I know me talking about this is hardly news, but the news part of this post is that we’ve now got the first official teaser trailer for it. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me backtrack for just a second.
I’m not sure for how long (the earliest dev blog is dated March 2015), but some fans decided to sit down and recreate Tex Murphy: Overseer.
Update: The lead developer, Holger, got in touch with me and said that they officially started in February 2015, but he was doing prototypes as early as December 2014.
You know, the 1998 game that Access Software had to rush through development because they had Intel hovering over their ass promising them shiny dubloons if they completed the game in record time, only to pull out at the last second and leave them unfulfilled like a– okay, this makes Intel sound like an egotistical boyfriend. Anyway.
The Overseer of 1998 was a bit of a mess, honestly. It was one of the first DVD-ROM games, which meant that, even if you were lucky or rich enough to have a PC with a DVD-ROM player in it, only a fraction of available DVD-ROM players could actually play it. To compensate, Access included a CD-ROM version in the box with all the videos downgraded to Smacker format (and it still took up 5 CD-ROM’s). Absurdly, the CD-ROM version actually played better than the original — it didn’t crash as often as the DVD-ROM version, and the grainy compression on the videos actually made the greenscreen compositing look better.
It did, however, have some awesome things going for it, and most of those can be attributed to Michael York. Okay, there was also some of the best writing in any Tex Murphy game ever, and an absolutely fantastic music score, but mainly it was down to fuckin’ Michael York. That guy just killed every scene he was in, turning in the best performance that has ever been committed to a piece of interactive entertainment. Bar none. Uh, yes, I’m counting Christopher Walken in Ripper here, too; what, are you serious?!
But here’s the rub: Overseer came out at a weird time in computer gaming history. We were making the transition from creating and playing games for DOS to creating them for Windows, and, like everything Microsoft has ever done in history, it was mostly painful and cumbersome.
Overseer was the first Tex Murphy game to give old DOS the boot and run strictly on Windows platforms. Trouble is that, these days, most of the games released for Windows 95/98 won’t run on modern systems without some serious tinkering, and even if you somehow do get them to run, they mostly run like ass.
Couple that with the fact that, due to Overseer‘s legendary short development time, the game is already bugged up the ass. And considering that most people would prefer to play the DVD-ROM version they never got to play back in 1998 because no one had a fucking DVD-ROM drive unless they were banging a millionaire on the side, trying to get the original version of Overseer running today means you’d better stock up on lube, ‘cos you’re in for a serious reaming.
So, enter these guys: Chaotic Fusion, previously just known as “The Poisoned Pawns.” Like I said, they’ve been at this for
god knows how long since February last year, when they announced to the world that they were, in fact, recreating Overseer from scratch using Unity 5. Only they’ve renamed it Poisoned Pawn instead of Overseer, because, honestly, “Overseer” never made any goddamn sense in the first place (the mind control thing in the game is called Project Overlord).
Not only are they remaking all the 3D environments in Unity 5, but they’re cleaning up the old DVD-compressed video into 720p hi-def video (the latest reports suggest they might even be going for 1080p, but let’s see).
And not only that, but they’re also adding in new bits — like new environments, new puzzles, retooling some of the utterly broken stuff in the originial (although I see they’ve kept the electric maze that J. Saint Gideon for some reason keeps in his mansion).
Also, the original creators of Tex Murphy — including the guy who actually played him, and the guy who actually wrote him — have given their official blessings. Which is good, ‘cos they hold the rights to Tex Murphy. Which ensures that there is no legal bullshit in the way of this coming to pass (you payin’ attention here, Activision?).
And holy titwanking christ, does it look spectacular.
You wanna see it move, don’t you? Of course you do. Look at this fucking thing move.
In fact, I’d be even more excited if I weren’t right back where I fucking was when the original Overseer came out: Playing on hardware three years too old to actually run the damn thing properly.