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Sam & Max Creator Steve Purcell

View Andy Trimlett's bio

"It is your duty as an older brother to be an ass," Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell told me.  And Steve managed to turn that duty into a paycheck.  Sam & Max are now in the second season of their new episodic game produced by Telltale Games, after a long and glorious career in newspaper strips, comics, and LucasArts games.

Sam and Max season 2

And it all began with some good old-fashioned little brother mockery.  "Sam & Max started out as the scrawled comic book drawings of me and my brother when we were kids," Steve told me.  "My brother would draw detective comics.  And he actually cast his characters of Sam and Max as a dog and a rabbit.  And I would find his unfinished comics lying around and I would finish them out in my version of his style, so it's my making fun of my little brother and teasing the way he would write his dialogue."  That is the origin of the peculiar self-conscious style of Sam & Max, who "over-articulate everything they are talking about."

In this season, "we're traveling around [more than in the first], and amping up the bizarre scenarios."  But really, it doesn't matter where this dog and rabbit go, or what story they're involved in, for Steve, "The plot existed to give the characters things to say to each other."

And Steve apparently has a pretty good gig in the whole production process.  When asked about producing the game, he said, "For me, it's easy, because I basically have one or two meetings with the creative staff, David Grossman and Chuck Jordan.  And we have discussions about broad ideas... they sort of run with it.  They so effectively live in this world that I'm happy with what comes out the other side."

According to Steve, the secret to the success of the Telltale crew is their work ethic.   "They don't clean up after themselves, but all the time they would have spent cleaning up, goes onto the screen.  They live in a hovel.  They're like hamsters.  They're very creative hamsters.  They're like if a hamster could paint a Picasso painting."

Steve believes that his brother has recovered fully from his early years.  In fact, he actually gave Sam & Max to Steve as a birthday present one year.

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