Hothead Games has announced that industry veteran Ron Gilbert will be contributing to the design of the upcoming game Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.
Gilbert, who broke into the industry writing software for the Commodore 64 as a college student, eventually ended up at Lucasfilm Games in the early ’80s, porting Atari 800 versions of Lucasfilm games to the C-64. In 1985, he proposed his first original design to the heads of Lucasfilm Games, and after considerable persuasion, was given permission to begin work on what would become, a year later, Maniac Mansion.
Maniac Mansion was an immediate and massive hit for Lucasfilm Games, but more importantly, as part of the development process Gilbert also created the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, better known as SCUMM.
SCUMM would be the foundation upon which every Lucasfilm Games adventure over the next ten years would be built, a list which reads like a greatest hits compilation: Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, LOOM, Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Full Throttle, The Curse of Monkey Island, and more. Today, most of these games are near-legendary for the tremendous impact they had on the genre and on the industry as a whole, and an open source ScummVM project exists that allows many of the SCUMM games to be played on current systems.
In the early 90s, Gilbert left Lucasfilm Games to join with Humongous Entertainment, a company which focuses primarily on games for children. Its credits include the Putt-Putt series, Pajama Sam and Freddi Fish franchises.
“His insights into the way you move the player through an interactive story so that they get to explore the world but don’t lose the narrative were incredible,” said Gabe of Penny Arcade. “We’re ridiculously lucky to have him on board and helping us with On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One.”
Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness will be released for the PC, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. No release date has been set.