DeathSpank Teasers To Delight And Confuse

Wearing his Thong Of Justice.

Ron “Grumpy Gamer” Gilbert’s forthcoming DeathSpank has been quiet for a while. But now, all of a sudden, we have three teaser trailers to enjoy. Or be completely confused by. The game, which he says is coming out in 2009, has a booth at PAX, but there’s no need to travel all the way there when you can watch the videos below.

For those trying to fathom what DeathSpank actually is, it seems it’s a Penny Arcade Game-ish cross between traditional adventure and RPG. Although Gilbert has said the RPG side of things will be closer to Diablo. A while back 1Up reported Hothead’s Joel DeYoung attempting to explain:

“In terms of the adventure side of it, Ron wants to make it more like a classic adventure game, with puzzles that are more involved… I was recently talking with Ron Gilbert about a multi-tiered game that seems like Diablo on the surface. You can choose to play it straightforward and enjoy it. But if you play again and take time to explore, it opens up and reveals new depth and story.”

Bemused much. So, make sense of this lot:

Not that we should listen to anything Gilbert says, after his recent post claiming not only that the excellent new Batman movie was “poo”, but also that the utterly awful Unbreakable was the only good superhero movie ever. Sure, you made Monkey Island or whatever, but… Damn. That’s a really powerful thing to have done. But he’s still wrong.


  1. Meat Circus says:

    Needs more… something.

    Isn’t it the product of the same team that’s working on On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness? Because I *really* enjoyed episode 1, despite a number of reviewers getting all uppity at the opportunity to kick Penny Arcade for being richer than them.

    I have high hopes for Hothead.

    Oh, and Dark Knight: not poo, but a bit contrived. Unbreakable was an enormous pile of poo, much like 90% of everything shat out by Shyamalan’s ego.

  2. Valentin Galea says:

    the new Batman movie IS poo – except all the scenes with the Joker :D

    And Unbreakable … is the only bearable to watch superhero movie

    There I said it:P
    Hope the game kicks ass!

  3. Optimaximal says:


    Batman opinions aside, Genius…!

  4. Alex says:

    “+6 grippy” gets my vote.

  5. Masked Dave says:

    I liked both Unbreakable and The Dark Knight.

    I WIN.

  6. Kieron Gillen says:

    Incredibles=Best superhero movie.


  7. Alex says:

    Ah, the unforgettable Bomb Voyage..

  8. Mo says:

    Kieron = win.

    DeathSpank looks awesome. 2009 can’t come soon enough. I love the music too … it feels very 90s LucasArts to me. I wonder if (huge stretch here, I know) Micheal Land is doing the music.

  9. kadayi says:

    I enjoyed TDK as a movie, but to be honest the late Heath Ledgers memorable Joker turn aside I didn’t think it was a great hero/superhero movie. Way too much talky talk and not enough actual action, and what action there was seemed to be drawing far too much from the Paul Greengrass school of filming fights, IE you can’t figure out WTF is happening through out, until the end, when one guy stands up. Nolan needs to take a leaf out of Blade with the next film and allow us to see Chris Bale full screen out of the shadows for once, relentlessly kicking the ass, like the Mofo uber ninja warrior he’s supposed to be. Don’t get me wrong I like all the character stuff and the more realistic direction of the films, but without Batman actually demonstrating what he is capable of sans gadgets, it kind of diminishes from the notion he strikes fear into criminals hearts.

    /rant off

    So no I sympathize with Gilbert’s perspective.

    Anyhows loved the teasers for Deathspank. ;)

  10. SteveTheBlack says:

    The Incredibles is top of my list. I was sad enough to go see it multiple times at the cinema! A sequel is needed I think.

    I liked Dark Knight too of course.

  11. Alex says:

    The motto at makes me laugh:

    “The evil of devils cannot compare to the evil of men because men are jerks.”
    – Some Jerk

  12. Ash Firelord says:

    Maybe it’s because of my affinity for every thing rpg-ish, but I had a laugh with these trailers. Looking forward to learning more of the game.

    Penny Arcade OTRSPoD was good art and decently funny story wrapped around a mediocre game. Putting some timing components on a simplistic jrpg combat system and then asking you to run along a street killing x number of enemies does not a fun game make.

    Hopefully Ron Gilbert will bring some of his experience to the gameplay side as well as the funny side.

  13. AndrewC says:

    Tsk. And how would you like it if some movie critic said “Thief? Poo. Next!”

    The Incredibles is great if you don’t mind an unironic Neitzschean subtext and cheeseball nuclear family sentimentality. At least The Dark Knight addresses the fascist leanings of super heroes and at least Unbreakable, for all its pomposity, attempts to approach the genre from an emotional angle, instead of simple wish-fulfillment. But I guess one word reviews for different mediums is fine, right? Tsk. And tsk again.

  14. Gap Gen says:

    Since the Punisher depicts Titus Pullo from Rome fighting Dominic West from The Wire, I fail to see how that cannot take the crown of best superhero movie come its release.

  15. subedii says:

    I really enjoyed Unbreakable, I thought it was a really awesome movie.

    But then I also thought TDK was great too.

  16. Rath says:

    Well he’s right about Dark Knight, can’t actually remember that much about Unbreakable though.

    I hope Deathspank gets marketed properly, I wouldn’t like to see it become another Psychonauts in terms of brilliantly made but not widely known, other than to the people we relentlessy tell about it.

  17. Rook says:

    Dungeon Runners called, they want their game back.

  18. Cossak says:

    Excellent trailers there, they have a great tone that I hope carries over into the final game. Also Hellboy is the best superhero movie.

    Surely there’s room for two funny RPGs in the market, Rook?

  19. Brokenbroll says:

    Christ, Unbreakable? Really man? A script and movie that plays out as if it were Rod Serling, with Alzheimers, dictating it to a drunken frat boy?

    Combined with him praising the Not Good fourth Indiana Jones film, and Gilbert hits with the triple combo of dated game design, cliched comedic writing, and bad taste.

  20. Lars BR says:

    Sirs, I am intrigued and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  21. Nick says:

    I quite liked Sky High.


  22. Andrew Farrell says:

    I’m sort of surprised to hear you say that, Kieron. The only other people I know who rate the Incredibles are the ones who don’t actually read any comics, and assume that “Family of superheros acts like Family, Superheros” is an amazing innovation as opposed to something that’s been around for decades.

  23. Lars BR says:

    The best superhero origin movie is the first season of 4400.

  24. Kieron Gillen says:

    Andrew: What ideas in superhero movies haven’t appeared a million times in superhero comics before? Since originality isn’t relevant, all we have to go on is execution and the Incredibles is written so brilliantly to embarrass pretty much every single superhero film in existence.

    If you caught me in a wankier mood, I may have gone for Ichi the Killer or something.


  25. Tom says:

    The Incredible’s is the best ever.
    Batty Begins was considerable better. (Where was Gotham City in TDK?! I couldn’t see it.)
    And Unbreakable was superb. The bit when Bruce Willis rises out of the pool after drowning and his big waterproof jacket thing looked like a cape was inspired imo.

  26. Esha says:

    Thong of Justice? +6 ballsy?

    I love you, Ron Gilbert. I’m glad to have you back, all is forgiven.

    This looks like it just could be a magnificent piss-take of Western RPGs, and we all know they bloody deserve it (well, except for Mask of the Betrayer which had such a powerful storyline it made me cry, twice). First there was Monkey Island, Ron Gilbert’s humourous take on pirates. Now, there’s Deathspank, Ron Gilbert’s humourous take on wot I said above? Please can it be so?

    Can we have hilariously named characters too? Will the villain of the tale be called something like High Overlord Opistho Hipshank? With all that such a name would entail, puns included? I can only hope.

    2008 is a weird year. Either that or I’ve been doing some particularly weak stuff and had game-related visions, and I’m going to be as disappointed as hell when I come down.

    Still, I’m going to believe it for now.

  27. Naurgul says:

    Best superhero movie: Kill Bill

    -Are you calling me a superhero?
    -No, I’m calling you a killer!

    … Oh, wait!

    In other news, I really enjoyed the video. It does make you wonder though, how can any game be a cross between Diablo and Monkey Island? Besides, will it be Adventure/RPG or Action Adventure in genre? Or something completely different?

  28. The Aardvark says:

    Actually, as any fule kno, the best bits of The Dark Knight were the bits with Jim Gordon and the MCU that were inspired by Gotham Central. The rest of the film felt cold and characterless in comparison.

  29. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i liked iron man :D

  30. fanciestofpants says:

    I’m intrigued, I’ll say that much.

    Lack of in game footage keeps me wary though.

    I rather liked both TDK and Unbreakable too. I think it’s the one Shyamalan film I DO like.. The Incredibles is friggen awesome too.

    On a similar note, what do people think of Hellboy 2? that’s semi-related isn’t it? Just saw it yesterday, going to see it again tomorrow. Pretty ace if I do say so meself.

  31. kadayi says:

    Actually I was always of the belief that the principal requisite of being a ‘superhero’ over just a hero was some innate or inherited power, like Superman has, or Spiderman inherited. So it could be argued that Bruce Willis was a superhero in Unbreakable, whilst Batman is just a hero, bad ass with lot’s of cool toys that he is. Just throwing it out there is all ;)

  32. Valentin Galea says:

    How can I forgot Incredibles!

    I officially close this thread by (re)stating that Incredibles is the best superhero movie now and forever!:)

  33. Phil says:

    Count me in as another who liked “Unbreakable” (before the abysmal “Signs” put me off that writer/director permanently.)

    And of course “The Incredibles” is superb :) And I liked TDK lots (if not quite as much as BB). Hellboy was great (and had some of the best one-liners in a long time). I’m looking forward to seeing the new one.

    Deathspank… I’m actually interested in it now. Nothing I’d seen or read beforehand had made me remotely intrigued, despite the pedigree. I’m now in “cautiously optimistic” mode.

  34. fanciestofpants says:

    Speaking of superhero movies, here’s hoping The Watchmen turns out good eh? There’s such potential for insane awesomeness there. And I suppose an equal and opposite potential for colossal cockup.

    The comic itself is practically required reading for anyone, comic-buff or no (If you haven’t read the damn thing yet, you must).

  35. monkeymonster says:

    Incredibles = KG said it best
    Dark Knight = how can you not love a film that has the line “what busdriver”, and then BAM, hello says Mr Bus [gets ready for pedant city]
    Unbreakable = spiral fracture down the stairs, properly done gruesome injuries
    Itchi the Killer = very very odd [might need a couple more odds in there too]

    Nod to Batman not being a super hero as he has no super powers. I’ve been reading comics a long time and Incredibles as Gillo says ties any comic threads every written/read together into a super bundle [sic].

    But more importantly how can the fact you’ve got a PURPLE codpiece of power in a game not make you chuckle and await its coming like a small hamster seeing his wheel spindle getting a good greasing… Anticipation of good times ahead!

  36. cullnean says:

    i felt ichi was a little disjointed also id like to include in the superhero genre the Daywatch/nightwatch stuff

    also whenever some one mentions ichi i can only think of big fish hooks and chip fat

  37. Arnulf says:

    Have to agree with The Incredibles there.

    For once.

  38. MeestaNob! says:

    This seems like it could be TF2 meets Diablo 2 (too). As well.

    This could be very good. Could.

    Let’s see some in game footage please.

  39. Reverend Speed says:

    Unbreakable = Brilliant, if only for how well it sells someone with superheroic powers. See Watchmen.

    Aaaaaand… thong jokes aside, there is nothing in this world that will stop me from playing DeathSpank.

    Monkey Island II came out in 1991, you know? 1991. Seventeen years since we had a full-tilt Ron Gilbert adventure game.

    I want to believe that he still bestrides the world as a God amongst men, but that’s quite a hiatus (ignoring kids games, Cavedog, consultancy). C’mon, Mr. Gilbert. Come through for us. The stars are right.

  40. cyrenic says:

    I want to think that Ron Gilbert blog post is a joke.

  41. bayani says:

    this is not me

  42. LionsPhil says:

    Man, that is an awesome soundtrack.

    Hack’n’slash-meets-adventure sounds like an…unlikely combination. Hopefully it doesn’t mean “excellent adventure marred by substandard action bits”, as plagued the genre from Space Quest’s skimmer sequence to Full Throttle’s fights.

  43. ack says:

    Not saying it’s the best [superhero movie] or anything, but I actually liked Ang Lee’s interpretation of the Hulk, there’s something really sad about it.

    the Dark Knight… yeah sure, they touched some nice subjects, like the moral ambiguity of the hero (and the Joker) and the un-“black and white”-ness of the portrayal of “normal” citizens vs. criminals. But I guess that’s the problem, they just touch those subjects, they aren’t part of the entire experience and they’re mostly invisible in the characterisations except for a few sequences. Granted, I’ve only seen it once.

    Oh the game? Enticing!

  44. Stupoider says:

    Looking forward to this! I grinned at those trailers.