Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is the next entry in the venerable comedy adventure series, which has been dormant for ten long years. It’s in development at HappyGiant, a studio that until now has specialised in AR games, like the Star Wars holochess-inspired HoloGrid: Monster Battle. As the subtitle suggests, however, this time the developer is dealing in VR. The team working on This Time It’s Virtual! includes several veterans of previous games in the Sam & Max series.
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin has already proven that VR’s tactile environment is ideal for LucasArts-style adventure. Except rather than pointing and clicking, in Sam & Max you’ll be picking up and throwing. No matter how deep you’ve gone in the Oculus Store, it’s unlikely you’ve ever thrown a hyperkinetic rabbity thing at a dart board before. Or shot roaches in the broom cupboard with a revolver.
The last Sam & Max game was 2010’s The Devil's Playhouse, one of three episodic sequels from Telltale. Before that, the pair were under the employ of LucasArts, where Sam & Max were at the vanguard of the adventure genre, alongside Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island.
Go back far enough and you’ll discover that Sam & Max were originally cartoons that designer Steve Purcell used to scribble in his youth. It makes sense that the Freelance Police don’t belong to any one company.
Fans will be pleased to hear that Purcell is consulting on the design, art and story departments. “HappyGiant is doing an amazing job capturing the flavor of Sam & Max’s bizarre universe,” he says. “After drawing these characters for so long, it’s mind-blowing to finally walk through the door and actually interact with Sam & Max in VR.”
Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is expected for release on VR headsets in the first half of 2021. There’s just one question left to ask: have you ever thought of pursuing a career in extra-curricular law enforcement?