Monkey Island – Post Mortem

Having played the original Monkey Island game it was exciting to get the chance to be involved with a project that aimed to bring it back to life with a modernized game trailer.  It’s development took 6 weeks and pushed many team members into areas or thinking that was brand new to them in the form of either using software completely alien to them or applying their already practiced skills in new ways to accommodate a 2.5D project.

What Went Right:

Communication – I was impressed really at how effective our communication was.  It was concise, detailed and effective.  When we needed to sort out an issue to ensure it was in line with the projects overall design, it was worked out with the immediate group very quickly even when not directly face to face.  When I say immediate group i’m referring to the two groups we had within the project of the 2D artists and the compositors.  Issues relating to either of these two fields were handled by the group it belonged to which aided in faster resolutions.  Also there was an issue mid-project where an internal dispute occurred but it was handled respectfully and professionally which prevented any harm to the end product.  As usual I believe that as long as project members are professional and respectful communication will always be a strong point for any project.

Leadership –  Our project leads of which we had two, including a director and an art lead were instrumental in keeping the project on track and in scope.  From the start there was a strong viewpoint of how the finished animatic should look and both leads funneled all efforts to that ultimate goal really well.  Whilst this was a double edged sword(which I’ll discuss below), the project never got off track or derailed at any point.  The leadership were always available and patient to the group which allowed for ideas and methods to be explored which assisted everyone in their workloads relieving some of the normal pressures projects face during certain periods.

What Went Wrong:

Product Research – Fundamentally the project in my opinion failed to deliver a trailer that carried Monkey Islands legacy in all its flavours.  Many of the elements of what made Monkey Island an iconic game of it’s time were missing from our trailer and this is due to lack of product research.  This was compounded by the fact that the animatic’s direction was finalized very quickly which certainly helped in getting it done in time, but hurt the chances of capturing the essence of what made Monkey Island great.  I must admit I played my part in this, despite being the only person to have played Monkey Island I was largely absent during the first few weeks of the project preventing my contribution to the design process.  Without a doubt I would say for any project that is a remake or a revision of an earlier product it is essential for all team members to fully experience that product in order to revive it’s contemporary self.

Despite the finished product failing to deliver a contemporary essence of Monkey Island we did however come together as a group and overcame many challenges completely new to us.  With this experience we learnt many better ways to achieve a better end product.