Questions for AC & CJ

Post your questions for Aaron and Chris here!
Last edited by tathorp on February 03, 2008 • 11:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.
This is seriously excellent news! The simple fact that CJ and AC still keep in touch ,and check in here every year or so I think speaks for itself and their commitment to make something happen before they turn old and gray (no offense JTOG ;)

1) While we understand a full production budget for a new TM game is essentially not realistic at this point, there are some much lower budget ways to get this done. I invite anyone to check out the free LOST game at This was obviously put together on a shoestring budget, but is VERY well done for that (and incidentally shows that good FMV can still be done!). Has AC or anyone else here played through it? Any thoughts regarding a 'Flash' game for that matter?

2) Keeping the faith is a hard thing to do, but hearing that the TM arc is fully fleshed out makes me cautiously optimistic.....if anything just for hearing it concluded in novel or radio format. Any comments on finishing out Tex like this? I think most people would like to see Tex live on for many more adventures (like Phoenix Wright on the DS), but I personally am most bothered simply because the story has remained un-concluded after almost 10 years.

3) Honestly, it's been a long time since Overseer and I have seriously fallen in love with TMRT. Yeah, I'll admit, this is mostly due to the excellent acting AND CJ's soothing voice ;) That said, I'd argue that next to reading AC's novels, TMRT does a better job storytelling than most games out there today. Aaron, I'm still shocked that you haven't published more novels, you have a way with words that the rest of us wish we had..... Anyway, I'm curious as to your and Chris' reflections, both + and -, now years later looking back on taking the time to do the radio theater? Are you & company proud of the work? Do you wish you went a few more episodes? Do you feel that it adequately sets the stage for the remainder of the story?

4) Do you and CJ remain in contact w/any of the supporting character actors? Have any of them expressed interest, or not, in lending a hand or a voice as it were?

5) Part of the struggle I'm sure, is to introduce a largely new audience to a series that is working on 10 years old. With that in mind and given some of today's distribution channels, I'm curious as to your thoughts on reviving UAKM or TPD via GameTap? If anything as a additional 'venture revenue' option. The side question to this is, who exactly owns the TM IP rights at the moment? Is Microsoft out of the picture?

6) Does the next Tex adventure _need_ to be a PC game? Hell, I'd buy a DS or, ugh, a PS3 just to play through Tex's last hurrah!

* Dusts off his copies of TMRT for the 3000th time! *
* Now let's see if I can get TPD working under Vista! *
(update: 11pm 2/3: TPD is working under Vista thanks to Glen's website!)
In the Howdy from Arron and Chris thread, you mentioned that you are "casting voice talent".

That implies that there will be some sort of 'media' in your new game - audio, at least. With the emphasis on "voice talent" I can think of several possible formats: A game world much like the old Tex (free-roaming 3D) but with CG characters. A point-to-point 3D world with 360 panning and CG characters. A MYST-style world with CG characters or something I don't think has ever been done before, a completely audio game, like a merging of radio-theater and interactive fiction.

Maybe I've completely missed the mark, but I'm wondering, is the format you are planning a top secret or are you prepared to say what type of game world you intend to set the game in?

Will the player interface be something familiar or something we've never seen before?
First off - How are you guys these days? Everything good on the personal level?

Secondly) How much can you really divulge about this new and interesting project? I mean, why keep it a secret when you COULD be getting in on Teh Free(!) Publicity?
(I really do understand why, the second part of this question is just a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastically phrased hypothetical query!)

Thirdly) Do you accept ideas or concepts if and when they are pitched at you?

Fourthly) How will we recognize this new game of yours? Can you give us a name? Or the name of the company whom we can recognize the game via?

Fifthly) I don't suppose any of you read my short-stories..? Nah, was a long shot :D

and Chiefly) Stop having bad luck! The games that are coming out these days are mostly based on graphics, game mechanics or simple novelties imposed on an already existing structure. Very little of the percentage of modern games are actually well-written, story-driven and genuinly entertaining games. Mostly the stuff I see these days is bland. So pretty please. With sugar on top. Give me my fix. DON'T HOLD OUT ON ME GUYS!!

Pirates, vampires, zombies, ninjas, ghouls, aliens, goblins, monsters, robots, sorcerers, undead, werewolves, demons, mutated dinosaur-cyborgs and those pesky phone salesmen! The shotgun is a one-size-fits-all solution!
Great to hear you guys are still keeping up the good fight, & more proactively too!

My questions mainly have to do with written Tex.

1. I remember in the past that there was question regarding who had the reprinting rights to the novelizations of Under A Killing Moon & Pandora Directive since Prima Publishing closed. Has there been any change regarding this?

2. Will there be a novelization of Tex's "final arc," or is the next game, in a word, it?

3. Speaking of the next game, you mentioned changes made to the features to reduce the overall cost but retain overall quality story. Are you able to share with us what changes were made & how much they should reduce the cost of production? And how much do you estimate the revised version would cost to produce (I remember the original proposal was around $12 million).

4. Could we expect to see Tex Murphy novels that aren't directly based on a game? I ask this because you & I know Overseer ended in a thus-far unresolved cliffhanger, but there are a lot of people out there that might find a new adventure interesting that don't know that. A successful novel could increase fan support for a new game, not just by further unifying this community, but also potentially bring in new fans that, though they may never have played the games, still love the character. If potential buyers of a new game are as important to a game publisher as you previously stated in the last Ask Aaron session, then new media merchandise could be the key to your success in making & our getting to enjoy another great game.

I'm sorry if I've offended you in any way while writing #4 (if I did, please read the last paragraph). I certainly have no intention of telling you how to do your job or how to bring Tex back, nothing like that. My concerns are that fans of a franchise are most abuzz when they have a new product to hold in their hand as it were, even more so than when they're anticipating holding that very same object in their hand. Admittedly, you couldn't literally do that with the Radio Theater, but at least people were thoroughly excited when it came out. That was back in 2001, 2002, if memory serves. There hasn't been a new product since then to my knowledge. Even then, because of its method of distribution, one could question how many people heard about it, how many downloaded it. Has anyone heard of someone outside of this community hearing those & saying "I love Tex" & thereby increasing our numbers?

I feel we need a new product as much as you do, something to not only say "we're still here", but also something that can get people's attention outside this community. If we're having trouble getting signed on for a new game, why not try a second approach, a second front in the war to bring Tex back? I'm not saying to stop trying to produce a new game. Rather, let's try to get Tex's name back out there in the world again, so people can see how fun of a character he is & how interesting the world he lives in is. Let's create our own hype, as it were, something that if successful brings in new fans that we need while at the same time building revenue for a new game, which is our ultimate goal. I know that's not easy. Heck, it may not even be practical. But it gives us fans a little more to do than replay decade-old games that this new generation of gamers haven't even heard of, even if all we can do is go out & buy a new product. But the truth is, if that new product is on store shelves, we won't be alone. There will be others that will buy it & like it. There will be others that will take a good hard look at it & maybe decide to put it down until a friend of theirs recommends it to them.

My main point is, all of us here in this community are confident that you want to bring Tex back, & that you want to do Tex justice when you do. We know you won't even so much as write a piece of Tex Murphy internet fan-fiction that lacks a quality, rich & engrossing story. We, all of us fans, know people that like to read & most likely enjoy to ourselves. We can by word-of-mouth make sure a new book is purchased by each of them. Even for the stubborn ones there's birthdays & Christmas. But we need that book on the shelves in order to get them to buy it, to introduce them to Tex Murphy and enlarge our fanbase, its size being a contributing factor toward support for a new game. You have our support. Let's see if we can't get you some more.

A loyal Tex Murphy fan,

Hey Chris and Aaron! I really wish you success with your latest endeavor, it sounds intriguing to say the least. I have a few questions for you if you're interested:

1) I had brought up the idea of making a contest for an "official" unofficial piece of Tex art. It is looking like it is going to be a poster which will be laminated on a piece of board. We are working out the technical details before I post official guidelines for people. My question is, would you boys be interested in becoming the official judges of the contest or at the very least participate in the voting of an "official" unofficial Tex poster? Once everything is completed I could even get a copy of it for the both of you if you were interested.
If you would like to track the progress or see what has been done thus far, I have copied the thread here: ... f=1&t=1456

2) I had also brought up recently that we start up our own version of "The Bay City Mirror." I do not know if there is a REAL newspaper by that name but I thought it would be an interesting idea if we here at the board picked up the idea and contributed our own articles to keep the Unofficial Tex Murphy Web Site fresh and alive. We could put in real news items or just keep with the theme of the past of made up articles or both. If we were to post our own articles in the "paper," would either of you be interesting in occasionally contributing an article? Here also is the link to that thread: ... f=1&t=1433

3) Would Chris ever be interested in doing some narration work on a short film or television project? I have recently graduated from Television Broadcasting (partly thanks to the Tex games) and am in the process of building a production company. Now I do not have a specific project in mind at this point in time, however, I have always wanted to somehow incorporate Chris' narration into a project and I was just wondering if he would ever be open to the idea. If a real project were to come up I am sure I could going about contacting him through official channels but at that point I would just like to know if he'd be interested in the idea itself.

4) If you ever do anything similar to the Radio Theater project again (or anything Tex for that matter), I would like to offer my services for anything that I could help with. As the time goes on it is beginning to dawn on me that Tex may need all the help he can get to see the light of day again and I could not call myself a Tex fan if I would not offer my skill set to help him get there. I have experience in video production, graphic arts, 3D animation, amongst other things that lie therein. If you would like a true demo reel feel free to ask but for now I will leave it at that. Wait that wasn't even a question.

Well if you read all the way to this point I would like to thank you for letting me say my piece and thank you for keeping in contact us fans over the years.

"Electron Stu"
So the fedora.......

Make and model please! :mrgreen:
Last edited by Bjyman on February 05, 2008 • 8:18 pm, edited 5 times in total.
1. Have you ever of thought about subtle Links LS product placement to get the full budget? Like swapping Eat the Rich Dog food with Pedigree or Faberge Egg billboards. Advertizing is huge.

2. What does "scaled down" mean? Less gameplay and no live actors?

3. Can we try out for the voice casting for the other project?

4. For replayability on Gameplayer's Mode ever consider having inventory items at slightly different places in VR Mode or having more than one solution for puzzles to be chosen at random? (e.g. having to convert a different set of dates for Witt's puzzle box, different shaped pieces of Emily's note scraps, a different pattern on Malloy's tapestry)

5. Does this mean there's no longer a trilogy or three seperate Tex games? The material you have seems to be huge and I'd hate to see it crammed into one game. Using the success of the first game for the next 2 could be an option.
Aaron & Chris!

Thanks for letting us know that there is still something on the horizon. I hope, you will find some solution to get your baby up and running once and for all!

As a german fellow and with hanging around in the german game publisher area for some time as journalist, I'm just curious: Did you talk to german publishers about your baby as well? Adventures and narrative games are extremely popular here and most big adventure games are nowadays produced with german money and german funds. We even have several publishers here specialized only for the adventure genre. People like Jane Jensen from Sierra, Bill Tiller, Hal Barwood or Noah Falstein from LucasArts or Steve Ince from the Broken Sword series are now in contract with german publishers and developers and produce classical adventure games here instead of in the States (using skype conferences, e.g.). The market for such games is large here in Europe so most publishers are more open towards adventure projects as US publishers, where big budget adventure games are still close to non-existence.
What are you guys favorite TV show of all time?

Favorite movie?

Favorite Board Game?

Favorite Video Game?

Star Trek or Star Wars? You guys better get this one right! :)
Travis Jacobs

"You might not sound so idiotic if there were at least something excitable in my post to begin with..." --Baf
This is my first opportunity to ask questions and I'm in a hurry, so forgive me if any questions have already been answered.

1: What caused Brent Erickson to part ways with Access Software after Martian Memorandum?

2: Who currently owns the rights to the 'Tex Murphy' name and games.

3: Do either of you guys have some kind of development 'homepage' or blog of sorts so we can keep track of your latest exploits?

4: How often do you lurk the boards here?

5: Finally, what do you believe is the reason for the series' ongoing popularity, even among new gamers who will go to great lengths to get them running on newer operating systems?

Thanks again in advance. :)
Doh! Missed this one - quick edit/copy/paste from the other thread....

Not sure if this counts as a Tex question or not but if all the writers are on strike in LA, are all the out of work actors going into computer games to do acting/voiceovers?

Maybe we'll start to see more games coming out or more games related investments in the short to medium term.
Hello All,

Sorry about the delay, but better late than never!

I guess the best way to answer your questions is to reply in the order that they were asked. I'll put a paragraph heading with the question asker's user name and real name (if given), and try to answer all his or her questions. Let's get to it!


1. I haven't checked out the LOST online game, though I'm a big fan of Lost and briefly considered taking the job of Creative Director on Ubisoft's Lost game. I'll go check it out. As for using Flash, Chris and I have discussed all possible options for a new game and Flash is certainly an option.

2. I've said before that I swear on all that is holy that I will tell the rest of Tex's story. Chris and I feel like we have a few more years to get a final Tex game done (hopefully sooner), so I'm not ready to pull the trigger and tell the story in a novel. However, it we decide that a game is just impossible to do, I'll definitely come up with a simpler means of getting the story out. I've actually thought about doing some sort of interactive radio theater, and I could always write an interactive text adventure. By hook or by crook, I'll get it done.

3. Radio Theater was a really fun experience for many reasons. Chris and I were slogging through Microsoft hell at the time and it was great to work on something we loved, rather than something that just paid the bills. We always enjoy getting together with the actors who play the Chandler Avenue regulars, and Chris and Suzanne Barnes (who plays Chelsee) have the most amazing chemistry every time they get together.
I think TMRT turned out pretty well, especially considering that no one got paid a dime for their work and we had to use anyone who was available for the voices. It would have been great to continue the series, but it was just too time-intensive and we couldn't expect people to keep doing it without any compensation for their time.
As for how it applies to the story, details would be somewhat different in the game. At the time, we still hoped to do the trilogy of Chance, Polarity and Trance, but it seems more likely that we'd do a single game, so some of the preliminary story threads would be skipped.

4. Chris and I stay in touch with several of the voice actors, and the others have all said they'd love to reprise their roles any time we ask.

5. At this point, I don't think we harbor any illusions about Tex becoming a household name. We're proud of the games we've made and are happy to have a devoted following, even if it's relatively small. All we really want to do now is get a game made and not worry if it makes money or not. Tex is a labor of love for us. Obviously, if we did a Tex game and it was commercially successful, we would love to keep bringing him back. Trust me, I've got a bunch of Tex adventures on the back burner.
As for the older games, there are two problems: (1) they were built to run on old OS, so they would need to be totally overhauled, and (2) there are still huge legal issues about the rights to the Tex property. I've discussed these details before and don't want to get into it again; the important thing is that we don't have the rights, but we think we could arrange to buy - or at least use them - when the timing is right for the game.

6. I don't see the Tex game being developed for any console platform. It would either be an online game or CD-ROM.


The plan for our current game is to use rendered characters and voice actors. The game experience consists (in a nutshell) of non-interactive cinematics and flashbacks, 2D room searches, and logic puzzles. The original design was closer to the "interactive radio theater" concept, but we felt like we had to keep things as simple as possible on the first go-round, and then add complexity in the sequels. As I mentioned, the gameplay will be fun, but the game is really about the story.


1. We're doing well, thank you! Other than the frustration of getting a game released, we have absolutely nothing to complain about.

2. As for our new game, there are several options for us to get it to market. I think by E3 we'll know if we're going to partner up with someone or do it ourselves. In the meantime, I'd love to give you all the details, but it think it's prudent to hold off until things are locked in. Believe me, I'll make an official announcement here before ANYWHERE ELSE!

3. Honestly, I've come up with so many concepts and ideas over the past 10 years, I'll never get them all published. However, I encourage people to write and design, and I try to provide feedback when I can. So, basically, we're not looking for ideas, but if you'd like to pitch something, and I have the time, I'll take a look at it.

4. My and Chris's company is called Big Finish. But you won't have to guess which game is ours. Like I said, I'll fill you guys in on it before it gets released. We'll be counting on you to help us get the word out!

5. I read all the entries in the short story contest a while back, so if one of those was yours... :-)

6. Thanks for the well wishes!


1. No change. I've tried to contact someone at Prima, without luck. They're based in San Francisco, and I go out there a couple times a year, so I need to remember to go to their corporate offices next time and see if I can get this worked out.

2. If we can get a game made, I don't know if I'll do a novelization; it's a big time investment for something that is essentially supplementary (though I take it as a great compliment that you would want me to write one). A novel would probably be the last resort, after an interactive audio or text game.
Though, I guess if I could get 5,000 people to commit to buying a copy it would be worth the time. :wink:

3. Over the past year, we've had many discussions with a variety of gaming companies, and I think we'd be lucky to get a $400,000 dev budget (so much for $12M!). I can't say exactly how this would impact development, except that we couldn't do a full movie shoot, we couldn't have a team of 40+ people, etc. I'll get back to you when and if this scenario becomes a reality.

4. I appreciate your suggestions and agree with much of what you say about drumming up interest in Tex, getting his name out there, and trying to build up the audience. But there are some major issues. For one, as you point out, the games are now 10+ years old. They've held up pretty well, but still... And the magic of Tex is experiencing those games. It would take a tremendous amount of time and effort to even attempt to bring Tex to the masses.
The bottom line is, we're focused on bringing Tex back to the people who already know about him. There are quite a few of you - of course, you people here on the UTM board are the elite ones :D - but in the adventure gamer community, I'd say there are at least a hundred thousand people who have either played the Tex games or are familiar with him. If we could get those people to buy our game, it would make it plenty profitable enough for us to keep going.
And, while the novels did all right, I don't they introduced many people to Tex - I think they were mostly bought by Tex fans looking for another experience in Tex's world.
I hope that addresses your question!


1. Chris and I would be honored to be involved in the voting and/or judging. When I'm done here, I'll check out your link.

2. I'm pretty sure there's no Bay City Mirror. I like the idea and I'd be happy contribute articles.

3. Chris is available for voice work. As you probably know, he's done some work on various projects, including his turn as PI, the robot. If you have a project in mind, send me the info and I'll make sure he gets it.

4. Thanks for offer of help with any future TMRT-type projects. We just might take you up on it!


I bought the fedora at Angler's Inn (a fishing supply store) in Salt Lake City, back in 1991. Chris thought he lost the original and bought a replacement there in 1993. We then found the first one and I think it's at home. I'll see if I can find it and get the info for you!

To be continued...
On to Part 2...


1. I agree that product placement is a great way to pad the budget; we're doing quite a bit of it in the Ubisoft games. However, you have to get the advertiser to actually PAY you and, unless they think your game is going to do something to increase their business, there won't pay a dime even if you put their product in the game. It's essentially a catch-22 - we need money to make a game, but they won't give us money until we have a successful game!

2. Scaled down, in general terms, means finding ways to create graphics and programming with fewer resources. I think it's safe to say that we couldn't do a full 3D engine and environments - it's just too intensive. Cinematics would have to be simplified; we could still do FMV, but there's a high cost - casting, filming, editing, processing, integrating with backgrounds, etc., are all time consuming and expensive (if you want it to look good). Rendered characters with voice actors is a more manageable approach. Another option is to use still images with audio (like Ken Burns uses in his documentaries). And, of course, there's the TMRT-style audio-only.
Gameplay - especially stand-alone logic puzzles (like the boxes in Pandora) - is relatively inexpensive to create; "scaling-down" the gameplay would mean a lesser variety, but there could still be a ton of depth.

3. I'm not opposed to hearing any audition tapes you'd like to submit. We're always open to using talented voice actors; the only issues are cost and convenience. Developing on a shoestring budget means we can't waste money flying someone in to record some audio when we could find someone to do it locally. Also, we generally prefer to have the actors together when they record. On the other hand, if we have a role that's a good fit and can be done remotely - and you can get the dialogue recorded professionally - it's possible that we could use it in the game.

4. I've always liked the idea of multiple solutions, different locations for objects, etc. I was one who really pushed for the multiple narrative paths and levels of difficulty in Pandora. In fact, the idea of two levels of difficulty didn't even come up until the very end of the project. I sat down with a programmer and implemented it only a couple weeks before we gold-mastered.

5. I still have all the content for the trilogy, but I'd rather get a single game done than sit on an untold trilogy forever. The structure for the "single game" doesn't cram in all the trilogy content - it takes a slightly different arc and goes straight toward the conclusion.
There's always the option of going back and doing other parts of the trilogy after. I think they could all stand alone, even though they're all connected - kind of like the X-Files episodes.


I really don't know anything about the German videogame development market. I'd be interested to know more - Chris and I are always open to anything that could help us get a game out! If you have specific information or sources, please send them my way.


Good questions!

Chris's favorite TV shows are Twilight Zone and Star Trek (the original); his current favorite is 24.

My favorites are/were: Twin Peaks, Star Trek: TNG, X-Files, Carnivale, Lost, and Dexter.

Our favorite movie is contest.

Interestingly, we have the same favorite board game: Stratego.

Chris doesn't play videogames anymore, though I remember we enjoyed playing the first Indiana Jones game.

I still love Tetris, but my favorite videogame of all time is Pandora.

I think the answer to Star Trek or Star Wars is obvious... ;-)


1. Brent Erickson was a bit before my time. I didn't start working with Chris until Brent left. As far as I know, Brent was more of the technical guy on Martian Memorandum, but he wanted to be the creative force as well. After he left, he made Noctropolis, which was a bit racier than Access Software would have been comfortable with, but it was pretty successful. I don't know what Brent's been up to since.

2. It's not totally clear who has the rights to the Tex property and games. Technically, Take Two probably owns them, but I don't think there's any paperwork. It's all very messy and irritating. We're hoping to get it sorted out in the near future.

3. No, neither of us is a blogger - it's just too time consuming and I always feel like I'm running short on time as it is. You'll just have to wait for our autobiographies :wink:

4. I check in probably once a month. There are a couple people on the board who I stay in more direct contact with, and they usually let me know if there's anything I should be aware of. And don't ask me to reveal their identities - I'm sworn to secrecy!

5. The reason for the ongoing popularity of the Tex games? I think it's primarily because of Tex himself. He has such a unique persona. In the beginning, it was my words, delivered wonderfully by Chris, but Tex pretty much became his own entity. Whenever I write new stuff for Tex, my wife reads it and she always says how nice it is to hear Tex's voice again. She really doesn't think of it as my's just our old buddy, Tex, up to his old shenanigans.
The other thing is just the storytelling. I work with some Tex fans at Ubisoft and they tell me how much they loved how the stories always started small and became epic. And, all along, there's this average Joe right in the middle of it. I think Tex is the kind of character that's easy to relate to and helps keep the story grounded, no matter how crazy and fantastic it gets.


To be honest, I have no idea how the Writers strike might impact the world of videogames. We had that brief fling with Hollywood back in the early 1990s, but since then it's become kind of novelty for actors to be in games (though Ubisoft, for one, has been using name actors to do voice work).

Well, I think that answers all the current questions. I'll check tomorrow morning to see if there are any new ones. If not, thanks again to everyone for being so supportive. Chris and I really appreciate your loyalty. We were just talking at lunch about how badly we want to repay your kindness with a great game. And we're going to do everything we can to make it happen!

In the meantime, stay tuned for details about our current game. I can tell you that the script is written and the game design is laid out. We're currently creating the puzzles and casting the voice talent. We hope to have the audio recorded within the next few weeks. If not before, we'll update you in April, around the time E3 is held.

AC wrote: My favorites are/were: Twin Peaks, Star Trek: TNG, X-Files, Carnivale, Lost, and Dexter.

Our favorite movie is contest.
Flippin amazing! I thought I was the ONLY one who watched Carnivale. Damn them leaving it on a cliff hanger too! I sent postcard Tarot cards as part of a letter writing campaign.

Thanks for the replies!!! :D

Jen :mrgreen: