Dave Grossman is the Senior Designer at San Rafael, California-based Telltale Games, currently serving as Lead Designer on the upcoming Sam & Max: Season One, the license for which was recently acquired by Telltale after the IP's previous video game treatment, Sam & Max: Freelance Police, was cancelled by its publisher, LucasArts.
Prior to Telltale, Grossman provided design and programming work on a number of high profile games, including classic adventures The Secret of Monkey Island, LeChuck's Revenge: Monkey Island 2 and Day of the Tentacle at LucasArts, the Pajama Sam and Freddi Fish series for former Lucas co-worker Ron Gilbert-founded Humongous, and most recently provided contract work on a variety of games, including Voodoo Vince for Microsoft Game Studios and a number of serious games projects.
Gamasutra sat down with Grossman at the 2006 Comic-Con International in San Diego to discuss his role at Telltale, the joys of a yellow sky, and what's in store for our favorite dog and rabbit-thing freelance police duo.
Gamasutra: What exactly is your role on Telltale's treatment of Sam & Max?
Dave Grossman: I am Senior Designer at Telltale and Lead Designer on Sam & Max Season One.
GS: At least a couple people at Telltale were working on the cancelled Sam & Max: Freelance Police project at LucasArts, right?
DG: That is true. I'm not sure exactly which ones, but my co-designer Brendan Furgeson was actually one of the writer/programmers on that. I believe some of the artists were also working on that, and I think Randy Tudor [Engineer] was working on it. Some of the other guys became the heads of our company. I was obviously not one of the people working on it.
GS: Do you know how the license was acquired by Telltale? Did it have to be acquired from LucasArts, or...?
DG: No, no, it had to run out. What happened was they had kind of a lien on it for a couple of years, like an option where if they didn't put anything out for a certain amount of time the license would revert back to Steve [Purcell, creator of Sam & Max], and then once they did...he was happy with the first treatment, and he knew the people, and so they hammered out some new details for a new deal, and off we went.
GS: So it wasn't a situation where LucasArts could have sat on it if they wanted to.
DG: They would have had to release a new game, I think. And clearly they were not interested in doing that.
GS: They seemed afraid to.
DG: Yeah. I think they may be at this point, I don't know, jealous? [laughs].