate.

            Like people who refuse to acknowledge They as a gender-neutral singular pronoun.

            In any case, PC no longer means “personal computer.” It now means “Computer that runs on Windows and by extension Windows itself.” Refusing to acknowledge this for the sake of platform-pride or in rejection of the way legitimate power struggles in the industry have been handled ethically or economically or politically or what-have-you … is one thing. Doing it and pretending it’s about accuracy or communication or correctness of usage is nonsense.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            PC not only doesn’t mean what you want it to, but you don’t even need it to anymore.

            Back when “computer” implied a room-sized mainframe that served many users via dumb terminals, there was a linguistic need for a term for a small computer for personal use, and you want to reclaim that term. But personal computers are the default now. For at least 20 years the English word for “personal computer” has been “computer.” The word “PC” now means nothing more or less than “a computer using an operating system directly descended from the one used by the IBM PC.”

            I’m normal a big fan of the quixotic pursuit of clearer vocabulary and grammar, but nothing has been lost here, so there’s nothing to be regained.

  18. Turkey says:

    I don’t think they’re going to make any dramatic changes to Grim. A free roaming camera would ruin the cinematic feel of the game, and a point and click doesn’t really work on a PS4.

    I’m guessing they’re just going make the controls relative to the camera, upres everything and cram a bunch of dvd extras and a commentary track in there.

    Can’t wait.

    • malkav11 says:

      There’s no reason the PS4 and PC builds have to be identical, you know.

      • emptee says:

        yes there is, cause PS4 is the main platform, PC is just an afterthought.

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          FriendlyFire says:

          [citation needed]

          Aside from the fact Sony is paying Double Fine for it, and probably also helped get the game out of legal limbo, there’s nothing here that says Double Fine is going to consider the PC version second class. They’ve been good with PC games overall, I don’t see why that would change.

    • Convolvulus says:

      The original controls were relative to the camera. I think the default scheme was character relative, but you could toggle it with CTRL+M. Between that complaint and the one about not being able to directly choose inventory items (They’re automatically assigned number keys as you pick them up.), I have to wonder if some of us failed to read the manual, for some reason.

      • Turkey says:

        Yeah, I only learned about the alternate control scheme after I’d played it. Never really had a problem with the tank controls, though.

  19. SD says:

    As unlikely as it would be to happen, I would adore a physical edition in a retro-styled cardboard Big Box, full of feelies and with a printed manual. One can always dream :-(

  20. Swordfishtrombone says:

    My old copy of the game always crashed immediately after the cutscene which plays upon changing discs. Finally, I can play Disc 2!

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      Aerothorn says:

      Pretty sure that was fixed in the patch.

      • Swordfishtrombone says:

        I may not have had access to an internet connection in those days. I was very young.

  21. Lemming says:

    No one has yet mentioned the most significant subtext: It means a new fun double-fine logo!

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    Jackablade says:

    Well of course. Why crawl on the ground like a rats, when you can soar through the sky like eagles… on pogo sticks!

  23. P.Funk says:

    After rifling through boxes in my closet today I’ve emerged triumphant and giddy. My original Grim box, mostly still in tact, all contents there.

    Digital distribution might be convenient but there is something very satisfying about a boxed game from the late 90s. Boxed games are like vinyl records. You can’t help but hold onto them. Grim has a 2 disc sleeve with beautiful mayan style artwork on the inside and each disc is silkscreened with a coloured image.

    On the way to finding Grim I also found my old Homeworld and Baldur’s Gate boxes. Remember when they used to ship with full colour printed manuals? Glossy maps? And you got them not as some stupid exclusive edition for extra, but for the normal retail price?

    I’m choking on the nostalgia, or is that all the dust.

  24. The Petulant Platypus says:

    Glottis! my friend returns!

  25. int says:

    1995 Schafer’s unibrow scared me.

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    cpt_freakout says:

    YES

  27. barney says:

    They’d better keep the fixed viewpoint scenery. My girlfriend is a vicarious video game enthusiast in that she suffers terrible motion sickness. Grim Fandango (at > 1024 x 768) would make her day, as long as it doesn’t have jarring swinging camera work throughout!

  28. gwathdring says:

    <3